|NGO Guidelines for Good Policy and Practice (Commonwealth Foundation)|
|Part I: NGOs: what they are and what they do|
|1. The rationale and purpose of this report|
The importance of the work of non-governmental organisations (NGOs), the general trends and issues affecting them, and the ways in which their work and impact could be strengthened were recognised and discussed at the First Commonwealth NGO Forum convened by the Commonwealth Foundation and held in Zimbabwe in August 1991. In particular, the Forum proposed:
"...the preparation of a Commonwealth NGO Charter...(which) would contain, inter alia, recommendations concerning practices and policies which best utilise the strengths and abilities of NGOs; (and) ways to foster good, productive and mutually understanding relationships between governments and their NGOs..."
At their Meeting in Harare later in 1991, Commonwealth Heads of Government welcomed the proposal and asked the Commonwealth Foundation to develop a programme of assistance. This report, which has been informed by a process of research, consultation and drafting carried out between 1992 and 1995, represents the Foundation's response.
The research and consultation process is fully described at Annex 1.
Lists of those consulted, contributing views and information, or responding to drafts are set out at Annex 2. The research had two aims: to develop guidelines for good policy and practice for NGOs, governments and funders on matters specific to each of them as well as matters concerning their inter-relationships; to define NGOs, and to prepare an accurate and up-to-date account of their current role and functioning, and of the context in which they operate.
This report presents the results.