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Civil Society Participation in Poverty Reduction Strategy Papers (PRSPs)

Report to the Department for International Development (DFID)

Vol I: Overview and Recommendations

November 2001

Comments on this report are welcomed: &

SARPN acknowledges that copyright of the report is vested in DFID. Persons can access the DFID website at:
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This Report was commissioned by the Department for International Development (DFID) to advise how development agencies might facilitate and support effective civil society involvement in drawing-up Poverty Reduction Strategy Papers (PRSPs). The Terms of Reference are attached at Annex A.

In the last two years the international community has made poverty reduction the primary objective for financial support to poor countries.

In 1999, the World Bank and IMF, backed by the donor countries, announced a new framework for international assistance, expressed through the Comprehensive Development Framework (CDF) and the PRSPs. Debt relief and concessional flows are, in future, to be based on explicit poverty reduction programmes, with each country responsible for setting its own plans – rather than the IMF or World Bank. Furthermore, civil society should be involved in drawing up and monitoring those polices – each country would need a Poverty Reduction Strategy, set by Government following broad participation from society at large.

The purpose of this report was to examine the issue of civil society participation in the PRSPs, and make recommendations to DFID on how best to support this.

In carrying out the review, the consultants met with other donors, including the European Commission, World Bank and UNDP, and with DFID and FCO officials. Three case studies form the core of the work: Ghana, Vietnam and Zambia. In total, more than 150 individuals and institutions were consulted, including representatives from civil society structures: the business community, unions, churches, NGOs and the media. Meetings were also held with the relevant ministries in each country, as well as other official bodies with a stake in the budget process, such as Parliament. A list of persons and institutions consulted is attached at Annex B.

While we hope that the case studies will be useful in the respective countries, their main purpose is to suggest wider lessons for the advancement of popular participation in developing national poverty strategies through the PRSPs.

We would like to the following for their help: Father Peter Henriot, of the Jesuit Centre for Theological Reflection (JCTR), which acts as the Secretariat for Jubilee 2000-Zambia; Charles Abugre of ISODEC in Ghana; Bridget Crumpton, a consultant in Vietnam; Liz Muggeridge of Africa Consulting; and Rosemary McGee at IDS. The Report was written by Steve Godfrey, Tim Sheehy, and Eileen Sudworth.

Steve Godfrey - SGTS & Associates


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