Chapter XV: Partnership with the non-governmental sector - A. Local, national and international non-governmental organizations

Basis for action

15.1 As the contribution, real and potential, of non-governmental organizations gains clearer recognition in many countries and at regional and international levels, it is important to affirm its relevance in the context of the preparation and implementation of the present Programme of Action. To address the challenges of population and development effectively, broad and effective partnership is essential between Governments and non-governmental organizations (comprising not-for-profit groups and organizations at the local, national and international levels) to assist in the formulation, implementation, monitoring and evaluation of population and development objectives and activities.

15.2. Despite widely varying situations in their relationship and interaction with Governments, non-governmental organizations have made and are increasingly making important contributions to both population and development activities at all levels. In many areas of population and development activities, non-governmental groupsare already rightly recognized for their comparative advantage in relation to government agencies, because of innovative, flexible and responsive programme design and implementation, including grass-roots participation, and because quite often they are rooted in and interact with constituencies that are poorly served and hard to reach through government channels.

15.3. Non-governmental organizations are important voices of thepeople, and their associations and networks provide an effective and efficient means of better focusing local and national initiatives and addressing pressing population, environmental, migration and economic and social development concerns.

15.4. Non-governmental organizations are actively involved in the provision of programme and project services in virtually every area of socio-economic development, including the population sector. Many of them have, in a number of countries, a long history of involvement and participation in population-related activities, particularly family planning. Their strength and credibility lies in the responsible and constructive role they play in society and the support their activities engender from the community as awhole. Formal and informal organizations and networks, including grass-roots movements, merit greater recognition at the local, national and international levels as valid and valuable partners for the implementation of the present Programme of Action. For such partnerships to develop and thrive, it is necessary forgovernmental and non-governmental organizations to institute appropriate systems and mechanisms to facilitate constructive dialogue, in the context of national programmes and policies, recognizing their distinct roles, responsibilities and particular capacities.

15.5. The experience, capabilities and expertise of many non-governmental organizations and local community groups in areas of direct relevance to the Programme of Action is acknowledged. Non-governmental organizations, especially those working in thefield of sexual and reproductive health and family planning, women's organizations and immigrant and refugee support advocacy groups, have increased public knowledge and provided educational services to men and women which contribute towards successful implementation of population and development policies. Youth organizations are increasingly becoming effective partners in developing programmes to educate youth on reproductive health, gender and environmental issues. Other groups, such as organizations of the aged, migrants, organizations of persons with disabilities and informal grass-roots groups, also contribute effectively to the enhancement of programmes for their particular constituencies. These diverse organizations can help in ensuring the quality and relevance of programmes and services to the people they are meant to serve. They should be invited to participatew ith local, national and international decision-making bodies,including the United Nations system, to ensure effective implementation, monitoring and evaluation of the present Programme of Action.

15.6. In recognition of the importance of effective partnership,non-governmental organizations are invited to foster coordination, cooperation and communication at the local, national, regional and international levels and with local and national governments, to reinforce their effectiveness as key participants in the implementation of population and development programmes and policies. The involvement of non-governmental organizations should be seen as complementary to the responsibility of Governments to provide full, safe and accessible reproductive health services,including family-planning and sexual health services. Like Governments, non-governmental organizations should be accountable for their actions and should offer transparency with respect to their services and evaluation procedures.


15.7. The objective is to promote an effective partnership between all levels of government and the full range of non-governmental organizations and local community groups, in the discussion and decisions on the design, implementation, coordination, monitoring and evaluation of programmes relating to population, development and environment in accordance with the general policy framework of Governments, taking duly into account the responsibilities and roles of the respective partners.


15.8. Governments and intergovernmental organizations, in dialogue with non-governmental organizations and local community groups, and in full respect for their autonomy, should integrate them in their decision-making and facilitate the contribution thatnon-governmental organizations can make at all levels towards finding solutions to population and development concerns and, in particular, to ensure the implementation of the present Programme of Action. Non-governmental organizations should have a key role in national and international development processes.

15.9. Governments should ensure the essential roles and participation of women's organizations in the design and implementation of population and development programmes. Involvingwomen at all levels, especially the managerial level, is criticalto meeting the objectives and implementing the present Programme of Action.

15.10. Adequate financial and technical resources and information necessary for the effective participation of non-governmental organizations in the research, design, implementation, monitoring and evaluation of population and development activities should, iffeasible and if requested, be made available to the non-governmental sector by Governments, intergovernmental organizations and international financial institutions in a mannerthat will not compromise their full autonomy. To ensure transparency, accountability and effective division of labour, these same institutions should make available the necessary information and documents to those non-governmental organizations. International organizations may provide financial and technical assistance to non-governmental organizations in accordance with the laws and regulations of each country.

15.11. Governments and donor countries, including intergovernmental organizations and international financial institutions, should ensure that non-governmental organizations and their networks are able to maintain their autonomy and strengthen their capacity through regular dialogue and consultations, appropriate training and outreach activities, and thus play a greater partnership role at all levels.

15.12. Non-governmental organizations and their networks and local communities should strengthen their interaction with their constituencies, ensure the transparency of their activities, mobilize public opinion, participate in the implementation ofpopulation and development programmes and actively contribute to the national, regional and international debate on population and development issues. Governments, where appropriate, should include representation of non-governmental organizations on country delegations to regional and international forums where issues onpopulation and development are discussed.

© 2001 by Ulrich Schmitthenner • Bildschirm-Version