ACFID recently signed a new five-year Partnership Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT). The MOU builds on over fifty years of continued engagement between ACFID and the Department, including funding since the 1970s, and a formal partnership since 2009.
ACFID’s President Susan Pascoe said of the signing: “ACFID is delighted to continue this constructive partnership, working alongside government in support of a resilient and prosperous global civil society. As the Foreign Policy White Paper pointed out, the strength and diversity of Australia’s connections to the world mean that partnerships between all levels of government, and between the Australian Government and business and civil society, are essential to effective foreign policy.”
“The Partnership between ACFD and DFAT expresses a commitment to bring together the capabilities of government and Australian NGOs to enhance effectiveness and impact in our international development activities. Whatever this cooperation with Government may look like, ACFID and our members will prioritise and remain true to speaking up for the poorest and most marginalised people living amongst our neighbours and standing in solidarity with them.”
The primary objectives of the MOU accord with the principle of a shared commitment between the partners to the pursuit of a strong and effective civil society. Key objectives of engagement include enhancing policy and practice dialogue between DFAT and the Australian NGO development sector; facilitating exchange of knowledge and ideas to increase development effectiveness; fostering effectiveness and accountability through standard setting and organisational development; and informing and engaging with the Australian public around Australia’s development efforts.
ACFID, as the peak body for around 120 member Australian NGOs and 24 affiliates working in international development and humanitarian action, is a critical conduit for the Department in pursuing its objective of working with NGOs to achieve the goals of the Australian overseas development assistance program. ACFID’s member organisations are supported by 1.5 million Australians from every electorate in Australia and operate in 90 countries around the world – this is a very powerful constituency with whom to collaborate.
As civil society actors, NGOs are certainly powerful agents for change, enabling communities to play an active role in the development process – from helping shape policy and partnerships to ensuring that programs are inclusive, relevant and effective for the community. The Partnership MOU reflects the shared interest of both partners in constructive, transparent and independent dialogue between the Australian Government and ACFID and its members.
To read the new MOU between ACFID and DFAT, please visit the ACFD website.