Leading Edge 2020 Report

source – www.trocaire.org

Click on link to download – Leading Edge 2020 report

The report, which is based on interviews with over 100 global experts, was officially launchedon 22 March 2011 at the Leading Edge 2020 conference in Dublin city centre.The conference was opened by Minister of State for Trade and Development, Jan O’Sullivan TD, and the keynote address on the future of development was delivered by Andris Piebalgs, EU Commissioner for Development.

Trócaire is the offical overseas development agency of the Catholic Church In Ireland.  It is a member of Caritas Internationalis and CIDSE

The following text is just one page from the 88 page report

Do faith-based INGOs have a special role?

Many International Non-Government Organisations (INGOs) have strong links to churches in the North and South. These links vary across organisations. For some, the links are more informal, with the organisations being ‘lay’ associations which draw their motivation from faith and support from churches. For others, like Trócaire and most CIDSE agencies, the link is more formalised – with church hierarchy playing a key governing role. The link to church, in its many forms, influences the role these INGOs play.

The most important asset that faith-based organisations bring are the values which guide their work on the ground. They tend to adopt a strong community-based approach. This underlying motivation can contribute an added dimension to their work. In principle, given their links to faith, their underlying vision and values should be clearer than secular INGOs.

Another key asset is their linkage at all levels from the grassroots to the international level. Church presence means that when they start to work in a country, they usually have a ready-built network. They often know exactly where to start and ʻwho their partners of choice areʼ. Being linked to a church gives them a common reference point with local communities, making it ʻeasier for other religious communities to understand themʼ and accept their involvement.

Faith-based INGOs, moreover, often have the advantage of working to a longer timeframe than most other INGOs. They have a longer track record and their involvement is seen as constant. They are committed, and rooted in societies. When a war breaks out that causes INGOs to leave for security reasons, there is never a question of the churches leaving. This advantage of time is something they should utilise more. They are ʻin principle much less driven by the short term imperativesʼ.

Not all faith-based organisations, however, are a positive influence. The ʻmyriad of god franchises which have cropped upʼ in Africa is seen as a concern. These ʻquite alarming institutionsʼ tend to use development interventions to promote their religious views, making help conditional on participation. Many regard such organisations as ʻdangerous to developmentʼ. This is a trend which needs to be watched.

Many faith-based INGOs have ʻenormous credibility and constituencyʼ but do not tap into this fully. To make the most of their particular assets, they need to develop a stronger sense of how their values inform their work. They need to move beyond simply using their home-based constituencies ʻonly to raise cashʼ and to focus more on ʻeducating their followers …so that they give their money because they understand and believe in the cause rather than because thatʼs what their religion encourages them to doʼ. The ʻfaith perspectiveʼ of INGOs offers a way to forge connections and understanding between the organisations and the communities with whom they work.

They need to use their position to give the church a stronger voice on important issues. They should use their ʻspiritual capitalʼ to position themselves at the cutting edge of rethinking what it is we are trying to achieve as a society. The values inherent in a faith-based approach can offer a different view of sustainability, helping to move beyond the current model of consumer-led development towards a ʻdifferent lifestyleʼ based on well being.

Key Trends

According to the report, the five key trends which will impact on development over the coming years are:

  • Climate change: There will be an increased frequency of extreme weather conditions, leading to more large-scale humanitarian crises. “More frequent emergencies will be a drain on resources and the good will of public donors or INGO supporter bases, resulting in knock-on effects in other long term work areas,” says the report. Development agencies must place more focus on preparing communities to deal with such crises.
  • Shifting geopolitics: Developing countries will increasingly seek economic cooperation with the ‘new powers’, such as China and India, as opposed to traditional development aid from the west. “This new approach, based on state capitalism, may bring some benefits in terms of infrastructure development, but also poses serious threats,” the report warns. “The lack of transparency and accountability exposes marked governance gaps at many different levels.”
  • Demographic change: Growing populations will see increased poverty in urban areas. In 2008, for the first time more than half the world’s population lived in urban areas and by 2050 that figure is likely to rise to 70%. “The face of poverty around the world will become increasingly urban in the coming decade,” says the report. “This may result in growing unemployment, as well as increasing pressure on resources like water and electricity…hardening attitudes in the North towards immigrants may lead to negative views on development…the public may question their support for development efforts if they feel they are undermined by population growth presented as out of control.”
  • Natural resource pressures: Resources such as land and water will increasingly become sources of conflict. According to the report, “The pressure on natural resources in many countries is leading to a clamp-down on democratic space and a criminalisation of civil protest. This will increasingly undermine human rights, such as access to land, for vulnerable groups.”
  • Widening inequality: Increasing poverty in middle-income countries will present problems for development agencies. “As countries graduate from least developed country status, they may have less access to development funding,” the report says. “Yet some of these countries will still be home to large numbers of people living in poverty. It raises the question of where development agencies should be working and what approach they should take to address poverty in these countries.”