B.1 Effective Aid and Development

Aid and development refers to activities undertaken to reduce poverty and address issues of global justice.

Aid and development can occur through a range of activities including community projects, humanitarian response, community education, advocacy, volunteer placements, provision of technical and professional services and resources, environmental protection and restoration, and the promotion and protection of human rights.

The link between effectiveness and accountability is well established. For an organisation to realise its core mission, it needs to know to whom, for what and how it is accountable. Being clear about whom it seeks to serve and how is key to an organisation’s effectiveness.

Section B.1 of the ACFID Code of Conduct includes six sets of Standards each with respective Principle and Obligations. Standards B.1.1 - B.1.3 encourage signatory organisations to be accountable to their stakeholders, to use a quality approach to their aid and development activities, and to ensure these are linked to the identity of the organisation. Standards B.1.4 - B.1.6 address gender, non-development activity and environmental sustainability, as concepts considered integral to effective aid and development.

Compliance with Standards B.1.1, B.1.2, B.1.3, B.1.4 and B.1.6 and their Obligations is progressive. This means that signatory organisations can work towards complying with the Obligations over a defined period of time. Signatory organisations are expected to have a plan to work toward meeting these Standards and Obligations and to monitor their implementation.

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B.1.1 Accountability to primary stakeholders

Principle

Signatory organisations will ensure that their purpose and processes are shaped by stakeholders and that their work is open to review and comment by partners and participants alike. In all instances those directly affected by aid and development activities are considered the primary stakeholders and their views afforded the highest priority.

Obligations

  1. Signatory organisations will prioritise accountability to local people and those directly affected by aid and development activities, prioritising their needs and rights with specific reference to gender, age, disability and other identified vulnerabilities.

  2. Signatory organisations will seek the genuine, informed, consensual participation of local people and their representatives in aid and development activities, ensuring that they have the opportunity to authentically contribute to the design, implementation, monitoring and evaluation of these activities.

  3. Signatory organisations will analyse the needs and expectations of key stakeholders in all aid and development activities, pursuing informed and balanced accountability to each.

Why

As primary stakeholders, those who are directly affected shall be an integral part of decisions and activities that impact them. The voice of primary stakeholders is integral to the development process and their involvement helps ensure that development activities meet their needs. It is just and fair that local participants have a say in activities that affect their lives. 

Values

This standard reflects the Code of Conduct’s commitment to:

  • Accountability to stakeholders for performance and integrity
  • Building creative and trusting relationships with communities
  • Honesty and transparency.

Practical guidance

Accountability to your stakeholders in programs means enabling their authentic involvement. This will involve a range of activities at organisational and program levels, and working with partners. It could include sharing information, listening to their views, involving them in decisions, reporting progress back to them and making changes based on their involvement so that activities will achieve outcomes based on their needs. Here are some practical suggestions for your organisation to improve its accountability to primary stakeholders:

Organisational

  • Set accountability targets in strategic plans, organisational plans, country plans or program plans, which ever is more relevant in your organisation. There could be varying levels of accountability and in different ways to different stakeholders.  
  • Report against these targets i.e. the extent to which you meet varying levels of accountability and to whom
  • Develop policy statements that reflect an explicit commitment to accountability to stakeholders
  • Reflect your commitment to accountability through tools used throughout the project cycle such as for design, appraisal and monitoring
  • Explicitly outline the importance of identifying the needs and expectations of all key stakeholders, including potential differences in interests and points of view, in the program’s design guidelines
  • Use project design tools, such as a stakeholder priority matrix, for in-depth analysis and to prioritise stakeholders
  • Assess the level to which primary stakeholders have been involved in the initial planning of the program and the level of consultation and engagement with various community groups and the local government
  • Develop appropriate tools to assist staff and partners to carry out the suggestions listed above
  • Train staff in relevant issues such as accountability, participatory processes, empowerment and increasing the voice and engagement of primary stakeholders
  • Train staff in how to carry out power analyses as a basic step in the preparation of any development activity
  • Develop and provide a formal feedback and complaints system that is safe, easy and accessible for in-country stakeholders to use
  • Be aware that the most important avenue for honest feedback comes from developing trusting and genuine relationships between project staff and communities.

 

Partners

  • Seek to work with partners that have a commitment to empowering local people and communities and to accountability
  • Ask partners how local people will be involved in the design of the program
  • Encourage and support partners to have good relationships with local government and officials where this is possible and appropriate
  • Train partners in participatory processes, empowerment and democratic ownership
  • Encourage and support partners to prioritise the recruitment of local people.

 

Programs

  • Do a comprehensive analysis of the program’s context, including barriers and constraints to social change as expressed by primary stakeholders, on which to base project design
  • Conduct research to identify the enabling factors and barriers for participation of local people
  • Use participatory processes for strategy and program design, implementation, evaluation, and accountability
  • Design mechanisms for ensuring participation of, and accountability to, marginalised people such as women, girls, children, indigenous peoples, workers, people with disabilities, refugees and displaced populations, religious and ethnic minorities, people with different sexual identity and migrants.
  • Ensure in-country staff are able to interact and communicate with in-country stakeholders in local language and are able to prepare key documents in local languages
  • Regularly monitor – using feedback forms, focus groups and surveys – the satisfaction level of local people and partners with the program 
  • Create safe opportunities and spaces to hear from a diversity of stakeholders including primary stakeholders
  • Establish local committee structures for the local governance of programs or activities
  • Encourage and create opportunities for women to take leadership roles
  • Recruit, where appropriate, project staff from among stakeholders.
  • Hold public meetings to share project information, and seek feedback when appropriate
  • Document program information and make it easily accessible to stakeholders
  • Communicate program progress regularly to stakeholders
  • Structure feedback mechanisms into programs and activities
  • Clearly establish and publicise a complaints process to be used by stakeholders
  • Undertake project monitoring and evaluation in collaboration with stakeholders.

 

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B.1.2 Quality approach

Principle

Signatory organisations will apply a quality approach to the design, implementation, monitoring and evaluation of aid and development activity that emphasises relationships, learning, adaptation and impact.

Obligations

  1. Signatory organisations will focus on building and maintaining strong, honest and robust relationships with their partners in development, the local people and organisations with which they work.
  2. Signatory organisations will focus on the impact of their activity and will use the information gained in monitoring and evaluation to improve aid and development processes and outcomes over time.
  3. Signatory organisations will ensure that they have analysed and understood the context in which planned activities will occur and will continue to review their understanding as the context changes.
  4. Signatory organisations will set out a clear purpose and objectives for all aid and development activity including consideration of the timeframe, sustainability of the activity and its impacts beyond their involvement.

Why

Effective development outcomes are achieved when a quality approach guides and informs development activity. The practices involved with this approach include:

  • Strong relationships and equitable partnerships
  • Deep analysis of the development context
  • Clear understanding of program logic or the intended process of social change
  • Commitment to learning and improving.

Values

This standard reflects the Code of Conduct’s commitment to:

  • Building creative and trusting relationships with communities and partners
  • Active learning, innovation and improving practice

Practical guidance

There is no absolute consensus on how to define or measure the effectiveness of aid and development activities. But there is a shared and agreed understanding of principles and practices that contribute to more effective development outcomes.

Here are some practical suggestions for your organisation to strengthen its quality approach to aid and development activities:

Partnerships and other stakeholders

  • Build and maintain robust relationships throughout the development process with partner organisations, local people and other stakeholders, and invest the required time to do so
  • Ensure relationships and partnerships reflect the principles of equality, mutual respect and transparency
  • Invest time to learn about your partner’s philosophies, objectives and approaches and share yours with them to build mutual understanding and respect
  • Ensure a clear shared understanding of the roles and responsibilities of your organisation and your partner
  • Establish agreement on the essential elements of an effective partnership and how this can be jointly monitored with performance indicators and targets
  • Develop plans and budgets with corresponding reporting processes to enable transparency and accountability
  • Jointly define desired successful outcomes and indicators of progress and how they will be assessed and measured. This could involve clearly defined indicators and targets or could be done in a more open-ended manner.
  • Hold events or create opportunities with communities, partners and other stakeholders to share results and progress.

Achieving impact

  • Focus on the impact or long term outcome of an activity – this will encourage the analysis and articulation of how the changes will likely occur and who the main actors or change agents are in this process.
  • Undertake this analysis and planning with the full participation of partners, community members and other important stakeholders
  • Jointly define with your partners and other stakeholders what success or progress will look like and how it will be assessed and measured. This could involve defining indicators and targets or could be done in a more open-ended manner.
  • Establish monitoring and evaluation systems that regularly and systematically include the participation and leadership of partners, community members and other critical stakeholders
  • Use a range of data collection methods and tools, both qualitative and quantitative, for monitoring and evaluation processes
  • Present findings and seek feedback in an accessible and appropriate way to your stakeholders
  • Demonstrate a commitment to mutual accountability through sharing results, good practices and lessons learned with stakeholders
  • Organise events or opportunities for stakeholders and staff to reflect on lessons learned and explicitly incorporate them into forward planning
  • Use data to inform decision-making, to adjust approaches where necessary and to continually improve performance.

Contextual analysis

  • Develop a full understanding of the program’s context including the impact of national and community-level political, social, economic, cultural and environmental factors, as well as the enablers and the barriers to social change
  • Carry out an analysis of the key relationships that will impact the project, how that impact will occur, and how those groups or people can be positively engaged
  • Train staff in how to carry out power analyses as a basic step in the preparation of any development activity
  • Periodically review the context as it changes over time as part of regular monitoring activities and reflect any changes by adapting project plans and approaches.

Development strategy

  • Articulate how the intended development or social changes will likely occur and who the important people are in this process
  • Develop operational plans including activity schedules, monitoring and evaluation plans, budgets and risk management plans to guide the implementation of the development activity. These documents ensure shared understanding between you and your partners and provide an objective basis to monitor, measure and report progress.
  • Consider approaches during project design and throughout implementation that will increase the likelihood of sustainability of development outcomes such as working within and strengthening existing local structures or organisations, transferring skills and knowledge to local communities and allowing adequate time in planning processes to authentically engage partners and primary stakeholders.

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B.1.3 Consistency with vision, purpose and values

Principle

Signatory organisations will ensure that their aid and development activities are clearly aligned with the vision, purpose and values of their organisation and that these are clearly communicated in their relationships with all stakeholders.

Obligations

  1. Signatory organisations will ensure that their aid and development activities are consistent with the vision, purpose and values of the organisation.
  2. Signatory organisations will communicate their core and shared values in their relationships with all stakeholders.

Why

Your organisation’s vision, purpose and values provide it with direction. They determine the work that your organisation undertakes and the approaches your organisation takes in that work. To maintain integrity, your organisation should engage in activities consistent with its vision, purpose and values. Communicating these to all stakeholders demonstrates your accountability to them, and allows them to assess how well you are adhering to your core values and mission and helps them make an informed decision whether to partner with you or not. Assessing the degree to which organisations adhere to their core values and mission is a fundamental test of accountability.

Values

This standard reflects the Code of Conduct’s commitment to:

  • Accountability to all stakeholders
  • Building creative and trusting relationships with communities and partners
  • Honesty and transparency.

Practical guidance

Here are some practical suggestions for your organisation to ensure consistency with its vision, purpose and values:

Organisation-wide and policy

  • Develop and document your organisation’s vision, purpose and values
  • Implement internal processes for developing, reaffirming or revising your vision, purpose and values, involving staff and other stakeholders, such as partners and volunteers as appropriate
  • Include a discussion of your organisation’s vision, purpose and values in staff induction
  • Ensure that job descriptions at all levels of your organisation include the responsibility for communicating your vision, purpose and values to relevant and appropriate stakeholders. Hold staff accountable to this responsibility in performance reviews
  • Make the vision, purpose and values of your organisation visible in your office, for example, in staff bulletins, posters and on notice boards
  • Develop a formal policy that commits your organisation to communicating your vision, purpose and values to stakeholders
  • Make the policy publicly available to stakeholders to demonstrate your accountability 
  • Undertake a mapping process to identify all stakeholder groups to whom your organisation seeks to be accountable
  • Create an implementation plan to meet the commitments described above.
  • This plan and the organisation’s commitment should be made publicly available through the website and other media in order that it can be held accountable to this commitment. 
  • Undertake periodic reviews of your organisation’s consistency with its vision, purpose and values and how it effectively enacts them. Make the findings of this review publicly available through your website and other mediums. 

Partners and external stakeholders

  • Clearly communicate your vision, purpose and values to partners, community members and other stakeholders in an accessible manner
  • Distribute printed materials in English and local languages or use images that outline your vision, purpose and values to potential partners, community members and other stakeholders, for example on community notice boards and at community meetings
  • Outline your vision, purpose and values in partner agreements
  • Explicitly consider your partners’ vision, purpose and values when assessing partners in order to ensure your compatibility and alignment, particularly where the partner will directly implement shared development activities.

Programs

  • Include specific questions on how development activity aligns with or contributes to your vision, purpose and values in your project planning or design templates
  • Appraise and assess new programs or concepts according to how they align with your vision, purpose and values
  • Use evaluations, meetings and events to reflect on how development activities and partnerships align with and enact your vision, purpose and values
  • Make program review reports available throughout your organisation, to partners and other stakeholders and on your website. 

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B.1.4 Addressing Gender

Principle

Signatory organisations are committed to addressing the effect of gender inequalities and inequities as being fundamental to attainment of human rights for all and the effectiveness of their aid and development activity.

Obligations

  1. Signatory organisations will ensure that an appropriate focus is given to understanding and addressing gender issues in their aid and development program design, implementation, monitoring and evaluation cycles.
  2. Signatory organisations will also work to assist partners to become aware and supportive of signatory organisation’s commitment to deal with gender issues in their aid and development activity.

Why

Gender equality aims for a society in which women and men enjoy the same opportunities, rights and obligations in all spheres of life. It is intrinsically linked to sustainable development and vital to the realization of human rights for all. Its promotion will enhance democratic governance, increase the well-being of women, girls and their families and economic growth.

Women represent the majority of those in poverty, so actively supporting women’s full participation and empowerment in economic, social and political life is a key factor in reducing poverty.

Signatory organisation’s commitment to gender equality recognises the importance of women’s rights and improves the effectiveness of aid and development activity.

Values

This standard reflects the Code of Conduct’s commitment to:

  • Sustainable, fair and equitable solutions that address the root causes and symptoms of poverty and disadvantage
  • Respecting, protecting and promoting internationally recognised human rights including civil and political, economic, social and cultural rights and with particular emphasis on gender equality.

Practical guidance

There are a broad range of activities you can undertake to demonstrate how your organisation addresses gender issues. This can include analysing, monitoring, evaluation and consultation on aid and development activities taking gender into account, and responding to the different needs and priorities of women, men, boys and girls. Achieving gender equality may require targeting programs specifically at women, engaging with men to promote gender equality and challenging broader social relationships of inequality.  

Here are some practical suggestions for your organisation to strengthen its commitment to addressing the effect of gender inequalities and inequities: 

Recruitment and employment

  • Ensure that the governing body of your organisation has a balanced representation of men and women
  • Ensure that job advertisements, interview styles and the composition of interview panels are gender-sensitive
  • Actively improve gender balance by seeking and recognising the skills and potential in women candidates
  • Provide additional and tailored support for women to facilitate their career advancement
  • Provide gender training for all staff, including support staff
  • Create enabling work environments for women and men, including family-friendly working hours, the opportunity to work from home or even the provision of child care
  • Recognise the equal value and importance of both women and men in parenting children, and provide reasonable and fair parental leave that supports both parents
  • Establish and support mechanisms to address harassment and discrimination that occurs on the basis of gender
  • Pay women and men with an equal salary for equal work.

Gender mainstreaming

Gender mainstreaming is a strategy to ensure that the issue of gender is not treated in isolation or as a separate issue, but is recognised as a consideration in all policies, programs and projects, whether in design, analysis, implementation, monitoring or evaluation. Gender mainstreaming promotes gender equality and the empowerment of women in all aid and development activities. Some practical examples include:

  • Develop an organisation-wide policy on gender equity
  • Provide staff with relevant training and other capacity-building to build gender awareness and gender analysis skills
  • Support staff to recognise that traditional gender roles in program countries are often different from those in Australia and work with staff and partners to sensitively and respectfully challenge culture norms where appropriate 
  • Ensure gender analysis is part of all aid and development activities, at each stage of the program or project cycle
  • Develop gender guidelines and gender-sensitive checklists for use in the project cycle
  • Analyse the expected impact of projects by gender, and incorporate analysis into project design guidelines
  • Identify gender indicators within monitoring and evaluation plans.
  • Collect and analyse gender-disaggregated data in monitoring and evaluation activities and use it to inform learning and future project design
  • Specifically address gender in human resources materials
  • Ensure that specific gender-related projects have staff that are appropriate and who will be able to build positive and constructive relationships with both men and women.

Gender-specific initiatives

A gender-specific initiative addresses gender as its prime focus. Examples include programs to increase women’s literacy or increase women’s income. These initiatives can be used to reduce identified gender disparities that may have been revealed in the gender analysis that is recommended to precede program design and development. Here are some practical suggestions to improve the effectiveness of gender-specific initiatives:

  • Involve local women in program-related decision-making, ensure that women choose their own priorities and ensure women are not excluded when final program decisions are made
  • Engage with or support the establishment of women’s organisations in the field
  • Support initiatives owned by women’s groups
  • Recognise the needs and challenges of women involved in your program. For example, for meetings, agree on arrangements that are acceptable to women relating to appropriate facilitators, scheduling, duration, timing, location, safety and transportation needs.
  • Implement gender-responsive budgeting, where funds are specifically allocated to gender-related activities and women are involved in decision-making to allocate financial resources
  • Ensure that staff involved in programs have a firm grounding in understanding gender, through activities such as training, workshops, independent study or formal gender studies courses
  • Plan the involvement of local women in programs respecting their desires and challenges, such as a traditional work load or schedule, and ensure programs do not require more work or involvement than they are able to provide
  • Appoint a focal person within your organisation with accountability for monitoring the gendered impact of your aid and development activities
  • Work with men to help them understand the importance of women’s activities and women’s rights and the benefit that this will bring to the whole community.

Partners

This standard requires organisations to engage in active dialogue with partner organisations on the importance of gender equality and provide support for them to build gender awareness. Here are some practical examples:

  • Include a commitment to gender equity in partnership agreements
  • Support workplace practices that promote the equal employment of women
  • Work with partners to ensure that both women and men are represented at a governance level
  • Promote dialogue and reflection on how projects improve the position of women and what more can be done
  • Assist partners to mainstream gender into their policies and strategies
  • Conduct gender training 
  • Implement gender-responsive budgeting
  • Share gender checklists and guidelines
  • Work in partnership on initiatives related to gender
  • Consider how to support government agencies to become more gender sensitive
  • Jointly advocate for the improvement of the position of women.

Responding to discrimination and abuse

In all Australian states and territories, sex discrimination is a crime (as per the Commonwealth Sex Discrimination Act (1984) that addresses discrimination on the grounds of sex, marital status, pregnancy, potential pregnancy or family responsibilities or involving sexual harassment). To respond to discrimination and abuse on the basis of gender:

  • Report violence or gender discrimination incidents to the CEO or other nominated person in an organisation
  • In Australia, report allegations of sex discrimination by a staff member or volunteer in the organisation to the state police
  • Treat all concerns raised seriously
  • Ensure that all parties will be treated fairly with prime consideration of the principles of natural justice
  • Handle all reports professionally, confidentially and expediently.

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B.1.5 Non Development Activity

Principle

Funds and other resources designated for the purpose of aid and development will be used only for those purposes and will not be used to promote a particular religious adherence or to support a political party, or to promote a candidate or organisation affiliated to a particular party.

Obligations

  1. Signatory organisations will have clear separation – through policy or guidelines – between aid and development and non-aid and development objectives and activities based on the definitions of aid and development and non-aid and development activity contained in Section F (Definitions) of the Code.
  2. This separation will be clear in all fundraising, programs and other activities, in public communication and in all reporting including annual reports.
  3. Any fundraising solicitations that include references to both aid and development and non-development activities will provide donors with the choice of contributing to aid and development activity only.
  4. Signatory organisations will ensure that any such separation in fundraising, programs and other activities, in public communication and in reporting, extends to partner and implementing organisations and is documented.

Why

The intention of this Standard and its Obligations is not to restrict the activities or judge the values of your organisation but to ensure honesty and accuracy.

Applying funds to the aid and development purpose for which they were raised is a critical aspect of integrity and accountability. Sustainable aid and development outcomes may be compromised if integrated with short-term welfare assistance, the promotion of religious viewpoints or support for local party politics or candidates.

This Standard has two intentions. Firstly to ensure that your organisation is accurately representing its activities to the people you work with, donors and the public.  Secondly, to ensure funds raised for aid and development purposes are not used to exploit people and communities who are vulnerable nor place any conditions or obligations on them in terms of non-development, religious or political outcomes that would affect their access to services being offered.

Values

This standard reflects the Code of Conduct’s commitment to:

  • Sustainable, fair and equitable solutions that address the root causes of poverty
  • Accountability to all stakeholders
  • Building trusting relationships with communities
  • Honesty and transparency.

Practical guidance

Here are some practical suggestions for your organisation to ensure it separates aid and development activity from non-development activity:

Organisational and policy

  • Develop and document your organisation’s vision, purpose and values. For signatory organisations that engage in non-development activities, this can be used as the basis for discussion with partners and other stakeholders to develop shared understanding.
  • Document a specific policy or guidelines that clearly separates aid and development and non-aid and development activity. Ensure this refers explicitly to both religious and political activity. This is a mandatory compliance requirement.
  • Signatory organisations that are accredited with the Australian Government ANCP program or have ‘approved organisation status’ under the Overseas Aid Gift Deductibility Scheme (OAGDS) should be aware that DFAT’s official definition of non-development activity includes welfare activities – refer to the Australian NGO Accreditation Guidance Manual. 

Staff and volunteers

For board members, volunteers or staff who are affiliated with a particular religion or political party in their private or professional lives, it can be challenging to separate this from their engagement in aid and development activities. In this situation you could implement the following:

  • Undertake orientation and training for all new board members, staff and volunteers to distinguish between development and non-developmental activities
  • Develop and disseminate clear guidance for any representatives engaging in field-based activities, such as monitoring or partner engagement, to ensure the distinction between the development and non-development activities is monitored and remains clear in activities, communication and practices
  • Ensure compliance with the separation by taking action where required to address inconsistent behaviour.
  • Help staff and volunteers understand that separating development and non-development activity doesn’t devalue their personal beliefs or affiliations, but can affirm and clarify the motivations that drive their involvement in development and justice.

Partners and external stakeholders

  • Share your vision, purpose and values, and share and discuss your policy and guidelines on the separation or exclusion of non-development activity with partners and other key stakeholders to facilitate shared understanding
  • If possible, identify clear examples of non-development activities in the context of your partner’s typical work
  • Assist your partner to develop their own policy on the separation or exclusion of non-development activity
  • If necessary assist partners in training to help their staff and volunteers understand the reasons that separating development and non-development activities is critical for development effectiveness
  • Include explicit reference to the separation of non-development activities, including clear definitions, in partner agreements (or the equivalent) in order to ensure shared understanding and that such policy extends to partner and implementing organisations. This is a mandatory compliance requirement.

Programs

  • For signatory organisations that engage in non-development activities, include explicit reference to the separation of aid and development and non-aid and development activity in project appraisal and selection criteria. This is a mandatory compliance requirement.
  • For other signatory organisations, include explicit reference to the exclusion of non-aid and development activity in project appraisal and selection criteria. This is a mandatory compliance requirement.
  • Monitor compliance of the clear separation or exclusion of non-aid and development activity through explicit reference in monitoring report templates and progress report templates
  • Where signatory organisation engage in non-development activities:
    • Ensure these dual activities are managed separately and can exists separately in a way that acknowledges the distinction between them
    • Do not incorporate such activities into programs designed to address poverty as this may exploit vulnerabilities[1]
  • Develop reporting tools that assist partners to report on and acquit non-development activities separately to development activities.


[1] Proselytisation and Poverty, Church Agencies Network Statement, February 2014

 

Fundraising and communication

  • Document specific communications and fundraising policies or guidelines which commit the organisation to transparency and accuracy with regards to the purpose for fundraising and communication about how funds are used. This is a mandatory compliance requirement.
  • Ensure accurate information is provided to donors, supported through public reporting, including annual reports, and on your organisation’s websites. This is a mandatory compliance requirement.
  • For signatory organisations that engage in non-development activities allow donors in online or printed fundraising materials to choose for their donation to be used for aid and development activities only or for non-development activities. Donors should be made aware that donations to non-development activities are not tax deductible. This is a mandatory compliance requirement.
  • Signatory organisations should be aware that if their organisation has ‘Approved Organisation status’ under the Overseas Aid Gift Deductibility Scheme (OAGDS) funds raised must not used for any purpose other than aid and development activity. This Scheme categorises welfare as a non-development activity.

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B.1.6 Environmental Sustainability

Principle

The aid and development activity of signatory organisations will aim to be informed by and implemented with an understanding of the environmental impact, if any, of their activities.

Obligation

  1. Signatory organisations will commit to conducting their aid and development activities in an environmentally sustainable way.

Why

The promotion of environmental sustainability in all aid and development activities contributes to the preservation of the environment for future generations. The impact of climate change, biodiversity loss, waste, pollution and other environmental degradation on developing countries has the potential to reverse many of the development gains made in recent times, and poses challenges for how aid and development activities are undertaken.

Your organisation may work in areas where long-term environmental impacts may be considered secondary to immediate security, economic or humanitarian needs. Even in these contexts, it is important to ensure that environmental considerations are taken into account.

Values

This standard reflects the Code of Conduct’s commitment to environmental sustainability in aid and development activities.

Practical guidance

Here are some practical suggestions to ensure the environmental sustainability of your organisation’s aid and development activities:

Organisational and policy

  • Create and document a policy on environmental sustainability and environment management which commits your organisations to minimise impact which relates specifically to the nature of your organisations work and partnerships. For example, organisations engaging in water and sanitation or natural resource management will require a more comprehensive policy than those only engaging solely in education. As an important policy, it should be ratified by the governing body and senior management.  Your organisation may also consider certifying this policy with ISO 14001.
  • Set performance targets at a strategic or organisational level related to minimising environmental impact in your aid and development activities. Ensure progress against these targets is tracked overtime.
  • Appoint a focal person within your organisation with accountability for monitoring the environmental impact of your aid and development activities.
  • Include an overview of the organisation’s commitments to evaluating and minimising environmental impact in the induction of all new staff
  • Document a toolkit and guidelines to support staff in implementing the organisation’s commitments to minimising environmental impact
  • Provide formal training for relevant staff on environmental sustainability

Partners and external stakeholders

  • Collaborate with organisations that focus on and have expertise in environmental issues
  • Support the active participation of partners and community members in environmental governance and decision-making on natural resource management activities
  • Build awareness of the risks to the environment and environment management with partners and community members through training and discussion
  • Assist your partners to develop their own environment policies
  • Where relevant to aid and development activities, include explicit reference in partner agreements to expectations regarding the assessment of environment risk and impact, and ongoing monitoring of impact and mitigation strategies.

Programs

  • Undertake situational analyses including the assessment of risks to the environment. Use this to raise awareness with community members and project participants.
  • Include in project planning and design templates specific questions regarding the environmental impact of aid and development activities
  • Where there is a risk of environmental impact due to the nature of the aid and development activity, or where the location of the program has environment vulnerabilities, undertake an environment impact assessment and create mitigation strategies to inform project design
  • Assess new projects or concepts against criteria that includes risks to the environment and environmental impact
  • Include environmental impact indicators in project monitoring and evaluation
  • Using meetings, events and evaluations, reflect on how aid and development activities, partners and communities are supporting or impacting on the environment
  • Share reporting of performance against key environmental performance indicators with external stakeholders. 

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