2020 Global NGO International Development Forum
2020 Global NGO Forum on International Development:
Promotion of Inclusive Partnership between Government and Civil Society in International Development
Although Taiwan’s international presence is gradually diminished and has suffered unfair treatment internationally, its mature civil society has fully demonstrated strength through NGOs’ international participation. Taiwan’s civil society organizations not only routinely participate in or organize international meetings, but also engage in international cooperation and development projects. Their outstanding efforts and performance in the fields of humanitarian and medical assistance, poverty and disease eradication, promotion of democracy and human rights, and sustainable development have earned international recognition and respect and augments Taiwan’s international visibility and image.
As for international cooperation and development, Taiwan’s NGOs have been involved in projects on education, medical care, women’s empowerment, livelihood improvement, water resource and public health, community development, agriculture and technology, etc. In recent years, they have further started implementing the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) incrementally, collaborating with civil organizations to respond to important international development trends, and actively participate in important international networks, aiming to achieve the goal of “Leave no one behind.”
In 2019, members of the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) Development Assistance Committee (DAC) provided a total of US$152.78 billion in official development assistance, which accounted for 0.30% of their GNI. In the same year, Taiwan’s contribution that met the OECD’s ODA criteria came to around 318 million (Approximately NT$ 9.537 billion), accounting for 0.051% of its GNI, which is still far from the UN’s goal of 0.7%. Neighboring countries like Japan had ODA absolute amounts measuring at US$14.2 billion, with an ODA/GNI ratio of 0.28%, while Korea stands at US$2.4billion, with an ODA/GNI ratio of 0.15%.
Looking to other countries, the U.S. government and Japan respectively allocate 24% of ODA funds to NGOs for international cooperation and development projects and US$300 million per year. In contrast, the amount of funds that the Taiwanese government provides stands at merely around one million USD. Given this predicament, the Institute for National Policy Research and Taiwan Alliance in International Development (Taiwan AID), a Taiwanese NGO platform, co-organized the "2020 Global NGO Forum on International Development," intending to not only raise civil society and government's awareness and ability in international cooperation and development but also promote the formation of inclusive partnerships between government and civil society organizations.
About the Forum
The Institute of National Policy Research and the Taiwan AID jointly held the 2020 Global NGO Forum on International Development at the Howard Civil Service International House from Oct. 5-6. The Forum was divided into four panels, two keynote speeches, two roundtable forums centered on topics of government and civil society partnership, challenges and opportunities of government, business and civil partnerships, the impact of COVID-19 on the development of international cooperation, and the youth and disadvantaged groups’ participation in such alliances. And finally, the event was concluded with a recapitulation of the prospects and implementation of the UN SDGs.
Mr. Sam Worthington, CEO of InterAction, an American NGO platform organization, kicked off the forum with a keynote speech moderated by Dr. Hong-mao Tien to discuss "Social Impact and Innovation in International Development Programming." Mr. Worthington shared the history of the development of American NGOs, the experience from the collaboration between InterAction and the U.S. government, and the evolution of American NGOs’ partnerships with companies. In the end, he concluded by making some remarks on the role of innovation and repositioning in NGOs.
The first panel “Challenges and Opportunities in Government-Civil Society Partnerships” was moderated by Dr. Nina Kao, Taiwan AID Executive Director. Panelists included Mr. Jin-ho Song, Vice President of Korea International Cooperation Agency (KOICA); Dr. Cameron Hill, Australian Council for International Development (ACFID) Policy and Advocacy Advisor; Ms. Jennifer del Rosario-Malonzo, Deputy Executive Director of IBON International in the Philippines; Ms. Jyotsna Mohan, Regional Coordinator of the Asia Development Alliance (ADA); and Mr. Nicolas Moyer, President of the Canadian Council of International Cooperation (CCIC). Mr. Song shared the cooperation between the South Korean government and civil society partnerships under the pandemic, as well as the outlook of ODA and the role of CSOs in the post-pandemic era; Dr. Hill presented the countermeasures adopted by AFCID amid challenges brought by the pandemic, as well as his observations on the development of civil society in the Asia-Pacific region; Ms. Rosario-Malonzo put forward the concept of "Interface" to discuss how to construct an advantageous space for partnerships, debates, and negotiations under the challenges of democratic governance, the pandemic, and the privatization of development plans so that civil society can have meaningful participation in public policy; Ms. Jyotsna set the 2030 UN SDGs as the main topic to discuss the cooperation between civil society and government; Mr. Nicolas talked about how Canadian civil society established effective collaboration with their federal government in the field of international development.
The first roundtable forum was themed "Roundtable with Youth Representatives: The Partnership We Want.” Ambassador Rong-chuan Wu, Senior Consultant of INPR, served as the moderator, and invited Mr. Suman Khadka, President of Youth Initiative, Nepal; Ms. Tuhi Martukaw, founder of LIMA Indigenous Youth Working Group, Taiwan; Mr. Lavetanalagi Seru, co-founder of Alliance for Future Generation, Fiji; and Ms. Mayumi Sato, Research Fellow at the Samuel Centre for Social Connectedness and Junior Writer for Landscape News at the Center for International Forestry Research, as panelists. Mr. Khadka pointed out that the government should regard youth as partners and include them in the decision-making process; Ms. Martukaw shared the practice of good governance in indigenous tribal society and youth actions under the theme of “We are Experts”; Mr. Seru presented the topic “Reimagining the partnerships with young people to advance the 2030 Agenda" to share his experience in promoting youth sustainable development, focusing on alignment among Pacific youths to break the status quo; Ms. Sato proposed that youths can contribute to the decision-making of multi-stakeholders, especially the incorporation of the ideas of young people and minorities in social justice work, as by doing so will help society move towards positive reconciliation in human rights issues and social injustices.
The second panel “Best Practices in Government-Civil Society Partnerships and Enabling Environment Good Policy Creation, Necessary Investment, Conducive Legal Framework, and Accountability“ was moderated by Ambassador Eugene Chien, Chairman of the Taiwan Institute for Sustainable Energy (TAISE). Panelists included Mr. Kam Morshed, Senior Director of Advocacy, Partnership, and Technology; Ms. Sarah Strack, Director of Forus International, a global NGO platform organization; Dr. Jacqueline Wood, Senior Civil Society Specialist of the OECD Development Cooperation Directorate; Ms. Pansy Tun Thein, CEO of Myanmar’s Local Resource Center; and Mr. Hideki Wakabayashi, Director of Japan NGO Center for International Cooperation (JANIC). Mr. Morshed shared the development of Bangladesh’s NGOs and the strategy of establishing a closer partnership between BRAC and the government; Ms. Strack discussed the constraints of civil society freedom and the elements in creating an enabling environment for both the civic sector and the government, and how the government’s relief plan should be expanded under the pandemic; Ms. Wood discussed an OECD report, published in April, 2020, on "Development Assistance Committee Members and Civil Society," which examines committee members’ investment in bilateral ODA and ways to build a more effective cooperation with CSOs, including a diversified allocation of funds, self-autonomy of such organizations, etc.; Ms. Tun Thein shared the history of Myanmar’s CSOs’ development and the practice of relevant government regulations; Mr. Wakabayashi shared the development cooperation partnership between the Japanese government and NGOs, and proposed that the government should make investments in NGOs strategically to build the capacity of civil society so as to achieve the sustainable development goals.
The third panel discussion “The Impact of COVID-19 on Partnerships between Government, Private Sector and Civil Society”, moderated by Mr. Anthony Carlisle, International Affairs Supervisor of the Garden of Hope Foundation, welcomed former Taiwan Vice President and current Academia Sinica Genomics Research Center academician Dr. Chien-jen Chen to deliver a keynote speech on Taiwan's pandemic prevention experience. Dr. Chen shared Taiwan's use of information technology, real-time border pandemic prevention measures, with concurrent transparent information available, which played a key role in establishing the credibility of the CDC so that Taiwan can keep the pandemic effectively under control. Moreover, Ms. Jaeeun Shin, Director of Policy Education Center, Korea NGO Council for Overseas Development Cooperation (KCOC); Ms. Cindy Southworth, Facebook’s Women’s Safety Policy Manager; Mr. Douglas Rutzen, President & CEO of the International Center for Not-for-Profit Law, USA; and Dr. Soawapak Hinjoy, Director of Office of International Cooperation, Department of Disease Control, Thailand, were the panelists.
Ms. Shin shared what role South Korea’s civil society and government partnerships play in their society during the pandemic, and called for attention to the needs of vulnerable groups in developing countries, while remaining heedful of domestic situations; Ms. Southworth shared her firsthand experience in ending domestic violence and sexual assault through the utilization of technology in collaborations between Facebook and NGOs during the pandemic; Mr. Douglas offered his views from a legal perspective, stating the role of civil society under the pandemic is suppressed by the government, which is also taking advantage of the current circumstance to restrict basic freedoms, and that the democratic system is being hurt by the safety measures undertaken during the pandemic; Dr. Hinjoy shared Thailand’s experience in pandemic prevention, and how local CSOs can reach into communities where the government cannot, provide pandemic prevention information, and track patients’ health in the community.
The second keynote speech invited Dr. Eun mee Kim, a professor from the Graduate School of International Studies at Ewha Women’s University in South Korea, to give a speech on the topic of "New Trends in Government-Civil Society Partnerships in ODA." Ms. Rebecca Wang, Executive Director of Taiwan AID, served as the moderator. Dr. Kim's speech focused on the “Global Sustainable Development Report (GSDR) 2019: Implications for a Renewed Government-Civil Society Partnership for the Sustainable Development Goals,” explaining that the 17 sustainable development goals are inseparable; hence, the government should not just take the simple ones into consideration. Furthermore, she presented 6 aspects and 4 strategies in solving some of the global problems we face today. Dr. Kim believes that civil society should put pressure on the government to pressure them into making the SDGs a priority, which then leads to cooperation between both sides to meet the SDGs by 2030.
The fourth panel discussion on "Inclusive Partnerships with Marginalized Groups" was moderated by Dr. Yu-yuan Kuan, Professor of the Department of Social Welfare at National Chung Cheng University. Panelists of this discussion were Dr. Edna Adan Ismali, Director of Edna Adan Hospital in Somaliland; Ms. Emma Lee, Director General of the International Development Division in Eden Social Welfare Foundation Taiwan; Mr. Themba Lewis, Secretary-General of the Asia Pacific Refugee Rights Network; and Ms. Eni Lestari Andayani Adi, Chairperson of the International Migrant Alliance. Dr. Edna Adan Ismali talked about opening a hospital and training medical professionals with the aim of improving the medical environment in Somaliland; Director Lee shared the experience of partnering with the Association for Empowerment of Persons with Disabilities (AEPD) in Vietnam on a landmine survivors project to demonstrate how overseas collaboration works. In addition, she provided more detailed information on how the project provided vocational training to victims to aid their capacity-building and raise awareness on such issues. Mr. Themba Lewis used the slogan "Nothing about us without us" in discussing the lack of refugee participation in the assistance work, emphasizing the importance of inclusive policies. Ms. Eni Lestari Andayani Adi discussed the exclusion of migrant workers in the society, the predicament faced by migrant workers in labor exporting and receiving countries, and how neglecting migrant workers may impact the pandemic, the community, and the government negatively.
The forum wrapped up with a concluding roundtable on the topic of "Are We on Track to Achieve SDGs? ” 5-Year Review of SDG Implementation and Global Partnership," moderated by Mr. Jay Hung, Chairperson of Taiwan AID. Mr. Ingo Ritz, Director of Global Call to Action Against Poverty (GCAP), Ms. Maria Ima Carmela L. Ariate, Officer in Charge of Planning, Monitoring and Evaluation at the Asia Pacific Research Network (APRN), Ms. Lysa John Berna, Secretary General of CIVICUS, and Ms. Wanun Permpibul, Executive Director of Climate Watch Thailand served as panelists. Mr. Ritz emphasized the government should fund development projects and establish a social safeguard network to help eradicate inequality and poverty; Ms. Ariate proposed to put people’s rights at the core of the agenda in development justice, and abandon the business-as-usual model; Ms. Berna points out the importance of including civil society in the global governance system seeing the current retrogression of civil society is posing a major challenge to sustainable development goals. Moreover, we should prioritize the well-being of people rather than the GDP as a performance indicator to invest more resources to implement people’s sustainable rights development; Ms. Permpibul proposed that the solution to climate change must be in accordance with disadvantaged communities’ voices, and decision-makers must treat local CSOs as equal partners so that the implementation of SDGs can align with people’s needs.
The 2020 Global NGO Forum on International Development: Promotion of Inclusive Partnership between Government and Civil Society in International Development was successfully held in Taipei from October 5-6, 2020. The results were fruitful despite the challenges posed by the ongoing pandemic. The participants made a joint declaration as follows:
We, the participants of the “2020 Global NGO Forum on International Development –Inclusive Partnership between Government and Civil Society in International Development”, which was held in Taipei from October 5th to 6th, would like to make the following statement:
1. Recognize the Important Role of CSOs in International Development: Civil society organizations (CSOs) play a vital role in international development and cooperation, as highlighted by the Busan Statement of 2011. CSOs should not be overlooked, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic.
2. Ensure an Enabling Environment for CSOs: In order to create and sustain an enabling environment for CSOs to exercise their independence, enthusiasm and expertise, we call for appropriate legal frameworks and public policies to ensure rights of assembly, association and freedom of speech. These are necessary factors for CSOs to effectively work, perform, and make an impact.
3. Strengthen Inclusive Partnerships: Inclusive partnership between government, business and civil society is key to achieving sustainable development. We call on governments to increase both the amount and percentage of ODA, to and through CSOs, in development cooperation. CSOs are committed to partnering with government and the private sector in the formation of international development and cooperation policies and strategies. We also reaffirm that the internationally-agreed principles of development effectiveness are the solid foundation for achieving Agenda 2030.
4. Cultivate a Sense of Global Citizenship: Global citizenship is a prerequisite for creating an interconnected and sustainable society. As such, we call for widespread education in global citizenship in order to realize the Sustainable Development Goals. Such an effort can ensure all learners acquire knowledge and skills needed to promote sustainable development, as stated in SDG 4.7
5. Pursue Sustainable Resilience: The social and economic crises wreaked by the COVID-19 pandemic have exposed serious flaws in the existing system. CSOs have been greatly affected as well. Hence, we call upon all governments to take appropriate actions to protect human rights and civic freedom, especially in fragile states and vulnerable groups. Any lockdown rules can only be based on necessary public health and security considerations. CSOs promise to work together with governments and the private sector to mobilize all available resources to rebuild societies and pursue sustainable socio-economic resilience in the post-COVID-19 era.