The Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) administers the Australian Government’s official development assistance program, including cooperation with accredited Australian Development Non-Government Organisations (NGOs). The Committee for Development Cooperation (CDC) is a joint DFAT/NGO advisory and consultative body made up of eight expert members; four each from the NGO community and from DFAT; and an Australian Council for International Development (ACFID) staff member as an observer. It is also supported by a secretariat from ACFID.
Final decisions on funding and other cooperation with Australian NGOs are taken by DFAT under delegated authority from the Minister for Foreign Affairs.
The role of the CDC is seen as crucial in relation to the continuous improvement of accreditation, Australian NGO Cooperation Program (ANCP) policies and any other funding streams involving Australian NGOs. Accreditation gives professional Development NGOs access to the ANCP and DFAT funding programs such as Cooperation Agreements and Strategic Partnerships Agreements and any other funding mechanisms that may be created.
The key to aid program funding for Australian NGOs remains the accreditation mechanism.
Role and functions of the CDC
The role and function of the CDC is to:
1. Oversee the accreditation process which includes:
- providing advice on accreditation criteria and related procedures;
- reviewing accreditation reports and making recommendations to DFAT; and
- ensuring consistency of approach by accreditation reviewers.
2. Provide advice on DFAT policy and procedures regarding NGO funding streams, including ANCP, ANCP Innovation Fund and ANCP Partnership Agreements.
3. As appropriate, provide advice on funding streams for ANCP accredited agencies (e.g. Cooperation Agreements).
NGO CDC members
Four CDC members represent the accredited Australian NGO sector and NGOs seeking accreditation. Two NGO CDC members are elected by the accredited NGO sector. The elections are organised by postal ballot through the CDC Secretariat every two years (coinciding with ACFID Council) and re-election of members is possible without limitation. The CDC Secretariat may hold early elections where mid-term vacancies occur.
In non-election years the ACFID Executive Committee will appoint the remaining two members on merit for a two-year period. The Executive Committee will make appointments every two years with the option of reappointment. Reappointment is also possible without limitation. Where possible, appointed members will ensure that the relationship between the CDC and both the ACFID Development Practice Committee (DPC) and the ACFID Executive Committee is maintained.
The NGO CDC members sit as individuals and represent NGOs in general rather than any specific organisation.
NGO members of the CDC are not paid for their attendance at CDC meetings or for participation in CDC working groups. However, they are reimbursed for their travel expenses to CDC and working group meetings.
NGO CDC members may be engaged by the CDC or by DFAT to undertake specific tasks where their NGO experience and relationship with the NGO community is utilised. When NGO CDC members undertake such tasks, payment is made at an agreed NGO consultant’s rate.
DFAT CDC members
DFAT is represented by four suitably qualified staff members, including one staff member at the level of Assistant Secretary and the Director of NGOs Programs Performance and Quality Section.
DFAT staff members are appointed to the CDC for a period of two years, re-appointment is possible without limitation.
Other appointments will be made by the DFAT delegate.
The appointed Assistant Secretary (or their nominee if unavailable) chairs the meeting. A quorum of two NGO CDC and two DFAT CDC members is required for decision-making purposes. The CDC will meet a minimum of three times a year. Meeting dates are set at the end of the year for the forthcoming year.
The CDC may hold electronic/remote CDC meetings where the CDC considers a teleconference arrangement sufficient to handle the items on the agenda. In addition, out of session meetings can be called as deemed necessary dependent on the workload of the CDC.
The CDC secretariat provides professional secretariat services to the CDC members and in that capacity is involved in all CDC meetings and working groups. In addition, an ACFID staff member sits on the CDC as an observer, which is separate from the CDC secretariat role.
All members will undertake to provide any relevant papers for discussion to the CDC secretariat in a timely fashion, so they can be disseminated to all parties in advance of meetings.