Friday, 09 October 2015 00:00

PUBLIC POLICY DIALOGUE ON CIVIL SOCIETY ORGANIZATIONS ENABLING ENVIRONMENT IN RWANDA (October 2015)

Theme: An enabling environment is very paramount for Rwandan CSOs to be effective partners in development.

Background

Rwanda's Vision 2020 and its Economic Development and Poverty Reduction Strategy (EDPRS), under the accountable governance thematic area, Rwanda provides a room for increasing citizen participation in developing Rwanda as a way of ensuring ownership and feedback for efficiency and sustainability of the Rwandan struggle to full realization of social economic rights of Rwandans .

In the priority 1 of the afore said thematic area of EDPRS II which is strengthening citizen participation and demand of accountability, Rwanda aspire to use home growing initiatives to promote citizen participation; using ICT and radio to promote participation and development communication; strengthening the media and civil society organizations to better fulfill their developmental role and strengthening administrative decentralization.

Under this same thematic area of accountable governance priority 2, the governments of Rwanda consider civil society organization and the private sector of Rwanda to be effective partners in service delivery and count much on them in the design of policies and establishment of standards of customer services for Rwandans.

The above mentioned EDPRS thematic area and priorities, are in line with the Bussan partnership for Effective Development Cooperation which made an important commitment to strengthen the enabling environment for civil society organizations (CSOs) as independent development actors: "Civil society organizations (CSOs) play a vital role in enabling people to claim their rights, in rights based approaches, in shaping development policies and partnerships, and in overseeing their implementation. Bussan reiterate also the role of civil society organization in service delivery and their complementary role to the state on the citizen mobilization, consultation, inclusion and building solidarity of citizens"
The Rwandan constitution of 2003 provides for the freedom of assembly and Association [Art 33, 35, 36, 40] and the Law n° 04/2012 of 17/02/2012 governing the organization and functioning of National NGOs emphasizes the need for the above mentioned rights.

Context analysis
In November 2014, the Economic Justice Network (EJN) with funding support of Reality of Aid (RoA) Africa commissioned a study to assess the level of an enabling environment for CSOs in Rwanda. Despite existing frameworks, opportunities and efforts already deployed by the government of Rwanda to bring CSOs on board, and indeed donor existing efforts to support civil society organization in terms of their direct interventions at community level, the study highlighted some challenges. These include limited involvement of CSO in policy planning, development, and implementation process at central and local levels, Local leadership only accountable to the central government, poor donor/CSO relations and limited engagement of CSO with Government on pertinent political issues that affect the lives of the citizens.

It is against this background that the Rwandan CSOs wish to share the outcomes of the study and other outstanding issues with all the development actors by organizing a dialogue that bring together different stakeholders in the development of Rwanda, including the government of Rwanda, the donor community and the private sector of Rwanda under the theme: An enabling environment is very paramount for Rwandan CSOs to be effective partners in development.

Dialogue Sessions
1. Presentation of findings from the study
2- Panels
Panel 1-"Institutional and Legal framework for Civil Society effectiveness
Panel 2- "Civil Society Organizations' participation in National development Agenda – Speaker's perspective"

Speakers
The Panellists in the dialogue will include Ministers of Local Government and Justice, renowned academicians, Researchers, CSO, and development partners.

Objectives of the dialogue
The public policy dialogue meeting has the following objectives:

  • To provide a space for dialogue between various actors in the Rwandan development context
  • To promote open and frank discussions between Government, CSOs and Donors on various development issues
  • To jointly engage in finding workable solution paths for improving the civil society involvement and engagement in government policy planning and implementation, service delivery and demanding accountability
  • Creating a framework of discussion that shall continuously bring together all stakeholders of the dialogue.


Expected outcomes from the Dialogue

  •  Commitments for improving CSOs enabling environment are generated
  • A framework on strengthening civil society involvement in national development Agenda and demanding accountability is established
  • CSOs and citizens' concerns highlighted during the dialogue are addressed.
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