An international seminar on the role of new donor countries in the European development policy was held in Warsaw on April 18th and 19th 2007. The seminar was organised by the Development Cooperation Department of the Polish Ministry of Foreign Affairs in collaboration with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Netherlands.
The main speakers were Mr. Koos Richelle, Director-General of the EuropeAid Cooperation Office of the European Commission, as well as other top officials representing assistance organisations from Holland, Austria and Ireland. The seminar was composed of three thematic parts covering political, institutional and partnership issues related to development cooperation.
The first part was devoted to the role of the new EU member states (NMS) in the European assistance system and on the commitments which EU governments already have signed. To build policy weight, raise the budgets and raise awareness for development cooperation will be the biggest challenges for the NMS governments in the coming years. Representatives of the Ministries of Foreign Affairs from Poland, Estonia, Hungary, Lithuania and Slovenia mentioned the role of NGOs in the development cooperation systems especially as implementers of ODA projects and important players in awareness raising.
One panel discussion was devoted to partnership issues between government and civil society, business and academic sectors. Marian Caucik and Justyna Janyszewska from the Slovak and Polish development NGO platforms highlighted the role of the platforms as umbrella and networking bodies on both national and European levels, partnership advantages and the expectations from NGO side. Challenges such as more poverty focus in NMS development policies, less determination by the economic links from the past, active participation in EU development policy and communication among the MFAs, civil society organizations and parliamentarians, involvement of civil society in the decision making processes of the legal and administrative systems (ODA Laws, Agencies etc.), financial sustainability of the platforms and capacity building for involvement in development policy, project design and execution as well as development education issues were discussed during and after the panel discussion.
For information on the seminar see also: http://www.polishaid.gov.pl/ or
Download the presentation of Marian Caucik from: http://www.trialog.or.at/docs/maroscaucik_warsaw_april2007.ppt