Friday, 30 November 2007

In memoriam Yvonne Kojuharova

We are sad to inform that Yvonne Kojuharova, one of the two coordinators of the Bulgarian NGDO platform and chair of the Board of the CEGA Foundation, unexpectedly passed away on November 28, 2007. Not only the platform is shocked by this news, but also the international colleagues who have enjoyed working with Yvonne. We can only affirm the words of her team from CEGA who wrote: "We shall ever keep in our hearts and souls the memory of her smile, devoted work, optimism and will to live. May her memory live for ever. Last farewell, Yvonne!"

TRIALOG sends deepest condolences to her family, friends and colleagues from CEGA and the Bulgarian NGDO platform. Yvonne will be remembered by all of us.

Just recently, Yvonne, together with Ognyan Drumev, wrote an article for the TRIALOG Bulletin which once again showed her active engagement for the Bulgarian platform:

New TRIALOG bulletin and website, including Capacity Building Guidelines

This year’s issue of TRIALOG’s bulletin has just been published. It has 8 pages and deals with the subject of development cooperation in the context of EU enlargement. The articles provide interesting reading, ranging from the editorial by Christine Bedoya, the TRIALOG director, on achievements and challenges for international development, to the presentation of the NGDO project for the Slovenian presidency 2008 or the report on Eurizons 2007 - a project of young Europeans who hitchhiked accross Europe to promote global responsibility. Jiri Silni from the Ecumenical Academy Prague wrote an article from an insider’s point of view on development cooperation in the new EU member states that sheds a critical light over the actions of not just the governments, but of the NGOs as well. The work of the NGDO platforms in Bulgaria and Romania is presented, as well as the findings of this-year’s Aid Watch Report of CONCORD, the European Confederation of NGDOs.

The TRIALOG bulletin can be ordered by writing an e-mail to or can be downloaded from the new - recently relaunched - TRIALOG website
Direct link to the Bulletin:

In the course of the website renewal, TRIALOG also revised its Capacity Building Guidelines. Find the document which includes the principal criteria for TRIALOG capacity building support at:

EC decided on development education projects in new member states!

As reported earlier, as a result of EU-wide lobby actions, the EC allocated 10 million Euros in the 2006 budget especially for development education and awareness raising activities in the new EU member states (NMS). They were added to the 20 million budget of the 2006 Development Education (ED) Call for Proposals.

It became known in September, that 38 pre-selected projects with active participation of NMS NGOs have been invited to submit a full application within the second stage of the Call.

Towards the middle of November 2007, the EC published the eagerly awaited results of the ED call including data on the 10 million for NMS. In the final selection, in total 56 projects from all EU countries have been selected for funding. Out of them, 18 projects with lead agencies from 8 NMS have been approved by the EC and will begin in 2008. Together with 4 projects which will operate in NMS, but lead by British, Greek and Dutch NGOs, the full sum of 10 million Euros allocated for ED activities in NMS will be used.

The 18 projects with NMS lead agencies come from: Cyprus (1), Czech Republic (3), Estonia (1), Hungary (6), Lithuania (1), Poland (3), Slovakia (1) and Slovenia (2). The planned actions reach from documentary films to human rights issues, migration, health related topics over school and university curricula to climate issues and fair trade concerns.

TRIALOG congratulates all organizations who were successful as lead agencies, consortium members and European partners - a result of a lot of engagement and efforts!

For details on the Call results, please refer to the following EC documents:

Information provided by: Petra Kreinecker, TRIALOG Capacity Building officer

Rebecca Steel is the new TRIALOG Policy Officer in Brussels

We are happy to inform you that the vacant position in the TRIALOG Brussels office is now filled by our new policy officer Rebecca Steel. She already participated in the recent meeting of the Working Group on Enlargement, Pre-Accession and Neighbourhood (EPAN) in Romania and will officially start her engagement with TRIALOG in the beginning of December.

Rebecca is British citizen. For the last two years, she has been living in Poland where she has been mainly working with asylum seekers by running two EC-funded projects in this field and organising an awareness raising exhibition for the World Refugee Day in June 2007. She gained valuable Brussels experience through two internships: one with the International Federation of Terre des Hommes and one with the Coordination Unit in the Thematic Budget Lines Directorate of EuropeAid where she then also participated in a group to investigate the success of basic education projects in the EC delegation in Burkina Faso.

We warmly welcome Rebecca in our team. From December 10 onwards, you can contact her at:

EPAN working group meeting in Romania

The CONCORD Working Group on Enlargement, Pre-Accession and Neighbourhood (EPAN WG), which is convened by TRIALOG, met on the 12th and 13th of November 2007 in Sinaia, Romania, to discuss the developments and activities since the last meeting in May and to agree on the next steps and the workplan 2008.

Starting with the subgroup on ENPI (European Neighbourhood and Partnership Instrument), Mirkka Matilla from the Finnish platform provided information on the Helsinki Seminar on Human Rights in the Mediterranean Region which was part of the Euro-Med Civil Forum. The role of FRONTEX (European Agency for the Management of Operational Cooperation at the External Borders) was in the focus of the seminar. Vince Caruana from the Maltese platform did a presentation about the situation of women in Arab countries and on the power transactions within the societies. It was agreed that the EPAN WG/ENPI subgroup will conduct two studies on the impact of the ENPI on one Mediterranean and one Eastern Europe neighbouring country. It was decided that these case studies will be on Egypt and the Ukraine and cover 2 or 3 specific fields of EU interventions.

Another EPAN activity (together with the Cotonou working group) will be to send the already drafted letter on multilingualism of EC programming to EU Commissioner Leonard Orban and other EU officials. The letter asks for all documents in public consultations etc. being available in the official languages of the partner countries.

The focus of the work of the IPA subgroup (Instrument for Pre-Accession Assistance) will be on the EC budget review which will end in March 2008. The EC is currently holding consultations regarding its budget, based on the premise that Europe's policies and financing need to evolve to reflect citizen priorities and what Europe is best placed to do. EPAN is planning to participate in this debate on the future EU spending priorities and will focus in particular on the difficulties of Civil Society Organisations in the Balkans to access European funds that reflect their priorities.

Part of the EPAN meeting was focused on the transition experience of new member states (NMS) and on the relevance of civil society in the EU, in neighbouring and potential candidate countries. How is the third sector perceived and how can NGOs from NMS help the pre-accession countries in the transition they will face on many levels. The transition experience of NMS could be of great value to transition countries in the Balkans and the European neighbourhood. A questionnaire will be sent to NGO networks or coordination bodies in the transition countries, asking them which sectors would be of most interest for them to be investigated and reported.

Other topics discussed included the nature of development and the different perspectives of development based on the background and experience of the beholder. On these issues a TRIALOG-CONCORD conference will be held in Prague in 2008 (see Events, May 14-16) with the participation of civil society representatives and resource persons from all parts of the world.

The minutes of the recent EPAN meeting will become available at:
The next EPAN meeting will take place on April 23-24, 2008 in Brussels.
For further information please contact TRIALOG policy officer, Rebecca Steel, at (from December 10, 2007).

Information provided by Christine Bedoya, TRIALOG director, and Mirko Dautovic, TRIALOG intern

Europe has now a common strategy on development education and awareness raising

This strategy has been released in November 2007 during the Development Daysin Lisbon. It aims to provide a framework for the development of Development Education and awareness raising at local, regional, national and European levels.

As said Louis Michel, Commissioner for Development and Humanitarian Aid: "this consensus on development education is as important as the European Consensus on Development. Young people are unaware of poor people suffering. Raising awareness amongst the young people is a day to day effort. Development education is a long term process to prepare the young people for the debates of tomorrow."

This strategic framework is indeed a contribution to the implementation of the European Consensus on Development (2005) with particular reference to the mention that "...the European Union will pay particular attention to development education and raising awareness among EU citizens."

As Rilli Lappalainen, chair of the CONCORD Development Education forum, explains: this strategy has been elaborated with the contributions from the stake-holders of the civil society, Euro-parlamentarians, national governments and the European institutions. "A lot of action already existed, but separetely. This strategy is a tool to encourage cross cutting activities."

"This strategy framework is the beginning of future actions. Annexes will provide details for each stake-holder’s group on how to implement the strategy’s principles and policy. In one year, we will assess what has been done. A reference manual of best practices and lessons learned will complement the framework" said Anita Reddy from InWEnt (Capacity Building International, Germany).

Use the following link to download the strategy framework and start putting it into practice:

Information provided by Pierre Mathieu, CONCORD Assistant,

EC published Enlargement Strategy and Progress Reports for Candidate countries in 2007

On the 6st of November 2007 the European Commission (EC) published the annual Enlargement Strategy and issued reports of the progress made over the last twelve months by each EU candidate country (Croatia, Macedonia, Turkey). These reports and the reports on potential candidate countries (Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro, Serbia and Kosovo - under UN Security Council Resolution 1244) can be found at:

All the candidate countries made progress in 2007, but a great deal more of the path towards membership needs to be traversed. The reports make no mention of international development issues - the bulk of the reports is on economy, human rights and the rule of law - but each report has a part on civil society and regional cooperation.

Turkey: The state of civil society in Turkey has improved since the recent reforms and the positive trend in Civil Society (CS) development and dialogue observed over the last few years has continued. NGOs have been able to take a more active role. Regional cooperation of Turkey is limited to improving relations with Greece.

Croatia: Civil society organisations promote human rights, democracy and cross-border cooperation. A 3 million EUR grant scheme will be launched to support civil society projects in the sectors of environment and sustainable development, democratisation and human rights and youth. Croatia's chairmanship of the South-East European Cooperation Process (SEECP) was successful, allowing good progress to be made in transition from the Stability Pact to a more regionally owned framework. Croatia also presided the Adriatic-Ionian Initiative and the Migration, Asylum and Refugees Regional Initiative (MARRI).

Macedonia: The Government adopted a strategy for cooperation with civil society organisations and developed an action plan. One of its aims is to involve civil society more in the policy
development process and in legislative drafting. The NGOs in Macedonia continue to be heavily dependent on foreign sources of financing. Macedonia maintains good relations with its neighbours and participated in regional initiatives such as SEECP and Regional Cooperation Council (RCC). It participated actively and constructively in the negotiations for the new CEFTA (Central European Free Trade Agreement).

Go to to read the entire reports, the press material with the key findings and to download the Enlargement Strategy 2007-2008.

Information provided by Mirko Dautovic, TRIALOG intern

Parliamentary debates in New Member States on MDGs

The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), the European Commission and the NGOs from New member states (NMS) joined their efforts to raise public awareness in the new European donor countries by organizing parliamentary debates on development cooperation and Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) in each of the 12 new member states (Bulgaria, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Malta, Poland, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia). The project was funded by the European Commission and implemented by UNDP - UNDP Bratislava Regional Centre and UNDP Country Office in Poland.

In total, the 12 new EU members contributed to global development assistance with approximately 500 million Euro last year. They have committed to increase significantly their official development assistance to 0.17 % of their gross national income by 2010, which combined should exceed EUR 1 billion.

The issue of raising public awareness of development is one of the biggest challenges in becoming a donor country. The debates had primary objectives of mobilizing public attention and national media coverage of development/MDGs topics (including MDGs mid-point assessment), and the participation of Members of Parliaments (MPs) and decision-makers in discussing development cooperation.

Over a hundred MPs from European and national parliaments and over 700 experts, politicians, ambassadors, government officials and NGO representatives participated in the debates and in some countries this was the first time that officials and politicians debated on the topic of development cooperation. The events took place around the International Day for the Eradication of Poverty (October 17) between October 15 and 22 in all capitals of the 12 new member states. Through these events, the NMS were preparing their contributions to the European Development Days 2007 held in Lisbon on November 7-9.

Find separate articles on the MDG debates in Bulgaria and Romania in this TIS issue (see "News from NGDO platforms").

Read more on the actions which took place in the NMS at the following links: (short records on the debates in each NMS) (list of partner NGOs in the NMS)
Press releases from UNDP on the end and the onset of the campaign:
UNDP also published a DVD containing the record of the debates.

Information provided by Jan Szczycinski, UNDP Poland

New EC Eurobarometer on how EU New Member States see development

"Most citizens in new member states see European aid in good light even if they don't understand it very well." During the International Poverty Eradication Day on 17 October 2007, the European Commission published results from a new Eurobarometer survey on how the new EU member states saw development aid.

This survey of 11,000 citizens, from the 12 countries that joined the EU since 2004, appear to establish a positive link between accession and assistance to developing countries. Most of them see the EU as the biggest fund donor (which it actually is, and provides more than 55% of public development aid worldwide). They consider that poverty eradication is the main development aim and that the EU, compared to member states, is the best channel for providing aid. Despite these perceptions, EU12 citizens do not know European development policy very well (more than two thirds affirm that they have not seen or heard any information or campaigns about it). The Millennium Development Objectives are not familiar to them either. A series of parliamentary debates on MDGs took place between 15-22 October in the EU12 (see seperate article in this TIS).

For the full report, please turn to:

Information provided by DEEEP, Development Education Exchange in Europe Project

Call for support: How to avoid the iron curtain between the EU and Belarus?

The EU claims that its priority in relations with Belarus is not to isolate the country despite its harsh policy towards the Lukashenko regime, but instead to "engage with Belarusian society by further strengthening its support for civil society and democratisation" and further, to "intensify and facilitate people-to-people contacts". Notwithstanding this, after 1 January of 2008, Belarus will paradoxically be the only EU Eastern neighbour whose citizens will have to pay EUR 60 for a single entry Schengen visa that approximately equals one third of the average monthly salary there. This will affect most strongly the cross border movement between Belarus and its closest western neighbours, i.e. Poland, Lithuania, and Latvia.

Find more information including an appeal for taking action regarding visas for Belarusian citizens in the following document prepared by the Stefan Batory Foundation, Poland, and the Association for International Affairs, Czech republic:
To support this appeal, please send an e-mail to Marta Pejda from the Polish NGDO platform Zagranica,, or Anita Szymborska at by December 5, indicating your name and the organisation you represent.

Information provided by Marta Pejda, Grupa Zagranica,

First Hungarian Aid Watch Report published

From the beginning of 2007, the Hungarian NGDO Platform HAND has been actively involved in a completely new area of work - at least for Hungarian NGOs. Following the inspiration and experiences gained through the publication of the first CONCORD aid watch report in 2006, the Hungarian organisations decided to monitor the Hungarian ODA performance more closely and with investigating more details than ever done by anyone before. Based on the data acquired during several months of continuous "struggle" with the responsible government offices (it was a challenge for them too to provide data in a structured and consistent manner and not the least in time), the first ever aid watch report in Hungary was published and presented to the media on October 18th, 2007.

The same day, HAND also organised an Aid Watch Seminar to provide space for a debate about the findings of the report and to discuss the so called "12 points of the Aid Watch Working Group" containing the recommendations of the NGOs. Some 50 participants - representatives of the government, NGOs, private companies, universities and research institutes – discussed the trends of Hungarian international development depicted in the report.

The NGO recommendations included in the 12 points were concentrating on the transparency of and free access to official data of Hungarian ODA, questions related to aid effectiveness and the commitments Hungary made and how it will fulfill these commitments. International speakers gave insight into the Italian and the Europe wide aid watch activities, and two presentations showed as well the perception of Hungarian ODA activities in the Balkan region and in Africa.

The publication of the report was supported by the Presidency Fund and the seminar by the Regional Partnership Program. The documentation (partly in Hungarian and English) of the seminar will be soon available in CD format and on HAND’s website ( containing the entire Hungarian Aid Watch report in Hungarian and a short English summary.

Download the English summary of the first Hungarian Aid Watch Report:
For further information please contact Reka Balogh at

Information provided by Reka Balogh, HAND

Bulgaria: National Debate on MDGs

Several representatives of the Bulgarian national NGDO platform participated in the National Debate on the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), which took place in the Bulgarian National Assembly on 16 October 2007 under the auspices of the Parliamentary Committee on Foreign Affairs. The event was organized by The Atlantic Club of Bulgaria within a joint project of the European Commission and UNDP implemented at national level with the participation of NGOs. The debate was one of the 12 national debates held in each of the new EU Member States around the International Poverty Eradication Day to raise public awareness on development issues and the role of the new donors in the global efforts for achieving the MDGs.

In the Bulgarian context, the MDG debate was perceived as the remarkable first event at highest official level to promote and encourage the political action for implementation of the EU development policy. Participants in the discussion were decision-makers, including ministers and members of the Bulgarian and EU parliaments, representatives of the international community, journalists, and NGOs.

During the debate it was discussed that the membership in the EU implies also responsibilities, such as participation in the common development policy. In 2006 Bulgaria invested 2 million Euro in the official development assistance. Mr. Lyubomir Kyuchukov, Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs, stressed the Government’s commitment to achieve an ODA share of 0,17 % of the GDP by 2010 and 0,33 % by 2015. The participants noted also the role of NGOs in development assistance. Yvonne Kojuharova presented the national NGDO platform, marking the main points of its development, current status and upcoming activities. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs declared the Government’s willingness to provide financial support to development projects of NGOs.

The lack of publicity, public awareness and proper information dissemination in Bulgaria regarding the MDGs was another main topic of the debate. Thus, some main ideas about the future communication strategy on the MDGs were brought forward and discussed.
For further information, please contact the organiser, the Atlantic Club of Bulgaria, at:

On the picture: Mr. Solomon Passy, Chairman of the Foreign Affairs Committee in the Bulgarian Parliament, opens the debate. Next to him is Mrs. Lene Jespersen, Acting UNDP Resident Representative in Bulgaria.

For more information:
European Commission and UNDP MDG debates:
UNDP Bulgaria:

Information provided by Valery Pandzharov, ECIP Foundation, Bulgaria

Romania’s contribution to the achievement of the MDGs

On the 16th October 2007, at the Palace of Parliament, Bucharest, took place the national debate on development cooperation and Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). The event was organized by the Civil Society Development Foundation, in partnership with the Romanian NGDO platform FOND and World Vision Romania, and was funded by the European Commission through a program implemented by UNDP - UNDP Bratislava Regional Centre and UNDP Country Office in Poland.

The debate had as primary objectives:
- promoting the European Development Days 2007, mobilizing national media coverage of development/MDGs topics (including MDGs mid-point assessment),
- mobilizing participation of Members of Parliaments (MPs) and decision-makers in discussing development topics,
- raise awareness on Romania’s responsibility to contribute to the achievement of the MDGs.

At the event participated Romanian NGOs, representatives of the Government, MPs and MEPs, ambassadors, scholars, mass media, EC representative as well as other relevant stake-holders. Several Romanian NGOs have presented their contribution to the achievement of the MDGs in Romania through programs and projects aiming to contribute to the eradication of poverty (World Vision Romania), education for all (Save the Children Romania), gender equality (AIDRom) reproductive health (Society for Sexual and Contraceptive Education), combating HIV/AIDs (Center for Health Policies and Servicies) and TB (Romanian Red Cross).

In the last part of the event civil society organizations presented and debated prospects and ideas on future action for the promotion and achievement of MDGs in Romania and through the Romanian development cooperation policy. Claudia Iatan, National Platform Coordinator, gave a succinct presentation of FOND, the Romanian NGDO platform, specifying that the MDGs are part of the platform’s main objectives and that it strives to improve the life of developing countries such as Moldova and Georgia by using the capacity and the expertise of member organizations.

For more information on the statements of the participants, please visit:

Information provided by Claudia Iatan, National Platform Coordinator, FOND, Romania

Seminar in Lithuania on Development Education

In the end of March 2007, nineteen Lithuanian NGDOs had a conference where the platform of Lithuanian NGDOs was (re)established. Unfortunately the platform is not yet officially registered, due to long burocratic procedures, but registration is on the way. In the meanwhile, member organizations of the platform already took initiative and organized different seminars about development issues.

One of them was a development educaiton seminar organized on 3-5 October 2007 by the Lithuanian Kolping society (a member organization of the Lithuanian NGDO platform) in cooperation with the platform and with the big help of DOCHAS, the Irish NGDO platform. The trainers were TJ Hourihan and Brian Murtagh, both coming from the DOCHAS member organization YMCA. The title of the seminar was "Development Education: challenges, expectations, possibilties and practical solutions."

The aim of the seminar was:
- to provide practical and moral support to key development groups in Lithuania; to support them in their efforts to define instruments and approaches to achieve greater public support for development cooperation, and greater public awareness of how citizens can affect international inequality.

The seminar had the following objectives:
- To brainstorm about the challenges and possibilities of increasing the Lithuanian public awareness and understanding of global issues and of the interdependence of different countries.
- To explore current expectations, skills and possibilities of the Lithuanian NGOs to engage in meaningful activities to strengthen that awareness and understanding.

The target group of the seminar were members and staff of member organisations of the Lithuanian Development NGO Platform as well as members and staff of NGOs working in development education.

The seminar attracted 13 participants from 9 different NGOs. People who participated in the seminar were very happy about it as it was full of theoretical and practical information about the topic. It gave more experience and understanding how to offer information about development education to the Lithuanian citizens, how to make programs on development education, and what is important to take into account when doing such kind of education etc.

Information provided by Lina Kalibataite, Board member of the Lithuanian NGDO platform and National secretary of the Lithuanian Kolping society

Two ActionAid job adverts based in Budapest

In the framework of a new project funded by the European Commission, Terre des hommes - Child Relief, in partnership with Action Aid UK and NGO partners in Czech Republic, Poland and Slovenia, are seeking candidates to fill the two following positions:

- Senior Project Administrator (Application deadline: 07 December 07)
- Senior Human Rights Project Coordinator (Application deadline: 14 December 07)

For details please turn to:

Information provided by Louise Hilditch, ActionAid International,,

GLEN call for tutors 2008 is open

GLEN is looking for tutors for the following GLEN 2008 preparation teams:

- English speaking Africa (40 participants) - 5-6 tutors,
- French speaking Africa (55 participants) - 7-8 tutors,
- English speaking Asia & Europe (35 participants) - 4-5 tutors.

The seminar groups will work in plenary sessions as well as in tutorials. The tutorials are small groups of 6 to 16 participants each, who will be working in the same host countries. The tutors‘ main task is to facilitate the tutorials and accompagny the participants in their preparation and during their stays.

Please submit your application for English speaking Africa and Asia & Europe preparation group to Darina Manurova ( and for French speaking Africa preparation group to Laure Heinrich ( until 10 January 2008. Find more information on the GLEN call for tutors 2008 in the following document:

Information provided by Laure Heinrich, on behalf of the GLEN Steering Committee

Act in Europe with the Global Call to action against poverty (GCAP)

The quantity and quality of aid from rich countries is inadequate and promises of debt cancellation have not yet materialised. Rich countries have yet to act on their repeated pledges to tackle unfair trade rules and practices. Galvanised by this imperative, a group of civil society actors including NGOs, international networks, social movements, trade unions, women’s organisations, faith-based and youth groups and other civil society actors launched the Global Call to Action against Poverty (GCAP) in September 2004.

GCAP has adopted the white band as its official international symbol – a symbol that has been seen on the arms of millions of people in many countries, highlighting that the war against the injustice brought on by poverty and inequality is not confined to a few activists but is, in fact, a global phenomenon. In many countries, national GCAP coalitions have been built, and GCAP has become increasingly present in the Global South. On the Global Day of Action, on 17 October 2006 (International Day for the Eradication of Poverty), GCAP mobilised 23.5 million citizens around the world to demonstrate against poverty and inequality.

In 2007, the GCAP decided to keep the coalition alive till 2015 to see the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals. It is establishing minimum procedures to ensure accountability and good governance within GCAP and is elaborating a three-year strategic framework so that the organisation can foresee their actions.

GCAP is here to last. So why not joint the coalition? If you are part of it, start thinking about your next action plans: ideas, means, themes of campaigns or of advocacy. It is possible to make things change.

At European level, the Call to Action Against Poverty gave a decisive push to European member states’ aid commitments in 2005. Since 2007, there is "GCAP Europe Secretariat", hosted by the European NGO Confederation for Relief and Development (CONCORD), which is helping building up momentum of the call to action in Europe. Currently, GCAP Europe is reflecting on common plans/activities in order to bring all the European voices together to echo politically at national and regional levels.

For example, in 2007, CONCORD’s Aid Watch Report Launch in 2007 – supported by GCAP coalitions in Spain, Hungary, Malta, Austria, Greece, Portugal and Slovenia, to name but a few – embodies the type of action the European campaigners would like to integrate into the strategy and translate on the ground through creative activities. A new report will be elaborated in 2008 to monitor the reality of Aid delivered by the European countries. The help of all national associations will be needed to produce and launch the report. This year, October 17th has been also the big mobilisation day for GCAP. Millions of citizens around the world raised their voices together to demand concrete steps to end poverty and inequality. A lot of action took place in Europe: see CONCORD marked this day of action with the launch of a photo exhibition in the European Parliament which highlights the impact of Europe on the developing world (see separate article in this TIS).

What’s next? Get prepared, in 2009, the election of the European Parliament and the G8 Summit in Italy, will be two key moments towards which the GCAP Europe supporters intend to act in solidarity. Historically, development NGOs in Europe have developed many ways of influencing positively the lives of people and communities living in poverty. NGOs support and implement many concrete projects and programmes, raise awareness on development issues in Europe and persuade political decision-makers of the need to give external policies a clear pro-poor focus. In recent years, big efforts have been made to coordinate and articulate these three aspects of NGO work better in order to achieve more impact and effectiveness. Together, we can make a change!

All European organisations are welcome to join GCAP Europe. For more information, contact Julien Vaissier at:
See also the article on GCAP actions in Malta in this TIS.

Information provided by Agnes Philippart, CONCORD

Malta: 15,948 STAND UPs on the International Day for the Eradication of Poverty

The National Platform of Maltese development NGOs (NGDOs), in collaboration with STOPoverty!, KOPIN and Global Action Schools organised the first MDG one-day conference in Malta. The event hosted 85 persons including a number of academics, school children, diplomats, members of parliaments, representatives of different NGOs and faith-based groups. The aim of the conference was to create space for citizen participation and discuss the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).

The conference also indicated the importance to strengthen NGOs and NGDOs who work to ensure international solidarity with the poor. The importance of directly involving people from the developing world in such debates and in the decisions that affect them was also expressed and agreed upon. This was highlighted particularly with regards to decisions which are crucial to policy making.

For this event, Global Call to Action against Poverty (GCAP) Malta, has promoted the "Stand Up Speak Out" activity which brought together 15,948 people standing up and speaking out against poverty and inequality between the 16th and early 18th October. The majority of people taking part in the actions were from schools including pupils and children, however a number of other groups also performed a stand-up. The final amount of global stand ups is 43.7 million in 127 countries, including Malta. This amount of Stand Ups has broken the Guinness World Record, for more info please go to:

The number of Maltese standing up against poverty indicates that the Maltese and Gozitan people are increasingly expressing their concern with regards to poverty around the world and showing their solidarity. Also Maltese citizens are calling on our politicians to deliver on their promises to play an active role in advocating for people who live in poverty, in fighting harder in favour of a fairer world, and in promoting human rights.

For further information please contact the National Platfom of Maltese NGDOs on:

Information provided by Angie Farrugia, National Platfom of Maltese NGDOs

Fair Trade Advocacy Forum in Brussels

The Fair Trade Advocacy Office, based in Brussels, coordinates the political activities of the four main Fair Trade Networks: FLO-I, IFAT, NEWS and EFTA (see further links below). These four networks bring together over one million Fair Trade producers from more than 60 countries, 20 national labelling initiatives, hundreds of specialized Fair Trade importers, 3000 worldshops and more than 100,000 volunteers.

On 15th to 17th October 2007 the office organized a series of events, including a two-days Advocacy Forum meeting among Fair Trade activists, discussing various advocacy issues and an international conference.

The Advocacy Forum (October 15-16) aimed to start a network of fair trade advocacy actors within the four movements. Participants came from a broad level of experience in advocacy activity, including 2 representatives from new EU member states (Hungary and Malta) and also members with a long history of advocacy work such as Ctm Altromercato (Italy) and Traidcraft (UK) - to mention just a few examples.

The participants’ expectations were of different levels, but the general wish for achieving more collaboration and reaching more common positions was expressed throughout the forum. Another important need identified, was to improve the communication channels between the office and fair trade advocacy actors.

On the first day, there were six small working groups, to which each participant could attend two. Nathalie Grima (Malta) attended the ones about Economic Partnership Agreements (EPAs) and Fair Trade commodities. Both groups were first focused on giving updates on the issues and also on what kind of advocacy work each participant had been involved on the subject. One action proposed by the EPAs group, was to circulate an already existing draft letter addressed to DG Trade, so that it can be signed by all Fair trade advocacy actors. Regarding Fair Trade commodities, there is still a strong need to make a bigger effort to share more information on who is working on which commodity, in order to come to joint positions and share the research and work being done.

Gyorgyi Ujszaszi (Hungary) attended the ISO (International Organization for Standardization) working group and the group "Can Fair Trade influence the wider corporate practices?" Traidcraft with Oxfam Wereldwinkels Belgium and IDEAS, introduced their newly developed guidelines for coffee and tea companies about best practice of purchasing. Participants showed interest in examining the documents and in making efforts for working together in the near future.

The first session on the second day, was a meeting with DG Trade Head of Unit Ms. Ditte Juul-Jorgensen. The aim of the meeting was to share information about the European Commission’s policy regarding Fair Trade. She explained that there is a genuine interest to involve Fair Trade in different DGs such as Development, Trade, Consumer rights, Environment, etc. She replied and took note to various questions coming from the participants.

The forum concluded with a very positive note in that the Fair Trade Advocacy Office is very keen on listening to the participants’ needs and suggestions on how to continue improving the network.

For information on the international conference "Fair Trade: a lever for change" which took place on October 17, please turn to:

For more information please contact Ms. Anja Osterhaus on or visit

Further links:
Fairtrade Labelling Organizations International FLO-I:
International Fair Trade Association IFAT:
Network of European Worldshops NEWS:
European Fair Trade Association EFTA:

Information provided by Gyorgyi Ujszaszi, Protect the Future, Hungary, and Nathalie Grima, Koperattiva Kummerc Gust, Malta.

Aid Effectiveness workshop: Report by the Romanian platform representative

CONCORD, the European NGO Confederation for Relief and Development, hosted the Civil Society Organisations Aid Effectiveness (CSO AE) Northern Regional Workshop in Brussels on October 15 and 16, 2007. The workshop was meant as a space for NGOs/CSOs to dialogue on the question: Is the Paris Declaration (PD) on Aid Effectiveness applicable to CSOs?

While the CSO community welcomed the initiative of signatory governments and donors to come up with concrete indicators and targets to measure progress of aid, it was equally felt that the PD presents the distinct approach of governments and donors, which is different than that of the CSOs. As CSOs – from both North and South - are important actors involved in development and aid, the PD fails to reflect on their role and work practices; further more, it challenges the good practice of partnership patterns between CSOs in the North and South, risking to adopt measures that could leave donors and Southern governments as unaccountable to citizens and government structures.

As representative of the National Platfom of Development NGOs (FOND) of a new donor country who signed the PD, Romania, Denisa Brand-Jacobsen describes it as "formative for her" to take part in the discussions. There are new tendencies in aid and development world wide that could be worked on nationally by both the government as donor and CSOs so that Romania adopts the lessons learned and abides by the 5 key principles defined by the PD in synergy with the concrete proposals from national CSOs as partners.

Similar regional meetings and consultations took place all across the globe: Hanoi, Lusaka, Cotonou, Katmandu, Dhaka and Managua – and were followed by a larger North and South dialogue in Nairobi in November, to discuss the conclusions of each of the regional meetings.

Information provided by Denisa Brand-Jacobsen, member of the FOND board,

Wednesday, 28 November 2007

Citizens from developing countries expressed themselves via a photo exhibition

The European Union is the biggest economic actor and aid donor in the world. But how do people living in these countries really view the influence of Europe? To find out, the European NGO Confederation for Relief and Development, CONCORD, has asked people from developing countries to send photos and comments illustrating how Europe positively or negatively influences their lives and their country. The result is a photo exhibition that will tour Europe to raise awareness of the public and all stake-holders. It is at the disposal for organisations from civil society.

The main themes that emerged where the problem of migrating, the impact of trade policies as the influence of Western culture on the habits and dreams of the population but also the importance of being supported to get organised and voice their concerns. More traditionally, the importance of aid in education, health, access to drinking water and to food came up strongly.

Called "Emerging views on Europe", this exhibition has been recently presented at the European Parliament and in the Development Days organised in Lisbon (November 7-9). In 2008 and 2009, it will keep travelling Europe. A tool-kit is proposing ideas to use this exhibition as a tool to complement your activities or build one around the venue of the exhibition. They range from traditional school visits to a TV-set or a treasure hunt.

With this exhibition, CONCORD hopes to aware the public but also the decision-makers of your country about the impact of the European and national decisions on developing countries. As Kenyans say: "The problem of North/South relations is not that the South does not keep its word, it is that the North has no ears."

This photo exhibition is yours! If you are interested to have this exhibition free of charge, contact Agnès Philippart from CONCORD at: or visit the CONCORD website

Information provided by Agnès Philippart, CONCORD