As 2020 begins, we are facing a new UK government and the possible demise of the Department for International Development (DFID).
But our members are still working together to drive positive change across the international development sector.
Bond’s 41 workings groups are member-led spaces for sharing knowledge and expertise, so NGO professionals can be more effective in areas like programmes, funding, advocacy, MEL and communications. Many groups also influence government collectively by producing key policy and advocacy outputs.
As we enter the decade of delivery, Bond’s working groups have shared some of the key changes they want to see in this crucial year.
A bold, clear plan for the SDGs
“The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) are the agreed international framework for sustainable development. In 2019 the UK undertook a Voluntary National Review of implementation of the goals, but the UK’s progress has been slow.
“In 2020, we want to see the UK government set out a bold and clear action plan for how it will deliver on its commitments on the SDGs internationally and domestically by 2030. This must include meaningful participation of civil society and other stakeholders, and prioritise the most marginalised and left behind.” – Bond SDGs Group co- chair, Andrew Griffiths (Sightsavers)
Tackle the triple climate, nature and poverty emergency
“2020 will see some landmark global opportunities for historic change across the interrelated poverty-climate-nature emergency, including the UN’s 75th Anniversary and the start of the SDG decade of delivery, the UN Biodiversity COP in Kunming, and the UN Climate COP 26 in Glasgow. We can’t eliminate poverty when the environment is degraded and climate change destroys lives and livelihoods.
“We cannot address climate change without addressing inequality. And we need to develop sustainably to ensure any chance for us and future generations to thrive. In 2020 our group will launch advocacy across this triple emergency, and engage on government policy to optimise the UK’s position for each of these summits and as COP 26 president.” – Bond Development and Environment Group coordinator, Cat Pettengell.
More effective funding for small NGOs
“In 2020, we want see a funding environment that is more conducive to supporting the vital work of small organisations. Our work is often highly specialist and focussed, working very closely with communities at a grassroots level. Provision within funding for capacity building would significantly strengthen the infrastructure of small NGOs.
“We’d also like to see greater engagement with small NGOs from policy makers to ensure small NGOs contribute their diverse breadth of knowledge and experience to the wider narrative.” – Bond Small NGOs Group chair, Jemma Chambers (Tools for Self Reliance)
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Put international peace and security centre stage
“Addressing the drivers of conflict is key to unlocking human development in some of the most violent countries, including Yemen, Syria and the DRC. The SDGs framework brings peacebuilding, humanitarian and development needs together in a single plan for action. Following a disappointing Voluntary National Review process, the UK government must do more this year to use the SDGs framework for policy making.
“With a new Integrated Security, Defence and Foreign Policy Review announced for 2020, the government must put international peace and security centre stage and properly invest in addressing the root causes of conflict in a conflict sensitive manner.” – Bond Conflict Policy Group co-chair, Lewis Brooks (Saferworld)
Empower the most marginalised to hold us to account
“In 2020, I hope to see a shift towards transparency as an enabler for the most marginalised to exert influence and hold others to account. We’ve made great strides towards greater transparency, but the information made available is mostly used by actors doing things for marginalised people, rather than by marginalised people themselves.
“The International Aid Transparency Initiative and the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative are great sources of open information, but do not shift power to the most marginalised. We want to explore appropriate ways of directly providing the most marginalised with information that supports them to challenge inequality.” – Bond Transparency Group co-chair, Sam Moody (Christian Aid)
Ensure NGOs can operate in high-risk areas
“In 2020, we want to see more communication between the sector, banks and government, publication of new guidance and NGOs starting to feel the positive impact. Humanitarian and peacebuilding NGOs operating in conflict areas continue to face significant hurdles and risks associated with sanctions and counter-terrorism legislation. Everything from navigating compliance with complex sanctions and proscription regimes to working out safe payment channels; for some, just maintaining a bank account.
“The Sanctions and Counter Terrorism Working Group has made headway in bringing these issues together for resolution in a formal dialogue with UK government and banks.” – Bond Sanctions and Counter-Terrorism Group co-chair, Teresa Dumasy (Conciliation Resources)
Shift the power to feminist funding and engage with NGOs in the global south
“In 2020, the Funding working group is re-setting its priorities and focusing on funding diversification in the context of a changing funding landscape. We will also look at consortia working – how do smaller organisations make themselves known? How do you become part of a consortium led by a larger organisation?
“Shifting the power remains topical with diversification of funding, so we will need to have a focus on feminist funding along with engagement of southern organisations. Finally, we will look at DFID funding mechanisms, UKAid Direct, UKAid Match and UKAid Connect, to see what can we learn from them and how we can feed into future developments by DFID. We will be building on the work from last year, engaging with DFID and other donors on strategic funding, Cost Transparency and Code of Conduct.” – Bond Funding Group co-chair, Sally Vicaria (Opportunity International UK)
Help us achieve these changes
For these ambitions to become a reality, we must take action now. Five years into the SDGs and still behind on reaching the agreed targets, we can’t afford to lose any more time. We look forward to working more closely with our working groups in 2020 to advocate for a sustainable, equal and just world for all.