Partnerships between local, national and international civil society organisations (CSOs) are a powerful tool to achieve societal change. They create benefits on both sides if partners work equally empowered towards mutually-agreed objectives. However, these partnerships are at times being strained by power dynamics and a growing disconnect. Tension keeps arising at global meetings and in social media.
This trend was confirmed during the Global Perspectives conference 2013 in Johannesburg, South Africa. In discussions between local, national and international CSOs, a number of shortcomings in the cooperation and partnership between local and national CSOs on one side and international CSOs on the other side were identified.
Subsequently, CIVICUS and the International Civil Society Centre joined forces to review existing partnership documents and to propose a set of principles for future cooperation. First, we have collected partnership documents from a range of CSOs. Second, we reviewed these documents and identified the main, most commonly applied principles. These principles are described in the partnership principles document.
We recommend taking the partnership principles as the starting point for developing country specific initiatives and to adapt them to the local context. Any feedback on the principles, their application and the theme in general is highly welcome.