7-8 December 2023
Delegates from select civil society organisations (CSOs) from around the world recently gathered in Brussels for a two-day training workshop organised by the CSO Partnership for Development Effectiveness (CPDE) on the Fourth Monitoring round (4MR) of the Global Partnership for Effective Development Cooperation (GPEDC).
- Delegates noted that the monitoring process is one of the distinctive features of the GPEDC, which was so recognised at the Effectiveness Summit in Geneva in December 2022 and in the Geneva Outcome Document, more specifically. The GPEDC monitoring framework still constitutes one of the most important follow-up processes that provides granular data on the implementation of development effectiveness commitments, with the official involvement of non-executive actors, including CSOs.
- The 4MR will span over four years and culminate with a comprehensive report in 2026. This report will help fill a data gap of roughly eight years, as the latest report and findings were last discussed at the GPEDC Senior Level Meeting (SLM) of 2019. CSOs feel the urge for this information gap to be addressed in the most comprehensive way possible and are fully committed to playing an active role in this regard.
- CPDE played an active, critical role in the revision process that led to the endorsement of the new GPEDC evidence offer. The roll-out of the 4MR comes at a juncture when CPDE’s resourcing is uncertain, which implies that CSOs are gearing up for a self-funded approach to this new monitoring round. This arrangement presents a dilemma where the reality of a very demanding reporting cycle; which requires securing an active CSO participation in countries and coordination at the global level coincides with the absence of a proper budget to fund the CSO constituency’s operational activities through a dedicated secretariat.
- This resource challenge also impacts on CSOs’ ability to build capacities which can help their engagement in the 4MR. Presently, there is uneven level of experience among CSOs in monitoring, and delegates expressed the need for more training especially at the regional and national levels.
- Delegates further familiarised with the reporting framework and shared their experience in a mutual learning exercise. From the start, the joint reflection pointed to the challenges posed by a monitoring process that will be led by national governments. In fact, the GPEDC monitoring round has implications beyond the technical aspects and directly relates to fundamental issues regarding national democratic governance and participation in countries. With this concern in mind, the negative trends affecting the CSO space, compounded by measures implemented in response to the COVID-19 pandemic as well as the spread of autocratic regimes, might call into question the relevance of the findings from this monitoring round.
- CSO focal points play an important role in data gathering. Coordinated action will be required to make sure that the CSO focal points are selected after proper consultations with the local CSO community. The authenticity of CSO-generated data also needs to meet a credibility threshold and quality.
- CSOs should be able to provide feedback over and beyond the Enabling Environment Assessment (EEA), which, among other things, might encourage the submission of shadow reports whenever possible, including the monitoring of donors. This requires CSOs to be involved in the monitoring across all stages of the process from data collection, to review, analysis, and validation.
- Concerns have been shared about the stage where national findings are expected to be disseminated and discussed through country briefs and action dialogues. Consistent with the concerns above about a conducive participatory environment, it was noted that a transparent reflection process is required to enhance the democratic ownership of the monitoring process at the country level, ideally through an institutionalised engagement mechanism for all stakeholders. CPDE reiterated the importance of turning data into real behavior change. Linked to this, we suggest that a specific effort be made to monitor the monitoring process itself.
- By the end of the two-day workshop, CPDE delegates committed to working together over the next 12 months to synergise for an effective CSO participation in the monitoring round. By the second quarter of 2024, the CPDE team will come together to review progress and chart the path for the following years.
- We call on the GPEDC to commit to the full implementation of the monitoring round by ensuring the active participation of all stakeholders, and providing for a transparent, meaningful, and comprehensive engagement process.