Making development aid more transparent and more effective

International solidarity is inherent in the trade union movement. This solidarity is consolidated by development cooperation which aims to strengthen trade unionism in the South and to secure international trade union solidarity.

Aid effectiveness

Strengthening aid effectiveness is a concern for trade union development cooperation. The assessment criteria are essentially quantitative (the number of training sessions, number of trainees reached by the programmes, etc.) and do not take into account the success or failure of the actions carried out. Furthermore the criteria are not very universal.

In the light of this observation shared by the majority of trade union organisations within the framework the International Trade Union Conference (ITUC) network, work is being carried out to define criteria based on a series of principles on which cooperation, its implementation and assessment are built. The CFDT is particularly active in this process and is assuming responsibilities for this network’s governance.
For this purpose, eight principles were identified that guide and frame the desired objectives. Their usage simplifies the evaluation procedures and serves as a code of conduct when the actions are being carried out. This principles also target efficient and transparent management of resources (whether they belong to the organisations or are external) in the framework of a coherent global strategy.

The contents of the principles make explicit reference to the values and visions of the trade union development partners within the framework of North-South and South-South cooperation and also North-North cooperation. These principles should be implemented in every situation, whether the trade unions have recourse to internal or external resources (governmental, development agencies or multilateral institutions).

In order to ensure direct follow-up of the trade union development cooperation effectiveness principles, the ITUC’s trade union network developed a tool: Trade Union Development Effectiveness Profile tool (TUDEP) to evaluate the projects’ respect for the principles.

Furthermore the network has set up an interactive database that takes an inventory of the trade union development cooperation operations in order to promote coordination, coherence and the impact of trade union cooperation on development.

The following are the principles developed by the trade union movement:

→ Democratic ownership: It is a question of respect and taking into account the objectives and priorities of the trade union partners in order to strengthen their independence within the framework of the mission of the international trade union movement. In concrete terms, the intervention is based on a shared strategic planning document. The needs analysis is carried out jointly and takes into account the national context and the workers’ needs.

→ Autonomy. The trade union organisation partners make their own decisions, adopt their priorities and each respects the strategic choices of the other without any political interference. The trade unionism defended is that of an independent trade union movement, autonomous, capable of developing itself from a political, intellectual, organisational and financial point of view without external interference.

→ Partnership. The goal of partnership is an equal relationship based on respect, trust and mutual understanding, recognising and respecting diversity and differences. Partnerships based on a solidarity approach and mutual learning are the heart of inter-organisational trade union cooperation.

→ Transparency. Transparency is defined by the trade unions as a high level of openness and access to information which is required so that the relations between trade union partners are equitable. The transparency concerns both the realisation of effective multilateral trade union cooperation between the organisations participating in the development activities on regional level as well as bilateral cooperation between partner organisations.

→ Accountability/Responsibility. The partner trade union organisations are committed to a system of mutual responsibility on political, operational and financial levels which must be supported by the relevant shared evaluation tools and by learning processes in order to increase the effectiveness of future initiatives.
Mutual accountability between partner funding sources and recipients can be discussed at the beginning of the contract that unites them.

→ Coherence. Coherence for trade unions, means that at all levels, the highest levels of affinity must be achieved in all approaches concerning all development cooperation initiatives, and correspondingly that no activity is in conflict with any other and each contributes to the other.

→ Integration and equality. The trade union movement believes that integration and equality means that all workers have the right to equal opportunities and treatment in employment and occupation.

→ Sustainability. The trade unions see sustainability as the long-term viability of the results of the development projects, adding to the strengthening of the cooperating trade union organisations. All the principles outlined above contribute to the promotion of sustainability. Sustainability includes autonomy, ownership, both political and economic independence as well as protecting the environment for future generations.

Written by Martine Roy, CFDT