13 Jun 2013 13:00
WINDHOEK, 13 JUN (NAMPA) - The European Union (EU) in Namibia on Thursday launched the Namibia Civil Society Support Programme (NCSSP) here.
The three-year intervention programme is supported by the EU with approximately N.dollars 48 million, and aims at strengthening civil society's contribution to sustainable development and socio-economic justice.
Its financing agreement was signed between the EU and the Government of Namibia, through the National Planning Commission (NPC), in early 2012.
The programme comprises of two components - support to the Namibia Non-Governmental Organisations? Forum (NANGOF) Trust, and support to a new organisation called the Civil Society Foundation of Namibia (CSFN).
Speaking during the launch, the Head of the EU Delegation in Namibia, Ambassador Raul Fuentes Milani said the EU recognises the vital contribution made by civil society as strategic partners in political, social and economic dialogue, and particularly their capacity to promote in-country dialogue on good governance.
He said the participation of civil society in the development strategies of countries is also key, and it is for this reason that their role is recognised as fundamental in the EU's development policy.
Milani said the EU last year approved a new policy for engagement with civil society based on the communication ?The roots of democracy and sustainable development: Europe's Engagement with Civil Society in External Relations?.
The objective of this new policy is to build stronger democratic processes and accountability systems, and to achieve better development outcomes, he explained.
Milani said the EU Delegation in Namibia will define a new roadmap for engagement with civil society, taking into account the specifications of the country and based on the outcomes of a constructive dialogue with civil society organisations (CSOs) and other development actors.
?While the principles of concentration and differentiation for aid effectiveness will be taking into account, a more strategic engagement with CSOs will be mainstreamed in all instruments and programmes and in all sectors of cooperation, as well as in the political and policy dialogues with the Namibian Government,? he said.
Within the NCSSP, the EU will make available approximately N. dollars 24 million for small and mirco grants to be disbursed through the CSFN to non-governmental organisations (NGOs).
The NCSSP support will enable the NANGOF Trust to develop products and services for its members, strengthen NANGOF Trust's governance and network structures to improve members? involvement and improve cooperation between and among CSOs locally and nationally.
It will also enable the Trust to strengthen information-sharing among CSOs generally and particularly on important socio-economic justice issues and campaigns.
The CSFN will be nationally recognised and sufficiently strong to work with the largest agencies which support or could support civil society.
It will also build a comprehensive picture of what civil society is doing across the regions and use this to promote and support civil society?s work in tackling poverty, improving health and education standards, increasing knowledge and action in the fields of human rights, social justice and the environment.