Basis of Unity
CODE-NGO’s First National Congress in 1991 was a high point in the history of the development community. It was the first time that around 1,000 leaders from NGOs, cooperatives and people’s organizations from all over the country convened to accomplish the seemingly impossible task of forging a broad unity among the diverse and divided ranks of development NGOs.
It was a triumph of solidarity. Together, CODE-NGO members consciously defined a collective vision for development and declared a commitment to observe the highest standards of development work.
Towards these ends, participating delegates in the first National Congress forged what is now known as the Covenant on Philippine Development. To this day, this historic document remains the fundamental basis for the broad unity established among the member networks and organizations of CODE-NGO.
An important part of the Covenant is the Code of Conduct for Development NGOs. The Code of Conduct sought to establish rigorous standards that set development NGOs apart from ill-intentioned ones. This way, the Code of Conduct enabled them to police their own ranks at a time when numerous “fly-by-night” NGOs were proliferating.
The Code of Conduct sets the duties and responsibilities of the CODE-NGO member networks and affiliate organizations in dealing with government, business, the communities they serve, their fellow NGOs and their staff, as they pursue their individual mandates. It aims to improve the quality of services provided by NGOs, ensure transparency and accountability in the operations of NGOs and improve relationships between them and with various stakeholders.
CODE-NGO’s Code of Conduct is believed to be one of the first initiatives by the NGO community to establish a self-regulating mechanism. Since then, the document has inspired other civil society organizations in different parts of the world to formulate similar documents.