UNDP Launches Chinese E-Book on Working with Civil Society in Foreign Aid

Mar 9, 2015

On March 9th, United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) China launched a Chinese version of the e-book Working with Civil Society in Foreign Aid: Possibilities for South-South Cooperation? Originally published in English in 2013, the e-book looks closely at the potential for civil society organisations (CSOs) in developing countries to engage in South-South cooperation (SSC). Funded by Australian Aid, the e-book draws from a major UNDP China study conducted in 2012, including a number of case studies, undertaken in partnership with Chinese Academy of International Trade and Economic Cooperation (CAITEC).

The e-book highlights that CSOs bring together millions of citizens for highly diverse purposes in the public realm and are active in almost all countries of the world. Partnerships between governments and CSOs have the potential to enrich South-South cooperation for development by broadening and deepening reach.

Many CSOs interested in South-South cooperation strive to be independent and voluntary organizations, with their own principles, mandates and programmes. However, for governments, effective relationships with CSOs will require the establishment of explicit areas of common purpose and objectives.

To this end, a workshop co-hosted by UNDP China and CAITEC called Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) in International Development Cooperation was organized building on lessons learned and key messages drawn from the e-book. The workshop provided an opportunity for participants to discuss how governments and CSOs can better cooperate to deliver foreign aid and promote South-South cooperation.

The two-part workshop involved consultations with working level participants from relevant countries and organizations with topic expertise and experiences working with CSOs in foreign aid delivery. Participants included representatives from Brazil, China, Switzerland, United States and international and national CSOs such as Oxfam, Action Aid, China Association for NGO Cooperation (CANGO) and China Foundation for Poverty Alleviation (CFPA).

Within the context of South-South cooperation, the e-book and workshop raise a number of interesting points that are important for deepening the roles of CSOs in South-South cooperation, such as defining the inclusion of CSOs in official policies for international development, creating enabling conditions for CSOs to engage in South-South work, strengthening the capacity of CSOs and creating more space for policy dialogues and mutual learning.

The e-book, now available in Chinese, together with the workshop have highlighted key opportunities and challenges of CSOs regarding foreign aid delivery. This type of research and dialogue also informs decision-making for broader and more effective engagement with CSOs in international cooperation for sustainable development.

 Representatives from Brazil and Switzerland speaking at the Civil Society Organizations (CSO) in International Development Cooperation workshop

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