DSA2017: Sustainability Interrogated: Societies, Growth, and Social Justice
NGOs are facing a new development landscape, needing to respond and adapt to 'disruptive change'. In this panel we seek to understand these responses, and the implications for NGOs as they become one actor working as part of a broader complex system with multiple actors.
NGOs are facing a new development landscape, needing to respond and adapt to 'disruptive change' (Gnarig 2015). At the DSA 2016 conference we explored aspects of this landscape, focused on politics and power. We find that the challenges facing NGOs continue to escalate. This includes: blurring of boundaries between development actors; harsh media backlash against INGOs, and a public appetite for simple solutions to global challenges. Yet, recent changes in the funding environment are promoting coalitions and consortia between NGOs and research bodies, donors, private sector, local/ central government, and other parts of civil society. One rationale for these multi-stakeholder partnerships (MSPs) is that they may provide the required complex solutions to complex problems posed by global challenges, social injustice and inequalities.
In this panel we seek to unpack the implications for NGOs, working as part of a broader complex system with multiple actors. What evidence exists of the added value of MSPs and consortia? What are the implications of blurred boundaries across different actors? What does this mean for the NGO sector at home and abroad?
The Study Group proposes two interconnected panels to address these questions. The first will focus on capturing NGO responses to these challenges through presentation of new research. The second will look at the broader implications for the NGO sector using an interactive format. The Study Group will take forward the emerging themes from these panels into a collaborative policy and practice workshop with the Business and Development Study Group later in 2017.
This panel is closed to new paper proposals.
The changing role of NGOs in supporting climate services: insights from Ethiopia and Burkina Faso
NGOs across Africa and Asia are increasingly acting as brokers, and sometimes producers, of climate information as part of their "resilience building" efforts. We examine how NGOs are engaging with the wider climate services system and the opportunities and risks that this new role presents.
The rise of the 'resilience' agenda in the context of climate and development has led to a push for more integrated approaches to planning for and responding to climate change, Disaster Risk Management, and broader development challenges. Included in this move, is an increased emphasis on the use of climate and weather information across a range of scales, including within impacted communities. Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs) across Africa and Asia have responded accordingly, and are increasingly acting as brokers, and sometimes producers, of climate information services as part of their "resilience building" programmes (Jones, Harvey & Godfrey-Wood, 2016). While this is promising in theory, it raises important questions about the longer-term implications of these trends: Are NGOs adequately equipped to perform these functions effectively? Is their presence enhancing or competing with the roles traditionally played by national meteorological services? And what impacts, if any, are being perceived at community-level as a result?
This session will present findings reporting on these questions from participatory research undertaken in Ethiopia and Burkina Faso, as well as a review of wider trends. It will conclude with recommendations for national meteorological services, NGOs, and funding agencies on how to best harness these brokering and intermediary roles in strengthening climate resilience, and what the implications of this approach might be for the most vulnerable.
Understanding the UK development NGO sector
In this paper we report on a project that has attempted to map the development NGO sector in the UK. We discuss the methodological pitfalls of such a mapping exercise, its advantages, and the insights it affords as to how the sector makes sense as a sector, or as a coalition of overlapping networks
Our attempts to understand the pressures and changes development NGOs experience needs to be matched by our understanding of how the constitution of the sector itself is changing. This means understanding who is part of the sector, its financial structure, geography, networks and inter-relationships. The changing role of multi-sector partnerships, for example has to be understood in the context of the changing NGO sector itself. In this paper we report on a project that has attempted to map the development NGO sector in the UK. We discuss the methodological pitfalls of such a mapping exercise, its advantages, and the insights it affords as to how 'the sector' makes sense as a sector, or as a coalition of overlapping networks.
This panel is closed to new paper proposals.