Civil Society and Development

A documentation of the indispensable role of civil society for the realization of the Sustainable Development Goals

Last week the Partnership for Transparency Fund (PTF) launched a paper entitled Civil Society and Development: Global Trends, Implications and Recommendations for Stakeholders in the 2030 Agenda. The document puts light on the important role of civil society for the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and the Agenda 2030.

The SDGs have recently celebrated one year since states signed and committed to its 17 lines of action. Yet, much doubt remains on how they will be put into effect and on how partnerships shall be shaped to include the effective participation of the multiple stakeholders in its implementation. To this effect, the study demonstrates how civil society organizations (CSOs) have increasingly developed a fundamental role for society development and it comes to the conclusion that in order to achieve “the complex set of challenges” that are the SDGs, governments cannot isolate themselves – it is imperative that they work together with all stakeholders.


In the study, PTF experts identify six global trends related to the evolving role of CSOs and the consequences to their operation. For instance, as CSOs grow in capacities and expertise, it grows with it the concern for good governance, transparency and accountability within their own structures. Likewise, while financing sources have become more diversified and bigger in number, CSOs face enormous challenges, for example, in countries with restrictions to receiving foreign funds, and generally with the high competitiveness for funds in the field. At the same time, the scenario of collaborative framework has enhanced significantly and we now see great examples around the globe where CSOs are able to partner with governments and to actively participate in the development of local and national programs and policies.


Nevertheless, most CSOs are still far from being able to occupy the space they have been working for. And understanding the potential and capabilities of this sector to address social challenges, protect human rights, and promote community and global development, it is important that governments, private sector and international structures recognize CSOs as the fundamental partners they are and open the door for genuine stakeholders’ partnerships to better deliver the SDGs. This way, the PTF’s paper does a great job in compiling a range of specific recommendations for the different groups of stakeholders.

We believe that the spread realization of the SDGs is in the interest of all stakeholders – for governments and private sector, and for the organized civil society and individuals themselves. Thus, we welcome and subscribe to PTF’s recommendations and we urge governments to include CSOs in the design, implementation and evaluation of action plans for the SDGs.