Deconstructing Civil Society Actors and Functions: On the Limitations of International Frameworks for Fragile States
2. International Frameworks to Support Civil Society in Fragile States
(…) development actors in their own right, with their own priorities, programs and partnership arrangements. It [the Paris Declaration & AAA] thus failed to take into account the rich diversity of players in a democratic society and failed to recognize the full range of roles played by CSOs as development actors and change agents.
3. Measuring Civil Society’s Effectiveness in Peacebuilding and Development Processes
Each monitoring and evaluation activity has a purpose. UNDP places great importance on monitoring and evaluation because, when done and used correctly, they strengthen the basis for managing for results, foster learning and knowledge generation in the organization as well as the broader development and evaluation community, and support the public accountability of UNDP. (Emphasis in original).
- Respect and promote human rights and social justice
- Embody gender equality and equity while promoting women’s and girls’ rights
- Focus on people’s empowerment, democratic ownership, and participation
- Promote environmental sustainability
- Practice transparency and accountability
- Pursue equitable partnerships and solidarity
- Create and share knowledge and commit to mutual learning
- Commit to realizing positive sustainable change
4. Civil Society Actors and Functions in Peacebuilding and Development Practice and Research
4.1. An Actor-Oriented Perspective of Civil Society in Peacebuilding and Development Processes
On the Limitations of the Actor-Oriented Approach
4.2. Civil Society from a Function-Oriented Perspective in Peacebuilding and Development Frameworks
On the Limitations of the Functional Approach
- Give voice to stakeholders—particularly poor and marginalized populations—and help ensure that their views are factored into policy and program decisions.
- Promote public sector transparency and accountability as well as contributing to the enabling environment for good governance.
- Promote public consensus and local ownership for reforms, national poverty reduction, and development strategies by building common ground for understanding and encouraging public-private cooperation.
- Bring innovative ideas and solutions, as well as participatory approaches to solve local problems.
- Strengthen and leverage development programs by providing local knowledge, targeting assistance, and generating social capital at the community level.
- Provide professional expertise and increasing capacity for effective service delivery, especially in environments with weak public-sector capacity or in post-conflict contexts
5. Concluding Discussion
Conflicts of Interest
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The concept of ‘fragile state’ is a highly contested term and not firmly defined academically or across development agencies. Clearly, labelling a specific country as fragile could reflect a political bias. While there is no commonly accepted global list of fragile states, there is at least a consensus on some clear-cut circumstances. By making use of the OECD’s definition, a fragile region or state will be understood as weak in capacity to carry out basic governance functions and therefore lacking the ability to develop mutually constructive relations with society. A fragile state is vulnerable to internal and external shocks such as economic crises or natural disasters. By contrast, more resilient states exhibit the capacity and legitimacy of governing a population and its territory. They can manage and adapt to changing social needs and expectations, shifts in elite and other political agreements, and growing institutional complexity. Fragility and resilience should be seen as shifting points along a spectrum (OECD 2011a).
In this context, we understand the term “civil society landscape” as the configuration of different civil society actors, dynamics, and functions as the result of specific forces (e.g.,: foreign funding and agenda setting, legacies of conflict and war, or economic and political conditions) that shape it.
The authors make no distinction between the terms NGO and CSO. This decision was made on the basis of “A note on NGO-CSO terminology”, published by the (OECD 2011b), which specifies that: Although DAC members have traditionally used the term NGO, more are now using the term CSO. (…) In reporting Official Development Assistance (ODA) provided to non-governmental organizations (NGOs), DAC members use the OECD statistical reporting directive definition of NGOs as ‘any non-profit entity… without significant government participation or representation.’ This definition is narrower than the now more commonly used term civil society organization (CSO), which includes non-governmental organizations among a variety of other organizations.
Seventy-seven percent of the amount was provided by the United States (USD 6.3 billion), United Kingdom (USD 2.1 billion), EU Institutions (USD 2 billion), Netherlands (USD 1.3 billion), and Sweden, Germany and Norway (all around USD 1 billion) (OECD 2015).
According to this review, due to the confusion and duplication resulted from numerous funding streams under DfID for CSOs, these funding streams have been simplified and consolidated to four windows: UK Aid Match, UK Aid Direct, UK Aid Connect, and UK Aid Volunteers.
These include: African Development Bank, Asian Development Bank, Consultative Group to Assist the Poorest, Economic Commission for Africa, European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, GAVI Alliance, International Fund for Agricultural Development, International Organization of the Francophonie, Millennium Campaign, Nordic Development Fund, Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, OPEC Fund for International Development, United Nations Development Group, Arab Bank for Economic Development in Africa, Commonwealth Secretariat, Council of Europe Development Bank, Education for All Fast Track Initiative, European Investment Bank, Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, Inter-American Development Bank, International Monetary Fund, Islamic Development Bank, New Partnership for Africa’s Development, Organization of American States, Organization of Eastern Caribbean States, Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat, World Bank.
See: The Washington Communiqué on Peacebuilding and Statebuilding, 19 April 2013, retrieved from http://www.newdeal4peace.org, last visit 11 December 2017.
See: www.newdeal4peace.org, last visit 11 December 2017.
The document can be downloaded at: http://www.newdeal4peace.org/wp-content/themes/newdeal/docs/new-deal-for-engagement-in-fragile-states-en.pdf, last visit 11 December 2017.
See Hearn, 2001 for USAID’s engagement with CSOs in Uganda, South Africa, and Ghana.
See: http://www.newdeal4peace.org/wp-content/themes/newdeal/docs/new-deal-for-engagement-in-fragile-states-en.pdf, last visit 11 December 2017.
See: http://www.oxforddictionaries.com/definition/english/effectiveness, last visit 11 December 2017.
For more detailed information access the Open Forum for CSO Development Effectiveness website: http://cso-effectiveness.org/istanbul-principles,067, last visit 16 December 2017.
This point was also made by (Paffenholz 2010).
As discussed by Datzberger (2015a) liberal, or western conceptualizations commonly embrace civil society as independent from the state, political, private, and economic spheres but in close interaction with them, as well as a domain of social life in which public opinion can be formed.
UK aid for civil society in Syria stands in great contrast to such statement: in 2014, amidst the critical condition of Syria, Syria Conflict Pool issued a call for proposals with a focus on “capacity support to Syrian civil society in order to amplify their voice, increase their impact and bring about the development of a diverse, vibrant, vocal and free civil society at local, regional and national level”. The bidding process consisted of two rounds of application and the proposed project should last for a maximum of 10 months, targeting primarily “more established Syrian civil society organizations” who would then (be expected to) partner with “a variety of smaller civil society organizations active inside Syria”.
Functional accountability pertains to being accountable for resources, resource use, and immediate impacts, while strategic accountability concerns the impacts on the actions of other organizations and the wider environment (Najam 1996). The latter is necessary for lasting social and political change (see (Ebrahim 2003) for a more elaborated discussion on NGO’s accountability deficit and other accountability frameworks).
For instance, see (Cornwall 2009): The Paris Agenda, in particular, raised significant concern among Sida staff—“Folkligt deltagende [popular participation] was about mobilization; now it is all aid effectiveness”, Sida desk officers lamented at the transition of Swedish aid away from its distinctive approach in the 1970s to conform to the Paris Agenda (p. 20). The conclusion at the end of the day was to follow current donor rhetoric and play along, instead of defying it and dealing directly with the messy realities of aid.
The WB’s approaches towards civil society are summarized at: http://web.worldbank.org/WBSITE/EXTERNAL/TOPICS/CSO/0,,contentMDK:20093200~menuPK:22 0424~pagePK:220503~piPK:220476~theSitePK:228717,00.html, last visit 12 December 2017.
The UNDP’s approaches towards civil society are summarized at: http://www.undp.org/content/dam/undp/library/corporate/fast-facts/english/FF-Civil-Society_EN_2013.pdf, last visit 15 December 2017.
In these areas of service provision and humanitarian aid, donors also encounter a range of problems, though in a different nature, which has resulted in numerous arguments against foreign aid (e.g.,: Easterly 2007; Polman 2011). For example, Dambisa Moyo, author of the famous book Dead Aid (Moyo 2009), strongly advocates against foreign aid for it has not only not alleviated poverty but also created aid-dependency in African recipient countries.
Examples of good practices for identifying partners and ways of partnership can be found in INTRAC’s “UK Government support for civil society in 2015 and beyond” report (2015) and CIVICUS’s “Keeping up the pressure: Enhancing the sustainability of protest movements” report (2017).
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Datzberger, S.; Nguyen, T. Deconstructing Civil Society Actors and Functions: On the Limitations of International Frameworks for Fragile States. Soc. Sci. 2018, 7, 30. https://doi.org/10.3390/socsci7020030
Datzberger S, Nguyen T. Deconstructing Civil Society Actors and Functions: On the Limitations of International Frameworks for Fragile States. Social Sciences. 2018; 7(2):30. https://doi.org/10.3390/socsci7020030Chicago/Turabian Style
Datzberger, Simone, and Tam Nguyen. 2018. "Deconstructing Civil Society Actors and Functions: On the Limitations of International Frameworks for Fragile States" Social Sciences 7, no. 2: 30. https://doi.org/10.3390/socsci7020030