27 May 2024

Funders Forum on International Cooperation Partnerships Commits to Supporting Locally-Led Development

Today, the Funders Forum on International Cooperation Partnerships (FFICP), one of Philea’s thematic networks, and Enabel, the Belgian development cooperation agency, endorsed the Donor Statement on Supporting Locally Led Development, initially championed by NORAD and USAID. 

The statement commits the funders’ collaborative, which focuses on new trends and challenges in the field of international cooperation, to:  

  • Shift and share power to ensure local actors have ownership over and can meaningfully and equitably engage in development, humanitarian, and peacebuilding programs.  
  • Work to channel high quality funding as directly as possible to local actors while ensuring mutual accountability for the effective use of funds, management of risks, and achievement of development, humanitarian, and peacebuilding results.  
  • Publicly advocate for locally led development using their convening authority; their partnerships and networks; enhanced cooperation with national and subnational authorities, community leaders, and civil society; and their voice in international fora and multilateral institutions.  

The statement is not prescriptive on ways in which these commitments are to be implemented by individual donors, but rather invites signatories to rethink and define the ways in which these principles can be operationalised at the different levels.  

A formal moment of endorsement by the FFICP and Enabel took place on the occasion of a satellite event “International Partnership and Cooperation in the New Paradigm: Foundations and Locally-led Development” today in Ghent, ahead of the 2024 Philea Forum. They were joined by Peter Laugharn, President and CEO of the Hilton Foundation, a signatory of the original statement and member of the FFICP, who shared words and experience.  

“The Funders Forum on International Cooperation Partnerships (FFICP) is working together to drive a fundamental shift in philanthropy – one that shifts power, ensuring local actors have true ownership over their futures. By empowering communities to design and implement their own strategies, we gain a deeper understanding of their unique challenges. This flexibility lets us take calculated risks, trusting the expertise of those directly impacted. Our role is not to dictate solutions but to support the ingenuity and resilience of those most affected.”

Michael Mapstone, co-Chair, FFICP and CEO, Anglo American Foundation 

“Local ownership of any development program is the key to ensure its sustainability. It is also more critical than ever in the new world order we live in where the legitimacy of traditional development stakeholders is questioned. The co-creation principle is a key element of the strategy 2030 of Enabel and I am proud of the strong decentralization and local anchorage of our organization. Endorsing this statement is therefore natural for us”

Jean van Wetter, CEO, ENABEL- Belgian Development Agency 


Delphine Moralis
Chief Executive Officer