Civil Society and Private Sector Engagement


A vocal civil society is critical for a functioning society. No meaningful discussion on strengthening national capacity is possible without recognition of the existing and potential role that non-state actors can play in supporting state institutions in exercising good governance and delivering basic services.

The AAA jointly commits developing countries and external partners to enable the development of civil society and private sector capacity to play their development roles more fully. This statement is important to the debate on CD from a number of perspectives. It recognizes that: 

  • “National” capacity means more than “state” capacity. Non-state actors have a legitimate role to play in the development process and therefore should be part of any national CD process. It also means that our understanding of ownership needs to be one that recognizes the participation of non-state actors as stakeholders.
  • Efforts to improve service delivery should recognize the actual and potential role of non-state actors in the provision of services that complement the public sector, particularly at decentralised levels.
  • Efforts to strengthen governance in areas of accountability and transparency should recognize the potential role that non-state actors can play as policy dialogue partners and stakeholders in the monitoring and evaluation of state performance (good governance and service delivery).
  • To fulfill their roles, non-state actors need assistance in developing their own capacities to exercise their rights and responsibilities, while an appropriate institutional and legislative framework is needed to facilitate their engagement.
  • Non-state actors can be effective providers of capacity development support to both state and non-state actors.

This series of Perspective Notes was prepared by a professional drafting team assembled by the OECD/DAC and LenCD. The team included James Hradsky, Nils Boesen, Anthony Land, Heather Baser, Silvia Guizzardi and Mia Sorgenfrei. Silvia Guizzardi led in drafting this Perspectives Note on Capacity Development and Civil Society Organizations in 2011, which subsequently benefitted from comments from the rest of the team, from peer reviews by Philippe Besson, Rosalind Eyben, Alan Fowler, Real Lavergne, Jenny Pearson, Brian Tomlinson and the European Commission, as well as a wider electronic vetting process through the LenCD global network. All comments from those involved that have helped contribute to a sound paper are acknowledged with thanks.

The Key Resources section was compiled by Tony Land in 2009.

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