You are on page 1of 54

NGOs in transition

Current challenges for

international organisations
in development











The challenges currently facing international organisations working with development
are many. Social movements are gaining ground on NGOs while the aid effectiveness
agenda is putting more demands on NGOs. Climate change is adding new dimensions
to development work, and the question of NGO legitimacy is becoming increasingly
pertinent. In a world moving towards globalisation, the response from many NGOs is to
join hands and form alliances. But is bigger always better? And how do these changes
affect the poor people, whom NGOs claim to support?
This booklet documents a series of seminars on the changing civil society context arranged
by the Danish NGO network Thematic Forum in the autumn of 2009.
NGOs in transition
Current challenges for
international organisations
in development
2 3
NGOs in transition
Current challenges for international organisations in development
By Lisbeth Jensen
Editor: Helene Ellemann-Jensen
Published in April 2010 by
c/o MS ActionAid Denmark
12, Flledvej
DK-2200 Copenhagen N
The publication can also be downloaded from
Cover photos: Pernille Brendtsen
Photos: Lisbeth Jensen (pages 10, 16, 29, 34, 38, 70, 77);
DanChurchAid and CARE Denmark (pages 48, 62); Rahul Sriskanthan (page 86);
Freek Visser (page 90); MS ActionAid Denmark (page 93)
All other photos: Pernille Brendtsen
Design: Kurt Lukowski/MS Graphic
Printed in Denmark by Handy Print A/S
Theme 1 A changing civil society
NGOs caught by the mainstream
Democracy in a globalised world
World Social Forum and democracy
Theme 2 Aid effectiveness
New policy spaces for civil society
Effectiveness of aid or of development
Just jump on board
A Danish attempt to implement the Paris principles
Theme 3 Climate change
and development
No more room for development
Agriculture both problem and solution
Advocacy for a just adaptation practice
Using local climate knowledge
Buso Islanders alone in the ocean
A helping hand not another burden
Theme 4 NGO legitimacy
and accountability
Global ISO standards for NGOs
Together against HIV/AIDS
Changed mindsets more important than new policy
Theme 5 Global civil society and
internationalisation of NGOs
NGOs are tamed civil movements
The INGO sector is in crisis
The old INGOs are out of sync
Danish case stories about alliance building
Remember where you come from
Climate change and international alliances
4 5
Civil society around the world is in transition. The challenges facing development NGOs trying to navigate in
this ocean of change are abundant and interlinked. Opening up one discussion leads to another. As soon as the
questions of roles and room for manoeuvring for NGOs in the changing civil society are addressed, other issues
line up: Will independence and diversity still be a feature of NGOs in a development world highly infuenced by
the Paris Agenda and the claims for effectiveness of development assistance? New challenges to all prospects
for development in the South including NGO activities are brought about by the climate changes. Another
crucial challenge for all NGOs is the question of legitimacy and accountability. What are the most recent initiati-
ves within these areas? Last, but not least, is the new tendency of internationalisation, where major NGOs, also
in Denmark, decide to establish strong and formal relationships or even merge into alliances of very large
international organisations. What are the prospects, challenges and risks in this trend?
During the autumn of 2009, the Danish NGO network Thematic Forum addressed these questions in a series of
seminars bringing together Danish and international NGO practitioners and academics. This publication refects
the fve themes explored:
A changing civil society
The debate is opened by Anthony Bebbington from the University of Manchester, who claims that NGOs today
are entangled in bureaucratic demands from donors and that they do not see real change as a result of their
work. Teivo Teivainen from the University of Helsinki advocates building international networks and discusses the
potentials for social movements as alternative change agents.
Effectiveness of development assistance
Adapt or die this is the message from Lars Koch from the Danish NGO IBIS to the development NGOs within
the framework of the Paris Declaration and the Accra Agenda for Action. Franz Josef Berger from CONCORD out-
lines some of the challenges for NGOs in adapting to the new framework, while Lisa Henry from DanChurchAid
proposes that development NGOs copy the Humanitarian Accountability Partnership (HAP) aimed at enhancing
effectiveness and securing accountability within humanitarian assistance.
Climate change
Christian Friis Bach from DanChurchAid outlines the consequences of climate change for the poorest people
and introduces a rights-based approach to integrating the need for adaptation into NGO programming. Poul
Erik Lauridsen from CARE Denmark presents a tool that combines stakeholder analysis and poverty assessment
with climate analysis, and his colleague Liv stergaard shows how the tool can be applied in an example from
Legitimacy and accountability
Bjrn Frde from the UNDP Oslo Governance Centre discusses the increasing demands on NGOs to demonstrate
their accountability and legitimacy and asks: Who do the international NGOs actually represent? Marianne Bo
Paludan from Save the Children Denmark shares how diffcult it is to meet the demands of the NGOs own
assessment frameworks, including the INGO Accountability Charter.
Marlies Glasius from the University of Amsterdam gives an overview of the globalisation trends that also apply
to NGOs and the challenges they are currently facing with regard to representation, internal democracy, and
power balances. Harry Derksen from ICCO is convinced that INGOs must shift power to the South in order to gain
infuence. They have to change themselves before they can change the world, he claims and explains what
his own organisation is doing to shift power. Frans Mikael Jansen from MS ActionAid Denmark urges INGOs to
join forces to form a critical mass exerting pressure for infuence and stop being polite to the governments. The
discussion on globalisation is wound up through four examples of Danish NGOs at different stages of integra-
tion into global civil society: CARE Denmark, IBIS (part of Alliance2015), Save the Children Denmark, and MS
ActionAid Denmark.
We wish to express our sincere thanks to everyone who contributed actively to the debate through sharing valua-
ble insights and experience and raising relevant questions. It is the hope of Thematic Forum that these discus-
sions will provide the Danish (and international) development community with new knowledge and inspiration
for necessary adjustments of policies, strategies and management procedures, and thus create new grounds for
enhancing the performance and impact of civil society organisations in a changing world for the beneft of the
poorest people.
Thematic Forum
Copenhagen, March 2010
6 7
A changing civil society
Some argue that NGOs have in fact been unsuccessful in their
fundamental mission of promoting social change. Accordingly, we
need to question whether NGOs are still able to work as change
agents and advocates for the interests of the poor.
What does it take for NGOs to re-think and renew themselves to
become effective change agents? Or should we rather turn to
social movements and other forms of civic action to fnd new
potentials for transforming unequal and unjust social structures?
8 9
NGOs caught by the
The neoliberal order has deprived The nGo
world of alTernaTives
NGOs today have turned to service delivery at the expense of innovation, alternative
approaches and research. At the same time, state agencies and multilateral develop-
ment organisations have taken over working methods and policies from the NGOs.
Anthony Bebbington, professor at the University of Manchester, no longer sees the
NGO world as a forum for alternative thinking about international development. For
the past 20 years, he has conducted research for NGOs in Latin America and interna-
tional organisations. He has experienced and documented a distortion of the NGOs
original mission.
Today the NGOs have become subcontractors and turned to service provision and
measurable impacts. They are entangled in the bureaucratic demands from donors
and stranded in a hegemonic view of development, he claims.
Examples of this hegemony are the Millennium Development Goals.
Many NGOs working with democracy and advocacy have been very frustrated over
this tendency. Their governments invite them to hearings and ask for comments,
but they dont get real infuence and never see changes as results of their work, he
Anthony Bebbington reports an example from seven knowledge-generating organisa-
tions in Central America and Mexico.
They all experienced the same pressures on their organisations. The weakening of
the left parties and fnancial needs infuence the way the organisations were mana-
ged, and they often found themselves in a mismatch between their original political
project as social movements and the neoliberal demands for funding, he tells from
his work with the seven organisations.
Four pressures:
1. The frst pressure was a change in the left-wing movement. Neoliberal govern-
ments took power, left-wing parties were weakened and non-governmental
organisations were left hanging.
2. The second pressure was fnancial. Fundraising efforts and demands from
different donors sacrifced the organisations long-term focus to a short-term
chase for project funds.
3. The third pressure was the human resource management in each organisation.
Employees were often treated according to standards contradicting the
principles of the organisation.
4. The fourth pressure was that the organisations found themselves in a confict
between their original political project, their internal management and their
I could see an increasing tendency to work as a think tank instead of a social move-
ment. They took the short route to knowledge instead of the long route together with
their partners and constituencies. This also weakens their legitimacy, Anthony says.
So what can the organisations do?
Be well positioned to anticipate changes in development, seek new relationships
and be ambitious. Think big thoughts and not just the next project proposal. And if
necessary renovate the organisation, bring in youth, new staff and frst of all, practise
what you preach for others, also inside the organisation, he advises.
Mining and development
In Peru, investments in mining exploration increased by 2,000% from 1990 to 1997,
and 64% of the land in the region of Cajamarca is now under concession for mining.
This implies a profound systemic and structural change in society, which Bebbington
defnes as little d development.
But is it good or bad? Organised civil society was taken aback. They had no responses
and they came too late.
This is an example of how dynamics in the private sector overtake the NGOs with
surprise. The rather strong NGOs and Oxfam America were still discussing thematic
development of society, when mining industries were booming. They had no alterna-
tive to the mining, and they got a very bad press when they organised a public debate
and tried to raise resistance to the mining, Anthony Bebbington tells.
The NGOs were tamed. The big donors, Canadian Lutheran World Relief and Oxfam
International, withdrew their funding for anti-mining NGOs and the protest was crimi-
nalised. As part of the concession agreements, mining companies committed them-
selves to funding local projects, and many NGOs chose to be co-opted and administer
such undertakings instead of dying.
The NGOs turned to big D development, implementing projects instead of little
d development, i.e. discussions on the social and political transformation of society.
Today only a few social movements criticise the mining policy, he says.
But why were the NGOs unprepared when the mining industry started booming?
Many NGOs have so many projects, papers and pressing issues on their desks that
the time to refect and think strategically about big changes is not available. I have
seen so many NGOs struggling, not learning by doing, but learning while doing, he
professor at the
University of
member of the
peruvian Centre
for social studies.


...on key words:
Non-governmental organisations
The term non- implies a wish to be an alternative as a reason for being. But are the
NGOs still alternatives? Many are heavily dependent on state funding and often tied
to their home countrys bilateral aid programmes, as seen in the relationship between
Danish NGOs and Danida. Today there is a tendency to see global movements as the
Civil society
A sphere of voluntary associations working for modest alternatives in self-organised
A feld of contention between hegemonic and counterhegemonic projects where de-
bates on ambitious alternatives take place.
Big D development understood as interventions in the form of projects with a clear
Little d development understood as systemic change of society over time.
Real social change
Does real refer to the scale of change in space or time? Is it only real if it is struc-
tural or institutional?
This implies that only little d development is real, but such changes are still
brought about through interventions in the form of projects.
But real to whom? Small local changes can be very real to those who experience
them, while measurable projects can seem more real to auditors.
Democracy in a
globalised world
expansion of Global CapiTalisM diMinishes
The rooM for naTional deMoCraCy boTh for
parliaMenTs and Csos
professor Teivo Teivainen from the University of helsinki talks of the
monarchisation of democracy.
Our national democracy will undergo the same diminishing of importance as the
monarchies previously did. The expansion of a global economy or capitalism will de-
cide more and more, and leave less to national parliaments to decide. The national
civil society and the national NGOs will also get less and less room to operate in,
he states.
However, instead of protesting against globalisation, he advises civil society and its
organisations to fght for politicisation of the global economy and democratisation of
international institutions.
It will be very diffcult, but not impossible. Compare the situation with the feminist
movement in the sixties. When they coined the slogan Make the private political,
nobody anticipated the huge change in patriarchy it created. Lets make the economy
political, he says.
14 15
He claims that such a change has already begun and that civil society organisations
should seize the chance. As an example, he refers to the fashion of corporate social
Of course the concept is crap, but it is important, because it refects that the eco-
nomy is admitting to being political, and once it has done that, it can never go back
and claim that its only interest is the proft rate. It implies an open door, and we
should walk in and start talking politics, he says.
In particular, Teivo Teivainen perceives international institutions like the IMF as un-
democratic, as long as they are ruled by one dollar one vote instead of one country
one vote.
We are all hypocrites when we impose our Western defnition of democracy on
other countries without fghting for democracy in the international institutions, he
His advice is to build transnational or international networks, whether they be tra-
ditional organisations or modern movements. As an example, the Colombian trade
union movement succeeded in derailing a trade agreement with the USA, because it
worked closely with trade unions in the USA.
In this new global space, political advocacy and change are diffcult and different,
which calls for new alliances.
At the national level, CSOs push for change through national political parties, but
what about the international level? Some of the South American organisations call
for more political solutions. They are tired of all the talk and talk, e.g. in the World
Social Forum. They call for walk and walk. But are we ready for an international
political party? Can such a party be created without the national party level? These
are some of the interesting questions the international civil society will have to fnd
answers to in the years to come, he foresees.
World Social Forum
and democracy
parTiCipaTion versUs represenTaTion
The World Social Forum (WSF) movement is intended to be non-bureaucratic, as
everybody and every issue are considered equally important. The chief principle is
infuence through participation. This has soon turned out to be a problem. African
organisations have had no money to participate, and rich Western organisations have
dominated the discussions.
We have to admit that the WSF is not democratic. The principle of participation
instead of representation excludes poor organisations from infuence. The principle
of all issues being equally important is also undermined by money. The groups with a
lot of money or with friends with money get the most attention at the meetings. They
can rent nice venues, print posters, call famous speakers and so on, but theirs is not
necessarily the most important issue, Teivo Teivainen recalls from experiences at
WSF conferences.
He has been part of the movement from the beginning and remains attracted to the
idea of a horizontal non-bureaucratic structure.
But what is the difference between an organisation and a movement? Teivo Teivainen
points out that the two terms are used indistinctively without refection - often as part
of the name. But he has a clear defnition according to certain characteristics in form,
politics and ideology.
17 16
Teivo Teivainen,
professor at the
University of
helsinki, finland.
director of the
programme on
democracy and
Global Trans-
formation at the
national University
of san Marcos in
lima, peru.
An organisation has a structure and is representative. It has a political mission, and
members agree on an ideology or vision. An organisation represented by its board
chairman or assembly can speak and act on behalf of its members.
In a movement, all members are equal, no one ranks higher than the other, and no
issue is more important than another. There are no structures and no bureaucracy.
This was the case at the frst WSF held in 2001 in Porto Alegre. All the organisations
came together under the slogan Another world is possible. Only political parties
and confessional organisations were not welcome.
But what does this other world look like and how should we get there? It has
serious implications for democracy to break down all hierarchy. There is no strategic
priority and no one can represent or speak for the WSF. It is well known that tacit and
implicit structures appear in horizontal, leaderless movements, and these cannot be
changed democratically, because they are not acknowledged, Teivainen explains.
The problems within the WSF surfaced quickly. Who should read and decide on
applications for WSF membership? And what should be done about the skewed
It is important to practise what you preach. In the beginning we just did not discuss
these problems, because representation and boards were bureaucratic ideas, which
we wanted to avoid. But we have to look very seriously at these problems in the
movements, not only in WSF, he says.




18 19
Neoliberalism refers to a political ideology born in the 1970s and lasting at least until
the late 1990s, which espouses economic deregulation and laissez-faire as a means
of promoting economic development and securing political liberty. Broadly speaking,
neoliberalism seeks to transfer control over the economy from the public to the pri-
vate sector.
Direct democracy, classically termed pure democracy, places sovereignty within an
assembly of all citizens choosing to participate. Direct democracy stands in contrast
to representative democracy.
Hegemony is the political, economic, ideological or cultural power exerted by a domi-
nant group over other groups, regardless of the explicit consent of the latter. In the
early 20th century, Italian political scientist Antonio Gramsci developed the concept
of cultural hegemony to show how a social class exerts cultural leadership or domi-
nance of other classes in maintaining the socio-political status quo.
Creating space is an interesting expression.
We use it all the time but do not defne it. Is
it space in a geographical, physical, political,
virtual, institutional or legal sense?
Anthony Bebbington
Do not use the words developing developed,
North South, centre periphery. They are
all part of the neo-colonial thinking of the
Teacher (us) and the Pupils (them).
Teivo Teivainen
Many organisations balance on the edge of
a knife. They have to engage in a critical
dialogue with the government, but at the
same time receive donations through the
government. You can say they sleep with
the enemy at night, but fght against him
during the day.
Bjrn Johansen, ADRA
Latin America is interesting to study just
now. The governments of Lula da Silva and
Evo Morales come from the civil movements,
but what space does it give to the rest of
the CSOs?
Anthony Bebbington
Lets us think the impossible. All boundaries
for democracy should be discussed in the
open. Let us be frank about the problems of
international democracy, otherwise we cant
discuss it.
Teivo Teivainen
If we are 100,000 organisations with the
whole world as our workplace, how can we
be positioned to have an impact globally?
Annemette Danielsen, Danish Children and
youth Network
Neoliberalism came from international
right-wing think tanks and we had no
answers and no think tanks on the other
side. It is important to position your orga-
nisation globally and link to political actors
and academics for an optimal position in
good networks.
Anthony Bebbington

Green, Duncan: From Poverty to Power. Oxfam International, 2008.
Bebbington, Anthony, Hickey, Samuel and Mitlin, Diana C.: Can NGOs make a difference?: The challenge of
development alternatives, Zed Books, 2008.
Teivainen, Teivo: Global Civic-Driven Democratization as Political Agenda and
Fowler, Alan and Biekart, Kees (eds): Civic Driven Change: Citizens Imagination in Action. The Hague: Institute
of Social Studies, 2008.
23 22
24 25
Aid effectiveness
The buzzword effectiveness has always been used in relation to
development assistance. However, the focus on this aspect has
increased in recent years, as issues such as harmonisation among
donors, ownership and cooperation have been addressed as part
of the OECD-launched international aid effectiveness agenda.
NGOs seem to play a dual role in the discourse.
On the one hand, they are considered able to use the effective-
ness agenda politically and strategically. On the other, the spot-
light is turned on their own performances. Basically, the question
is: How will this agenda change the civil society development
architecture as we know it today?
26 27
All important donors and recipient countries have signed the Accra Agenda for Action
(AAA). In articles 13 and 20, civil society organisations (CSOs) are acknowledged as
a positive factor in their own right, and governments and donors shall provide and
support an enabling environment for their existence. So today working in a CSO is a
political right, not something you can go to prison for, Lars Koch from IBIS states.
CSOs are important development partners. 11% of all development funding is
channelled through CSOs, and in Danish aid alone, CSO spending accounts for up to
one billion DKK.
Although governments have subscribed to the agenda, they often create obstacles
for the CSOs. These can be bureaucratic registration procedures meant to curtail
the infuence of CSOs. Furthermore, the Accra principles are not communicated and
implemented at the regional and local level.
But CSOs can ally with bilateral donors, who want CSOs to monitor the use of budget
support, and CSOs often have the knowledge and potential to implement at the sector
or local level, Lars Koch says.
New policy spaces
for civil society
The aCCra aGenda CreaTes
opporTUniTies and ChallenGes for Csos
He points to the example of the Danish NGO Ghana Friendship Groups. Through
many years of experience in the education sector at the local level in northern Ghana,
they and their partners now exert infuence at the national education sector level.
It is no longer suffcient just to do well locally; experiences should also be used in
dialogue and advocacy to infuence national politics. Help your partners do this by
networking and knowing the new spaces for sector dialogue, Lars Koch says.
The opportunities are there for the CSOs, but Lars Koch advises to use the AAA stra-
tegically. Each country is different, and CSOs and their networks should analyse the
best ways to gain infuence.
I think the sector level will be the most important space for policy infuence. Often
the national level development plans, the PRSPs, are too general and less operatio-
nal. But the CSOs have capacity and knowledge of the sector level from their prac-
tice, he explains.
CSOs have to implement the fve principles of the Paris Declaration, but how?
Adapt or die, the donors are very serious about these principles, Lars Koch states
Like the donors, CSOs have to prove their effectiveness. They have to become better
at transferring ownership to their partners and at aligning to their systems. And they
have to harmonise with other NGOs working with the same issues and partners.
Harmonisation often happens by coincidence. I remember a case in IBIS where we
found out, at a cocktail party, that three of us guests worked with problems in the
mining areas of South America. We agreed to meet and use each others knowledge,
e.g. sharing an assessment of the area, he explains.
Harmonisation can be a trigger, because CSOs also compete amongst each other for
funding, both in the North and the South. A manageable solution can be local or
regional networks or platforms to exchange ideas.
Accountability can also be a problem. Both the donor organisation and the recipient
organisation should fnd ways to be open, transparent and accountable.
It is not the case that all CSOs are good by defnition. There are many bad CSOs out
there, Lars Koch says.
For small organisations in both the North and the South, this whole system of
advocacy and policy dialogue with governments can be too daunting a challenge.
Small CSOs can get lost. They dont have the capacity to gather all the information
at all the levels. Here the answer must be to link to networks and platforms, says
Lars Koch.
lars Koch,
and policy
adviser, ibis.
ibis is a danish
working at
the global,
national and
local levels to
create equal
access to
infuence and
resources for
poor and margi-
nalised people
in africa and
30 31
The Paris Declaration on Aid Effectiveness from 2005 was a response to complaints over excessive
bureaucracy imposed on aid recipient countries having to deal with more than 1,000 different donors.
Harmonisation of administrative procedures was necessary.
The declaration affrms fve principles:
1. Ownership is the key principle aid shall be in line with the recipient
countrys own strategies and plans
2. Alignment donors shall align with their partners agenda and systems
3. Harmonisation donors shall establish common procedures and share
4. Managing for results better joint monitoring of effectiveness
5. Mutual accountability openness regarding the fow of funds, spending
and budgets
The Paris Declaration envisages partners as recipient governments as well as bilateral and interna-
tional donors. Civil society and its organisations are not mentioned.
Criticism of this fact led to the Accra Agenda for Action (AAA) in 2008.
In AAA, ownership is not confned to the government, but refers to the entire recipient country,
including its parliament and civil society engaged in development policies (Article13).
Both recipient countries and donor countries acknowledge the critical role and responsibility of
parliament and civil society, and donors pledge to support efforts to increase the capacity of all
development actors (Article 13).
Civil society organisations are recognized as development actors in their own right, and they
are promised an enabling environment (Article 20).
Civil society organisations shall apply the Paris principles by means of better co-ordination with
government programmes, greater accountability and improved exchange of information (Article 20).
Paris and Accra declarations
32 33
We have to refect critically on the Paris and Accra declarations. They are Northern
agendas, even if all countries have signed up to them. The opinion of Malawi does
not carry the same weight as that of the USA.
Franz Josef Berger from CONCORD works for the Open Forum for CSO Development
Effectiveness. This entity was set up, because CSOs were lost and lagged behind
donors in the discussion about effectiveness.
But we want a more political concept than just a measurable objective. We want to
talk about effectiveness of development understood as change in the country, from
planning through implementation to lasting effects. We want a broader level than just
the indicators on a high political level, like in the PRSPs. The CSOs do more than
provide fnancial help. They have a lot of different roles which contribute to develop-
ment or change for individuals, he says.
CSOs want to use the word impact instead of effectiveness. CSOs often work in
long-standing partnerships, and they know that change takes time, whereas donors,
with their log frames and contracts, have a short timeframe, going from project to
project, he says.
Effectiveness of aid
or of development
a Global aTTeMpT To ColleCTively define
effeCTiveness for Csos
34 35
franz Joseph
european nGo
for relief and
The ConCord
hosts the open
forum for Cso
Internally in the Open Forum, discussions have been going on for a year now, and a
common global model for the measurement of effectiveness is still not in sight. The
diversity of CSOs, which hold different visions and compete for funds and media
attention, makes it diffcult.
But we have to be aware of the fact that CSOs today are more visible. Think tanks
like One World Trust are questioning the work of CSOs, and they publish an annual
report on CSO accountability, which attracts media attention, he says.
It is not only the Paris and Accra Declarations that demand action, but also the need
for legitimacy and accountability of CSOs in general.
Is the Paris Declaration usable at all?
The international CSO community does not agree on the fve principles of the Paris
Declaration and their usefulness. One group fears being cornered along with their
partners by the bureaucracy of effectiveness. They want to maintain a wider concept
of development, and they do not necessarily see the benefts of harmonisation. They
perceive the diversity of ideas among CSOs as an advantage.
Another group sees the fve principles as useful. Though they have been conceived for
partnerships between recipient governments and donors, they still make good sense
when applied to collaboration between a civil society partner in the South and an
NGO from the North.
Harmonisation doesnt necessarily mean speaking with one voice or reducing the
number of actors. It can mean better coordination of work, Franz Berger says.
The Open Forum still has a long way to go. It is collecting best practices from member
organisations and discussing if a collective approach is possible.
It is a political process, which is just as important as the outcome, he states.
37 36
Just jump on board
danChUrChaid already operaTes a sMarT
inTernaTional MoniTorinG sysTeM
37 international NGOs involved in humanitarian aid already work with a joint system
to secure their effectiveness. It is based on a peer mechanism with six benchmarks.
Just jump on board. The system can also be used by organisations working with
development. There is no need to use time and resources to develop more systems,
says Lisa Henry from DanChurchAid.
DanChurchAid is involved in both relief and development work, and the same system
works fne in both areas. The system is called the Humanitarian Accountability Part-
nership, HAP. It was initiated in 2003 by 37 international humanitarian organisations
in response to the project Good Humanitarian Donorship launched by 35 donors.
But it was a totally voluntary process. Today it is more like a certifcation scheme,
and some donors now demand HAP as a condition for funding, she says.
From her point of view, a parallel system for development organisations could easily
be set up: the Development Accountability Partnership, DAP.
The humanitarian organisations were ahead of the Paris and Accra meetings. HAP is
built on existing agreements and standards:
1. 10 principles in a Code of Conduct signed by 200 international
non-governmental organisations
2. A Humanitarian Charter based on international agreements
3. Sphere Standards do no harm a handbook of tools
HAP is about improving, and the focus is on benefciaries.
1. Improving quality doing better
2. Improving accountability - responsible use of power
3. Improving commitment making implementing bodies accountable to
HAP has a small offce in Geneva, and all members are assessed according to six
When DanChurchAid was tested, we got a lot of points to improve on, even though
we were already complying with standards in the business. The peer mechanism is
applied before the yearly general assembly. Each member has to testify how they have
acted on the points to be improved, which they were told about the year before, and
it seems to work. It is embarrassing to get a negative report, Lisa Henry says.
The six benchmarks are:
1. Humanitarian Quality Management System mission, values, standards
and procedures
2. Information access and availability of information for benefciaries
3. Participation and informed consent of benefciaries in all phases of
the project/programme cycle
4. Competent staff induction, appraisal and training
5. Complaints handling benefciaries opinions, concerns, suggestions
and complaints
6. Continual improvement effective monitoring and evaluation systems
On two legs
HAP is one way of answering the donors and the Paris Declaration. Alliances are
another. DanChurchAid has joined ACT International. Today it is easier to stand up to
donors like Danida, Lisa Henry says.
Action by Churches together (ACT) is an international alliance of 150 churches and
church-based organisations. Altogether, they have a total annual income of US$
1.75 billion, cooperate with 130 countries, and have a physical presence in 90
On the national level, we form ACT platforms. All members working in the area
meet and discuss. The platforms can also be formed at a local level, Lisa Henry
Membership of an international alliance enables DanChurchAid to improve its
impact. Through the platforms, members can design joint policies and procedures
and streamline their administrations. This is effectiveness in the Paris spirit.
lisa henry,
relief director,
(dCa) is a ma-
jor danish non-
organisation (nGo)
working with local
partners, interna-
tional networks,
churches and
non-religious civil
organisations to
assist the poorest
of the poor.
40 41
A Danish attempt to implement
the Paris principles
The international NGO coalition Alliance2015 was very active in lobbying in Accra,
Ghana, but was met with the question: What are NGOs doing to improve effective-
ness? In the course of 2009, IBIS, the Danish member of Alliance2015, took up a
new approach to strengthening effectiveness.
Alliance2015 has drawn up a set of principles for member organisations to implement
and adapt to their programmes. These are in line with the fve Paris principles.
Ownership is understood as democratic control over development by locals. Funding
should be targeted in pursuit of the local partners own core functions and strategies.
Harmonisation amongst alliance members entails coordination whilst taking advanta-
ge of diversity. Effciency is optimised by sharing offce facilities and analyses as well
as other assets and activities. Harmonisation should also be carried out with others
donating to same organisation or project. This is already widely practised.
Alignment to partners strategies and management systems should be ensured
whenever possible.
Mutual accountability means that Alliance members will build long-term partnerships
and be transparent in their decision-making, both towards donors and partners,
expecting the same in return.
Managing for results will focus on advances towards reaching the Millennium
Development Goals
Just another donor
In IBIS there was questioning of our role. Did we deliver anything besides Danida
funding? We needed to clarify our relation to partners and how partnerships create
results. And we had to refect on effectiveness and the Paris principles, Lars Koch
from IBIS explains.
In December 2009, the new Partnership Strategy was adapted, and during 2009, IBIS
feld offces have worked on partner assessments and partnership development plans to
clarify the division of roles and responsibilities between IBIS and each partner.
It is still just a practice, not a best practice, but we have documented some good
results from West Africa, he says.
The strategy is based on the Paris principles. The partner assessments and the orga-
nisational development plans have the objective of strengthening partners in taking
on ownership, enabling alignment and creating results.
IBIS will harmonise with others donating to the same partner, and will pursue mutual
accountability by entering into long-term commitments and promoting transparency
both within IBIS and its partners; i.e. downward, inward, and upward accountability.
Each partnership will include an annual joint assessment.
We expect the role of IBIS to differ from one partnership to another. In some part-
nerships, we will be the implementing organisation, in others we will merely supply
budget support, Lars Koch foresees.
We should remember who sits in the drivers seat. We should decentralise the har-
monisation and see it from our partners side. It is time consuming for small CSOs to
participate, and it is important that we accept this.
Bente Topse-Jensen, COWI
And what about the small Northern NGOs? Will we get lost in these new demands?
Mette Mller, Plan Denmark
We, the small Danish NGOs with no employees, cant cope with more demands.
Already today it is diffcult. The demands for project proposals are overwhelming.
CONCORD has made the calculation that an EU project proposal costs 20,000 Euro
to prepare
Karen Ingrid Schultz, Danish-ugandan Friendship Association
We dont have any donors and we have no bureaucratic structures and no strategy to
follow. That makes us very open minded when we talk to our partners
Tommy Falkeje, The Swallows
We have set some standards for all to follow in our local NGO Forum, so that our
donors can trust us. But then we should ask you to harmonise and follow the same
standards to ease our work
Edward Dtimkene, Plant and Health Project, uganda
The Paris Declaration on Aid Effectiveness. OECD, 2005.,2340,en_2649_3236398_35401554_1_1_1_1,00.html
The Accra Agenda for Action, World Bank, 2008.
Andersen, Ole Winckler & Therkildsen, Ole: Paris-erklringen og den internationale bistandsdagsorden i Den Ny
Verden, 2007/3.
Better Aid. A civil society position paper for the 2008 Accra High Level Forum on Aid Effectiveness.
Naidoo, Kumi: International aid charity or justice. Refections on the Accra Aid Effectiveness conference,
CIVICUS, 2008..
Tandon, Yash: Ending Aid Dependence. Fahamu Books and the South Centre, 2008.
Svoboda, Daniel, Berger, Franz Josef and the Global Facilitation Group: Open Forum on CSO Development Ef-
fectiveness as a Response to the Paris Declaration.
42 43

45 44
Climate change and
Climate change will primarily have negative consequences for
the poorest people in the world. The present and future scenarios
require new strategies for organisations working to assist people in
developing countries.
The NGOs may have to reinvent the term sustainable development
and develop a rights-based approach combining the climate and
development agendas. How can they ensure a participatory
approach to addressing the issues of both agendas?
47 46
No more room for
an inTernaTional CliMaTe aGreeMenT shoUld
noT sTand in The way of The MillenniUM
developMenT Goals
The quest for development faces a bitter dilemma today. Poor countries see the oppor-
tunity for higher incomes and more consumption, but we in the West have left no room
for continuing to pollute the atmosphere, says Christian Friis Bach, DanChurchAid.
DanChurchAid has incorporated the right to a dignifed level of development into their
policy on climate change.
We have to ensure that international agreements on climate will not stand in the way
of achieving the Millennium Development Goals. Everybody has the right to sustainable
development, Friis Bach says.
This is why the calculation model to determine each countrys mitigation responsi-
bility and capacity includes a free standard emission allowance for each person
based on the consumption of US$ 20 a day.
Climate change also damages long-term development work.
No more...
Cyclones and foods destroy all that we did in recent years. An example is northern
Ghana after the food in 2007. Crops and domestic animals were washed away, and all
of a sudden we were into relief aid. Our participatory methods and capacity building
had to be put away. And we were surprised to learn how long it took for the communi-
ties and families to recover, remembers Poul Erik Lauridsen, CARE Denmark.
The boundaries between relief aid and development aid will become more blurred in
the future. Indeed, disaster risk reduction is set to become an important component
of development programmes.
We should promote climate-resilient livelihood strategies and plan for disaster risk
reduction to prevent destruction of wells, houses and other infrastructure, Poul Erik
Lauridsen says.
poul erik lauridsen,
programme and Climate Change Manager, Care denmark.
Care international is a confederation with an international secretariat in
Geneva, switzerland. 12 autonomous national Care organisations are
members of the confederation. Care denmark is the lead of climate policy.
Christian friis bach,
international director, danChurchaid.
one of the major danish nGos, working with local partners, international
networks, churches and non-religious civil organisations to assist the
poorest of the poor.
Agriculture both problem
and solution
The riCh world MUsT pay for researCh and
iMpleMenTaTion of new MeThods
Food production is set to fall because of climate change. The World Bank World
Development Report 2010 estimates that up to 500 million people already suffer
from hunger or malnutrition. In semi-dry areas of Africa, production will fall by half.
We in the rich countries have to pay to change agriculture to become sustainable,
and we have to pay for research and testing of new crops, says Christian Friis Bach,
Traditional agriculture is a cause of climate change. The clearing of forests to create
arable land and the burning of biomass creates large emissions of CO2. In Sub-Saharan
Africa it amounts to more than 60 percent of total CO2 emissions.
But agriculture can also be an important part of the solution to greenhouse gas
Adding organic material in the topsoil as a farming practice would bring about 70
percent of the possible moderation of damage (mitigation potential) in developing
countries, Friis Bach says.
He explains that in the United States farmers already follow this practice,
subsequently selling their contribution on the market for CO2 reduction.
DanChurchAid and the University of Aarhus are preparing a research project on
this matter. We need knowledge of adding organic material to topsoil and of growing
better crops. We, the Western world, have to pay African farmers to use the new
methods, he stresses.
Agriculture features as an important component in the programmes of many develop-
ment organisations, and it is important to rethink and incorporate how to adapt to and
moderate consequences of climate change.
Many organisations are already doing something today. The planting of green belts
in dry areas in Mauritania, drought- and wind-resistant crops in many places, dykes
to prevent fooding and terraces to prevent soil erosion in Nepal are some examples.
People have a right to food, and we can help with knowledge of sustainable agricul-
ture, says Christian Friis Bach.
both problem and solution
Advocacy for a just
adaptation practice
CliMaTe refUGees, adapTaTion fUnds and
If the world were fair, every individual should have the right to let out the same
amount of CO2, but the rich countries have already polluted too much of the atmos-
phere, says Christian Friis Bach.
A fair world is not todays reality, and international NGOs have their work cut out to
advocate for fairness.
DanChurchAid seeks to ensure the right of all people to reach a dignifed level of
development, insisting that mitigation of climate change should not stand in the way
of achieving the Millennium Development Goals.
The battle to split the bill for global warming between the worlds nations has been
going on for some years. The UN Climate Convention states the principle of dividing
the bill based on differentiated responsibilities and capacity to pay, but without men-
tioning any fgures.
DanChurchAid has chosen the Greenhouse Development Rights Framework to calcu-
late the responsibility-capacity-index for each country.
Based on those calculations, Denmark has a share of 0.38%, almost the same as
India with 0.3%. The USA has a share of 34.3%. We believe in the principle that the
polluter pays, Christian Friis Bach comments on the fgures.
55 54
The share is used to calculate each countrys needed reduction in CO2 emissions,
and the amount due to be paid for necessary adaptation to climate changes both
nationally and internationally.
We must advocate for guidelines for the adaptation funds. Today the money is not
reaching the poor and vulnerable. Often the funds stay in the ministries, says Poul
Erik Lauridsen, CARE Denmark.
It is also important to monitor that funds are additional. It will be technically
diffcult, because the money will be spread across all kinds of projects, but we have
to track the volume of the total budget for aid. In Denmark the fgure today is DKK 15
billion, so all additional funding comes on top of that, says Christian Friis Bach.
Climate refugees are another international problem to be confronted. Extreme
weather conditions because of global warming are already causing many people to
fee their homes. Over the next decades, up to 200 million people could become
refugees due to climate changes. The trigger could be foods, desertifcation, cyclones
and rising sea levels.
Climate refugees have no protection and rights in UN conventions, like other
refugees have. They ought to have. A tarpaulin as a shelter is not enough, Christian
Friis Bach says.
The Greenhouse Development
Rights approach
The idea is to calculate a just share of responsibility for climate change, as well as the capacity to contribute to
the solutions. The GDR framework has been designed by the Stockholm Environment Institute and the think tank
The two parameters of responsibility and capacity have been agreed upon in the UN Convention on Climate
Responsibility is calculated based on the level of greenhouse-gas emissions in 1990, the year of the frst report
from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, IPCC.
The model operates with a minimum emission allowance for every person based on consumption worth US$ 20
a day. This level gives room for development for the poorest, who are not responsible for climate change, but are
being affected.
Capacity is inferred on the basis of gross national product with a deduction of US$ 20 per person per day.
From these two parameters, the responsibility-capacity index is calculated.
The index shows how much each country must reduce its emissions, and how much it must invest to help the
world adapt to climate change and to promote sustainable technologies.
Denmark has an index fgure of 0.38 percent and an annual bill of between one and two billion US$ to pay. This
is almost twice the countrys current level of development aid.
The EU combined has an index fgure of 26.2 percent and USA 34.3
(ActionAid and others use another model, called Adaptation Financing Index, introduced by Oxfam. The princip-
les are the same, but the parameters are weighted slightly differently.)
56 57
DanChurchAids climate
change policy
DCA works to ensure:
1. that we limit global warming to a two degree temperature increase implying a
signifcant reduction in energy and resource use, especially in rich countries;
2. that climate change mitigation policies and energy constraints safeguard the
right of all people everywhere to reach a dignifed level of sustainable human
development, and do not stand in the way of achieving the Millennium
Development Goals;
3. that we integrate global warming as a cross-cutting concern into all develop-
ment and relief activities to increase the adaptation capacity and avoid
increased vulnerability to climate change;
4. that we develop a fair global burden-sharing arrangement based on capacity
and responsibility following the principles set out by the Greenhouse Develop-
ment Rights, implying signifcantly increased, predictable and additional
funding to the worlds poorest countries;
5. that we strengthen the transfer of and access to new and clean technology to
developing countries in support of both mitigation and adaptation;
6. that international climate negotiations are inclusive and transparent, with full
participation of developing countries and strong avenues of infuence for civil
Adaptation: Adjusting at a variety of levels to withstand climate change.
Resilience: The ability to manage, absorb and recover from changing conditions and
even disasters.
Mitigation: Action aimed at lessening the severity or intensity of climate change, e.g.
by emitting less CO2 into the atmosphere
using local climate
CoMbininG sCienTifiC faCTs wiTh
CoMMUniTy wisdoM
A new tool from CARE combines scientifc research with local knowledge in the
community to produce the strongest possible response to climate change in future
CAREs approach to community-based adaptation consists of four pillars:
1. Promote climate-resilient livelihoods
2. Create disaster risk reduction strategies
3. Support local capacity development
4. Conduct advocacy to address underlying causes of vulnerability
Even if the world leaders reach a good climate agreement, the climate will not reco-
ver next year. It will take at least until 2050 to get the temperature to fall again. So
we have to incorporate climate resilience into all projects, says Poul Erik Lauridsen,
CARE Denmark.
The new tool Climate Vulnerability and Capacity Analysis combines known stake-
holder analysis and poverty assessment with climate analysis.
58 59
60 61
There is often a hidden capacity in communities that we dont acknowledge. During
the food in northern Ghana in 2007, 270,000 people lost their homes, but we did
not understand where they found shelter. They moved across the border or to relatives
in Accra, Poul Erik Lauridsen says.
CVCA is based on guiding questions to examine factors enabling adaptation at house-
hold and individual, local government and national levels. The CVCA uses a variety of
participatory exercises and involves multiple stakeholders.
The analysis is carried out nationally, locally and in each community to gather data
on the four pillars at each level.
But our focus is on the community. By understanding and sharing local knowledge,
we can take it to the international level for advocacy purposes, but at the same time
support local organisations to participate in conferences and national advocacy. The
important issue is to get the money from adaptation funds out to poor and vulnerable
people at the local level, he says.
The tool can be used for free by all not-for-proft organisations. It can be downloaded
Poverty, Environment &
Climate Change Network

The Poverty, Environment and Climate Change Network (PECCN) is a CARE
International-led Community of Practice with a secretariat hosted by CARE Den-
mark and global membership. It consists of hundreds of professionals from CARE
and partner organisations committed to addressing the challenges of environmental
change from the perspective of the worlds poorest and most vulnerable people.

The Network operates globally, but with a focus on developing countries. One of the
Networks key strengths is its ability to forge collaborative relationships between, and
distil lessons from, CARE staff members and partners working around the world.
The Network Secretariat consists of CARE staff based in Europe, Asia and Africa.
Network priorities are set every three years by CARE Internationals Climate Change
Task Force.

local climate knowledge
62 63
Buso Islanders alone
in the ocean
A small island off the coast of Mozambique is being severely subjected to the damage
of climate change. CARE Denmark has used the new tool Climate Vulnerability and
Capacity Analysis to make a holistic analysis of this community of 800 inhabitants.
Buso Island is not just poor, as other rural areas in Mozambique. It is also extremely
exposed to climate changes. Cyclones from the Indian Ocean, soil erosion and change
in temperatures all affect the small community dependent on fshing. A development
project on the island has to take all these threats into account in its design.
We hoped to fnd the most vulnerable households and the threats to their livelihood.
I was glad to learn that there was a high degree of consistency between the scientifc
knowledge about coastal areas and the knowledge of the islanders. We could really
use their comments, Liv stergaard from CARE Denmark explains.
One part of Buso Island has disappeared into the sea. In 2006, 200 people were
moved to the mainland of Mozambique to build new homes. The remaining 800
people now live in fear of the future.
We found out that the resettlement had been a disaster. Recipient communities on
the mainland regarded the newcomers as cursed, because they had destroyed the
island, and now they would destroy the mainland too, Liv stergaard recounts.
So the project needed a component of dialogue with local authorities on the main-
The islanders affrmed that they could cope with cyclones, even though these had
become increasingly ferce and destructive. The worst problems were soil erosion and
declining fsh stocks.
The fshermen had diffculties planning their fshing, because storms today are more
unpredictable. The regularities of the weather, with its rainy seasons and hot seasons,
have disappeared, she learned on the island.
The analysis identifed several recommendations to the project:
Replanting of mangrove to reduce erosion and increase fsh stocks
Promoting dialogue between local governments on the mainland and
resettled islanders
Establishing cyclone protection systems and warnings
Making contact to civil society organisations interested in working with
the islanders
Conducting a dialogue to prepare future resettlement to the mainland
The fnal report presented both the observations and recommendations of the local
community and the fndings of international and national studies on climate change
on the island, Liv stergaard explains about the work on Buso.
liv helstrup
programme offcer,
Care denmark
64 65
A helping hand
not another burden
danish neTworK To esTablish CliMaTe
We are all affected by the NGO disease. New tasks and demands are appearing,
but existing ones are not going away. I dream of having a taskforce to give a helping
hand in updating our programmes with the latest knowledge on climate change.
Helene Gjerding from the Danish NGO IBIS knows from her own work that there is no
time to mainstream climate change adaptation into all programmes.
Imagine if we had a common advisor to visit our organisation, go through our pro-
grammes and partners, and tell us exactly where to use our time, she envisages.
Both Berit Asmussen from MS ActionAid Denmark and Poul Erik Lauridsen from
CARE Denmark fnd the idea interesting.
We have never had so many crosscutting issues before. The Danish NGO community
could be ten times better at coordinating and sharing responsibilities. In the Danish
92 Group [alliance of environmental and development organisations] we discuss
and coordinate the policy issues. Maybe we should have a group to coordinate tools
and programme planning. It is a waste of time if we all try to reinvent the wheel,
Berit says.
The Danish NGOs have several experiences of establishing networks and working
groups, e. g. an Aids network and a Gender network. Thematic Forum, a network for
Danish NGOs aimed at sharing experiences and generating common learning, has
had working groups on various issues. However, yet again, this is another workload on
top of daily duties for the participants. Accordingly, results are limited.
A taskforce has to consist of people from outside; we cant ask more from our own
staff. But do we trust each other fully? We have to remember that we also compete
for the same funding, Berit Asmussen says.
Helene Gjerding suggests that a thematic need, like climate change knowledge, could
override competitive pressures and political differences between Danish NGOs.
The Paris Declaration tells us to cooperate. Creating a common taskforce on climate
change could also be used politically. We could address the media and the public
with a high profle together: Look, we act and we act now. But we are still different
organisations with different profles, she says.
I have seen in Ghana that Danish NGOs in the feld are working together, both of-
fcially and on the personal level. CARE Denmark was actually the facilitator of this
cooperation, says Poul Erik Lauridsen from CARE Denmark.
CARE Denmark provides the taskforce on climate change inside the international
CARE network with a list of experts and advisers ready to be sent out.
The ideas generated by the discussion will continue to be refned within the organisa-
tions, though not by Thematic Forum. This body is due to be shut down in 2010, as
funding has dried up and its secretariat at MS ActionAid Denmark will be closed.
66 67
NGO legitimacy
and accountability
As development NGOs become increasingly involved in advocacy
and political activities, questions about their accountability and
legitimacy are raised by various stakeholders. NGOs are faced
with extremely complex accountability demands, as they are
answerable upwards, inwards, horizontally and downwards
on their own behalf as well as for the actions of partners.
NGOs must adhere to accountability mechanisms linked to trans-
parency, participation, monitoring, as well as complaints and
redress. The question is whether small and volunteer-based NGOs
will be able to cope with such comprehensive demands.
Global ISO
standards for NGOs
Undp sTrives To bUild ConfidenCe beTween
Civil soCieTy and GovernMenTs
There is a need for a global dialogue on accountability between international and
national NGOs. A lot of activities and practices are going on already, but we need to
select a common formal standard. Maybe UNDP (United Nations Development Pro-
gramme) should take the initiative or maybe the NGOs themselves should take over,
says Bjrn Frde, director of the UNDP Oslo Governance Centre.
Bjrn Frde carried extensive experience from civil society into the UNDP and is
currently trying to establish confdence between governments and representatives
of civil society. The Oslo Governance Centre collects, discusses and distributes best
practices and examples of good governance and accountability; not only in govern-
ments, but also in civil society organisations.
We, UNDP, must cooperate with governments, but we also reach out to internatio-
nal NGOs. We want to teach governments to trust civil society. Otherwise we will not
achieve the Millennium Development Goals. It is a win-win situation, he says.
But building trust is not easy. In many countries, the legal framework for civil society
has been tightened and demands for control are growing. E.g. in Ethiopia, all CSOs
with more than fve percent of their funding from abroad must have a government-
appointed member of the board.
Global ISO...
70 71
Some governments are afraid of civil society and want to control CSOs. The essential
criticism is that CSOs are not accountable and have no legitimacy. But taking this stand on
the CSOs blocks acknowledgement of resources in the organisations, Bjrn Frde says.
UNDP is working on this problem, but mostly through discreet diplomacy.
In some countries, CSOs appear as the opposition, because there is no strong politi-
cal opposition. Even when CSOs claim only to be in the service delivery business, the
government might be reluctant to cooperate. But if we can facilitate good examples
of cooperation on non-controversial problems we can build up trust. Like we did in
Botswana on the national AIDS policy, Bjrn Frde says.
One driver for better self-regulation inside CSOs is this mistrust from national
governments. Another is the growing infuence of CSOs.
Now international organisations are sitting at the table of international forums, like
those producing the Paris and Accra Declarations, but who do they represent? Are
they just seven random organisations or do they represent the World Social Forum?
Bjrn Frde asks polemically.
The need to gain the trust of the public is also an important driver for CSOs to live
up to high standards. The organisations face the same demands from the public as
governments to be transparent and accountable.
This can be horizontal in the sense that international NGOs monitor each other,
or vertical in the sense that organisations are transparent to both benefciaries and
donors, government and parliament, he says.
Self-regulation is one of the latest buzzwords in the development business. A lot of
money is given to projects to enhance accountability.
Bjrn Frde points to two good resources in the international arena. One is the
CIVICUS Civil Society Index using the Diamond model. Another is One World Trust
and their research on global governance.
But use these indexes carefully. Be aware of the ideology and methodology behind
each of them. Very often they are based on perceived facts instead of empirical
facts, he says.
309 attempts worldwide
The London-based think tank One Wold Trust has made a database of civil society
organisations self-regulating initiatives.
309 initiatives were identifed around the world, most of them in the United States,
Canada and Western Europe. The initiatives can be grouped into fve broad categories:
1. Code of conduct and ethics: Sets of basic principles to guide the behaviour
of members.
2. Certifcation schemes: Principle standards to inform assessments by the
organisation itself, its peers or a third party.
3. Information services: Sharing information on annual accounts, activities
or directories of the CSO.
4. Working groups: Peer organisations discussing, sharing and defning
best practices on a particular issue. They often use self-assessments,
toolkits and guides.
5. Awards schemes: To identify, highlight and reward good practice
administered by a peer, umbrella or third party organisation.
The study also examined the initiatives on two parameters:
Institutionalised structures, which range from very formal and strong structures with
clear guiding mechanisms to informal setups without established guidelines.
Compliance mechanism, which range from strong monitoring with penalties for non-
compliance to voluntary self-monitoring.
The briefng paper Civil Society Self-Regulation, June 2009, can be found at
bjrn frde,
director of the
Undp oslo
previously, he
served as resident
representative of
Undp and resi-
dent Coordinator
of the Un in
Throughout the
period 1975-2002,
he worked for
samvirke (today
Ms actionaid
denmark), from
1995 to 2002 as
The Civil Society Diamond
The CIVICUS Civil Society Index (CSI) is a participatory needs assessment and action
planning tool for civil society around the world. The CSI is initiated and implemented
by, and for, civil society organisations (CSO) at the country level, and actively invol-
ves a broad range of stakeholders including governments, donors, academics and the
public at large. Since 2003, the tool has been used in 59 countries, and in 2008
more than 50 new countries took op the challenge. In general, the CSI methodology
has been designed to measure fve core dimensions:
Civic engagement: The extent to which individuals engage in social and
policy-related initiatives.
Level of organisation: Analysis of the degree of institutionalisation of CSOs.
Practice of value: The extent of core values in CSOs.
Perceived impact: The extent of impact on the social and political arena caused
by CSOs as perceived by internal and external persons.
External environment: The context, including the socio-economic, political and cultural
conditions within which civil society operates.
The frst four dimensions are drawn into the shape of a diamond. Even though the four-
dimensional approach of the Diamond Tool does not generate an index in the strict
technical sense of a single additive score, CIVICUS employs a broader interpretation
of the term index as concise and comparable information on a phenomenon in
different contexts, and has consequently retained the projects name, the CIVICUS
Civil Society Index.
CIVICUS: World Alliance for Citizen Participation is an international alliance of mem-
bers and partners, which constitutes an infuential network of organisations at the
local, national, regional and international levels.
Together against HIV/AIDS
In Botswana, the United Nations Development Programme, UNDP, was accepted as
a facilitator in uniting all forces against the HIV/AIDS epidemic.
The problem was not few resources available, but that resources were situated in
different organisations and funds with their own priority and policy, remembers
Bjrn Frde, former director of UNDP Botswana.
The facilitation worked out well. The strategy, implementation and monitoring of the
national AIDS policy were discussed during 18 months, and in the end, all joined in
the fght against the disease.
The government was the owner, UNDP the facilitator, Bill Gates and other American
funds paid the bill, and all kinds of national and international NGOs implemented
the policy on the ground. If they did not sign the policy, they could not participate,
Bjrn Frde says.
With this shared effort, Botswana succeeded in implementing a very ambitious policy.
All infected people now have access to treatment, and centres for testing and coun-
selling are available all over the country.
With this model, we aligned to the Paris Declaration and we bridged the gap of fear
and mistrust between government and civil society, he says.
The government as well as the UN and civil society were represented in the imple-
menting agency and on the project executive board.
72 73
However, the model cannot be applied to all other national problems in Botswana.
Controlling the HIV/AIDS epidemic is a common and uncontroversial goal.
The land reform struggle and the water problems were not possible for UNDP to
address in this way. The interests of the government stood in the way, and the politi-
cal gap between the civil society and the government was too big. The model can only
be used to solve problems when there is a political consensus, Bjrn Frde says.
In some tasks, NGOs act as subcontractors for the government, and in others, they
serve as watchdogs and critics of the government. This dual approach is possible in
some countries. For instance, the Danish development NGOs dependence on Danida
does not stop them from criticising the Danish government.

against HIV/AIDS
76 77
Changed mindsets more
important than new policy
Accountability to children as stakeholders is extremely diffcult. It has to do with
our attitude and practice towards children, tells Marianne Bo Paludan from Save the
Children Denmark. She quotes a frequently expressed adult feeling: We know what
is best for the child. But at the same time she questions it:
When we started our research on children as stakeholders in our partner
organisations and projects, we got many surprises. In Uganda, the children told us
that health and lack of food were their main problems, but Save the Children never
worked with those two areas, she remembers.
Save the Children Denmark is part of the worldwide Save the Children Alliance and a
signatory to the INGO Charter on accountability.
But how to implement all the nice words?
In their Child Rights Programming, the Save the Children Alliance uses 14
benchmarks to assess the level of implementation in the individual organisation.
Save the Children Denmark went through the test without obtaining a high score, but
the internal debate was very fruitful. The two most diffcult benchmarks to pass are
to have the children as stakeholders and to set up mechanisms for accountability to
It is diffcult with children, because of the skewed power relations. And how can you
share power with children who have not reached legal age? she asks.
The frst round put the question to everyone at the offce: How do we understand
children as stakeholders? Everybody could say what we should not do, but nobody
could come up with examples of what to do.
In the next round, the same question was asked in partner organisations, collecting
examples of best practices.
We found some examples of children participating in the project cycle, but not in
governance and accounting. A partner in Ethiopia was trying to get children to parti-
cipate in the decision-making process, Marianne Bo Paludan says.
One of the conclusions was that childrens participation should be built into project
designs and that children should be engaged in some of the platforms already set up
within the projects.
The staff on the ground working directly with the children should have all the support,
training and incentives that they need. Often their jobs have the lowest prestige. The
leaders both in Copenhagen and in partner organisations must act as role models, she
A grim example from Uganda tells exactly what not to do. At a meeting in a project for girl
prostitutes, a leader of the partner organisation arrived in his big car, heading straight for
the offce to join the other leaders without greeting or talking to any of the girls.
Marianne Bo Paludan found another obstacle to accountability to children as stake-
It seems that the bigger and more structured the donor organisation becomes, the
more it will clash with democracy and accountability towards stakeholders on the
ground. Are we really ready to share the power to change the strategic development
of our organisation? she asks.
Often the systems in donor countries stand in the way of childrens participation. E.g.
a partner organisation in Bangladesh actually asked the children to participate in
creating the project document, and they did so with drawings.
But are we willing to accept childrens drawings as vouchers for payments? And is
Danida? Marianne Bo Paludan wonders sceptically.
Link to the INGO charter and Child Rights Programming:
Marianne bo
policy, strategy
and Change,
save the Children
Member of the
save the Children
alliance made
up of 29 national
working together
to improve
childrens lives
in over 120
78 79
Child Rights Programming
(CRP) Benchmarking:
Main benchmark categories:
1. Organisational strategies adopted to introduce CRP
2. Institutional ownership of CRP
3. Programme development
4. Accountability to children as stakeholders
Organisational strategies for implementing CRP:
Benchmark 1 ~ A clear mandate, vision and mission express commitment to childrens rights and CRP
Benchmark 2 ~ Policies and strategies translate the mandate and mission into practice
Benchmark 3 ~ Staffng policies, including recruitment and induction, facilitate effective CRP
Benchmark 4 ~ Tools, guidance and planning guidance have been developed to build capacity for CRP
Benchmark 5 ~ Cross-sector support has been introduced to strengthen an integrated approach to
CRP Institutional ownership of CRP:
Benchmark 6 ~ All staff and Board members have a clear understanding of and commitment to CRP
Benchmark 7 ~ Staff feel competent and confdent in CRP
Benchmark 8 ~ Partners are supported and enabled to work within a right-based approach
Programme development:
Benchmark 9 ~ Situation analysis is directed towards mapping rights violations, and identifying causes
and duty bearers, through a process that respects the views of children
Benchmark 10 - Priority setting and planning is informed by a rights-based perspective, and takes
account of the views of children
Benchmark 11 - Implementation is directed towards the fulflment of all childrens rights, without
discrimination, both holding duty bearers accountable and supporting children to
claim their rights
Benchmark 12 - Monitoring and evaluation is informed by CRP both in respect of its process and focus
Accountability to children as stakeholders
Benchmark 13 - Children are acknowledged as stakeholders within Save the Children
Benchmark 14 - Mechanisms for accountability to children have been introduced
Our partners in Uganda are not interested
in harmonisation. They will rather have four
entry points than one. Today they are part-
ner of four national Save the Children orga-
nisations, but in the future it will be only
one through the Alliance.
Marianne Bo Paludan, Save the Children
International alliances are smaller organi-
sations chance to work with professional
tools on things like accountability; without
them we might never have started. But what
will happen to partnerships during the pro-
cess? Can we manage to align to policies
and systems in our alliance without losing
our partners in the South?
Annemette Danielsen, Danish Children
and youth Network
UNDP is light-years ahead of the NGOs. We
do a survey among all 8000 staff and some
9000 clients every year. It is easily done
online, and the software exists. We use it as
a management tool.
Bjrn Frde, Oslo Governance Centre, uNDP
We have worked for a stronger civil society
in the South, but what did our partners gain
from it? A smaller legal space in many coun-
tries. They are the ones going to jail; we are
just escorted to an aircraft back home.
uffe Torm, Danish Mission Council
Development Department
We should not impose bureaucratic de-
mands on the small community-based orga-
nisations. It would be a way to kill the grass-
roots. Remember that around 90 percent of
all CSOs are below the national level.
Bjrn Frde, Oslo Governance Centre, uNDP
Everybody supports democratic values, also
in Africa and South America, but many are
ready to renounce their rights if they get
better service delivery.
Bjrn Frde, Oslo Governance Centre, uNDP

80 81
UNDP Governance Centre: Accountability and voice for service delivery at the local level. 2008.

Brown and Jagadananda: Civil Society Legitimacy and Accountability: Issues and Challenges. CIVICUS and
Hauser Center for Nonproft Organisations. 2007.
INGO Accountability Charter.
Jordan, Lisa: Mechanisms for NGO accountability. GPPI Research paper series No.3. h
Lawrence, Pareena, and Nezhad, Sheila: Accountability, transparency, and government co-option:
A case study of four NGOs. International NGO Journal 4, 3.. 2009.
Lee, Julian: NGO Accountability: Rights and Responsibilities. CASIN, 2004.
Ruchir Shah: Legitimacy and accountability of civil society.
UNDP Governance Centre : The role of legal reform in supporting Civil Society. August 2009
82 83
Global civil society and
internationalisation of
As NGOs worldwide enter into alliances or even merge and
become major global actors, i.e. international NGOs the NGO
community inevitably changes. Will this trend towards unifcation
translate into greater impact for the beneft of the poor?
Or is it merely paying lip service to bureaucratic demands
generated by the donor-driven effectiveness agenda? Will it
streamline NGOs, thus ruining their diversity? Will smaller
and less professionalised NGOs lose recognition? And will
the internationalisation of NGOs impede genuine North-South
84 85
NGOs are tamed
civil movements
Most NGOs started around a shared idea in a chaotic manner. Then institutions and
bureaucracy arrived, and in the end, the civil movement became tamed, and NGOs
became part of the political establishment. This even happened to World Social Forum
when international NGOs came on board. But new movements will always emerge to
challenge the establishment, says Marlies Glasius, who is a lecturer of International
Relations at the University of Amsterdam. She has been studying international NGOs
(INGOs) for the past 10 years.
NGOs never close down. Instead they fnd new roles for themselves and divide
labour and power in new ways. That is the challenge for many big Western NGOs and
INGOs today, she says.
The frst successful example of an INGO is the Anti-Slavery Society from 1840. Over
the past 20 years, the number of INGOs has skyrocketed. In 1945, no NGOs had
consultative status at the UN, in 1985 the number was 760, and in 2005 2,595.
The latest number of INGOs in the world is from 2001, namely a total of 24,797.
But they are not a homogeneous bunch. And they are not all big. Oxfam, Greenpeace
and Amnesty International are the best known, but many are small and work with a
narrow problem or within small geographical areas. Common for all are the transna-
tional elements in their work, Marlies Glasius says.
NGOs are...
86 87
Before globalisation, NGOs would conduct their political work and campaigns inside
each nation state. Parliament and political parties were either targets or partners.
Funding was often from the government, and only development projects were carried
out in the South.
When states withdrew and the economy became more and more transnational, the
NGOs also increased their transnational work. East Timor is a successful story of
transnational advocacy, but in the present crisis in Iran, the national civil society
appeals directly to foreign governments and international institutions. They have no
use for the INGOs, Marlies Glasius explains.
Advocacy is one of the new issues which most NGOs took up after leaving the service
delivery business. But do they have the legitimacy to speak on behalf of the poor and
To justify their legitimacy, some call it empathy, others global values, or they claim to
represent their partners. But values are not always global. For example, women do not
agree on whether abortion should be legal. And climate and environmental concerns
may clash with the pursuit of development. The UN conventions could be invoked, but
they dont have legitimacy just because they are ratifed by state governments. How can
you document that you represent your partners? Marlies Glasius has doubts about
how to tackle these problems.
Some bring their partners along to global summits, but often they are instrumenta-
lised by the INGO, for example former child soldiers. In national democracy, voters
get less and less infuence. Maybe we should start talking about stakeholders demo-
cracy instead of electors democracy, she says.
The organisations are also struggling to uphold internal democracy and represen-
tation while coping with new demands for forming larger transnational entities. All
kinds of alliances, federations and networks are emerging with the major national
NGOs as members or partners. Many models for boards, headquarters and member
consultation are being tested.
In the old national structures, national members and national staff had a lot of in-
fuence, and benefciaries in the South had very little. In the new international set-up
this balance might shift, she says.

Marlies Glasius
lecturer in inter-
national relations
at the department
of politics, Univer-
sity of amsterdam.
are tamed
civil movements
What is globalisation?
Western social structures are spread worldwide, normally destroying pre-existing cultures
and self-determination (capitalism, nationalism, bureaucracy, democracy....)
Government-imposed restrictions are removed in order to create an open, borderless world
economy (multinational companies, international trade agreements)
Certain goods and experiences are distributed to people all over the world (Internet,
Baywatch, human rights, sushi, McDonalds)
Social space is no longer mapped out in terms of physical territories, distances or borders
(easy travel, new means of communication).
Why globalisation?
Top-down explanations:
New technology has enabled global communication, global fnancial fows and cheap
The Iron Curtain came down and this facilitated global cooperation and global trade.
The IMFs and World Banks conditionality together with transnational corporations have
undermined the power of Third World states.
Bottom-up explanations:
(Reaction to an increasingly controlling state)
From 1968 onwards, new social movements emerged on a global scale to fght for peace,
human rights, women, and environment.
In the 1980s, neo-liberalism emerged. The Chicago school of economics advocated the retreat
of the state. Thatcher, Reagan, the IMF/World Bank took note.
The INGO sector is in crisis
Inequality is growing despite years of development work.
All we managed to create was little islands of happiness. We never managed to
push real fundamental change and fght poverty and inequality, says Harry Derksen,
Apart from frustration over the absence of change, the INGOs face:
A fragmented and competing civil society
Bureaucratic fundraising procedures
Diminishing support for development work among Northern voters
A role as an integrated part of the centre, not as a challenge from the periphery
Chinas development work in Africa
The appearance of new South-based INGOs (e.g. BRAC)
Climate changes
We cannot return to before these changes, instead we have to change fundamen-
tally. I see no other word than revolution. But who will drive this revolution? Harry
Derksen asks.
He sees the world as an open global space. The only question is who will seize the
opportunity to use this space in order to make the world sustainable, fair and just.
However, the INGOs have to change themselves before they can change the world.
One of my main points is to involve Southern actors and partners more. They have
ideas and capacities. So I say to the INGOs: Give up power in order to gain infuence.
Dont control your world, but let your world control you. Let us again build on trust,
not control, he says.
Two other opportunities in the global space are better communications and more
diverse funding options. He advises the INGOs to wean themselves off their depen-
dence on governments.
ICCO is in the middle of this transformation. Power is being shifted from the Nether-
lands to the South.
We have yet to see the long-term impact of these changes, but I am confdent. Our
Northern staff was very concerned in the beginning. Not about losing their jobs, but
about the quality of work from the Southern staff. This is an interesting concern, but it
is decreasing now with the growing interaction between the offces. Another interesting
experience is that the Southern staff told us we were too nice and polite to partners. If
we wanted change, we had to be tough and professional, Harry Derksen recounts.
Another driver of change springs from working together with new people and inclu-
ding views from other parts of society.
If you keep discussing with like-minded persons and organisations, there will be
no added value. Today our aim is to explore the benefts of working with academic
institutions, businesses, banks, trade unions and others. It might be as members in
our councils or as partners in different programmes, he says.
As an example, he mentions the cotton industry. Fairtrade organisations are moving
into the business, but slowly and mostly buying from smaller companies.
Fair trade is slowly coming into the area. Big companies are still in denial, but
together with the small number of pioneers, we can push or pull them: First to
accept local government regulations, later to join a label like Fairtrade and in the end
to produce bio-cotton as a business strategy, Harry Derksen hopes.
harry derksen
deputy director of
iCCo, the inter-
church organisa-
tion for develop-
ment cooperation
from the nether-
The ICCO transformation
The Dutch inter-church organisation, ICCO, and six like-minded national organisati-
ons make up the ICCO Alliance, which is currently dedicated to shifting power from
the Netherlands to councils in the South.
The new structure starts with a supervisory board in the Netherlands responsible for
the overall policy and contacts to donors. Eight regional councils are responsible for
strategies and policies at the regional level, as well as for running regional offces.
Council members come from all walks of life, such as the business community, the
universities or other international organisations. They may also represent their own
views as independent members. The ICCO Alliance partners did not want to sit on
the council.
The implementing and supporting staff will be organised along similar lines. In
the Netherlands, the international headquarters will be cut down from 270 to 125
employees. Some regional offces will have international staff to support councils in
policy-making and to offer training, coaching and technical assistance at the country
level. The eight regional units are not supposed to be independent of ICCO, but to
share values and pursue a common fve-year plan.

92 93
The old INGOs
are out of sync
Ceos froM MaJor inGos MeeT To disCUss
deCisive aCTion
A guy from ActionAid India told me his opinion of the old INGOs. They are out of sync
with the reality of today, Frans Mikael Jansen, MS ActionAid Denmark, reports.
He has just participated in a meeting of the Club of CEOs. It is normally confned
to the administrative leaders of major INGOs, though this session was also attended
by academics and directors from other organisations.
Frans Mikael Jansen tends to agree with his Indian colleague.
The INGOs are all Western and part of the governmental sphere, underperforming
and often struggling with their slow internal democracy. Almost all of them are un-
dergoing some sort of reform process, he says. My thesis is that the INGOs are
underperforming, because the space for acting at the national level is shrinking. But
the breakdown in international governance creates a lot of new space for INGOs, and
we have to act on it.
But act on behalf of whom? And with what legitimacy?
ActionAid tries to speak for the social movements of the world, but that is a very
time-consuming strategy, and we often see national NGOs not voting for international
campaigns, like the one in the run-up to COP 15 (Climate-Change Summit in Decem-
ber 2009). Do we have the time to wait? Oxfam speaks for Oxfam and Greenpeace
has a structure with few entities and faster decisions, Frans Mikael Jansen says.
He sees several dilemmas which international NGOs or alliances will have to face:
Democracy and legitimacy versus power and action
Threats and opposition versus lobbying and infuence
Internationalism versus nationalism
Need for unity versus fading trust between NGOs in the North and the South
My analysis is that we have ceased to be balanced in our advocacy. We are not
challenging our governments, but legitimising them. There is a lot of political
politeness between us and the government offcials, whether it be on the national or
international stage. We speak the same language, he says.
Conversely, big NGOs have been successful in their dealings with the corporate world
by threatening companies with consumers disapproval and media exposure. He mentions
consumers boycotts and fair-trade as examples.
We have to join forces to form a critical mass exerting pressure for infuence. But I
have experienced that when a joint campaign becomes very successful, some of the
big INGOs pull out to safeguard their own brand and name. We are still competing for
funds. In the future we have to fundraise directly for international advocacy campaigns to
avoid that, he says.
frans Mikael
of Ms actionaid



94 95
Danish case stories about
alliance building
Care denMarK
CARE International is a confederation with an international secretariat in Geneva,
Switzerland and two lobby and advocacy offces in Brussels and New York. 12 auto-
nomous national CARE organisations are members of the confederation, sharing feld
offces in 65 countries.
Today it is not enough to be a small Danish organisation. Times have changed and
we need to live up to international standards. Being a member of an international
confederation gives power to fundraise from big donors like the EU and UN. We can
even apply for basket funding.
We share our country offces and save money on administration that way. E.g. in
Uganda we have one offce with staff to carry out projects from fve or six national
CARE organisations.
CARE International builds up taskforces of experts in different areas. Climate exper-
tise is coordinated by CARE Denmark. Being big also gives rise to challenges. It is
time-consuming and expensive to develop and fundraise from big donors. Two years
of paperwork before a project can take off is not unusual.
Until two years ago, we had problems with Danida due to being part of an internatio-
nal NGO. But now Danida is actually praising us for it.
lisbeth Mller, head of programme section, Care denmark
ibis -
Alliance2015 is a partnership of seven like-minded non-governmental organisations
working in the feld of development cooperation. The Alliance members are CESVI
from Italy, Concern Worldwide from Ireland, Welthungerhilfe from Germany, Hivos
from the Netherlands, IBIS from Denmark, People in Need from the Czech Republic
and ACTED from France.
The goal is not to become a monolithic block, but to respect and beneft from the
diversity of member organisations. By joining forces, our organisations get access
to a larger infrastructure without giving up individual philosophies, approaches or
The alliance started in 2000 and is linked to the Millennium Development Goals.
Our best experiences are projects where two or three partners work together. We also
share offces in some countries, and we have spoken with one voice in some advocacy
In Mozambique, we tried to gather all partners in one big AIDS project, and that was a
disaster. Even if we are all European organisations, the culture varies widely from one
organisation to another, and it takes a lot of effort to get results. In the next strategy
period, we will try out new models of cooperation in six countries. But I can already
see how the organisations are changing because of inspiration from fellow Alliance
Karen andersen, head of the south department, ibis
member of alliance2015
96 97
save The Children, denMarK
The International Save the Children Alliance is made up of 29 national organisations,
working together to improve childrens lives in over 120 countries.
The alliance is sharing expertise, coordinating activities and pooling resources. Save
the Children has a secretariat in London and staff based in New York, Geneva and
Brussels to infuence the United Nations and the European Unions policies. The
plan is to open seven joint regional offces and a unifed presence in all countries.
We are in the middle of this restructuring process, and when I sit buried in
bureaucratic red tape, I have to remind myself of the child who will beneft from my
I am impressed on a daily basis by the usefulness of sharing views and problems with
colleagues from all over the world and of being able to draw on the knowledge of an
expert in New York.
But I also miss the familiarity of Danish cosiness, whenever I go to Uganda. In the
new big joint offce, I cant fnd our staff and our partners. And what about the
Danish rank-and-fle members and the Danish name for Save the Children, Red Bar-
net? Well, we have to cultivate a corporate rather than a Danish identity.
In the beginning of the process, there was competition between national Save the
Children organisations to act as lead agency in each of our programme countries, but
now we compete to become leaders of the most interesting policy themes.
One of my hopes is that we can contribute Danish values to the Global Civil Society.

Mikkel balslev, head of section for programme implementation, save the
Children denmark
Ms aCTionaid denMarK
ActionAid International was launched in 2003 as an association of independent mem-
bers (national ActionAid organisations). After the foundation, Austaid from Australia
was the frst external organisation to join ActionAid International. The international
secretariat is based in Johannesburg, South Africa, and the association is governed
by an assembly composed of members, as well as a board of independent trustees
elected by the assembly. There are regional offces and country programmes with
their own offces. MS Action Aid Denmark is in the process of becoming a full mem-
ber of ActionAid International.
ActionAid International works in 50 countries worldwide.
MS is a very home-grown Danish organisation, even if we have worked internatio-
nally for many years. We wanted to be internationalised and decided that ActionAid
was our best choice. But it is a radical change for us. We give up our own country
programmes and offces. ActionAid offces in each country are autonomous. It really
is a major devolution of power from the North to the South.
MS started this process 20 years ago by creating a Policy Advisory Board in each
country programme, but the set-up of ActionAid International is better, even though
it is still an appointed rather than elected board.
MS ActionAid Denmark will continue to send funds to the South. But we will not
only provide money, but also personnel and advice. Our concern is that we will be
swallowed up and lose our identity as MS. But I am optimistic. We have a lot of
young activists both from the Global Contact programme and the Danish advocacy
campaigns, and they are the new members of MS ActionAid Denmark.
MS is an infuential member of ActionAid. We bring solid democratic values, and we
have long-standing experience with the partnership approach to development work.
MS ActionAid Denmark hosts a shared knowledge centre on governance for all
ActionAid offces to use.
steen folke, member of the board of Ms actionaid denmark and the board
of trustees of actionaid international
98 99
We should stop looking at our members as bank accounts. Instead they are our
agents of change. We are becoming too vertical. That is why I like Alliance2015 so
much. You have the international network, but you still keep your own identity, said
Herry Derksen, ICCO.
Before entering merging processes with international organisations, Danish NGOs
held discussions with their main donor, Danida, in order to get the go-ahead.
Some years ago, Danida saw us as a fundraising mailbox for an American NGO, but
this has changed. Now Danida is positive about the international dimension of our
work, said Lisbeth Mller, CARE Denmark.
We have had a good understanding with Danida throughout the process. But it is a
valid concern whether we will be able to exert infuence when we are no longer imple-
menting, said Steen Folke, MS ActionAid Denmark.
It will be diffcult to measure and document the specifcally Danish input funded by
Danida, and also to prove the cost-effectiveness of the new international set-up.
Measurement systems are a growing disease in our organisations. Sometimes I feel
like driving a VW with the panel of a Boing 737. We have to discuss if measuring is
performed for the purpose of learning or merely to exert control, said Harry Derksen,


where you come from
The proCess of inTernaTionalisaTion leaves
oUT The GrassrooTs
At the last seminar, there was widespread concern over changes among NGOs back
in Denmark. Participants feared less Danish backing, loss of grassroots support and
maybe even of funding.
We have to be aware of the transition period. It takes a lot of focus and energy. We
have to keep in mind that the process is carried out to create a more effective orga-
nisation and free up more time and resources for the children, said Mikkel Balslev,
Save the Children Denmark.
We are all so involved in this technical merging. We should remember our vision and the
positive stories about our work, said Birgit Lundbak, Save the Children Denmark.
Others feared that activists and supporters in the North would disappear, if all policy
discussion were to take place in the South or in other Northern countries.
Todays national NGOs are the watchdogs of the development strategies of their
governments. I fear they will use up all their energy in the alliances, said Annemette
Danielsen, Danish Children and Youth Network.
We have a lot of young activists with a very international mindset. But they are cam-
paigning here in Denmark. They do a lot of meaningful work and spectacular actions.
That is our way of gaining popular support, said Frans Mikael Jansen, MS ActionAid
100 101
Climate change and
international alliances
The Travel of MaJor inTernaTional
orGanisaTions is aGGravaTinG CliMaTe ChanGe
Knud Vilby, facilitator of the discussion at the last seminar, raised the question
of whether the organisations internal practices are compatible with their climate-
change policies.
You cant do development work without travelling. We are paying carbon compensa-
tion for each fight instead. We have the money to do it, said Harry Derksen, ICCO.
We have an international Green Team, which has set up a catalogue of ideas. E.g.
we hold Skype meetings instead of fying, whenever possible, Lisbeth Mller, CARE
Denmark, explained.
We are already running at low cost and employees are cycling to work. But I will also
stress that we should not be ashamed of our carbon footprints, just because they are
bigger than those of our partners, said Karen Andersen, IBIS.
Christian Aid allows itself a reduced number of fights per year. They have to discuss
and prioritise each journey, asking if it can be replaced by a Skype conference, said
Knud Vilby, facilitator.
But climate change is precisely one of the international problems we have to solve
together in the organisations. And it takes meetings to agree and to form a critical
mass to press world leaders to act, said Frans Mikael Jansen, MS ActionAid Den-
102 103

The tragedy of global common goods like land,

water, air: Like the story of the many herders on
one piece of land. Everyone brings in more cows,
and in the end they all lose.
Harry Derksen, ICCO
Impact studies should evaluate change and
development in a community instead of evalua-
ting just the work of one organisation.
Harry Derksen, ICCO
How many of the INGOs have an exit strategy
to phase out cooperation with their Southern
partners? If they are just distributors of embassy
donations, their job might as well be done by
a national entity, like the Foundation for Civil
Society in Tanzania.
Sren Asboe Jrgensen,
The Project Advice and Training Centre
Often the Southern NGOs want us out. But when
IBIS wanted to withdraw from Latin America, our
partners pleaded with us to stay. Not for the fun-
ding, but for the support and discussions - they
wanted international partners.
Karen Andersen, IBIS
Save the Childrens offce in Ethiopia will be very
big, in budget terms bigger than the national
Ministry for Foreign Affairs. We have to be aware
of that in the relation to our local partners. And
we have to have an exit strategy for how to leave
when a national Save the Children organisation is
ready to take over.
Mikkel Balslev, Save the Children Denmark
Let us be honest and talk about class instead of
North-South. Who takes the decisions? Not the
wretched of the earth but university people like
Marlies Glasius, university of Amsterdam
Environmental and human rights movements
are often in opposition to each other instead of
uniting around their common interests.
Harry Derksen, ICCO
We need a climate justice movement to combine
the effort against climate change with one for
social rights. New ideas will not come from the
big old INGOs, but hopefully they will listen.
Marlies Glasius, university of Amsterdam
Please, do not speak with one voice at the
lowest possible level. Debate is what makes
things grow.
Marlies Glasius, university of Amsterdam

Thematic evaluation of support from Danish NGOs to civil society in Ghana and Ethiopia 2009
Global Transformation by David Held, Anthony McGrew, David Goldblatt and Jonathan Perraton, 1999
Davies, Thomas Richard: The Rise and fall of transnational civil society: the evaluation of international non-governmental organisations since
1839. City University, London, 2008.
Anheier, Glasius and Kaldor: Global Civil Society, 2003. Centre for the study of global governance.
Derksen, Harry: Challenges for International NGOs, INTRAC civil society conference, 2008.
Dialogue Committee, The Netherlands: International Cooperation in Transition, October 2008.
The Necessary Revolution by Peter Senge and others