Beninese CSOs urge government, donors for inclusion in development processes

Cotonou – With the theme, "De l’efficacité de l’aide à l’efficacité du développement," CSOs in Benin met with other government and donor representatives for a two-day multi-stakeholder consultation on aid effectiveness last August 5 and 6. The consultation reflected on the status of aid in the country and civil society engagement on aid effectiveness processes.

Donors strongly pointed out that CSOs are disorganized which prevents them from working with them efficiently. While CSO representatives did not deny this, they stressed the need to provide support to strengthen their capacities to be able to engage more effectively with donors and government and perform their role as independent watchdogs.

Government representatives confirmed the need to include “new partners” including CSOs, but also asserted that there should also be a review of effectiveness of partnerships with these “new actors.” They also mentioned the PD Evaluation and Survey as well as the validation processes these documents went through, which allegedly included CSOs. CSO representatives challenged this statement, however, saying that CSO participation in official processes remains limited. Selection of CSOs also does not ensure broad representation of CSOs.

The consultation concluded with the drafting of a declaration signed by all participants. The BA Key Asks was reflected in this document which urges government to provide an enabling environment for CSOs, and challenges them to continue dialogues with other stakeholders on aid and development effectiveness.

The event was jointly organized by Groupe Recherche d’Appui l’Agriculture et Développement (GRAPAD) and the IBON/Reality of Aid’s Country Outreach Program with the aim of producing a united agenda towards the HLF in Busan and beyond. Besides CSO representatives, government coordinators and donors from the French Cooperation and Swiss Cooperation agencies were also present on the event.