New Principles for Norad’s Support to Civil Society
Civil society actors play key roles in the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and they are important actors in Norway’s international development work. Therefore, Norad has developed new principles for our support to civil society.
The seven new principles are Sustainability, Inclusion, Partnership, Legitimacy, Accountability, Cost-Effectiveness and Context Sensitivity.
“I am proud and delighted to present our new principles. We hope that they will contribute to improved development cooperation, and we look forward to continuing our collaboration with our civil society partners. The Principles both convey what Norad expects of our civil society partners and serve as a backdrop for dialogue”, says Wenche Fone, Director of Norad’s Civil Society Department.
“On the one hand, the Principles provide direction for Norad’s strategic planning of the overall civil society portfolio. On the other hand, they give direction for our partners and are to be implemented in their individual contexts”, Fone explains.
A Long and Thorough Process
The process, which began in March 2017, has seen Norad develop the new Principles in consultation with a number of actors, both within and outside of civil society. Norwegian, international and local civil society organisations have provided comments and input.
Norad shared the document with the public in an open consultation that started in November 2017 and resulted in substantial changes, including the addition of two new principles.
“We have strengthened the global perspective to better reflect the scope of the SDGs, as well as the varying roles that civil society plays, from the local to the global. Additionally, the responsibility of governments in the realisation of human rights, and the diverse roles civil society plays in cooperation with other actors, have also been made more visible”, says Ida-Eline Engh, Senior Adviser in Norad's Civil Society Department. She has led Norad’s work on the new Principles.
In 2017 approximately 22 per cent of all Norwegian development support was directed to or through civil society. This equates to approximately 7.4 billion Norwegian kroner. Almost 40 per cent of Norway’s total civil society support is managed by Norad. These funds support civil society organisations’ work to enhance democracy and human rights and to eradicate poverty. Civil society includes a great diversity of actors in Norway, in our partner countries, and globally.
Civic space is shrinking in large parts of the world. Civil society actors play both reactive and proactive roles in this development.
“A changing world means new challenges, and we must all contribute to solving them. With the new Principles we want to strengthen our focus on human rights and the ambitious SDGs. Civil society actors hold governments to account, they challenge power structures, and contribute to increased access to services for vulnerable and marginalised groups, says Fone.
A Norad Document
Fone underscores that the Principles do not constitute new rules or demands; however, they may lead to changes in Norad’s grant scheme rules, assessment tools, and calls for proposals.
“The broad consultation has strengthened the relevance and quality of the Principles. A large number of actors with a diversity of interests provided valuable and useful comments. Nevertheless, this is a Norad document, and we have not been able to integrate all comments that were received. However, we still believe that the new Principles reflect the communal goal of both Norad and our partners, namely, a strong civil society that contributes to the achievement of our shared vision: the SDGs towards 2030”, Fone concludes.