Government is working to introduce new third sector legislation to govern the operations of civil society organisations (CSOs) and to establish clear boundaries for accountability that will attract increased international donor contributions for these entities.
Minister in the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Investment, Marsha Caddle, made this disclosure during the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development Development Assistance Committee’s (OECD-DAC) A Call to Action Enabling Civil Society in the Context of COVID-19 virtual high-level event, recently.
Emphasising that there were clear inequalities in financial capacity and access between CSOs in developed and developing countries, Ms. Caddle told the panel that the allocation of resources and development cooperation were still based on a country’s GDP.
She added: “That also affects civil society…that also affects their access to resources, and even more recently, we are seeing that some of the emerging rules that have to do with global tax jurisdictions and anti-money laundering [rules], also affect civil society.”
Ms. Caddle continued: “They have much less capacity to be able to respond very quickly and in a more flexible way to new rules, for example, in the banking sector that affect their capacity to set up bank accounts to manage their financial well-being. These may seem like things that only affect government, but they very much affect the capacity of civil society to be able to respond to their communities.”
Another area being worked on by Government to enhance civil societies, according to the Minister, is the setting up of dashboards to provide information to the public on how Government is making public sector investments and the resources available for collaborative work with civil societies.
“We think that this is important information for civil society to have in order to know the entry points; what are the available resources and what is the data that can drive some of their action,” she stated
Ms. Caddle acknowledged that data generated from civil society also helped Government to monitor and respond to issues affecting certain populations.
She also suggested that such organisations needed access not just to project resources, but to funding for core activities and costs that could provide them access to medical insurance and social security protection benefits to ensure they function effectively.