Report on the Busan Global Civil Society Forum
Redefining Development Aid
With over 500 representatives of civil society organizations (CSOs), government and the private sectors, participants at the 2011 Busan Global Civil Society Forum (BCSF) in South Korea were unanimous in their agreement to demand for a more inclusive, transparent, people-oriented, and development-driven aid for a better world.
Tagged “The Busan CSO Agenda” and enlisting a wide variety of local and international concerns, the three-day event, held November 26 through 28, served as a preparatory meeting to the Fourth High Level Forum (HLF-4) on Aid Effectiveness. It provided a forum to prepare the CSOs’ position on development aid and cooperation before the gathering of international governments largely from the donor nations. Essentially, the aim of the pre-HLF-4 meeting was to ensure a common platform for the global CSOs to demand that aid should not only be owned by the people, it should be untied by the year 2015.
Hosted around the theme of “Development Cooperation and Transparency,” the event was organized by two leading international coalitions of CSO on aid effectiveness, Better Aid and Open Forum for CSO Development and Effectiveness, as well as Korea Civil Society Forum on International Development Cooperation (KoFID), with support from the government of Korea.
The event featured series of sessions, including an opening ceremony that offered presentations on the key elements of the Busan Forum leading to the HLF-4; plenary and panels on the CSO Road to Busan from Accra; an overview of the Rio+20; and a final draft of the Busan Outcome Document (BOD), which will form the basis of negotiation among parties.
Other key elements of the presentations include remarks by Mr. Seonghbon Lee, Chair of KoFID on a post-Busan Agenda that focuses on fresh movement for action towards 2015 MDG targets, a global monitoring mechanism with more focus at the country level, and strengthening domestic accountability process and cooperation between and among global governments such as the United Nations (UN), European Union (EU), and Organisation for Economic and Development Cooperation (OECD), among others.
In his congratulatory message, Mr. Tae-yul Cho, Ambassador for Development Cooperation of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade, Republic of Korea, identified four thematic areas for CSO engagement beyond the HLF-4 and the MDG year 2015. They include a new global context for development effectiveness, South-South Triangular Cooperation, engaging new players such as the effective use of the private sector as development for growth, and locally owned and managed resources.
Speaking at the event, Ms. Emele Duituturaga, Co-Chair of the Open Forum for CSO Development Effectiveness, echoed the position of the participants with the phrase that “the time has come and government must listen to their people.” In the same vein, Mr. Antonio Tujan, Co-Chair of Better Aid, remarked that CSOs are already ahead of their governments in most developing nations, particularly in Africa, and as such all efforts must be made to bring them to the current realities.
In a special address to the participants at the Forum, the UN Special Rapporteur on the Rights to Freedom of Peaceful Assembly and of Association, Maina Kiai, congratulated the organizers and participants for coming this far and having the thought of meeting before the HLF-4. He emphasized the role of CSOs during and after the meeting with a strong message that “CSOs must come up with their own process not only for aid effectiveness but of internal regulations that will guarantee the delivery of aid to the people.”
One key observation by a representative of the Open Forum from Nigeria, Dr. Tola Winjobi, is the clear and unambiguous reality that the only big obstacle to achieving the above objectives will be the lack of political will on the part of government not only to deliver on their promises but to keep the agenda working.
Such international NGOs as the British Oversees NGO for Development (BOND), Arab NGO Network for Development (ANND), CIVICUS World Alliance, Oxfam, Plan International, and Care, and of course WANGO, were among several others in attendance.
Reported by Mohammed Bougei Attah, WANGO Africa Regional Coordinator and Managing Editor of NGO Network, who was in attendance