Africa Forum on Civil Society and Governance Assessments

(Photo: UNDP)(Photo: UNDP)

We are happy for the widespread participation on the Africa Forum and want to thank you for your attendance and input.

14 November, CLOSING PRESS RELEASE, 'Dakar Forum on Democratic Governance Assessments Deemed a Significant Step in Harnessing Strengths of Civil Society to Enhance Citizen Accountability'.

The presentations of the speakers and the video materials is now available online.

Press Advisory - Strengthening the Role of Local Actors in Governance Assessments: From Data to Action (PDF, 507 kB).
The Africa Forum on Civil Society and Governance Assessments will be held in Dakar from 10-12 November 2011. The three-day event is convened by the UNDP Partnerships Bureau/Civil Society Division, the Bureau for Development Policy/Oslo Governance Centre and the Regional Bureau of Africa, with support from the UNDP-France Trust Fund together with four leading partners in the field of civil society and governance, i.e. Trust Africa, CIVICUS, CONGAD and African Governance Institute.

The forum will bring together an estimated 50 participants – civil society and development practitioners from an estimated 20 countries and representatives of UNDP. It will be a unique learning and networking opportunity for UNDP staff, who will interact with and learn from leading analysts of African civil society and governance assessment initiatives, and representatives of regional and global civil society organizations. The forum will be conducted in French and English.

Click here to view:

  1. Background information
  2. Confirmed Speakers and Participants (PDF, 402 Kb)
  3. Conference Documents and Other Materials


The event will reflect on African experiences with governance assessments, with a specific focus on how a more effective involvement by civil society actors in governance assessments can promote democratic governance, through increased accountability and more inclusive participation.

The format will be as interactive as possible, with plenary sessions and break-out groups, and brief training modules inserted throughout the programme to showcase innovative tools and assessment approaches. There will be three broad themes:

  1. African governance assessments in which civil society is involved in partnership with government
  2. The involvement of civil society in Africa assessing the civil society sector
  3. Assessments initiated by civil society independently from government, with a particular focus on initiatives which make use of information and communication technologies.

The forum's main objectives are:

  • To ‘connect’ key actors who wish to advance civil society’s role in Africa in demanding that governments live up to their obligations, and that people have a say in how they are governance;
  • To highlight the critical role of civil society in African governance assessment initiatives, particularly in the context of the APRM, and to identify specific ways to enhance the involvement of civil society in both the production and use of governance data;
  • To take stock and critically reflect on African experiences in conducting civil society assessments, and to provide recommendations on how to make them more relevant and valid locally;
  • To introduce selected social accountability tools and provide a ‘reality check’ from field practitioners on how best to use them, with a specific focus on innovative tools which make use of new technologies and social media. 

Conference Documents

  1. The Conference Note (PDF, 428 kB) can be viewed here.
  2. Four regional mapping reports compiling civil society assessments, governance assessments and social accountability initiatives in the four sub-regions of Southern, Eastern, Western & Central Africa, will be presented at the forum.
  3. The Development and Use of Governance Indicators in Africa – A Research Overview, by IDASA & UNDP Oslo Governance Centre, on the building and functioning of national governance monitor­ing systems.
  4. UNDP Users’ Guide to Civil Society Assessments (2010). The first full review of the current landscape of civil society assessments at global and local levels. It describes the scope of available methods and ways in which future assessments can further enrich our ability to understand the nature and impact of civil society.
  5. Participatory Civil Society Assessments - Experiences from the Field (2011). Looks into UNDP experiences in five countries - Cyprus, Macedonia, Mozambique, Uruguay and Viet Nam - in implementing the CIVICUS Civil Society Index.
  6. The Future of Participatory Civil Society Assessments: A Conceptual Analysis (2011). Presents four analytical papers by leading academics and practitioners in this field.
  7. The Participants Roster, which enumerates all 159 participants who attended the Forum.
  8. The Detailed Agenda of the Forum, in English and French
  9. The Final Evaluation, which shows the feedback of the participants.
  10. The Final Report of the Forum, in English and French
  11. The List of Relevant Resources (English only)

Other Materials

  1. UNDP Guidance Note on Country-Led Democratic Governance Assessments 2009. Based on the experiences of select UNDP Country Offices and outlines the principal objective for UNDP’s engagement: to support national ownership and capacity development of national partners to be able to undertake and use governance assessments to enhance democratic governance.
  2. UNDP Guidance Note on Fostering Social Accountability: From Principle to Practice 2010. Details how the principles of social accountability are already an integral part of UNDP's approach to human development. It provides an overview of definitions and principles of social accountability and offers guidance. with examples, on how to incorporate the practice of social accountability into programming.
  3. So What Difference Does it Make? Mapping the Outcomes of Citizen Engagement 2010. Institute for Development Studies. John Gaventa and Gregory Barrett.
  4. Bridging the gaps: citizens, organisations and dissociation, Civil Society Index summary report 2008-2011. CIVICUS. Summarises findings emerging from over country reports in 30 countries which implemented the Civil Society Index, and captures some startling findings. The report records challenges in government–civil society relations, the report brings to the fore an emerging and worrying disconnect between citizens.
  5. NGO Sustainability Index for Sub-Saharan Africa, 2010. USAID
    From countries such as Gabon, where NGOs operate in a legal vacuum and are at constant risk of being closed down, or Ethiopia, where a new law imposes restrictions on NGOs that receive foreign funding, to South Africa or Kenya, where NGOs play an active role in the policymaking process, vivid diversity and shared challenges characterize the situation of NGO sustainability in Africa. This first-ever USAID NGO Sustainability Index for Africa provides an important baseline for tracking changes in the situation over time.
  6. Bridging the Gaps, CIVICUS (French)
  7. Cutting the Diamonds, CIVICUS
  8. Volunteering in Africa, CIVICUS 
  9. Compendium on International Legal Instruments and Other Intergovernmental Commitments Concerning Core Civil Society Rights
  10. Report on the Challenges Faced by Women in Civil Society in Africa 
  11. Can Busan Forge a New Deal for Africa? 
  12. Project Facts on Democractic Governance: Senegal: Monitoring the National Programme on Good Governance (2011) (PDF, 528 kB)
  13. Project Facts on Democractic Governance: Nigeria: Assessment of Good Urban Governance (2011) (PDF, 519 kB)
  14. Project Facts on Democractic Governance: M&E and Malawi’s Sector Wide Approach to Democratic Governance (2011) (PDF, 608 kB)
  15. Project Facts on Democractic Governance: Egypt: Sector-based Governance Assessment (2011) (PDF, 484 kB)
  16. Open Government: Which Way Africa? CIPESA, 2011
  17. Making the State Responsive: Experience with Democratic Governance Assessments, UNDP, 2011 (PDF, 5,49 Mb)
  18. Governance in the Commonwealth, The Commonwealth Foundation, 2010.
  19. Implementing the APRM in Lesotho: views from civil society, AfriMAP, SAIIA, Centre for Policy Studies, 2011.
  20. The implementation of the APRM in Uganda: a critical evaluation, AfriMAP, OSIEA, 2011.
  21. Progress in Implementing the APRM- Views from civil society, AfriMAP, SAIIA, Centre for Policy Studies, 2011.
  22. Olso Governance Principles
  23. "Enabling Environments for Civic Engagement in PRSP Countries", World Bank, 2003, Social Development Notes, No. 82, Environmently and Socially Sustainable Development Network, The World Bank, Washington, DC.
  24. An Enabling Environment for Civil Society:  What Does it Mean and How Does Law Fit In?”, Fowler, A., 2003, Research Report, No. 7, Centre for Civil Society, University of Natal, Durban.
  25. "Call for Expressions of Interest - Training on Mobile Data Collection"
  26. "Civil Society Rapid Assessment Tool: Tunisia", CIVICUS
  27. The AfriGAP Concept Note, AfriGAP

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