Report provided by Marta Pejda, Polish NGDO platform "Grupa Zagranica"
The day before the Brussels “Exchange Days for NGDO Platforms – How Do We Support Learning and Capacity Building amongst Our Members?” (see related TIS article), on April 25th, the New Members States “new” platforms' co-ordinators had the chance to familiarize with the CONCORD structure and some of its activities (http://www.concordeurope.org/). Anu Eslas from Estonia, Jana Krczmarova from Czech Republic, Ilze Millere from Latvia, Claudia Iatan from Romania and Marta Pejda from Poland spent the whole day at the CONCORD office, attending presentations of different programmes and working groups.
The session was opened by Andreas Vogt, CONCORD Membership and Networking Officer. He presented the general structure of the network, as well as current issues and actions included in the year 2007 agenda. He also presented quite widely some historical background of the NGDO movement in Europe, which is helpful when one wants to understand an overall context of CONCORD establishing.
The next presentation was made by Adam Davies who briefly described the DEEEP initiative – Development Education Exchange in Europe Project (http://www.deeep.org/). DEEEP is a 3 -year project, established by the CONCORD Development Education Forum that aims at strengthening capacity of NGOs to raise awareness, educate, promote global education and mobilise European public for world-wide poverty eradication and social inclusion. There are many different activities run under this project in close co-operation with TRIALOG (http://www.trialog.or.at/), e.g. the forthcoming Development Education Summer School which is to take place in Slovakia between June 26 and July 2.
Another info-session was prepared by Ester Martinez and regarded the AidWatch project and CONCORD report on the Official Development Assistance in the European Union in 2006, that was presented two weeks later in all 27 Member States. Ester summarised the overall AidWatch agenda starting from the most crucial international documents and declarations on ODA quality and quantity, related to the early 2000s. She also indicated important forthcoming events in this field.
Also The CONCORD communication network was represented by Agnes Philippart. She talked mainly about the communication and advocacy tools that are available to the members through the CONCORD extranet and can be very useful in NGO campaigning at the EU level. She also invited to take part in the communication training which is to be held in June, before the General Assembly.
At the end of the day, Florent Sebban made a short introduction to the problems of the European Neighbourhood and Partnership Instrument (ENPI). Florent is involved in the GCAP (Global Call to Action against Poverty: http://www.whiteband.org/) campaign and in the EuroStep NGDO network (http://www.eurostep.org/). He talked about different tendencies and ideas that dominate in recent discussion around the ENPI; he also broached the subject of the civic society role and practical involvement in the preparation of the country strategy papers.
Marta Pejda from Grupa Zagranica sums up: This informational session was really valuable – it is crucial that the CONCORD members know in detail how the network works and how to benefit from the membership.