Do international NGOs have a future?

More horizon scanning out this week – it’s a growth industry – from the Irish NGO, Trocaire (and some inputs from IDS).

This scan is a bit different – it’s one written for an international NGO audience with a timeline to 2020.

Lawrence Haddad’s blog summed up the 3 key points well in a post about the launch of the report:

The top 3 “burning questions” for INGOs are:

1. Advocacy: how do INGOs protect their independence and ability to speak out on issues that may be unpopular with important stakeholders? In other words, to what extent does funding compromise stance?

2. Downward accountability: How do INGOs ensure that they are as (or more) accountable to the people they reach as they are to the development partners that fund them?

3. Flexible and responsive: How can INGO’s experiment and innovate without falling victim to development fads?

His conclusion – NGOs: be less obsessed with ODA and focus on other government departments, focus more on global public goods that your own government can affect, such as climate, trade, and security regimes, and try to focus on transformative actions.

Sounds good to me – in short in a world of fewer poor countries and fewer countries needing or wanting resource transfers over time, looming on to the horizon are development assistance as development policy (aka ‘policy coherence’) and global public goods and how these will relate to any MDGs 2.0 – a second generation of the Millennium Development Goals – the UN poverty goals – if there is a second generation after 2015.

And for those with a view to looking further ahead  – there’s some thought provoking scenarios for  2030 from the Guardian’s Development blog…