A historic pledge for a more equitable aid system by 2030 has today been launched globally, with CARE Australia leading the charge to encourage other Australian international non-government organisations (INGOs) to sign onto the pledge.
The Pledge for Change is a set of commitments to create closer partnerships with local and national organisations in a drive to shift more power, decision-making, and money to the places worst affected by crisis and poverty.
Spearheaded by a prominent advocate for aid reform, Degan Ali, chief executive of Adeso, along with a number of INGO CEOs from around the world, the pledge focuses on three key areas: equitable partnerships, authentic storytelling, and influencing wider change.
The overall aim of the pledge is to build a stronger aid ecosystem based on principles of solidarity, humility, self-determination, and equality.
CARE Australia Chief Executive Peter Walton, who has been involved with Pledge for Change since its inception, said the pledge commitments were not only the right thing to do morally but were also essential if the sector is serious about addressing many of the unprecedented challenges the world is facing.
“At CARE Australia, we have already started our journey to support genuinely local-led impact and put the power in the hands of local actors – and with the backing of our Board, we are changing our operating model,” Mr Walton said.
“This includes not only looking critically at our communications but also our partnerships, putting women-led and local organisations at the heart of everything we do.
“International aid needs this long overdue rethink. It’s time to move beyond the rhetoric into genuine behavioural and systemic change,” he added.
While the pledge largely sets out the change required from the power holders in the ‘global north’, it has been co-created through an 18-month process of analysis and discussion that brought perspectives from both the global south and global north leaders and experts together.
CARE Australia is the only Australian INGO represented on the Pledge steering committee and is pushing for more and more Australian INGOs to endorse and support the broader change within the Australian aid sector.
A number of global organisations, including CARE International, Christian Aid, Plan International, Save the Children International and Oxfam International, have also signed on.
Deakin University’s Centre for Humanitarian Leadership Director Mary Ana McGlasson, who supported Adeso in making the pledge a reality, said it was a critical milestone in moving the aid system forward from its current state of inertia toward more equitable and decolonised ways of working.
“The Centre for Humanitarian Leadership is incredibly proud to have been a part of Pledge for Change in a supportive and guiding role since its inception, and we congratulate CARE Australia for beginning to ‘walk the talk’ and set an example for leveraging systemic change,” Ms McGlasson said.
“While the onus to change rests with large, global INGOs, Australia-based INGOs can and should commit to the ambition, transparency, and accountability built into the Pledge for Change mechanism.”
Find out more about the Pledge for Change at https://pledgeforchange2030.org/