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close this bookNGO Guidelines for Good Policy and Practice (Commonwealth Foundation)
close this folderPart III: References
close this folderAnnexes
View the documentAnnex 1: The process of research and consultation
View the documentAnnex 2: List of those submitting information, consulted or responding

Annex 1: The process of research and consultation

The process of research and consultation which has led to the production of Non-Governmental Organisations: Guidelines for Good Policy and Practice began in November 1992, when:

- an information note was prepared and circulated, through the Commonwealth Liaison Units of the Commonwealth Foundation, and other NGOs; the first of a series of meetings in selected Commonwealth countries to seek views and information was convened. (These meetings are listed in Annex 2).

The text of the information note was as follows:

In response to proposals made at the First Commonwealth NGO Forum held in Zimbabwe in August 1991, the Commonwealth Foundation has commissioned a research project which will aim, on a Commonwealth-wide basis:

- to gather information about the roles and functions fulfilled by NGOs in society today, and the manner in which they carry out their work; to gather information about the forms of relationship that exist between NGOs and their funders, their beneficiaries, government agencies, and other NGOs and organisations in society; to gather views from interested parties about important issues concerning NGO functioning and relationships, including existing published material; on the basis of the information and views gathered, to prepare a draft NGO Charter which identifies good practice in the field of NGO functioning and relationships.

The research commenced late in 1992 and will take up to one year. It aims to gather information and views from NGOs (including those designated as Commonwealth Liaison Units (CLUs)), government and other agencies in as many Commonwealth countries as possible. A substantial amount of literature has already been collected.

To supplement and add detail to this, interviews and consultative round-table workshops are being carried out by the researchers in a small number of Commonwealth countries. Countries in which such meetings have taken place, or are to take place early in 1993 include India, Solomon Islands, Zimbabwe, Canada, the United Kingdom and Jamaica.

In addition, the Commonwealth Foundation will be including discussion of the proposed Charter on the agenda of a series of regional workshops being held in the first half of 1993 in the Caribbean, West Africa, Pacific and Asian regions.

If you have material relevant to the research, please contact Colin Ball or Leith Dunn.

Information was collected and individual and group consultations (individuals consulted are also listed in Annex 2) carried out throughout 1993 and into 1994.

In early 1994 a First Consultative Draft of this document was prepared by the researchers. It was published by the Commonwealth Foundation in May 1994 and widely circulated through Commonwealth Liaison Units and other organisations, including all Commonwealth governments, under the title Non-Governmental Organisations in the Commonwealth: Guidelines for Good Policy and Practice. Recipient individuals and organisations were strongly encouraged to circulate the draft as widely as possible, and to make responses which would inform the production of the second draft.

In May 1994 planning for the Second Commonwealth NGO Forum, to be held in New Zealand in June 1995, began, with the first meeting of a Task Force brought together by the Commonwealth Foundation to assist in planning and preparing for the event. At this meeting the researchers led a discussion on the first consultative draft. It was agreed that:

- the Second Forum should "...finalise and approve the...document (presently) entitled Non- Governmental Organisations in the Commonwealth: Guidelines for Good Policy and Practice..." a detailed discussion of the document by the Task Force should take place at a later meeting, in the light of feedback received in response to the circulation of the first draft. It was hoped that for this discussion the Task Force would be joined by a small number of other experts in NGO matters.

Responses to the first consultative draft were received throughout the second half of 1994, and were collated and summarised by the researchers. In February 1995, the final meeting of the Task Force in New Zealand was followed by a two-day workshop specially convened to discuss the first draft and the responses to it received by that time. For this workshop, the Task Force were joined by other experts in NGO matters, and those attending are listed at Annex 2.

Immediately following the workshop this Second Consultative Draft was produced by the researchers. It was circulated for comment and responses by the Commonwealth Foundation in April 1995. A volume of amendments proposed in response was prepared for the Second Commonwealth NGO Forum, which was held in Wellington, New Zealand, from 18 to 23 June 1995.

The Forum endorsed the Guidelines and it is hoped that the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting to be held in New Zealand later in 1995, will do the same.