DevNet-NZAID Symposium 2007: Civil Society and Governance: implications for aid
29-30 November | Portland Hotel | Wellington
In partnership with NZAID, DevNet’s first symposium focused on the relationship amongst civil society, governance and international aid. The successful event produced a structured learning environment, involving talks from keynotes, panel discussions and workshops. Its structure was informed by five key questions:
- Defining the terms of the discussion: What do we mean when we use the terms governance and civil society?
- How do our definitions impact on our discussions?
- What factors and frameworks provide a global context for critical thinking and action on civil society and improving governance?
- What role does civil society play in supporting good governance? What are the challenges confronting civil society in developing countries? (Government itself? Capacity? Donor expectations and requirements? etc.)
- How can donors, CSOs, practitioners and academics act to help minimise/overcome these challenges?
Video of Michael Edwards’ keynote speech
UK-based renowned international development academic Michael Edwards’ keynote speech discussed a range of issues emanating from the challenges associated with defining, interpreting and building civil society. This includes the role of government, democracy and the different civil society ‘schools’. He concluded with five suggestions for promoting civil society based on democratic collective action.
The speech has been divided into six approximate 9-10 minute parts and has a combined running time of 53:49.
Edwards’ keynote speech parts 1-6 (via YouTube)
About the keynote speakers
We were very fortunate to have two high calibre keynote speakers at the symposium: Michael Edwards and Kumi Naidoo.
Michael Edwards: director of the Governance and Civil Society Unit at the Ford Foundation. Prior to joining the Foundation he was the Senior Civil Society Specialist at the World Bank in Washington DC, where he led a programme designed to improve the agency’s understanding of, and engagement with, a wide range of civic groups. Before moving to the Bank, Michael spent 15 years as a senior manager in international relief and development NGOs, including periods with Oxfam-UK and Save the Children-UK. His many books and articles have helped to shape thinking about NGOs, civil society and international cooperation.
Kumi Naidoo: chair of the Global Call to Action Against Poverty (GCAP) and Secretary General and Chief Executive Officer of CIVICUS: World Alliance for Civic Participation. Since its launch in 2005, GCAP has grown into a global coalition of anti-poverty campaigners from over 100 countries, including New Zealand’s own Make Poverty History Campaign. CIVICUS is an alliance of over 500 civil society organisations, networks, and individuals in more than 100 countries, which is dedicated to strengthening citizen and civil society action throughout the world.
Kumi was born in South Africa and was actively involved in the struggle against apartheid. Arrested and jailed in 1986, Kumi lived in exile in England until 1989. Kumi became a Rhodes Scholar at Oxford University and earned a doctorate in political sociology. Kumi returned to South Africa in 1990 and has worked on a wide range of issues including the legalisation of the African National Congress as a political party and working as Executive Director of the National Literacy Cooperation. Kumi is an active advocate for gender equity and against gender violence, and organised the National Men’s March Against Violence on Women and Children in 1997.