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  • Writer's pictureDAC-CSO Reference Group

Letter to the Chair and Members of the DAC with regard to Recommendation on Enabling Civil Society

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Letter to DAC Chair and Members on Enabl
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Dear Chair and Members of the OECD DAC,

The DAC CSO Reference Group is writing to seek your full support for a positive decision on an OECD DAC Recommendation on Enabling Civil Society in the coming weeks. We fully endorse such a Recommendation and have welcomed the thorough engagement with the DAC and the DCD in the development of this policy instrument over the past several years, including the CSO Reference Group’s consolidated feedback from nearly fifty CSOs on a recent draft of the Instrument.

An OECD DAC Recommendation on Enabling Civil Society will encourage the application by DAC members of the collective body of knowledge developed by the DAC through years of analytical work and engagement with civil society. Such a Recommendation is commensurate with the level of trust that we feel is reflected in our current engagement with the DAC, as well as the critical importance of these issues. It acknowledges the widening range of conditions affecting civic space and an enabling environment for CSOs across a growing number of countries.

In this spirit we hope that the Recommendation continues to reflect

• The importance of specific measures supporting an inclusive and independent civil society and fully advancing the respect, protection and promotion of open civic space, in line with fundamental rights of peaceful assembly, association, expression and participation;

• The importance of structuring donor support, including its financial support (core and program-based support), for civil society as development actors in their own right;

• The importance of reflecting human rights relating to freedom of association, assembly and expression in donor partnerships with the private sector, where private sector initiatives may undermine community development and harm human rights defenders;

• The importance of enabling laws and regulations, reflecting CSOs as actors that have a positive impact on terrorism prevention;

• The importance of promoting and investing in the leadership of local/national civil society actors in partner countries or territories; and

• The importance of all DAC members following the basic principles, values and directions in the Recommendation, in the context of their differing legal, institutional and policy frameworks.

CSOs have welcomed, while also offering suggestions to strengthen the third pillar in this draft Recommendation regarding incentivizing CSOs own development effectiveness. Many CSOs and CSO platforms have been taking measures to address our own shortcomings, which is our responsibility as development actors in our own right. We will continue to do so and be held accountable to high standards of practice as reflected in the Istanbul Principles for CSO Development Effectiveness.

We look forward to a positive endorsement by DAC members for an OECD DAC Recommendation on Enabling Civil Society. The Reference Group stands ready and eager to work with the DAC and all Members in the progressive implementation of its commitments, including active participation in the creation of any guidance that would follow the Recommendation, as well as in other follow-up and implementation.

Approval for this Recommendation will send a powerful message about the essential importance of inclusive democratic development options, as we together tackle with urgency conditions of growing poverty and inequality, a climate emergency and a global pandemic.


On behalf of the DAC CSO Reference Group and the 122 formally endorsing organisations listed hereafter


1. ABONG, Brazil

2. ACT Alliance

3. Act Church of Sweden

4. ActionAid

5. Africa Development Interchange Network (ADIN)

6. African Coalition on Migration and Development

7. AidWatch Canada

8. Alga, Kyrgyzstan

9. Alliance 2015

10. Alliance for Sustainable Food Systems and Empowered Communities

11. Alliance Sud, Switzerland

12. Ambrela, CSO Platform, Slovakia

13. Angikar, Bangladesh

14. Aqua Alimenta

15. Asia Development Alliance (ADA)

16. Asociacion Nacional de Centros, Peru

17. Associação para a Cooperação Entre os Povos (ACEP), Guinea Bissau

18. Balkan Civil Society Development Network

19. Beginning - Tajikistán

20. CAFSO-WRAG for Development

21. Caritas Europe

22. Center for Legal Support of Women and Children NGO Mehrjon, Uzbekistan

23. Civic Initiatives (Gradjanske Inicijative), Serbia


25. Civil Society Coalition on Sustainable Development

26. Civil Society Platform for Peacebuilding and Statebuilding


27. Co-ordination Office of the Austrian Bishops’ Conference for International Development and Mission

28. Commonwealth Medical Trust

29. Cooperation Canada

30. Coordinadora de ONG de Desarrollo Espana

31. Coordinadora dela Mujer - Bolivia

32. Cordaid

33. Center for People's Development and Governance, Philippines

34. Centre for Research and Advocacy Manipur, India


36. Croatian Platform for International Citizen Solidarity

37. CSO Partnership for Development Effectiveness


39. Democracy Education Center Mongolia

40. Diakonia

41. Dochas

42. Ecumenical Institute for Labor Education and Research (EILER), Philippines

43. Education Technologies Initiatives Fund, Kazakhstan

44. Ekvilib Institute, Slovenia

45. Estonian Roundtable for Development Cooperation

46. Eurodad

47. Fastenopfer

48. Feminist League, Kazakhstan

49. FINGO - Finnish NGO Platform

50. Finn Church Aid, Finland

51. Folkekirkens Nødhjælp/DanChurchAid, Denmark

52. Food First Information Action Network of Sri Lanka (FIAN Sri Lanka)

53. Forum CIV, Sweden

54. Forum of Women's NGO of Kyrgystan

55. Forus International

56. Fundación Red Nicaragüense de Comercio Comunitario

57. Globalt Fokus

58. Global Responsibility - Austrian Platform for Development and Humanitarian Aid

59. HEKS/EPER Swiss Church Aid

60. HELVETAS Swiss Intercooperation, Switzerland

61. IBON International

62. Icelandic Church Aid

63. Iktidor Public Organization, Tajikistán

64. IM Swedish Development Partner

65. Indigenous Peoples Organization Australia

66. Institute Povod, Slovenia

67. Inter Pares

68. International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC)

69. Japan NGO Center for International Cooperation (JANIC)

70. Kopin, Malta

71. Korea NGO Council for Overseas Development Cooperation (KOCO), Republic of Korea

72. Kvinna Foundation, Sweden

73. Land Defense Coalition, Palestine

74. Latvian Platform for Development Cooperation

75. Lithuanian NGDO Platform (Vystomojo bendradarbiavimo platforma)

76. Martebe Plus Kazakhstan

77. Misean Cara - Mission Support from Ireland

78. Mission-21

79. NAVA - Niue Australian Vagahau Association

80. NGDO Platform, Portugal

81. NGO Federation of Nepal

82. Niu Vagahau Niue Victoria (NVNV)

83. Niue Netball Association Victoria

84. North-East Affected Area Development Society, India

85. Organization for Social and Economic Development, Afghanistan

86. Oxfam International

87. Pacificwin 2030

88. Pacific Australian Women's Consultative Standing Committee

89. Pacific Islands Association of Non-Governmental Organizations

90. Partners Albania for Change and Development, Albania

91. Reality of Aid Africa

92. Reality of Aid - Asia Pacific

93. Reality of Aid Network

94. Red de Educación Popular entre Mujeres de América Latina y el Caribe – REPEM

95. Rwanda Development Organization-RDO

96. Savie asbl NGO LGBTIQ PGEL RDC

97. Skat Foundation

98. SLOGA - Slovenian Global Action

99. SMC Faith in Development, Sweden

100. Solidar Suisse

101. SPIN Plus Tajikistan

102. Sri Lanka Nature Group

103. Stiftung Horyzon, Switzerland

104. Swissaid

105. Swisscontact, Switzerland

106. Tanzania Coalition on Debt and Development

107. Trocaire

108. Tu Tagaloa Trust

109. Trade Union Advisory Committee to the OECD (TUAC)

110. Tzuk Kim Pop Movement

111. Unité, Switzerland

112. Vaka Tiale Outrigger Canoe

113. Vanuatu Human Rights Coalition

114. Vétérinaires Sans Frontières Suisse

115. Vétérinaites Sans Frontières International (VSF International)

116. Village Watch Papua New Guinea

117. Vivamos Mejor

118. Wemos

119. Women of East-Sharkaeli

120. Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom

121. World of Equal Opportunities

122. Zavod KROG, Slovenia


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