How DAC members work witH Csos in Development Co-operAtion (4 pages)
ll Development Assistance Committee (DAC) members work with civil society organisations (CSOs) – organisations that
include membership-based, cause-based and service-oriented groups – because CSOs are key actors in development.
CSOs implement aid projects and programmes in developing countries, both on behalf of donors and in their own right. They
contribute to donor development co-operation policies and advocate for development issues.
The OECD Development Co-operation Directorate examined how DAC members work with CSOs and non-governmental
organisations (NGOs). The information gathered provides both donors and civil society with a basis for making informed decisions
on how they can work together effectively in the future.
How DAC members
work witH Csos in
A note on NGO-CSO terminology
Although DAC members have traditionally used the term NGO, more are now using the term CSO.
Official development assistance (ODA) is a statistical definition used by OECD to report on development co-operation
expenditure. In reporting ODA provided to non-governmental organisations (NGOs) DAC members use the OECD statistical
reporting directive definition of NGOs as ‘any non-profit entity…without significant government participation or representation’.
This definition is narrower than the now more commonly used term civil society organisation (CSO), which includes non-
governmental organisations among a variety of other organisations.
The study from which this synthesis is drawn, How DAC members work with civil society organisations: An overview, uses
the term NGO where information is derived from DAC statistics. NGO is also used when discussing certain responses from
a survey of 24 OECD-DAC member states and NGO platforms in seven DAC member states in March–April 2010. The term
CSO is used for broad discussions and analysis covering civil society groups which contribute to development.
1.The definition of CSOs agreed by the Advisory Group on Civil Society and Aid Effectiveness is:“CSOs can be defined to include all non-market and non-state organisations outside
of the family in which people organise themselves to pursue shared interests in the public domain. They cover a wide range of organisations that include membership-based CSOs,
cause-based CSOs and service-oriented CSOs. Examples include community-based organisations and village associations, environmental groups, women’s rights groups, farmers’
associations, faith-based organisations, labour unions, co-operatives, professional associations, chambers of commerce, independent research institutes and the not-for-profit
Why DAC memberS pArtNer With NGOS
DAC members work with NGOs for many reasons. The most important reason given is to reach members’ specific development
objectives related to service delivery. NGOs also have a comparative advantage in certain areas. They work closely with beneficiaries
and bring different perspectives to those of official donors to policy discussions. In emergencies they have the ability to respond
rapidly. Not least, NGOs, through their fundraising and awareness raising activities, play an important role in education and
advocacy in DAC member countries.
Most DAC members have some kind of policy or strategy for working with CSOs though these vary widely in nature and scope.
Nearly half have a strategy or policy for working with NGOs to provide humanitarian assistance.