Dispatch from the 2023 DAC CSO Days: local leadership at the forefront

Luca-de-Fraia-OECD-DAC-CSO-Days-2023-scaled

by Luca de Fraia, CSO Partnership for Development Effectiveness (CPDE) Co-chair

There is increasing momentum on advancing local leadership in development co-operation. This year’s OECD-DAC Civil Society Days were an important moment to take stock on progress and challenges. 

Delegates from Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) and development practitioners from all quarters met in Paris in mid-June at the OECD-DAC Civil Society Days, which take place every two years. The space for CSO leadership in development co-operation was high on the agenda with a focus on the implementation of the DAC Recommendation on Enabling Civil Society from 2021 and, more specifically, on localisation. Many CPDE members took part in different capacities; for instance, bringing to Paris our most recent reflections on equitable partnerships as captured in the report on CSOs’ effectiveness and the Implications of Istanbul Principles as well as the DAC Recommendation on Enabling Civil Society.

The effectiveness agenda offers a unique framework for placing the ongoing discussions on localisation in a particularly productive context. It is, in fact, important to learn how to connect the dots, as there are now many initiatives pushing in similar directions including the Grand BargainRINGO and the DAC Recommendation itself. All these pieces belong to the same thread: localisation is about democratic ownership as it places the interests of right-holders and local communities at the centre of development. This speaks directly to the effectiveness agenda and to the CSOs’ own effectiveness, including the Istanbul Principles.

CPDE’s perspective on localisation goes beyond the mere transfer of resources to the local organisations of partner countries. We call for a shift in the discourse towards locally-led development that implies that the interests and the priorities of local communities must inform all the stages of development activities. At the OECD-DAC Civil Society Days, practitioners gauged progress towards this goal by reviewing best practices by development partners and diving into technical discussions such as a taxonomy for localisation, and aid under authoritarian regimes.

Read the full post on the GPEDC website here. The Global Partnership for Effective Development Co-operation (the Global Partnership) is the primary multi-stakeholder vehicle for driving development effectiveness, to “maximize the effectiveness of all forms of co-operation for development for the shared benefits of people, planet, prosperity and peace.” It brings together governments, bilateral and multilateral organizations, civil society, the private sector and representatives from parliaments and trade unions among others, who are committed to strengthening the effectiveness of their partnerships for development.

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