Good Governance and Civil Society

EC activities in Support of Civil Society

Civil society and, more generally, Non-State Actors, are indispensable development partners of the European Commission. The European Consensus on Development has enshrined the participation of civil society as one of the common principles on which the European Union's development policy is based.

Non state actors (NSA) include the private sector, economic and social partners, such as trade unions and civil society organisations. The complementary role of NSA in the development process is recognised, not just as service providers and project implementers, but also as key partners in devising policy input, as advocates of their constituencies’ needs and interests, and further, as representatives of wide segments of population within their reach.

The Cotonou Agreement calls for an open dialogue with Government authorities and NSA on development cooperation issues in all areas of Ethiopia-EC cooperation. From the design, through implementation and up to the evaluation of the assistance programmes; and to expand this dialogue to political issues, with a view to improving the quality and broadening the scope of what is referred to as the 'article 8 dialogue', which is conducted not only by the EC, but by the EU as a whole (EC and EU member States), with the Ethiopian counterparts. To this end, mechanisms for the regular consultation of NSA must be established, while means will be made available to NSA to enhance their contribution and improve the conditions under which they operate.  
Hence the activities of the EC in support of NSA are geared towards the following priorities:

Institutionalise a regular, meaningful dialogue with NSA in Ethiopia. Several organisations have been active over the past few years to mobilise NSA in Ethiopia to participating in this dialogue. The Cotonou Task Force was established in 2004 at a national CSO consultation workshop for NSA engagement in implementing the Cotonou Agreement. Since then it has been the reference group of Ethiopian civil society to interact with the Ethiopian Government and the EC. The Task Force is currently composed of 27 members*, among which you find NGOs, associations, networks, and its membership is reviewed yearly at the General Assembly.

Capacity building activities in support of NSA in Ethiopia: to this end, an ambitious programme of € 10 million is being implemented in 2005-2010. Support is provided through technical assistance and grants to civil society organisations with a view to enhance their capacity to engage in the development and democratisation process of the country, to improve their dialogue with Government and their constituencies and improve coordination and networking amongst NSAs. So far, the Civil Society Fund has been providing support through 16 large grants, directly involving more than 90 CSOs as partners and benefiting about 400 local CSOs and community-based organisations. CSF projects are implemented in each of the 9 regions of Ethiopia and in both city states. A Technical Assistance Unit is available to provide support and information to interested organisations at all times.

EC activities in the field of Good Governance

A central prerequisite for sustainable development is good, legitimate and effective governance. The Cotonou Agreement (Art 9.3) defines good governance as:
“The transparent and accountable management of human, natural, economic and financial resources for the purposes of equitable and sustainable development, in the context of a political and institutional environment that upholds human rights, democratic principles and the rule of law.”

One key element of the process of governance reform is the establishment and strengthening of credible national institutions. As stated in the Ethiopia-EC Country Strategy Paper and the National Indicative Programme for 2008-2013, the EC is committed to supporting the Government of Ethiopia in the field of institutional governance by improving capacities in specific areas within the Government administration.

Coordinated and harmonised approach to development cooperation is one of the key principles of the EC assistance strategy, and in the area of Good Governance as in others, the EC is strongly committed to supporting efforts towards more effective and coherent aid delivery to Ethiopia. It is also important with respect to promoting a consistent line among major donors on issues that are often politically sensitive.

Along this line, in the upcoming programming period, immediate priority will be given to supporting the national Justice Sector Reform programme and key national institutions such as the Ethiopian Human Rights Commission, the Ombudsman Office, Parliament and the National Elections Board in the framework of the Democratic Institutions Programme (DIP) jointly with other donors.

EC activities in the area of Human Rights and Democratization

The European Union is founded on the principles of liberty, democracy, respect for human rights and the rule of law, as spelled out in EU founding treaties.

Recognising the vital contribution made by non-governmental organisations (NGOs) to the promotion and protection of these principles, the European Instrument for Democracy and Human Rights (EIDHR) was created by the European Parliament in 1994, bringing together a series of budget headings specifically dealing with the promotion of human rights. The EIDHR aims to promote human rights, democracy and conflict prevention in third countries by providing financial assistance for activities supporting these goals.
Being funded through a specific budget line of the EU, the EIDHR has the following characteristics:

  • It is complementary to the EC programmes, which are being carried out together with the Government with funds from the European Development Fund (EDF). The EIDHR can be implemented directly with different partners, and in particular NGOs;
  • It is an essential complement to the objectives of the EU’s Common Foreign and Security Policy in the fields of human rights, democratisation and conflict prevention;
  • The size of the projects – most of those we are currently running in Ethiopia are of a maximum amount of 100.000 euros – allows for targeted interventions, which are generally recognised as suitable to the local needs.

Within the framework of the EIDHR, the European Commission, in the last 3 years, has been funding about 30 projects designed to promote and protect Human Rights and strengthen Democracy in Ethiopia. These projects are being implemented in all regions of the country, with a wide range of local partners.

Local grants can be applied for through calls for proposals, which are usually launched once a year by the Delegation, and published on this website.

NGOs/CSOs can also apply to EiDHR Calls for Proposals launched at central level and relating to the different objectives of the Instrument.

The main objectives of the EIDHR 2007-2010 and information concerning call for proposals can be found on the following website:

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