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March, 2008

I. Background
1. There is consensus among international development partners that national and global poverty reduction targets will not be met unless rural poverty is reduced. In this respect, many of these partners have recently taken stock of their experiences and redefined their approaches and commitments to poverty reduction and economic growth. An understanding of what it takes to meet the needs of the rural poor has never been closer. 2. The global agreement on the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) and other internationally-agreed development goals the core principles underlying the Comprehensive Development Framework and those implicit in the PRSP (Poverty Reduction Strategy Papers) processes stress the need for consensus to be reached between the international donor community and partner countries and for the adoption of mutually-agreed processes and a common agenda for development. These are essential for both effective rural and national development. 3. Another prerequisite for sustained and effective development is to reduce duplication and overlap of effort. Despite their growing consensus, the international donor community still exhibit differences as to the policies, strategic directions and approaches to be put in place, as well as to the content of interventions and institutional arrangements that are required to achieve lasting impact. Furthermore, each donor organisation offers different strengths and demonstrates different limitations. Effective and systematic lessonlearning between donor organisations and consensus among stakeholders on what works well in rural development and what does not is generally not in place. A common understanding by the international donor community and partner countries of the most effective development approaches is still being sought. 4. While there is general agreement that the focus of collaboration will be at the country level, advocacy and lesson-sharing at this level is not enough. Experience with strategic policy issues and lessons learned in national-level processes must be effectively linked to the efforts at regional and global levels, in order to deliver the intended outcomes in rural poverty reduction.

5. Guided by this rationale, and in light of the aid effectiveness agenda led by OECD/DAC, in particular the Paris Declaration, likeminded donors, both private and public, development agencies and multilateral organisations including international financial institutions, created the Global Donor Platform for Rural Development in 2004. This was preceded by a donor consultation meeting held in Rome in June 2002 as well as further meetings in Montpellier, France, and Washington, DC. 6. The Platform is a joint initiative of the international donor community and multi- and bilateral organisations. The member organisations of the Platform work together in solidarity towards their common goal to reduce rural poverty in developing countries through increased cooperation and collaboration. In doing so, every Platform member is regarded as equal, irrespective of available resources, whether human or financial.

II. Objective and Outputs

7. The ultimate objective of the Platform is to reduce poverty in developing countries and enhance sustainable economic growth in rural areas through improved cooperation and collaboration between international development partners and coordinated dialogue with partner countries. Members agree that Platform objectives should remain practical and feasible. The specific outputs that the Platform endeavours to achieve include: Output 1: Advocacy and Outreach 8. The members of the Platform serve as advocates for the needs of the rural poor and the agriculture agenda at the international, regional and country level. This includes contributing to policy debates and highlighting the relevance of rural development and agriculture within the context of the MDGs. Output 2: Knowledge Management and Innovation 9. The members of the Platform seek to enhance the quality and impact of rural development investments through shared learning and the recognition of best practices, both through networking and the collation and dissemination of innovations, and by undertaking joint training sessions and missions. Output 3: Aid Effectiveness 10. The members of the Platform join in collaborative efforts to refine aid effectiveness principles for agriculture and rural development programmes by means of further debates, agreement on common principles and the dissemination and application thereof at the international, regional and country level. This includes joint efforts to support national agriculture and rural strategies, harmonising procedures and practices in the context of OECD/DAC donor alignment efforts, utilising national systems, and strengthening the assessment of the impact of strategies and investments.

III. Governance and Organisational Structure

Membership 11. Membership in the Platform is voluntary and open to donor countries and development agencies, multilateral organisations including international financial institutions, and foundations. Membership is composed of Full Members and Associate Members. 12. Full Members are members contributing a minimum of 50,000 Euros per year. Full Members will receive all services of the Platform without additional cost and can serve as task leaders for specific activities. They are invited to the Annual Meetings of the Platform. Each Full Member has one seat in the Board which determines the Platforms strategic direction (see The Board, Articles 19-23). In the case of bilateral organisations, only one Full Member organisation per country can have a seat in the Board. 13. Associate Members are members that do not contribute financially to the Platform, or contribute less than 50,000 Euros per year. Associate Members are invited to the Annual Meetings and are welcome to collaborate in specific thematic areas or activities. Associate Members do not have a seat on the Board but otherwise benefit from the full range of Platform services. 14. All members endorse the mission and objectives of the Platform, contribute actively and regularly to its activities and outputs, and adopt this Charter, including its principles of working together, as laid down in Annex 1 to this Charter. 15. Focal Points: All Members (Full and Associate) nominate one representative, known as a Focal Point, together with an alternate, who serves as the official contact person between the Platform and the respective member organisation and represents the member at Platform meetings. The role of the Focal Points is defined in the Terms of Reference adopted by the Platform (Annex 2). Most importantly, they ensure that the headquarters and field staff in their respective organisations are well-informed about Platform activities.

16. General Assembly: All members meet once a year in the Platform General Assembly. The meeting is hosted by one member organisation on a rotational basis and supported both logistically and in terms of its content by the Platform Secretariat (see Article 31) and a General Assembly Task Force. The objectives of the General Assembly are as follows: To provide a comprehensive overview and update of Platform activities; To network and exchange knowledge of members' ongoing programmes and efforts in agriculture and rural development; To promote coherent organisations; policy approaches within member

To lift the experience made by countries in the quest for greater harmonisation and alignment to a global level; To actively comment on the work plan of the Platform for the following year. Suggestions and priorities are taken up and decided upon during the following meeting of the Platform Board (Articles 19-27). 17. Platform activities and joint studies are conducted on the basis of the criteria and processes laid down in Annex 3. Partnerships 18. The Platform may enter into partnership with other platforms and networks, including other donor platforms, farmers organisations, regional or international research organisations, civil society organisations and regional networks, which share common interests with the Platform. Platform Partners engaged in parallel activities that support Platform objectives commit to implementing the vision and objectives shared by all members of the Platform. Examples of partners are the Neuchtel Group, the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI), the Regional Unit for Technical Assistance in Central America (RUTA), the New Partnership for Africas Development (NEPAD) and the European Initiative for Agricultural Research for Development (EIARD). Representatives of Platform Partners are invited to attend the Annual General Assembly, or sessions thereof, as appropriate.

The Board The Board is the central decision-making body of the Platform and consists of the Focal Points of all Full Members. 19. The Board can decide by consensus to extend its membership to Associate Members that do not contribute financially to the Platform. 20. The responsibilities of the Board include the following: To nominate, through election, the Platform Chair and ViceChair; To nominate, through a consensus of Board members, the members of the Platform Steering Committee (Articles 26-30); To agree upon the admission of new Platform Full Members and Associate Members; To consider the long-term operational strategy of the Platform; To approve the Platform annual budget; To approve the Platform annual work plan; To approve and amend the Platform Charter, including its Annexes. To agree on the formation of Technical Working Groups; To agree upon new Platform Partnerships and their modalities; To approve and amend the Terms of References of the Secretariat; To approve and amend the general terms of agreement with the institution (currently GTZ) that provides the Secretariat of the Platform. 21. The Platform Chair and Vice-Chair and members of the Steering Committee are elected ad personam. 22. The Board shall meet at least once a year in a Business Meeting (preferably back-to-back with the Annual General Assembly) and, unless otherwise specified, takes its decisions by a two-thirds majority vote. 23. If agreed by consensus of all its members and on a case-to-case basis, the Board may take a decision in writing.

Platform Chair and Vice Chair 24. The Platform Chair and the Platform Vice-Chair are elected during a Business Meeting of the Board for a mandate of two years. One individual cannot be elected for more than two consecutive mandates in one position. 25. The Platform Chair is also the Board Chair. The Platform Vice-Chair is also the Board Vice-Chair and the Chair of the Steering Committee. The Steering Committee 26. The Steering Committee (SC) consists of the Vice-Chair of the Platform plus five Board members. The Steering Committee members are designated ad personam by the Board, for a three-year period. Two SC members are to be replaced every year. Membership of the SC will rotate among all Platform Board members. 27. Upon request from the Platform Chair and with the support of the Secretariat, Steering Committee members may also represent the Platform in the performance of its official business. 28. The members of the SC will conduct videoconferences (or telephoneconferences) with each other on a regular basis. 29. Decisions of the SC are made by consensus. 30. The responsibilities following: of the Steering Committee include the

To provide day-to-day supervision of, and guidance to, the Secretariat; To review the performance of the Platform Secretariat and evaluate its impact; To help raise additional resources; To report to the Board Chair on a regular basis, and annually to the Board.

Secretariat 31. The Secretariat is the central management unit of the Platform, and serves as the hub for relations with its Full Members, Associate Members and Partners. The Secretariats work is focused mainly on serving, assisting and supporting member organisations and on ensuring financial and institutional stability. It also actively explores strategic partnerships to complement the work of the Platform. The Secretariat works under the direct supervision of the Steering Committee and reports to the Board. At present, the Secretariat is managed by the GTZ. The Secretariat operates within the annual activity and budget lines agreed by the Board each calendar year and takes all relevant decisions to move activities forward within the agreed budget, including the hiring of consultants, establishing networks and travels on Platform business. In the case of new activities that involve a financial commitment by the Platform, the Secretariat advises the SC on the purpose and scope of the activity and carries out the decision of the SC on further action. 32. The Secretariat's key responsibilities include: a) Governance and management Support to the main Governance bodies of the Platform - the Board, and the Steering Committee - and implementation of their decisions, bearing the primary responsibility for ensuring that Board and SC decisions are carried out; Proposing activities to implement Board decisions and preparing the terms of reference for contracted consultants who carry out work on behalf of the Platform; Providing advisory services to the Board, member organisations and partners in the area of rural development and agricultural policies, aid effectiveness and specific external initiatives, for example the Comprehensive Africa Agriculture Development Programme (CAADP). b) Implementation and supervision of activities Guiding and supporting Platform activities, including thorough analysis and policy advice in the area of aid effectiveness, knowledge management and innovation, CAADP and rural development and agricultural policies;

Screening and evaluating programme proposals as a basis for informed decision-making by the Board; Identifying international consultants, preparing their ToRs, and providing supervision and quality control of their work and its products. c) Communication and network management Establishing and maintaining an effective stream of communication with Full Members, Associate Members, Partners and the general public; Organising and managing all aspects, both substance and logistics, of Platform meetings (Annual General Assembly, Board meetings, Steering Committee meetings, Technical Working Groups); Providing the necessary support for Platform Focal Points so that they may adequately fulfil their mandate as advocates of the Platform both inside and outside their organisations and as specified under the Platform's advocacy and outreach activities. d) Financial management Ensuring the proper financial management of the Platform Trust Fund, including the drafting of the annual work plan and budget, and the administration and disbursement of funds; Managing all eligible expenditures that are directly related to the fulfillment of the Platform's mission and activities. e) Reporting and auditing arrangements Complying with specific reporting and auditing requirements within the framework of co-financing agreements that are concluded between participating donors and the Secretariat; Preparing an annual report on all Platform activities and a summary of financial statements for all Platform members, no later than six months following the end of the calendar year; As fund administrator, providing Full Members with a management statement on an annual basis, together with a certification from the Platform's internal auditors of satisfactory

performance in compliance with agreed procedures and controls for the administration of Platform funds; Arranging for external financial audits of Platform activities at the request of the Board, and/or individual Members with respect to their contributions; Fulfilling other reporting duties to the Focal Points of the Platform, and especially to the SC, including: o Regular official email correspondence by the Secretariat related to the work programme and funding requests; o The sharing and storing of Platform documents such as the minutes of meetings, work plans and the budget on a password-protected web-page at Funding 33. The Platform Trust Fund includes core-funding and financial contributions with donor restrictions that relate to themes, activities or regional programmes of the Platform. All funding allocations for Platform activities and programmes are managed by the Secretariat in accordance with the work plan endorsed by the Board. 34. Contributions to the Platform shall be in cash and/or in-kind. Inkind contributions (e.g. in the form of provision of in-house consultancy services to fulfil activities of the annual work plan) are recognised by the Board but are not necessarily accepted as creating eligibility for full Platform membership 35. If funds are transferred, the contributor shall enter into a financing agreement over the nature and purpose of its contribution to the Platform with the institution providing the Secretariat of the Platform (currently GTZ).


ANNEX 1: Principles for working together in the Platform membership

Platform Full Members and Associate Members commit to certain minimum standards as best practices for working with each other, thereby fostering mutual accountability among them. Full Members and Associate Members of the Platform agree to the following: To commit to the Platform mission and objectives; To endorse and apply the Joint principles for effective agriculture and rural development programmes as last updated and to endeavour to encourage field offices to continuously refine the content and applicability thereof; To shape the Platform image as a donor initiative that is devoted to practicing and promoting aid effectiveness principles in agriculture and rural development; To endeavour to foster a shift in the governance agenda from conditionality to positive incentives for change; To commit to coordination and consultation with the local donor coordination group in the case of country activities and to act in accordance with the group recommendations; To endeavour to support members in their efforts to promote transparency and information-sharing. To avoid financing activities in countries that could otherwise be covered either by partner governments or local donors. To make sure that each Platform Focal Point has the appropriate time to fulfill his or her obligations to the Platform as outlined in Annex 2 of this Charter.


Annex 2: Terms of References for Focal Points

The Platform member organisations agree to designate one staff member, or Focal Point, and one alternate from their respective organisations who are authorised to represent them in all matters relating to the activities of the Platform, and to commit these Focal Points, from time to time, to perform functions on behalf of Platform. It is recommended that each Platform member organisation budgets 4-5 staff weeks for the duties of the Focal Point. The duties and responsibilities of the Focal Points include: Serving as contact point between the Platform Sectretariat or all other Platform working bodies and their relevant member organisation; Reviewing work undertaken by other organisations on behalf of the Platform in accordance with communications procedure as laid down in Annex 3; Exchanging data and information with other member organisations, including providing the Secretariat with relevant data and other information materials for the Platform website and relevant publications; Attending meetings of the Platform (currently, some meetings per year); 1-2

Ensuring that his/her organisation meets its financial and/or human resources obligations to the Platform; and Standing prepared to represent the Platform at international meetings and other fora, in agreement with the Platform Chair, with support from and coordination by the Secretariat.


ANNEX 3: Selection criteria and approval processes for Platform products and activities.
1. Process for identifying and endorsing Platform activities: The Secretariat and/or member organisation drafts an outline scoping-document and terms of reference for the proposed activity or publication; The Secretariat solicits members for an expression of interest; A lead member and/or a member of the Secretariat is selected who is responsible for overseeing the particular activity, alone or in partnership with other Platform members; A detailed proposal is submitted, followed by endorsement of the Steering Committee based on agreed criteria (see below); Funds are allocated (unless the lead member proposes to fully fund the activity); The Secretariat coordinates reporting to the Steering Committee and Platform membership; Members are solicited for comments on the final ToRs and the final document, coordinated by the Secretariat and lead member, based on a 10-day communication rule (see point 3 below); After conclusion of the 10-day period for comments, and if no further objections are made within that period, the activity or Platform document is approved and its launch or publication is started. 2. The selection criteria for Platform activities are: Consistency with the three outputs of the Platform; The potential to result in a global public good; Non-duplication organisation; of any operational work of any member

The provision of benefits to the majority of Platform members; Operational value, easy replicability and measurability;


Being demand-driven (by government or field staff of Platform member organisations) and/or need-driven (by Platform Focal Points or headquarters of Platform member organisations); Approval by the majority of Steering Committee members; Conformity with set benchmarks which are agreed prior to engaging in the said activity; Making contributions to the rural discussion as such and supporting the comprehensive approach of rural development. 3. Communication procedures: To assure a smooth processing of activities, communication within the Platform membership network is based on a 10working day rule. All members are asked to reply to specific requests for information and/or to comment on joint activities or publications within this time limit. After these 10 days, activities and publications are considered as approved. It is possible to obtain an extension of the 10-day rule if special consultations that need to be undertaken make the rule impractical.