Too southern to be funded


Longstanding calls for a more equitable and decolonized international development sector have grown over the past several years. Central to recent arguments is the importance of shifting both power and funding from Global North donors and organizations to Global South civil society organizations (CSOs). However, despite the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) recommending that Official Development Assistance (ODA) be untied to the greatest extent possible, funding ring-fenced specifically for CSOs from the donor country is not regarded as tied aid if its purpose is to provide core funding as opposed to funding for procurement-related activities.

Regardless of whether this funding can be officially designated as tied, more than 90% of all Development Assistance Committee (DAC) member countries’ civil society support goes to DAC donor domestic CSOs and other Global North CSOs. Meanwhile, only less than 10% goes to CSOs in the partner countries. Some DAC member governments require that CSOs from their own countries partner with Global South CSOs and transfer resources to them, but there is no consistent way of quantifying the exact amounts.

This clearly demonstrates high levels of restriction based on location, and many organizations and networks continue to advocate for changes that would enable Global South CSOs (and other types of organizations) to access all forms of DAC donor funding directly.

The OECD has recently begun to explore the issue of tied aid and funding for CSOs. However, there is a lack of reliable and comprehensive information on the extent to which OECD DAC donors ring-fence funding for CSOs from their own countries. The focus of this research, therefore, is to identify which OECD DAC donors have policies that geographically restrict funding to organizations from their own countries.

Published by: #ShiftThePower Movement

Published: April 2024

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