Istanbul Principles

The 8 Istanbul Principles for CSO Development Effectiveness are a set of mutually shared values guiding the development work of CSOs worldwide .

As such, they are an integral part of the International Framework for CSO Development Effectiveness AND a distinct globally acknowledged reference of effective development work for CSOs across the world.

Click here to download a copy of the Istanbul Principles:

ENGLISH - FRANCAIS - ESPAÑOL More language versions: Arabic - Chinese - Finnish - Georgian - Greek - Indonesian - Khmer - Korean - Polish - Portuguese - Ukrainian - Turkish - Russian

- Click here to download the Istanbul Principles POSTER

- Click on the image to access the Open Forum IMAGE LIBRARY

- Go to the webpage of the International Framework for CSO Development Effectiveness

So… what do we do with these Principles? There are a few resources to help guide CSOs in putting the principles of CSO development effectiveness into practice:


A process and collection of activities to start analysing how the Principles relate to your current work, and facilitate the first steps towards strategic planning for implementation


Guidance on how the Istanbul Principles can be applied at local/national level


An interactive online platform and one-stop resource center with tools, case studies and best practices from CSOs who are applying the Principles worldwide

And see what some civil society representatives are saying about the Istanbul Principles and their implementation:

Istanbul Principles – the Background

The 8 Principles for CSO Development Effectiveness are the result of an extensive worldwide consultation process with thousands of civil society organizations (national, regional and thematic consultations), undertaken by civil society itself through the Open Forum for CSO Development Effectiveness. The inputs and perspectives from the thousands of CSOs who participated in the Open Forum consultations were consolidated into a first Synthesis Report and draft Framework for CSO Development Effectiveness in 2010.

During the 1st Global Assembly of the Open Forum, September 2010 in Istanbul, Turkey, civil society representatives from across the globe discussed and debated the draft principles in detail, and finally endorsed the final version, now officially known as the Principles for CSO Development Effectiveness and also widely referred to as the Istanbul Principles. These Principles form the foundation for the final International Framework for CSO Development Effectiveness, which was finalized and endorsed in June 2011 at the 2nd Global Assembly of the Open Forum in Siem Reap, Cambodia.

The International Framework, and the Istanbul Principles therein, form the basis for CSO effectiveness work worldwide.

Official Acknowledgement by the International Development Community

- Busan Partnership for Effective Development Cooperation

Busan Partnership Article 22(b):

We will… encourage CSOs to implement practices that strengthen their accountability and their contribution to development effectiveness, guided by the Istanbul Principles and the International Framework for CSO Development Effectiveness.

- (PLUS see list of individual governments and other stakeholders who have acknowledged and/or endorsed the Istanbul Principles.)

The time is now for implementation of the Principles!

Following the global recognition of the Istanbul Principles and the International Framework of which they are part at the Open Forum Global Assembly in Cambodia and then in the Busan Partnership in 2011, CSOs are taking up the challenge to put the principles into practice in their own work.

Indeed, CSOs across the globe are now bringing the principles of CSO effectiveness to their local realities and building on our significant achievements and global momentum with the support of the Practitioner’s Activity Guide, Implementation Toolkit, and the CSO Wiki.

As demonstrated by CSOs in a variety of contexts, the Istanbul Principles can be used in a multitude of ways on national, regional and international levels.

See some insightful examples and tools used by CSOs here.


Tell us how you have used the Istanbul Principles to affect change or initiate dialogue in your work! Write to us at info at to share your success and challenges with peer CSOs around the world!

- Twitter: #IstanbulPrinciples - we invite all CSOs to use this hash tag to share your own thoughts, implementation stories and tips
- YouTube: Why not do a video on how you use the Istanbul Principles? It can be a video diary, footage of a seminar, or even an animated cartoon!
- Facebook: join us on
- Open Forum blog: share your own story with the world!