Part Four: Intergovernmental Organisation Profiles

IGO Survey Part Four IGO Profiles

SOCS 2014 IGO Scorecard IGO Profiles

Food & Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations  |  International Labour Organization  |  Office of High Commissioner for Human Rights  |  The World Bank Group  |  UNAIDS  |  United Nations Development Programme  |  United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees  |  UN Women  |  World Food Programme  |  World Trade Organisation

 

Food & Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations (FAO)

Founded

1945

Headquarters

Rome, Italy

Information on civil society engagement can be accessed here.

Mandate

“FAO’s three main goals are: (i) the eradication of hunger, food insecurity and malnutrition; (ii) the elimination of poverty and the driving forward of economic and social progress for all; and (iii) the sustainable management and utilization of natural resources, including land, water, air, climate and genetic resources for the benefit of present and future generations.”[1]

Capacity

As of 1 November 2013, FAO employed 1795 professional staff (including Junior Professional Officers, Associate Professional Officers and National Professional Officers) and 1654 support staff. FAO’s decentralised network includes 5 regional offices, 10 sub-regional offices, 2 multidisciplinary teams, 74 fully fledged country offices (excluding those hosted in regional and subregional offices), 8 offices with technical officers/FAO Representatives, and 38 countries covered through multiple accreditation. [C1] In addition, FAO maintains five liaison offices and four information offices in developed countries.[2]

The promise on civil society engagement

By strengthening cooperation and partnerships with civil society, FAO seeks to:

  • Enhance the legitimacy, transparency and equity of policy and decision-making, ensuring that it takes into consideration the interests of all sectors of society and has their support;
  • Give a voice to stakeholders, particularly the world's poor and ensure that their views and opinions are taken into account;
  • Increase the effectiveness of FAO field projects and programmes by building on civil society experience in participatory approaches, poverty alleviation and sustainable agriculture, as well as their capacity to act quickly and flexibly targeting the most vulnerable groups; and
  • Build public support and political will to attain food security objectives.[3]

Accreditation and access for civil society

The FAO offers a two-tiered accreditation system for civil society. Formal status allows civil society organisations to attend (without the right to participate) sessions of the conference and to participate in smaller discussions. CSOs who have formal status may also enjoy the right to unrestricted information prior to discussions. However, formal status demands that CSOs must “cooperate fully with FAO for the furtherance of the objectives of the Organization.”[4] The outline document also states that formal status can be withdrawn at any time.

Informal accreditation allows CSOs entry to conferences on an ad hoc basis and can be obtained online.[5]

The practice

7 respondents completed the survey for FAO. The table below shows answer averages, organised by the four dimensions of IGO engagement.

CSOs say:

“On several occasions we have gotten technical support from the IGO [FAO] to be able to establish our grassroots groups and equip them with legal operation certificates.”

“[I]n Switzerland, there is a formal committee for dialogue with FAO, including several CSOs. But it’s not really taken into account.”

CSO responses to FAO survey

CSO responses to FAO surveyObstacles to engaging FAO

Civil society voices

We asked civil society what FAO should prioritise to improve civil society access to its main decision-making body. Respondents ranked eight items in order of priority, where 1 was the highest priority.

Civil society priorities for improving access, FAO

Civil society priorities for improving access FAO

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International Labour Organization (ILO)

Founded

1919

Headquarters

Geneva, Switzerland

Information on civil society engagement can be accessed here.

Mandate

“The main aims of the ILO are to promote rights at work, encourage decent employment opportunities, enhance social protection and strengthen dialogue on work-related issues.”[6]

Capacity

The ILO accomplishes its work through three main bodies (The International Labour Conference, the Governing Body and the Office), which comprise representatives of governments, employers and workers.[7] There are 2633 employees based in 64 locations around the globe.[8]

The promise on civil society engagement

“As a tripartite organization, the ILO does not simply collaborate with non-governmental organizations but actually integrates sectors of civil society into its structure. That integration reflects a continuous and concerted international effort in which the representatives of workers and employers, enjoying equal status with those of governments, join with them in free discussion and democratic decision with a view to the promotion of the common welfare" (Declaration of Philadelphia, I(d)).[9]

Accreditation and access for civil society

There are three different categories of international NGOs in consultative status. The first includes international NGOs with major stakes in a wide range of the ILO’s activities that are granted either general or regional consultative status. Standing arrangements have been made for the participation of those enjoying general consultative status in all ILO meetings and in regional meetings for those with regional consultative status. A second category, the Special List of Non-Governmental International Organizations, was set up by the ILO Governing Body in 1956 with a view to establishing working relations with international NGOs, other than organisations of employers and workers, which also share the principles and objectives of the ILO Constitution and Declaration of Philadelphia. In a third category, the ILO Governing Body extends invitations to international NGOs who meet certain established criteria to attend different ILO meetings for which they have demonstrated a particular interest.[10]

The practice

9 respondents completed surveys for the ILO. The table below shows answer averages, organised by the four dimensions of IGO engagement.

CSOs say:

“[Accreditation with the ILO] offers access to expert meetings and political debates, VIP access to the ILC.”

“We must be involved to participate in the planning and implementation of international policies and all approaches.”

“We only have informal access, we would also value formal access.”

“[Accreditation] is legally recognised by the government and community as well known to supplement the government in terms of services delivery.”

CSO responses to ILO survey

CSO responses to ILO surveyObstacles to engaging ILO

Civil society voices

We asked civil society what ILO should prioritise to improve civil society access to its main decision-making body. Respondents ranked eight items in order of priority, where 1 was the highest priority.

Civil society priorities for improving access, ILO

Civil society priorities for improving access ILO

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Office of High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR)

Founded

1993

Headquarters

Geneva, Switzerland

Information on civil society engagement can be accessed here.

Mandate

“The Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) is mandated to promote and protect the enjoyment and full realization, by all people, of all rights established in the Charter of the United Nations and in international human rights laws and treaties. OHCHR is guided in its work by the mandate provided by the General Assembly in resolution 48/141, the Charter of the United Nations, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and subsequent human rights instruments, the Vienna Declaration and Programme of Action the 1993 World Conference on Human Rights, and the 2005 World Summit Outcome Document.

The mandate includes preventing human rights violations, securing respect for all human rights, promoting international cooperation to protect human rights, coordinating related activities throughout the United Nations, and strengthening and streamlining the United Nations system in the field of human rights. In addition to its mandated responsibilities, the Office leads efforts to integrate a human rights approach within all work carried out by United Nations agencies.”[11]

Capacity

As of 31 December 2013, the Office employed 1,085 staff, 452 of whom were based in the field (including 19 human rights advisers based in United Nations Country Teams), 607 in Geneva and 26 in New York. OHCHR also supported close to 840 human rights officers serving in 15 UN peace missions or political offices."[12]

The promise on civil society engagement

‘During my next two years in office, I intend to pay particularly close attention to states’ relationships with, and treatment of, human rights defenders, journalists and other key members of civil society. Human rights will not improve much without the direct participation of a robust, free and independent civil society….’

-          Navi Pillay, High Commissioner for Human Rights, October (2012) [13]

Accreditation and access for civil society

OHCHR itself has no formal accreditation process for civil society to engage with the organisation. Civil society organisations enjoy free access and facilitation by OHCHR to a range of human rights mechanisms and intergovernmental processes.

CSOs say:

“OHCHR would do best to reach out to CSOs for continuity and sustenance of transformations after project-lives.”

“We [have] access to the OHCHR extranet, can participate in all public meetings of the HRC and Human Rights Committee, receive regular updates on events and statements and can contribute to the work of special procedures.”

“OHCHR outreach is good in relation to organisations that have sought it out.  Proactive outreach to organisations less aware of OHCHR is much weaker. It would be beneficial for the IGO to work more on identifying interlocutors to help increase awareness”

The practice

CIVICUS received 37 complete survey responses for OHCHR. The table below shows answer averages, organised by the four dimensions of IGO engagement. [14]  

CSO responses to OHCHR survey

CSO responses to OHCHR surveyObstacles to engaging OHCHR

Civil society voices

We asked civil society what OHCHR should prioritise to improve civil society access to its main decision-making body. Respondents ranked eight items in order of priority, where 1 was the highest priority. The highest ranked answer was local or regional outreach to civil society.

How to improve access to decision-making, OHCHR

How to improve access to decision making OHCHR

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The World Bank Group

Founded

1944

Headquarters

Washington DC, USA

Information on civil society engagement can be accessed here

Mandate

“End extreme poverty by decreasing the percentage of people living on less than $1.25 a day to no more than 3%. Promote shared prosperity by fostering the income growth of the bottom 40% for every country.”[15]

Capacity:

The World Bank has more than 10,000 employees in more than 168 offices worldwide.[16]

The promise on civil society engagement

“World Bank Group President Jim Yong Kim, himself a former leader in the CSO community, has emphasized that closer collaboration and stronger partnerships are integral to furthering the World Bank Group goals to end poverty and promote shared prosperity around the globe.”

            - Cyril Muller, Vice President, External Affairs Department(2013)[17]

Accreditation and access for civil society

The World Bank Group does not offer formal accreditation per se, rather, registration is offered to CSOs to attend the Annual and Spring meetings.[18] The Bank engages with CSOs in dialogue and collaboration at regional, country level and headquarters. The World Bank has implemented a 5 point continuum for civil society engagement,[19] which begins with access to information. As part of this strategy, there has been a focus on dialogue and consultations with civil society, with a long-term view to promote and enhance collaboration and partnerships with civil society organisations.

The Bank facilitates dialogue and partnership between civil society and governments by providing resources, training, technical support, and often playing a convening role. The Bank then, dialogues and consults with CSOs on issues, policies and programmes, by listening to their perspectives and inviting suggestions. These interactions vary from consultations on global policies, such as social safeguards and climate change[JWG2] , to discussions on local Bank-financed projects. The Bank recently launched an online Consultations Hub[20] which brings together for the first time information on the various consultations underway worldwide. The Bank has initiated a program to ensure citizens feedback in its operations. Several CSO representatives have been named to the Advisory Council of the Strategic Framework for Mainstreaming Citizen Engagement in World Bank Group Operations.[21] The Bank partners directly with CSOs through contracting technical assistance and training services, funding civil society initiatives, and managing joint programmes.[22] The most recent funding mechanism is the Global Partnership for Social Accountability (GPSA)[23] which is supporting CSOs worldwide engaged in improving public sector governance and transparency.

The practice

52 respondents opted to assess the World Bank, and 26 of those answered most of the survey. The table below shows answer averages, organised by the four dimensions of IGO engagement.[24]

CSOs say:

“[The World Bank should] Communicate on the subject of consultations and give enough time for CSOs to reflect and discuss with their members and partners on issues.”

“Too much attention is given to bilateral relations and in the context in which we work, CSOs are largely ignored”

“Most of the focal points in IGOs are very nice people who are committed to civil society engagement; I just wish there were more of them and that they had more resources and influence within their organisation.”

“Accredited CSOs can engage with the World Bank during their meetings and advocate from within.”

CSO responses to The World Bank Group survey

Civil society priorities for improving access The World Bank GroupObstacles to engaging World Bank

Civil society voices

We asked civil society what the World Bank Group should prioritise to improve civil society access to its main decision-making body. Respondents ranked eight items in order of priority, where 1 was the highest priority. The highest ranked answer was identifying appropriate interlocutors to reach different types of CSOs.

Civil society priorities for improving access, The World Bank Group

Civil society priorities for improving access The World Bank Group

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UNAIDS

Founded

1994

Headquarters

Geneva, Switzerland

Information on civil society engagement can be accessed here.

Mandate

“Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS) leads and inspires the world to achieve its shared vision of zero new HIV infections, zero discrimination and zero AIDS-related deaths. UNAIDS unites the efforts of 11 UN organisations – UNHCR, UNICEF, WFP, UNDP, UNFPA, UNODC, UN Women, ILO, UNESCO, WHO and the World Bank – and works closely with global and national partners to maximise results for the AIDS response.”[25]

Capacity

UNAIDS employs 842 staff in 96 locations around the world.[26]

The promise on civil society engagement

“Partnerships involving civil society, including key populations and people living with HIV, have been fundamental to robust local responses to HIV. Among other things, partnerships have helped support people living with HIV to demand and receive protection of their rights to treatment, non-discrimination and participation. More broadly, as responses have developed and grown, there is increasing evidence that the most effective programmes are those in which civil society’s role, engagement and leadership are strongest and equitable.”[27]

Accreditation and access for civil society

UNAIDS does not have formal accreditation mechanisms. Rather, as an implementing coalition it places the greatest emphasis on civil society integration and capacity building for service delivery.[28]

On general access to HIV/AIDS issues, UNAIDS states: “UNAIDS has important influence with governments and will leverage this to ensure robust civil society involvement. This will include advocacy to secure legitimate representation of civil society, key populations and people living with HIV on national AIDS coordinating bodies, Country Coordinating Mechanisms, national delegations to major global and regional meetings on AIDS, and other advisory and policymaking bodies.”[29]

UNAIDS is pioneering CSO integration with its Programme Coordination Board, which has member states, IGO co-sponsors and CSO representatives. This board oversees all work undertaken by UNAIDS.[30]

The practice

8 respondents provided completed surveys for UNAIDS. The table below shows answer averages, organised by the four dimensions of IGO engagement.[31]

CSOs say:

“There is officially recognised membership to the board. Partnership with civil society otherwise is not always transparent. The interaction amongst CSOs on the board and others that work with UNAIDS is also not clear or consistent in many areas.”

“IGOs, at least, in Nepal are creating their own subservient organisations and working through them and organisations like UN are not ready to trust local organisations.”

“At the UNAIDS board level, CSOs are part of the negotiation even without voting rights. The board has never voted, and works via consensus. Therefore, all wording on decisions must be agreed, so CSOs have influence.”

“…UNAIDS discourages CSOs from criticising governments in its annual country progress reports for example, and discourages CSOs from writing their own.”

Survey responses for UNAIDS

Survey responses for UNAIDSObstacles to engaging UNAIDS

Civil society voices

We asked civil society what UNAIDS should prioritise to improve civil society access to its main decision-making body. Respondents ranked eight items in order of priority, where 1 was the highest priority.

Civil society priorities for improving access, UNAIDS

Civil society priorities for improving access UNAIDS

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United Nations Development Programme (UNDP)

Founded

1965

Headquarters

New York, USA

Information on civil society engagement can be accessed here

Mandate

“UNDP’s focus is on helping countries build and share solutions to achieve Poverty Reduction and the Millennium Development Goals, Democratic Governance, Crisis Prevention and Recovery, Environment and Energy for sustainable development. In all its activities, UNDP encourages the protection of human rights, capacity development and the empowerment of women.”[32]

Capacity

Operational in more than 170 countries and territories.[33]

The promise on civil society engagement

“UNDP, in its engagement with civil society, should focus less on the participation of CSOs in the execution of programmes and activities and more on the utilization of these programmes and activities as opportunities to solicit and facilitate civic engagement. UNDP must therefore view CSOs not solely as implementing partners, but important development actors who play a variety of roles.”[34]

Accreditation and access for civil society

UNDP has no formal accreditation system; however, there are constraints placed upon CSOs who implement on behalf of or partner with the UN agency.[35]

Since 2000, UNDP has engaged a civil society advisory committee, spearheaded by 15 prominent leaders in civil society, which provides a sounding board on policy issues.[36] UNDP was the first IGO to institutionalise a civil society committee into its structure. This pioneering approach has set a standard with other UN organisations who have subsequently integrated civil society committees into their operation.

On broader access to programmatic work, UNDP states:

“Wide variations in national CSO history, diverse configurations, inter-CSO relations and state attitude will inevitably require UNDP to select carefully with whom to engage and how. To assist in the selection process, it is important to assess, develop and publish situationally relevant criteria to determine with which actors from civil society to engage and why. Some significant factors are domestic rootedness, demonstrated mandate, legitimacy as claimant, competence, expertise and accountability.”[37]

The practice

Of the 127 respondents who opted to assess UNDP, 63 of those completed most of the survey. The table below shows answer averages, organised by the four dimensions of IGO engagement.[38]

CSOs say:

“In our experience they are only interested in CSOs they can get the most brownie points for working with (internationally renowned CSOs not small ones) or their favoured few who will not ask questions.”

“We need to differentiate between donor-funded agencies, which already have their agenda decided at EU or UN, [and] then use civil society organisations to give a blanket approval to their programme by organising a conference or workshop.”

“UNDP tends to expect from CSOs to do a lot of work for little money and behaves patronisingly – this approach should change by way of truly changing the organisational culture and engagement; creating forums and interaction that mean something.”

“[UNDP needs to facilitate] additional funding, better coordination through UN Country Representatives…”

CSO responses to UNDP survey

CSO responses to UNDP surveyObstacles to engaging UNDP

Civil society voices

We asked civil society what UNDP should prioritise to improve civil society access to its main decision-making body. Respondents ranked eight items in order of priority, where 1 was the highest priority. The highest ranked answer was identifying appropriate interlocutors to reach different types of CSOs.

How to improve access to decision-making, UNDP

How to improve access to decision making UNDP

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United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR)

Founded

1950

Headquarters

Geneva, Switzerland

Information on civil society engagement can be accessed here.

Mandate

“The agency is mandated to lead and coordinate international action to protect refugees and resolve refugee problems worldwide. Its primary purpose is to safeguard the rights and well-being of refugees. It strives to ensure that everyone can exercise the right to seek asylum and find safe refuge in another State, with the option to return home voluntarily, integrate locally or to resettle in a third country.”[39]

Capacity

UNHCR has staff of more than 7,600 people in over than 125 countries continues to help tens of millions of people.

The promise on civil society engagement

“Since the [Inter Agency] Unit’s creation in 1975, UNHCR has given high priority to its relations with NGOs and considers the NGO community an important partner in the implementation of its assistance programmes and in the promotion of refugee rights… Their role includes participation in the formulation of programme activities and, increasingly, in related policy discussions. The Inter-Agency Unit promotes information exchange and discussions between UNHCR and NGOs through support for NGO observers at the Executive Committee. It also organises pre-Executive Committee NGO consultations and regular protection and region-specific briefings for NGOs.”[40]

Accreditation and access for civil society

Although UNHCR does not use formal accreditation mechanisms, the UN agency does place an emphasis on partnerships with civil society. The Partners in Action (PARinAC), the framework presents the basis for civil society integration into refugee operations.[41] The framework agreement for operational partnership (FAOP)[42] highlights commitments to partnering with civil society. The aforementioned framework features collaboration in implementation of projects as a core aim of the agency, whilst providing a code of conduct, outlining what is expected from both sides of the partnership. UNHCR also hosts annual consultations with NGOs to address pertinent issues relevant to the mandate of the organisation.[43] Both UNHCR and NGOs can suggest themes for discussion, which are then voted upon by attendees.[44]

The practice

11 respondents who opted to assess UNHCR. The table below shows answer averages, organised by the four dimensions of IGO engagement.[45]

CSOs say:

“NGOs admitted by UNHCR [they don't use the term accreditation] are fully accepted in the UNHCR meetings and policy discussion fora.”

“UNHCR [has the best IGO outreach] because their programmes directly address the problems of the population.”

Survey responses for UNHCR

Survey responses for UNHCRObstacles to engaging UNHCR

Civil society voices

We asked civil society what UNHCR should prioritise to improve civil society access to its main decision-making body. Respondents ranked eight items in order of priority, where 1 was the highest priority.

Civil society priorities for improving access, UNHCR

Civil society priorities for improving access UNHCR

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UN Women

Founded

2010

Headquarters

New York, USA

Information on civil society engagement can be accessed here.

Mandate

“To support intergovernmental bodies, such as the Commission on the Status of Women, in their formulation of policies, global standards and norms. To help member states to implement these standards, standing ready to provide suitable technical and financial support to those countries that request it, and to forge effective partnerships with civil society. To hold the UN system accountable for its own commitments on gender equality, including regular monitoring of system-wide progress.”[46]

Capacity

UN Women has 524 staff members, based in headquarters and five regional offices based around the world. UN Women also has four liaison offices. 

The promise on civil society engagement

“Civil society is one of UN Women’s most important constituencies. It is a dynamic source of ideas and policy perspectives, partnerships and support. It plays a vital role in advancing shared strategic objectives to promote gender equality, women’s rights and empowerment… By being part of the civil society coordination and knowledge-sharing networks of the UN system, UN Women helps find additional opportunities for civil society to engage around key issues on the global agenda. These currently include international deliberations within the UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues. We also work with civil society and women’s groups so that their views will be reflected in international development agendas after the 2015 endpoint of the Millennium Development Goals.”[47]

Accreditation and access for civil society

UN Women routes civil society accreditation through ECOSOC for access to its decision-making hubs. It states that, “NGOs that are accredited to and in good standing with the Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) may send representatives to annual sessions of CSW at United Nations Headquarters.”[48]

ECOSOC accreditation allows CSOs to observe discussions and make written and oral statements on relevant topics. UN Women also coordinates civil society advisory groups, which are implemented at regional and local levels.[49] However, being an operational implementing partner of UN Women is a prerequisite for attendance at a civil society advisory group meeting for CSOs.[50][C3]

The practice

15 respondents completed surveys for UN Women. The table below shows answer averages, organised by the four dimensions of IGO engagement.

CSOs say:

“Sometimes what matters is the level of local engagement by governments with CSOs. If a government wants to gate keep the IGO engagement with CSOs it can easily do so.”

“[Accreditation means] you can participate in working committees and CSO consultation processes.”

“We do not have the same concerns and these people (IGOs) always prefer to work with governments. It seems that often we are not on the same wave length!

“[UN Women] involve civil society as part of the game not as an observer.”

Survey responses for UN Women

Survey responses for UN WomenObstacles to engaging UN Women

Civil society voices

We asked civil society what UN Women should prioritise to improve civil society access to its main-decision-making body. Respondents ranked eight items in order of priority, where 1 was the highest priority.

Civil society priorities for improving access, UN Women

Civil society priorities for improving access UN Women

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World Food Programme (WFP)

Founded

1963

Headquarters

Rome, Italy

Information on civil society engagement can be accessed here.

Mandate

“WFP is the food aid arm of the United Nations system. Food aid is one of the many instruments that can help to promote food security, which is defined as access of all people at all times to the food needed for an active and healthy life. The policies governing the use of WFP food aid must be oriented towards the objective of eradicating hunger and poverty. The ultimate objective of food aid should be the elimination of the need for food aid.”[51]

Capacity

WFP employs roughly 12,000 staff, of whom 90 percent worked in the field delivering food and monitoring its use. WFP also has 80 field offices around the globe.[52]

The promise on civil society engagement

“WFP's operational and knowledge partnerships with other United Nations

agencies, international organizations, non-governmental organizations (NGOs), civil society and the private sector, including through the logistics, food security, emergency telecommunications and other clusters, bring complementary skills and capacities necessary to ensure access to nutritious food while contributing to durable solutions in diverse contexts.”[53]

Accreditation and access for civil society

The WFP has no formal accreditation process; however it does implement Field Level Partnership Agreements between the IGO and CSOs.[54]

The UN Non-Governmental Liaison Service (UN-NGLS) states:

“Aside from partnering with WFP at the operational level, NGOs also engage with WFP at the strategic policy level, through consultations on specific themes such as the high food prices and the financial crisis, as well as the annual WFP-NGO consultation. In addition, NGOs contribute to several United Nations-led fora, including the Committee on World Food Security (CFS), the High-Level Task Force on the Global Food Security Crisis (HLTF), and the Standing Committee on Nutrition (UNSCN).”[55]

The World Food Programme also invites NGO observers to its Executive Board, who they are able to speak on request. The WFP also holds an annual civil society consultation at this event. NGOs are encouraged to determine the thematic areas on the agenda.[56][C4]

The practice

6 respondents completed surveys for WFP. The table below shows answer averages, organised by the four dimensions of IGO engagement.[57]

CSOs say:

The “IGO [WFP] should improve in their area of operation they should avoid projects which are not sustainable to the community members. Their programmes should be completed with accountability and transparency.”

“CSOs should be in loop when agency has prepared plan for particular region instead of forcing an IGO plan on them.”

“Many times I have reached out to them for any assistance or even advice on how it can work best to boost food security in Africa they have never responded! Nor even shown any concern apart from just updating me on what they think best.”

Survey responses for WFP

Survey responses for WFPObstacles to engaging WFP

Civil society voices

We asked civil society what WFP should prioritise to improve civil society access to its main decision-making body. Respondents ranked eight items in order of priority, where 1 was the highest priority.

Civil society priorities for improving access, WFP

Civil society priorities for improving access WFP

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World Trade Organisation (WTO)

Founded

1995

Headquarters

Geneva, Switzerland

Information on civil society engagement can be accessed here.

Mandate

“The World Trade Organization is an organisation for trade opening. It is a forum for governments to negotiate trade agreements. It is a place for them to settle trade disputes. It operates a system of trade rules. Essentially, the WTO is a place where member governments try to sort out the trade problems they face with each other.[58] The WTO provides a forum for negotiating agreements aimed at reducing obstacles to international trade and ensuring a level playing field for all, thus contributing to economic growth and development.”[59]

Capacity

The WTO Secretariat has 621 staff, including 70 individuals from the WTO’s members.[60]

The promise on civil society engagement

“As the Doha Round progresses it is vital that the WTO continue to engage civil society. For me, civil society and governments are both important interlocutors.”

 – Pascal Lamy, Former Director (2005)[61] [C5] 

“There can be no doubting the fact that we can improve in all areas of our work including… improving our links… with civil society.”

 – Supachai Panitchpakdi, Former Director (2005)[62]

“I believe we have made real progress in our efforts to enhance the WTO’s image and engage civil society. We are reaching out to NGOs through regular seminars and symposia… We are also seeking to encourage a greater level of engagement from business leaders, trade unions and other sectors of civil society.”

 – Mike Moore, Former Director (2002)[63]

Accreditation and access for civil society

A significant advance in the WTO's practice of engagement with NGOs is the recent accreditation granted to Geneva-based NGOs to access the WTO for meetings and relevant workshops.[64] Prior to this civil society organisations had to be accredited to attend the Ministerial Conference or register upon entry to a meeting with the WTO.[65] The WTO also hosts a public forum event for over 9,000 people, which CSOs can attend; the public forum was first launched in 2001.[66]

The practice

Five respondents completed surveys for WTO. The table below shows answer averages, organised by the four dimensions of IGO engagement.

CSOs say:

“The grass roots CSOs are less recognised.”

“[Accreditation allows you] to be present in formal consultation processes and bodies”

“[CSO outreach] should be extended more and make more frequent and in-depth consultations to link topics of interest and common theme”

Survey responses for WTO

Survey Responses for WTOObstacles to engaging WTO

Civil society voices

We asked civil society what WTO should prioritise to improve civil society access to its main decision-making body. Respondents ranked eight items in order of priority, where 1 was the highest priority.

Civil society priorities for improving access, WTO

Civil society priorities for improving access WTO

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Appendix: Developing the next Scorecard 

 

The findings presented thus far report activities undertaken for this pilot phase of the Scorecard. It is our goal to develop the Scorecard next year by scoring and then weighting civil society assessments of specific IGOs.

How would this work? One option for scoring and weighting responses is to make each of the four dimensions (Access, Policy Dialogue, Programme Partnering and Empowerment) worth a certain number of points, which could be summed for overall scores. The table below outlines a potential weighting scheme.

The weighting scheme intentionally discriminates in favour of IGOs that enable CSOs to access their main decision-making body (Access) and engage CSOs in policy dialogue (Policy). This means that an IGO that has significant country-level engagement with CSOs, but has little dialogue at its global (headquarters) level will not have a high overall score. This does not mean that the IGO has ‘weak’ engagement with CSOs. It does, however, suggest that at the global level – the level of interest to the Scorecard – the IGO is not deeply or meaningfully engaging with CSOs.

Developing the next Scorecard: Framework for scoring engagement

Developing the next Scorecard Framework for scoring engagement

Were such a weighting scheme used in the next Scorecard, we can preview how IGOs might be scored based on responses to the pilot Scorecard. These ‘scores’ should not be used to compare IGOs, since in most cases too few responses were received for specific IGOs. Rather, the purpose is to illustrate how a future Scorecard might weigh questions and then sum assessments of individual IGOs.

Developing the next Scorecard: Heat map of scores

A heatmap of scores

Developing the next Scorecard: Overall scores

Developing the next scorecard Overall Scores

Developing the next Scorecard: Scores in four dimensions

IGO Scores in Four Categories

 


 

[1] FAO, “About Us,” accessed 29/04/2014 at: http://www.fao.org/about/en .

[2] FAO, “Who We Are,” accessed 29/04/2014 at: http://www.fao.org/about/who-we-are/en .

[3] FAO, “Partnerships, Civil Society,” accessed 29/04/2014 at: http://www.fao.org/partnerships/civil-society/en .

[4] FAO, “Committee on Constitutional and Legal Matters,” accessed 29/04/2014 at: http://www.fao.org/docrep/meeting/030/mj698e.pdf .

[5] Ibid.

[6] ILO, “About Us,” accessed 29/04/2014 at: http://www.ilo.org/global/about-the-ilo/lang--en/index.htm .

[7] ILO, “How the ILO Works,” accessed 29/04/2014 at: http://www.ilo.org/global/about-the-ilo/how-the-ilo-works/lang--en/index.htm .

[8] ILO, “Greening the Blue,” accessed 29/04/2014 at: http://www.greeningtheblue.org/what-the-un-is-doing/international-labour-organization-ilo .

[9] ILO, “Engaging with Civil Society,” accessed 29/04/2104 at: http://www.ilo.org/pardev/civil-society/lang--en/index.htm .

[10] The United Nations Non-Governmental Liaison Service (UN-NGLS), “International Labour Organisation,” accessed 29/04/2014 at: http://www.un-ngls.org/spip.php?page=article_fr_s&id_article=808 .

[11] OHCHR, “Mandate” accessed 29/04/2012 at: http://www.ohchr.org/EN/AboutUs/Pages/Mandate.aspx 

[12] OHCHR “Annual Report 2013” accessed 29/04/2014 at: http://www2.ohchr.org/english/OHCHRReport2013/WEB_version/allegati/downloads/1_The_whole_Report_2013.pdf 

[13] OHCHR “About Us” accessed 29/04/2014 at: http://www.ohchr.org/EN/AboutUs/Pages/CivilSociety.aspx 

[14] Although, OHCHR has no formal accreditation system, our survey collected perceptions on accreditation across all 10 IGOs that were part of this study to assess overall levels of perceived access to the IGOs and associate bodies.

[15]The World Bank Group, “What We Do” accessed 29/04/2014 at: http://www.worldbank.org/en/about/what-we-doc 

[16]The World Bank Group, “About Us” accessed 29/04/2014 at: http://web.worldbank.org/WBSITE/EXTERNAL/EXTSITETOOLS/0,,contentMDK:20147466~menuPK:344189~pagePK:98400~piPK:98424~theSitePK:95474,00.html#8 

[17] The World Bank Group, “World Bank – Civil Society Engagement” (2013) accessed 29/04/2014 at: http://siteresources.worldbank.org/CSO/Resources/228716-1369241545034/CSReviewFY10-12FINAL.pdf  

[18]The World Bank Group “Spring Meetings – Civil Society Programme” accessed 29/04/2014 at: http://web.worldbank.org/WBSITE/EXTERNAL/TOPICS/CSO/0,,contentMDK:23562593~noSURL:Y~pagePK:220503~piPK:220476~theSitePK:228717,00.html 

[19]Garrison, J “New Report Highlights Significant Advances in World Bank – CSO Relations” 08/21/2013. Accessed 29/04/2014 at: http://blogs.worldbank.org/publicsphere/new-report-highlights-significant-advances-world-bank-cso-relations 

[20] The World Bank Group, “Consultations” accessed 29/04/2014 at: http://consultations.worldbank.org/?map=1 

[21] The World Bank Group, “Engaging with Citizens for Improved Results” accessed 29/04/2014 at: https://consultations.worldbank.org/consultation/engaging-citizens-improved-results 

[22]The World Bank Group, “Approach to World Bank Group’s Engagement with Civil Society” accessed 29/04/2014 at: http://web.worldbank.org/WBSITE/EXTERNAL/TOPICS/CSO/0,,contentMDK:20093200~menuPK:220424~pagePK:220503~piPK:220476~theSitePK:228717,00.html  

[23] Global Partnership for Social Accountability accessed 29/04/2014 at: http://www.thegpsa.org/sa/  

[24] Although, The World Bank Group has no formal accreditation system, our survey collected perceptions on accreditation across all 10 IGOs that were part of this study to assess overall levels of perceived access to the IGOs and associate bodies.

[25] UNAIDS, “UNAIDS welcomes the appointment of Ambassador Deborah Birx as the new US Global AIDS Coordinator,” 2014, accessed 29/04/2014 at: http://www.unaids.org/en/resources/presscentre/pressreleaseandstatementarchive/2014/april/20140402pepfar .

[26] UNAIDS, “Greening the Blue,” accessed 29/04/2014 at: http://www.greeningtheblue.org/what-the-un-is-doing/joint-united-nations-programme-hivaids-unaids .

[27] UNAIDS, “Guidance for Partnerships with Civil Society, Including People Living with HIV and Key Populations,” 2011, accessed 29/04/2014 at: http://www.unaids.org/en/media/unaids/contentassets/documents/unaidspublication/2012/JC2236_guidance_partnership_civilsociety_en.pdf .

[28] Ibid.

[29] Ibid.

[30] UNAIDS, “UNAIDS Programme Coordinating Board,” accessed 29/04/2014 at: http://www.unaids.org/en/aboutunaids/unaidsprogrammecoordinatingboard.

[31] Although, UN AIDS has no formal accreditation system, our survey collected perceptions on accreditation across all 10 IGOs that were part of this study to assess overall levels of perceived access to the IGOs and associate bodies.

[32] UNDP, “Our Work – Overview,” accessed 29/04/20014 at: http://www.undp.org/content/undp/en/home/ourwork/overview.html .

[33] UNDP, “A World of Development Experience”, accessed 29/04/2014 at: http://www.undp.org/content/undp/en/home/operations/about_us.html .

[34] UNDP Strategy on Civil Society and Civic Engagement, 2012, pg 10.

[35] UNDP, “UNDP and Civil Society Organisations; A Policy of Engagement,” 2001, accessed 29/04/2014 at: http://www.undp.org/content/dam/undp/documents/partners/civil_society/publications/2001_UNDP-and-Civil-Society-Organizations-A-Policy-of-Engagement_EN.pdf .

[36] UNDP, “Civil Society Advisory Committee to UNDP,” accessed 29/04/2014 at: http://www.undp.org/content/undp/en/home/ourwork/partners/civil_society_organizations/advisorycommittee.html .

[37] UNDP, “UNDP and Civil Society Organisations: A Policy of Engagement,” 2001, accessed 29/04/2014 at: http://www.undp.org/content/dam/undp/documents/partners/civil_society/publications/2001_UNDP-and-Civil-Society-Organizations-A-Policy-of-Engagement_EN.pdf .

[38] Although, UNDP has no formal accreditation system, our survey collected perceptions on accreditation across all 10 IGOs that were part of this study to assess overall levels of perceived access to the IGOs and associate bodies.

[39] UNHCR, “What We Do,” accessed 29/04/2014 at: http://www.unhcr.org/pages/49c3646cbf.html .

[40] The United Nations Non-Governmental Liaison Service (UN-NGLS), “UNHCR,” accessed 29/04/2014 at: http://www.un-ngls.org/spip.php?page=article_s&id_article=811 .

[41] UNHCR, “Framework of Agreement for Operational Partnership,” accessed 29/04/2014 at: http://www.unhcr.org/3bbc7968a.html .

[42] UNHCR, “Partnership: An Operations Management Handbook for UNHCR Partners,” accessed 29/04/2014 at: http://www.unhcr.org/4a39f7706.pdf .

[43] UNHCR, UNHCR Annual Consultations with Civil Society, accessed 29/04/2014 at: http://www.unhcr.org/ngo-consultations .

[44] E Pittaway and J Thompson, “A guide of NGOs participating in the UNHCR’s Annual Consultations with NGOs,” UNHCR, 2008, accessed 29/04/2014 at: http://www.unhcr.org/49d336774.pdf .

[45] Although, UNHCR has no formal accreditation system, our survey collected perceptions on accreditation across all 10 IGOs that were part of this study to assess overall levels of perceived access to the IGOs and associate bodies.

[46] UN Women, “About UN Women,” accessed 29/04/2014 at: http://www.unwomen.org/en/about-us/about-un-women .

[47] UN Women, “Civil Society,” accessed 29/04/2014 at: http://www.unwomen.org/en/partnerships/civil-society .

[48] UN Women, “NGO accreditation Eligibility,” accessed 29/04/2014 at: http://www.unwomen.org/en/csw/ngo-participation/eligibility .

[49] UN Women, “Civil Society Advisory Groups,” accessed 29/04/2014 at: http://www.unwomen.org/en/partnerships/civil-society/civil-society-advisory-groups .

[50] UN Women, “Guiding Principles, UN Women’s Civil Society Advisory Groups,” accessed 29/04/2014 at: http://www.unwomen.org/~/media/Headquarters/Attachments/Sections/Partnerships/Civil%20Society/Guiding_principles_Civil_Society_Advisory_Groups.pdf .

[51] WFP, “Mission Statement,” accessed 29/04/2014 at: http://www.wfp.org/about/mission-statement .

[52] WFP, “Frequently Asked Questions,” accessed 29/04/2014 at: http://www.wfp.org/faqs#faq7 .

[53] WFP “Strategic Plan 2014-2017 accessed 29/04/2014 at: http://documents.wfp.org/stellent/groups/public/documents/eb/wfpdoc062522.pdf 

[54] WFP “Working with WFP” accessed 29/04/2014 at: http://www.wfp.org/about/partners/ngos/working-wfp 

[55] UN-NGLS, “The World Food Programme,” accessed 29/04/2014 at: http://www.un-ngls.org/spip.php?page=article_s&id_article=817 .

[56] UN-NGLS, “UN System and Civil Society – An Inventory and Analysis of Practices,” accessed on 29/04/2014 at: http://www.un-ngls.org/orf/ecosoc%20HL%20Panel%20-%20Background%20paper%20by%20Secretariat.doc .

[57] Although, The WFP has no formal accreditation system, our survey collected perceptions on accreditation across all 10 IGOs that were part of this study to assess overall levels of perceived access to the IGOs and associate bodies. 

[58] WTO, “Understanding the WTO – Who We Are,” accessed 29/04/2014 at: http://www.wto.org/english/thewto_e/whatis_e/who_we_are_e.htm .

[59] WTO, “About the WTO – A statement by former Director-General Pascal Lamy”, accessed 29/04/2014 at: http://www.wto.org/english/thewto_e/whatis_e/wto_dg_stat_e.htm .

[60] WTO, Annual Report, 2013, accessed 29/04/2014 at: http://www.wto.org/english/res_e/booksp_e/anrep_e/anrep13_e.pdf .

[61] WTO, “NGO Roundtable Forum: the WTO's Sixth Ministerial Conference in Hong Kong,” 2005, accessed 29/04/2014 at: http://www.wto.org/english/news_e/sppl_e/sppl09_e.htm . See also Williams, M. (2011). Civil society and the WTO: contesting accountability. In J. A. Scholte (Ed.), Building Global Democracy? Civil Society and Accountable Global Governance (pp. 105–127). Cambridge University Press

[62] WTO, “The WTO after 10 years: the lessons learned and the challenges ahead,” 2005, accessed 29/04/2014 at: http://www.wto.org/english/news_e/spsp_e/spsp35_e.htm .

[63] WTO, “Director-General's farewell speech to the General Council,” 2002, accessed 29/04/2014 at: http://www.wto.org/english/news_e/spmm_e/spmm89_e.htm .

[64] WTO, “WTO Rules for Transparency and Engagement with Civil Society Organisations,” 2012, accessed 29/04/2014 at: http://www.wto.org/english/res_e/reser_e/ersd201214_e.pdf .

[65] WTO, “Ministerial Conferences,” accessed 29/04/2014 at: http://www.wto.org/english/thewto_e/minist_e/mc9_e/ngo_e.htm .

[66] WTO, “NGOs and the WTO,” accessed 29/04/2014 at: http://www.wto.org/english/forums_e/ngo_e/ngo_e.htm .

 [C1]Changed to numerals for consistency within the sentence.

 [JWG2]We haven't consulted on adjustment lending in over 10 years, but continue to consult on our climate change policies.

 [C3]Please ask the research team to check this link.

 [C4]Please have the research team check and revise this link. It may be best to link to the UN-GLS website where this item can be searched, as the direct link to the pdf from Google appears to have errors when being reproduced in text.

 [C5]Please ask the research team to provide the full source for Williams (2011), or remove.