Busan: UN Special Rapporteur Maina Kiai Says Upcoming Aid Forum Could Start Ripple Effect For Freer Global Civil Society
United Nations Special Rapporteur Maina Kiai joins over 500 civil society representatives from around the world today - three days before the Fourth High Level Forum on Aid Effectiveness - in a call for better development policies that will put a stop to the global crackdown on people’s organizations’ (civil society organizations) freedom to do their development work.
“This High Level Forum provides an opportunity for such a dialogue, and I urge us all to use this as effectively as possible,” said Maina Kiai – UN Special Rapporteur on the Rights to Freedom of Peaceful Assembly and of Association – in his opening speech at the 3-day Busan Global Civil Society summit.
This meeting of civil society organizations from all over the world precedes the Fourth High Level Forum on Aid Effectiveness, Busan, 29 November – 1 December, where civil society will for the first time take full and equal part in negotiations.
“Governments need to ensure the protection of several main international principles: freedom of assembly, freedom of association, freedom of expression, the rights of civil society groups to seek and secure funding, and the states duty to protect these freedoms and rights,” said Mr. Kiai.
Alongside Maina Kiai, civil society representatives addressed the plenary at the civil society forum - the BetterAid co-chair Antonio Tujan, Open Forum for CSO Development Effectiveness co-chair Emele Duituturaga, Mr. Kim Younghoon, President of the Korean Confederation of Trade Unions, Mr. Kim Dongman, Vice President of the Federation of Korean Trade Unions, and Anne Schoenstein from the Association for Women’s Rights in Development. A representative from the Korean Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade, Republic of Korea, also spoke.
Civil Society organizations (CSOs) serve and represent the very people that aid is meant to support in a variety of key roles. They are also significant players in development finance, accounting for about 18% of official aid flows. Some $22 billion is raised privately by these organizations according to the OECD.
Freedom of association is essential for people’s organizations to fulfill their own role in development. Yet the Fourth High Level Forum takes place in a time of shrinking democratic space for civil society globally, despite commitments made by governments at the previous High Level Forum in Accra in 2008 to foster favorable conditions for civil society’s official role in development.
Civil society comes to Busan to advance a rights based approach to development that really makes aid work for the people. This approach is based on 3 years of consultations with CSOs worldwide, facilitated by BetterAid and Open Forum, and pushes for commitments to make all development cooperation work, not just that of civil society organizations.
“All aid actors must recognize that a rights based approach is fundamental to any decisions on how aid is used”, said Antonio Tujan, Chairperson of BetterAid and Director of IBON Foundation.
The final position of global civil society ahead of the Fourth High Level Forum discussions will be presented at the press conference on the last day of the Busan Global Civil Society meeting:
BetterAid unites over 1700 development organizations from civil society worldwide, and has been working on development cooperation and challenging the aid effectiveness agenda since January 2007. BetterAid has been leading many of the civil society activities including in-country consultations, studies and monitoring in the lead up to the 4th High Level Forum on Aid Effectiveness (HLF4) in Busan on 29 November - 1 December 2011. www.betteraid.org
 2009 data