What is the Open Forum?

The Open Forum for CSO Development Effectiveness is an initiative conceived of and led by a diverse coalition of CSOs from around the world to identify the elements that are essential to the development effectiveness of CSOs. This process is unique in its effort to create a global CSO consensus on the principles to which we hold ourselves accountable and to which we wish to be held accountable by the constituencies we serve and represent, by our fellow CSOs, and by donors.

This is the first ever global, cross-sectoral initiative in the field of development initiated by CSOs, and its main goal is to define and promote the roles and effectiveness of the CSO sector in development, based on a shared framework of principles.

In order to accomplish this mandate, the Open Forum is conducting consultations with a wide range of CSO representatives, as well as non-CSO stakeholders, in over 50 countries by the end of 2010.

The Open Forum initiative takes place amidst on-going international aid effectiveness processes. It is not, however, a parallel process. Many CSOs do not have any relation to the international aid system, yet decisions made at the international level affect the contexts in which CSOs work. It is, therefore, important that CSOs bring our voices together to define the standards to which we hold ourselves accountable and the circumstances that enable or impede our work.

The Open Forum for CSO Development Effectiveness has the following key objectives:

1. The creation of an open process, whose credibility and accountability will be based on its
inclusiveness and transparency. It will reach out through country-based, sectoral/thematic, regional and
global processes, enabling CSOs to contribute to and identify with an iterative consensus on CSO
development effectiveness.

2. The development of a CSO vision on development effectiveness through national and international
policy dialogue, taking account of the centrality of the concepts of human rights, gender equality,
environmental sustainability, and the capacity of development actors to lead the changes they seek, as the foundation for situating CSO effectiveness, as well as the effectiveness of donors and governments.

3. An agreement on common principles regarding CSO development effectiveness, through dialogue
and learning. Shared principles will be applied differently by a diversity of CSOs in very different regional
or sectoral contexts.

4. An agreement on guidelines on how to apply these principles and documentation of good
practices for context-relevant mechanisms
appropriate to each country and region.

5. A global agreement on minimum standards for an enabling environment at the 4th High Level Forum in South Korea in late 2011.