The Open Forum for CSO Development Effectiveness, an initiative led by a diverse coalition of CSOs, held its first Global Assembly in Istanbul (Turkey) from 28 - 30 September, bringing together more than 190 participants from almost 80 countries, including stakeholders from civil society as well as representatives from government and donor agencies.
The General Assembly provided the first international meeting point for participants and stakeholders of the Open Forum process to review and discuss results of earlier consultations as well as to prepare for the fourth High-Level Forum on Aid Effectiveness, organized by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, to be held in Busan, Republic of Korea in late 2011.
Based on the inputs and content generated from over 60 regional, sectoral and national consultations organized by CSOs over the past months, eight principles were drafted and presented to the Global Assembly for endorsement. After further discussion and debate, the Global Assembly adopted the eight principles for CSO Development Effectiveness, referred to as the Istanbul Principles, which will help build a foundation for introducing a complete Framework for CSO Development Effectiveness.
The eight principles focus on human and social rights, gender equality and women’s rights, people’s empowerment and democratic ownership, environmental sustainability, transparency and accountability, equitable partnerships and solidarity, knowledge sharing and mutual learning as well as sustainable change.
In the upcoming months, the work of the Open Forum will focus around refining and gathering more inputs to further develop the guidelines, mechanisms and indicators that CSOs can use to measure their adherence to the Istanbul Principles.
The Open Forum, operational since 2009, is a space for CSOs from around the world to discuss the issues and challenges to their effectiveness as development actors. Accessible to all interested CSOs, including NGOs, church-related organizations, trade unions, social movements and grassroots organizations, it aims to work towards a global effectiveness framework for CSOs in the lead up to the fourth High-Level Forum on Aid Effectiveness.