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22 September 2011
Edition No: 554

Civil Society Survey: State of civil society?
Source: Commonwealth Foundation

With less than 40 days to go until Commonwealth leaders meet at the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM), the Commonwealth Foundation seeks input from civil society on the Commonwealth’s intergovernmental processes.
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Human rights letter-writing marathon 2011
Source: Amnesty International

Every year around World Human Rights Day on 10 December, Amnesty International members and supporters get together in homes, offices, community centres and other places around the world to write letters demanding justice for people or communities whose rights have been violated. Last year people in more than 50 countries sent more than 636,000 appeals. Join the campaign.
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Innovative Leadership for Africa, 12 October, Johannesburg, South Africa
Source: SYNERGOS University

Now in its third year, University for a Night in Africa brings together leaders from business, government, philanthropy and civil society to explore ways of working together to reduce poverty and build more equitable societies in Africa. The David Rockefeller Bridging Leadership in Africa Award will be presented to Dr Mamphela Ramphele.
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African Dialogue on Climate Change Finance and Development Effectiveness, Nairobi, Kenya, 21-23 September

The African Climate Change Finance and Development Effectiveness Dialogue is being facilitated by the African Development Bank and the OECD DAC in partnership with the United Nations Development Programme, the UNDP-UNEP Poverty Environment Initiative. This dialogue will bring together government officials, representatives of civil society, the private sector and development partners to discuss climate finance and related lessons from development experience.
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OECD-DAC Working Party on Aid Effectiveness (Paris, France 5-6 October)

Working party on aid effectiveness plenary: to confirm the main themes for the Fourth High Level Forum on Aid Effectiveness.
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So Much Aid, So Little Development: Stories from Pakistan
By Samia Waheed Altaf

Pakistan has received more than $20 billion in external development assistance, but has made little evident improvement in its social indicators. So Much Aid, So Little Development offers a fresh explanation for this outcome. The book follows one major initiative, the Social Action Programme developed by the Pakistani government in 1992 and funded by the World Bank to the tune of hundreds of millions of dollars.

Samia Altaf tells the story of the programme’s shortcomings through a series of eyewitness vignettes. At every stage, she finds skewed incentives, misplaced priorities and inappropriate designs diverting the project from its original intentions and ambitions. In the process, Altaf introduces into the development conversation the human dimension that most frameworks have neglected to their detriment.
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Follow @civicusalliance on twitter and get the latest civil society updates.

Director (application deadline 16 October 2011)
Source: Human Rights Watch

Human Rights Watch (HRW) is one of the world’s leading independent organisations dedicated to defending and protecting human rights. By focusing international attention where human rights are violated, HRW gives voice to the oppressed and holds oppressors accountable for their crimes. HRW seeks to appoint a Director for South Africa, based in Johannesburg, to coordinate its efforts.
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General Development Officer (application deadline 19 October 2011)
Source: USAID, Afghanistan

USAID is seeking to recruit strong development professionals to serve as General Development Officers (GDOs) for assignment in Afghanistan. These assignments will directly support USAID’s mission to promote the rapid transition of Afghanistan to a more stable, productive and democratic country with sustainable social
development and economic growth.
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Policy and Outreach Director (application deadline 29 September 2011)
Source: The ISEAL Alliance

ISEAL is an international non-profit organisation that codifies best practice for the design and implementation of social and environmental standards systems. ISEAL shapes the context in which voluntary standards systems operate, by defining what good practice looks like for the sector, as well as through influencing how external stakeholders think about and engage with credible voluntary standards systems.
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Defining civil society

Civil society is a term whose definition sometimes seems elusive. Its role is almost always fiercely contested. The phrase is now bandied about by politicians, pundits and practitioners alike, especially in the context of the revolutions in the Middle East and North Africa and the popular uprisings around the world.

While it has often been used as a synonym for NGOs, I was struck that very few civil society participants at IMF-World Bank annual meetings in Washington DC this week described their organisations as NGOs.

The sheer diversity the term encompasses was also much in evidence at the recently concluded CIVICUS World Assembly.

This message from Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu goes a long way towards clarifying its meaning, the value of our sector and the need to protect and nurture its freedom. Watch it here.

Add your comments to this post.

In solidarity,

Ingrid Srinath

CIVICUS Legitimacy, Transparency and Accountability webinar: Do NGO self-regulation mechanisms work?

At this workshop participants from around the world assessed the success and effectiveness of self-regulation for civil society organisations. There has been an increasing trend in the last twenty years to use self-regulation as a way of helping build public trust, raise standards of practice and protect civil society from burdensome and inappropriate government regulation. The session asked: Is it working?
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CIVICUS call for papers: 10th International Society for Third Sector Research conference, Siena, Italy 

The 10th International Society for Third Sector Research (ISTR) on the theme “Democratisation, Marketisation and the third sector’, will take place from 10-13 July 2012 in Siena, Italy. In this context, CIVICUS, as an organiser of three panels at the 10th ISTR conference, is seeking abstract submissions from researchers and practitioners for the Siena event.
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CIVICUS asks: Sign the petition to free Ales Bialiatski

On 4 August 2011, Ales Bialiatski, a prominent human rights defender in Belarus and vice-president of the International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH) was detained and his house searched. Later charged with tax fraud and still languishing in jail, Bialiatski’s arrest came after months of harassment towards civil society in the country. Join the petition in support of the people of Belarus and in solidarity with pickets across Eurasia to free Bialiatski.
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CIVICUS Civil Society Index (CSI) – New country reports

Two new reports are now available: the Argentina country report and the Jordan policy action brief. The analytical country reports provide in-depth coverage of the status of each nation’s civil society.
Argentina report
Jordan Policy Action Brief

MDGs: Time to get it right

CIVICUS joined international civil society groups in a call for a new global vision
which is radical, ambitious and universal and which is needed to tackle the critical
issues faced by people and the planet and frame the post-2015 global agenda this
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Do you have an iPhone? or A Nokia phone?

If so, download the CIVICUS iPhone app or the Symbian app and keep up to date with all the latest civil society news and share photos with us. Visit www.civicus.org/mobile

Member's corner

‘Less bang for their buck’
Source: Transparency International (TI)

Following up on findings of their research report, TI is currently undertaking two campaigns in South Africa to strengthen civil society and capacity in financial management in primary education.

The research, conducted as part of the Transparency and Integrity in Service Delivery in Africa programme (TISDA) shows that good governance, and especially accountability and integrity, are critical in the delivery of basic services and learner performance in general.
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Voices on the road to COP 17

Africa keen to ensure Kyoto Protocol survives
Source: IPS

Durban should not be the burial ground for the Kyoto Protocol, says Kumi Naidoo, Executive Director of Greenpeace International, about his expectations from the
17th United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change happening in his
home town in South Africa later this year.
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NGO Criticises UN-Sponsored Climate talks
Source: News24

Earthlife Africa labels the United Nations-sponsored climate talks in Durban a failure as world leaders struggle to reach consensus on a binding climate treaty.
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From the CIVICUS blog

When the road to democracy gets hijacked

Rowena McNaughton

As the majority of Cambodia’s inhabitants were engrossed in the tasks of daily life, its government, without fanfare, took another step forward to install  the country’s most dictatorial and most appalling association law yet seen in the nation’s post-Pol Pot era.
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From the CIVICUS World Assembly blog

Overcoming the Jetlag
Anna Mazgal

If you have a long journey back from meetings such as the CIVICUS World Assembly, there is really no need to play any movie on your small screen on the plane. Instead, you can enjoy the rewind of the event in your head. Hundreds of faces. Charming views of Old Montreal. A myriad of thoughts – yours and of those who inspired you there.
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Follow threats and take action to protect civil society - join Civil Society Watch at www.cswatch.org

Aid transparency campaigners welcome new ‘open-government’ initiative

Source: Open Government Partnership

The campaign group Publish What You Fund today welcomed the launch of a new initiative to encourage governments to promote transparency, empower citizens, fight corruption and strengthen governance.
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G20 labour ministers need to push for job creation
Source: International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC)

A full-scale jobs emergency confronts the G20 with 110 million jobs needed by 2015 just to return to the pre-crisis employment rate.
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Somalia: Aid before politics
Source: IRIN

Twenty aid agencies issued an open letter on 21 September urging the international community to "put people's lives before politics if [we are] to stand any chance of aiding people suffering from the famine in Somalia".
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Developing countries’ designs for the green climate fund
Source: IPS

With its coffers largely dry and its management being contested, the Green Climate Fund (GCF) remains a hot topic among African civil society.
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EU steps toward common aid
Source: Truthout

The European Commission has decided to push for more ambitious reforms ahead of the aid effectiveness summit to be held in Busan, Korea in December.
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Civil Society’s continuing role in Serbia and the Western Balkans: Interview with Sonja Licht
Source: Balkanalysis.com

Since the end of Communism, the development of 'civil society' has been deemed to be of utmost importance for strengthening democratic institutions in the Western Balkans.
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Arkhangelsk NGOs adapting to Russian reality
Source: Barents Observer

Non-governmental organisations in Arkhangelsk have found a way to adapt to the
environment that has developed for Russian civil society.
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Yemen: After months of unrest, country reaches breaking point
Source: Alert Net

Families in parts of Yemen are in dire need of assistance as crippling food prices and fuel shortages drive them to breaking point, according to a new report released today by the international aid agency, Oxfam. Already, one-third of Yemenis - 7.5m people - are going hungry.
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Egypt: "Smear campaign" against civil society condemned
Source: Almasryalyoum

Thirty-six civil society groups have released a statement condemning the “smear
campaign” being conducted against them by Egypt’s military rulers.
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India: Tharoor questions Anna's right to represent civil society
Source: Indian Express

Who has given Anna Hazare and his team members the right to represent civil
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Pacific Forum chair says leaders interested in increasing role of civil society
Source: Radio New Zealand International

The Pacific Islands Forum Chair, New Zealand's Prime Minister John Key, says
leaders are interested in increasing the role of civil society in the region
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How is civil society doing in Libya? – Analysis

Source: Eurasia Review

Since the civil uprising erupted in Benghazi in February 2011, a new Libyan civil society is trying to build from scratch its organisational structures, human capacities and programmes, after 42 years of one of the most repressive and brutal regimes of the post-colonial era in North Africa.
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ISO Standard 26000 Guidance for Social Responsibility and the Earth Charter

Source: Earth Charter International Secretariat

The voluntary International Standard ISO 26000:2010 Guidance for social responsibility aims to be a first step in helping all types of organizations, in both the public and private sectors, to achieve the benefits of operating in a socially responsible manner.

The battle for Libya: Killing, disappearances and torture
Source: Amnesty International

This report documents serious and widespread human rights violations by al-Gaddafi forces and also abuses committed by the opposition.

Al Shabaab and the Somalia food crises
Source: The Fund for Peace

This report provides an overview of al Shabaab and their role in the current Somalia food crises.

Youth invited to submit essays on Aid Effectiveness for Aid Effectiveness

Forum in Busan, Korea, 29 November-1 December 2011

The Government of the Republic of Korea, hosting the 2011 Fourth High-Level
Forum on Aid Effectiveness (HLF4), has announced an International Essay Contest as a preparatory event with the purpose of sharing young people’s inspiration and vision on aid and development. Young people from around the world are invited to submit their innovative ideas for effective aid and development. Application deadline, 7 October 2011.
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Call for expressions of interest to host the 2013 CIVICUS World Assembly

From 2010 to 2012, the CIVICUS World Assembly is being co-hosted by the Institut du Nouveau Monde (INM) in Montreal, Canada. In 2013 CIVICUS is aiming to
organise its 12th World Assembly in a country from the Global South, with a strong
preference for a Francophone country. CIVICUS is inviting bids from interested
organisations to partner with CIVICUS in co-hosting the World Assembly in 2013,
also in partnership with INM. The deadline is 15 October 2011.
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IATED seeks papers for the sixth Annual International Technology,
Education and Development Conference, Valencia, Spain

The International Association for Technology, Education and Development (IATED)
is organising the sixth Annual Edition of INTED2012 (6th International Technology,
Education and Development Conference) that will be held in Valencia (Spain) from
5-7 March 2012, and invites all those who are interested in education, research and
innovation to submit their abstracts and to attend in order to share their
achievements in the fields of education and collaboration.
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PI e-learning course on protection of human rights defenders
Source: Protection International

Protection International is launching the second series of its e-learning courses on
the protection of human rights defenders on 3 October 2011. This course is for
members of organisations and people whose work involves human rights, social
development and humanitarian aid.
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Jessica Hume
Ingrid Srinath
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Oluwakorede Asuni
Rowena McNaughton
Margaret Fish

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