Civil society participation in the follow-up to the Fourth High Level Forum on Aid Effectiveness (HLF4), held from November 29 – December 1, 2011 in Busan, South Korea, is critical to ensure the implementation of commitments made by participating states towards improved development cooperation. As a result, over 70 representatives from more than 50 civil society organizations (CSOs) and 40 countries met from February 21-23, 2012 for a “Post Busan Global CSO Meeting” in Mactan, near Cebu Island in the Philippines. The meeting in Cebu was preceded by global CSO meetings on development effectiveness in Busan (2011), Siem Reap (2011) and Istanbul (2010) in a process coordinated by the Open Forum Effectiveness and Better Aid.
Busan commitments on development effectiveness, including those on enabling environment for civil society, will be monitored by a new Global Partnership for Effective Development Cooperation, as laid out in the Busan Partnership Document. In the three days of meetings in Cebu, the participants reviewed strategies for engagement with the Global Partnership, and discussed the organization of CSO governance in the new development effectiveness architecture for 2012 and beyond. They agreed on a roadmap for Better Aid and Open Forum to conclude their current mandate and approve a new, unified structure for governance by September 2012. The new structure is envisioned as an inclusive and open global platform with thematic working groups that will help the Global Partnership to operate more effectively between CSOs, governments, and donors.
Jacob Zenn, Legal Advisor, represented ICNL at the meeting. Jacob was “impressed with the way Better Aid and Open Forum worked together to plan the best way forward for civil society to take on its responsibilities as a development actor and effectively engage in the post-Busan process.” Participants at the Cebu meeting agreed that enabling environment must remain a key CSO “ask” in order to ensure that CSOs can operate freely in countries around the world. “Given its leadership on enabling environment issues, ICNL will have an important role to play in monitoring commitments related to enabling environment at the global and country levels and we look forward to working with our colleagues from around the world in the next steps of engagement”, remarks Jacob.