The involvement of Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) in the democratic process through multilateral partnership is a fundamental principle of EU’s development policy. Recognising the growing importance of CSOs in development issues, in March 2010 the Commission launched the Structured Dialogue on the involvement of CSOs and Local Authorities (LAs) in EC development cooperation. In September 2012 the Communication The Roots of Democracy and Sustainable Development: Europe's Engagement with Civil Society in External Relations was adopted, followed by the Council Conclusions. The Commission proposes an enhanced and more strategic approach in its engagement with local CSOs in all regions. The challenge today is to implement the provisions of the Communication with active contribution from Headquarters, EU Delegations and Member States and participation of CSOs. The Agenda for Change based on development and aid effectiveness principles underlines the need for assisting developing countries in strengthening their policies, capacities and activities through Civil Society Organisations. Therefore capacity development (CD) of CSOs is a key issue on the agenda. DEVCO is committed to improve quality of its aid policy and capacity development is an essential feature. Based on this, DEVCO commissioned this assignment to AETS with the objective to support the European Commission in developing guidance and learning materials for improving its support to capacity development of CSOs in partner countries. The specific objectives are: • to develop a review of current thinking and good practices in terms of support to CSO capacity development and make recommendations on how to integrate these orientations in the EU programmes and instruments, and • to develop practical guidance and learning material for EU staff in EU Delegations and headquarters on how to design and implement support to capacity development of CSOs.

Governance and Human Development

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