Thursday, 17 December 2009

February 15-17, 2010: 2nd Edition of the Partnership Fair in Vienna: Apply now!

Due to the significant success of the previous edition of the TRIALOG Partnership Fair held in October 2006, when many of the later EC-funded development education projects under the Non State Actors and Local Authorities (NSA-LA) budget line were conceived, TRIALOG in partnership with DEEEP and CONCORD will host the second edition of this event on February 15-17, 2010. Reserve the dates now and apply the latest by January 15, 2010!

The partnership fair is a learning, networking and project-designing event, gathering more than 150 participants mainly from development CSOs from across Europe coming from different sectors (development education, human rights, environment, gender etc). The Partnership Fair facilitates partnerships, cooperation, learning and exchange at an international level for joint projects for development. Many key development actors (representatives of the EC, universities, local authorities, and trade unions) will contribute either as speakers, facilitators or participants.

Find more information (incl. agenda, description and application documents) at: http://www.trialog.or.at/start.asp?ID=209 Send the Application form (http://www.trialog.or.at/images/doku/applicationform_de_partnershipfair.doc) to TRIALOG Capacity Building Officer Andra Tanase a.tanase@trialog.or.at by January 15, 2010 the latest! Note that applications will be processed on a rolling basis.

Important information regarding financial assistance and reimbursements:
Financial Assistance for travel and accommodation in the Partnership Fair is available to successful applicants from New EU Member States only. Applicants needing financial assistance should also fill in the Application Form for Participation in an Event: http://www.trialog.or.at/images/doku/application_for_events.doc (in addition to the Partnership Fair Application Form above) .

Information provided by Andra Tanase, TRIALOG

Wednesday, 16 December 2009

Documentation of Expert Seminar on the Future of CSOs

Around 40 participants met at the TRIALOG-CONCORD Expert Seminar on November 10-11, 2009 to deepen the discussion on the future role of civil society organisations (CSOs) in development, in times when the overall political environment for the work of genuine CSOs is getting less and less favourable.

The seminar sessions and working groups touched on various relevant aspects regarding the work of CSOs, such as e.g. the role of Southern CSOs versus the role of European CSOs, the values and factors that motivate and influence our work, faced dependencies and how to avoid them, similiarities and differencies between new EU member states (NMS) and old member states (OMS) in the development cooperation processes, hindering and helping factors for the work of CSOs, the influence of the current crises, the CSO development effectiveness and other topics. Last but not least the question around the necessity of a Code of Conduct for CSOs provoked a vivid exchange of views.

The discussions showed that there is an interest and clear need to confront each other with the topics and different opinions around the role and future of CSOs. Such kind of clarifying discussions and productive debates are needed to find out which approaches drive our day-to-day work and what do we really want to jointly achieve in future. The debates are interlinked to the processes which are going on in the CONCORD family of organisations in the frame of the CSO Development Effectiveness agenda and its global CSO Forum as well as the 2nd CONCORD strategic aim of "Promoting the rights and responsibilities of civil society".

The recent Expert Seminar was a preparatory event for a further conference planned in autumn 2010 in Managua, Nicaragua (November 24-26, 2010). The idea of continuing a dialogue and self-reflection on our role as development actors in a conference in the South was an outcome of the 2008 Prague conference "Are we on the right track? Paradigm Review by CSOs as Development Actors" (see http://www.trialog.or.at/start.asp?ID=155). At that time, many of the participants felt that an open dialogue between CSOs from „West", „East" and „South" should be intensified for reflecting together upon the principles which underlie our work and that such a dialogue should take place in the South. As for the recent expert seminar, participation in the Managua conference will not be limited to those who have been involved in the process since the Prague conference. The process is open for everyone who is interested to reflect on our collective approaches and responses to poverty and global inequalities and to work on practical orientations for the CSO community.

Find the documentation of the November Expert seminar on the TRIALOG website at:

Information provided by Anita Bister, TRIALOG

Provisional Results of last EC development education call

The EC made available the first results of the 2008 call for proposals on “Public Awareness and Education for Development in Europe.” Please note that slight changes could still be possible as these are provisional results and the final ones should be released shortly.

The data shows that compared to the previous call, no single trend can be identified, the picture is complex with some clear advances but also spaces to make some improvement.

If we were to compare the number of concept notes received, only 4 out of the 12 New Member States submitted more concept notes than in the year before, which shows rather low productivity in terms of participation in this call for proposals. Numbers only, the average number of concept notes submitted by Old Member States is 21.13 compared to only 5.25 in New Member States.

However, the success rate shows a different picture. The vast majority of New Member States improved significantly the success rate. If in the 2007 call, 9 out of 12 had 0 next to the success rate, this year it seems like only 4 countries among the 12 New Member States did not manage to secure any projects as main applicants. Development Education projects have this time lead applicants in Bulgaria (2), Cyprus (2), Czech Republic (6), Hungary (2), Latvia (2), Poland (3), Slovakia (1) and Slovenia (2). Numbers are this time favourable, with an average success rate of 29.5% in New Member States compared to ´only´ 15.7% in the Old Member States (Full Applications selected / Concept Notes received). Thus, quality instead of quantity seems to be the way forward. Furthermore, although not visible in this information sheet, the number of successful applications in which New Member States are involved as partners in a consortium is thought to be high.

Download the preliminary results at: http://www.trialog.or.at/images/doku/prov-results-ec-decall2008.pdf
For comparison with the previous 2007 statistics see: http://www.trialog.or.at/images/doku/stakeholders-meeting-25-02-09-final.pdf; http://www.trialog.or.at/images/doku/ed2007-preliminary-results.pdf

But certainly numbers do not tell the entire story, and certainly there is no score to be kept like in a sports competition. Deeper processes need to be investigated. We need to look more on whether receiving easier conditions from the EC (such as the 10% versus the 25% of co-financing) made the New Member States more attractive and thus more likely to be main applicant in the consortium. We also need to look more on whether the EC was influenced by the voices asking for more countries being beneficiaries of development education calls (in the 2007 call only 11 countries received contracts, compared to 21 countries in the 2008 call).These are just some hypothesis inviting further analysis. What seems to hold true is that the results of the capacity building activities are starting to show and now there are more solid applications.

TRIALOG will continue to support the New Member States in finding partners, improving project writing skills and also having a stronger voice vis-à-vis the European Commission. Awaiting the next Call for Proposals, expected to be released in the spring of 2010 TRIALOG organizes the 2nd Edition of the Development Education Partnership Fair to be held in Vienna between the 15th and the 17th of February 2010. To read more about the event and the application process please see the Events section of TIS or visit http://www.trialog.or.at/

Information provided by Andra Tanase, TRIALOG

Coordination meeting between CONCORD, DEEEP and TRIALOG

In early December 2009, the secretariats of the European NGO confederation for relief and development CONCORD and of the two projects DEEEP and TRIALOG met in Brussels to coordinate their activities for the upcoming year 2010.

The timing was right for such a coordination meeting: Both the DEEEP and TRIALOG projects have recently entered into their new 3 year project phases and a number of new staff members have started their work within the CONCORD secretariat. The objectives of the meeting included information sharing as well as the identification of specific synergies with regard to the action plans 2010. It was also an opportunity to get to know each other and share the objectives of our work in order to get a better understanding of our specific tasks as well as of our joint mission. In smaller thematic groups, the coordination procedures for each working field were discussed in more detail in order to ensure that the dialogue will go on on a regular basis.

Related links:
TRIALOG calendar with key events for 2010:
Presentation about TRIALOG's objectives, structure and activities:
DEEEP website: http://www.deeep.org/
The recent DE Times incl. articles about the new DEEEP team and project phase - Developing Europeans' Engagement for the Eradication of global Poverty will become available at http://www.deeep.org/detimes-downloads.html (in the meanwhile the newsletter can also be requested by email from Chiara Tripepi: c.tripepi@deeep.org.)
Presentation with key information on CONCORD:

Information provided by Anita Bister, TRIALOG

Search for partners in NMS for joint actions on Colombia

OIDHACO, the International Office for Human Rights - Action on Colombia (a network of more than 30 civil society organisations), is inviting NGOs from new member states (NMS) to join or support the coalition which works to improve human rights, promote democracy and the search for peace in Colombia.

Possibilities for cooperation range from becoming members or observers to organising advocacy and awareness raising activities on Colombia or any kind of support in terms of organising meetings, inviting Colombian representatives who are travelling to Europe, sending on key messages proposed by OIDHACO to NMS governments and MEPs or exchanging newsletters etc.

Find more information at http://www.trialog.or.at/images/doku/oidhaco-partner-search.pdf. For further details please contact Emmanuel Raison at emmanuel.raison@oidhaco.org, oidhaco@oidhaco.org or visit http://www.oidhaco.net/.

Information provided by Emmanuel Raison, OIDHACO

Parliamentary debate: Current Challenges of Czech Development Cooperation

On 3 December 2009, the Czech Platform for Development Co-operation (FoRS) organised a parliamentary debate on “Current Challenges of Czech Development Cooperation“ in the course of the historically first meeting of the Subcommittee for Development Cooperation of the Committee on Foreign Affairs, Defence and Security of the Senate of the Czech Republic. The debate was attended by Czech Members of Parliament, representatives from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Czech Development Agency, Business Platform for Foreign Development Cooperation and representatives from Czech NGOs.

On this occasion, NGO representatives introduced the position document “What kind of Czech Development Cooperation do we want? – Contribution of FoRS to the new conception of the Czech Development Cooperation.” In addition, topics discussed at the debate included the importance of development cooperation including the legitimacy of particular goals and interests, financing, effectiveness and political coherence.

For related information, see also the article “Study: Czech Development Cooperation at a Crossroads" in this TIS.

Information provided by Katerina Gabrielova, FoRS

Promoting development in Europe: Conference and Toolkit on HRBA

"Promoting development in Europe: Towards a critical mass and beyond" was the title of a conference on the role of the civil society campaigning for International Development in New EU member states which took place in Budapest, Hungary, on 19-20 November 2009.

The event was organized by the Minority Rights Group International and their project partners within the 2-year Promoting Development in Europe project. It attempted to promote a Human Rights Based Approach (HRBA) to development cooperation and to build the capacity of NGDOs from New Member States and other actors (teacher training institutions, teacher associations, universities, journalists etc) on raising public awareness mainly on the Millenium Development Goals (MDGs) and incorporate or advocate for the implementation of HRBA in their development work.

About 30 participants attended the Conference, the agenda of which included a good balance between workshops (How to Use the Media, Strategic Planning and Campaigning, Monitoring and Evaluation and Development Education) and plenary sessions (presentations of the project and project outcomes, of what a HRBA to development is, of the situation of development education in New Member States, and concrete development problems in the field).

An interesting take-home item and also a good resource to be used is the Toolkit on HRBA to campaigning and development education in the new member states downloadable at: http://www.minorityrights.org/9380/toolkit/development-education-toolkit.html (or direct link: http://www.minorityrights.org/download.php?id=729) The toolkit is supposed to soon become available also in Hungarian, Latvian, Polish, Slovak and Slovenian language.

Information provided by Andra Tanase, TRIALOG

CONCORD welcomes two new members: Cyprus and Estonia

At the CONCORD General Assembly in November 2009, the national platforms of development NGOs in Cyprus and Estonia were accepted as the newest members of the confederation.

24 of the 27 member states of the EU are now officially represented in CONCORD, with Bulgaria, Romania and Lithuania the only platforms to still join in future. TRIALOG will continue to support the active participation of the New Member States platforms in CONCORD working groups and activities.

We congratulate CONCORD’s newest members: the Cyprus Islandwide Development NGO Platform (CYINDEP) and the Estonian Roundtable for Development Cooperation (AKÜ)!

Link to CONCORD members: http://www.concordeurope.org/Public/Page.php?ID=17

Information provided by Rebecca Steel-Jasińska, TRIALOG

Towards Global Education in Slovenian schools?

More than 100 teachers, university professors, researchers, NGO and governmental representatives gathered on 17th November 2009 at the City Hall of Ljubljana in Slovenia where the seminar "With global education to global solidarity: building intercultural competencies and global citizenship in schools" took place. The seminar, organised by the Platform of Slovenian NGOs for Development Cooperation and Humanitarian Aid SLOGA and supported by the North South Centre of the Council of Europe and the European Commission, focused on inclusion of global education into Slovenian formal and non-formal education. The introductory speaker - Slovenian minister of education dr. Igor Lukšič – emphasized the necessity of teaching youth values of solidarity, equality, justice, freedom as key values of global education. During two panels and three workshops, which also included international guest speakers from Great Britain, Czech Republic, Norway and the North South Centre, participants discussed why there is a need for global education in Slovenia, what is already included into the Slovenian school curricula, what could be improved and how, and what roles various stakeholders play in systematic inclusion of global education into school curricula.

Participants moved beyond differences in definitions of global education but emphasized that there is unclearness which leaves global education ‘hanging’ between Slovenian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Slovenian Ministry of Education. A strong point was made on the necessity of including global education into school curricula as a horizontal dimension, which relates to all school subjects. It was mentioned that “global education is not an extra curricular but a cross-curricular activity”.

There was a clear recognition that a national strategy for global education is needed; and this topic was further elaborated in the workshop "Slovenian national strategy for Global Education". The workshop was also attended by various ministry representatives although unfortunately the representative from the Ministry of Education who had planned to attend this particular workshop had to be excused at the last minute. Nevertheless the initiative for a multistakeholder group was taken up and actions for its establishment were ageed which will hopefully lead to concrete steps in the year 2010.

Information provided by Barbara Vodopivec, SLOGA

Study: Czech Development Cooperation at a Crossroads

On 13 November 2009, the Czech Forum for Development Co-operation (FoRS) launched the new evaluation study on the Czech Official Development Cooperation between the years 2008 and 2009. The publication is entitled “Czech Development Cooperation at a Crossroads.”

The study “Czech Development Cooperation at a Crossroads” is a follow-up to the publication “How the Czech Republic helps—Study on the Czech Official Development Cooperation” in 2007 published by FoRS in 2008. The aim of both studies is to provide an outlook on the content and form of the Czech Official Development Cooperation from the NGOs' perspective. The publication represents the FoRS effort to point out what development cooperation should be about: increase of the standard of living of poor people in developing countries.

The study “Czech Development Cooperation at a Crossroads” analyses the present process of transformation of the Czech Official Development Cooperation and focuses on the structure and the amount of the development aid in 2008 as well as on the planned budget for the future period of 2010 -2012. The study also focuses on the impacts of the financial and economic crises on the development countries and how the crisis influenced development aid of other donors.

A summary of the study can be found at http://www.fors.cz/en/news/news/czech-development-cooperation-at-a-crossroads
Direct link: http://www.fors.cz/assets/files/Dokumenty%20k%20ceske%20ZRS/AWSum.pdf

Information provided by Katerina Gabrielova, FoRS

20 Years of Czech Development Cooperation

On 9 November, 2009, the Czech Platform for Development Co-operation (FoRS) and the organisation People in Need launched the media campaign "20 years of Czech Development Cooperation". The campaign not only brings attention to the 20th anniversary of the fall of the Iron Curtain but at the same time evaluates successes and falls of the Czech Republic during the past 20 years. On this occasion, Czech non-governmental organisations would like to point out that besides increasing the GDP or the membership in important international organisations, there is still one more thing which Czechs can be proud of and that is the Czech development cooperation.

Between 1989 and 2009, Czech non-governmental organisations helped in more than 60 countries in the world. Czechs have shown their solidarity not only in a number of countries troubled by natural disasters or wars but have also directly or indirectly supported many long term development projects focusing on education, health care, infrastructure and other fields.

The campaign shows that even though we live in times of economic crisis, we should not forget that in many parts of the world people still live in much worse conditions than we do and thus they need our help.

The campaign has launched a website which presents all FoRS members and successful projects, media articles, and promotion materials. The internet site of the campaign is http://www.ceskapomoc.cz/

Information provided by Katerina Gabrielova, FoRS

FOND launches research paper "It's our turn to help"

On the 6th of November 2009 the Romanian NGDO Platform (FOND) organised a conference to launch a research paper regarding development cooperation issues in Romania. The paper was prepared by Mirela Oprea (FOND Board Member / World Vision Romania) and Rodica Novac (ADO SAH Romania). Among the guests invited at the event there were representatives of the Romanian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Romanian Ministry of Interior and Administration, the European Parliament, FOND members, embassies in Bucharest, mass-media, private sector, academia and students. The event was part of a project currently implemented by FOND and financed by the Presidency Fund.

The research paper “It’s our turn to help” not only reflects the present state of affairs, but it also considers the past, drawing our attention on Romania’s pre-’89 policy towards the developing countries. Other issues taken into consideration revolve around the current Romanian institutional framework for development cooperation (local capacity building, the role of the Romanian Ministry of Foreign Affairs as the coordinator of this policy, the Romanian National Strategy on Development Cooperation) and the Romanian ODA projects and initiatives (including the creation of the Romanian NGDO Platform, cross-border co-operation and NGO awareness and development eduction campaigns).

The conference opened an interesting debate on Romania’s past experience with international development matters; for the first time sources showing that before 1989 Romania ‘was by far one of the biggest donors of foreign assistance in Eastern Europe’ were brought into a public debate. This new approach may help define better Romania’s role as a “new” donor.

The paper is available on the FOND website: http://www.fondromania.org/eng/library/research.rar. For further information please contact Adela Rusu: adela.rusu@fondromania.org. Feedback is very much welcome as well!

Information provided by Adela Rusu, FOND

Black Sea NGO Forum 2009: „NGOs in Times of Crisis”

The second edition of the Forum was organized by the Romanian NGDO platform FOND in Bucharest, on 29-31 October 2009. Over 180 participants from 21 countries attended the event. The topics of the Forum were selected based on a consultation process that was launched in early summer 2009. Based on the first edition’s evaluation and suggestions, the second edition of the Forum included more space for discussion and participation: 2 series of 5 parallel panels, on the following topics: democracy, human rights, environment, children rights, social protection, strengthening civil society, advocacy & policy, financial sustainability & fundraising, legitimacy of the sector & relations with governments, volunteering & citizen participation.

Study visits to Romanian NGOs were organized for the participants in order to help them become better acquainted with the contribution of local civil society to the process of transition and reforms before and during the accession to the EU. Participants had the possibility to choose to visit NGOs in their specific field of work (democracy and good governance, human rights, freedom of expression and mass media, environment, child protection, social services, health).

The Black Sea NGO Forum was launched in 2008 by the Romanian Federation of Development NGOs (FOND) and its partners throughout the region with support from the Romanian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Black Sea Trust for Regional Cooperation in the framework of the Black Sea Synergy. It has continued in 2009 in cooperation with the Romanian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the European Commission and the Black Sea Trust for Regional Cooperation.

For more information please visit: http://www.blackseango.org/

Information provided by Adela Rusu, FOND

Round Table to conclude the Presidency Fund project in Bulgaria

On October 30, 2009, the Bulgarian Platform for International Development (BPID) organised a Round Table on the “Participation of Bulgarian Civil Society in EU Development Cooperation”. The Round Table was the closing event of a Presidency Fund supported project which aimed at building the capacity of the Bulgarian National NGDO Platform BPID and its member organisations to engage in policy work.

While the opening remarks of Mr. Kostov, Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs, showed a picture of Bulgaria as engaged member of the European Union in the field of international development cooperation, the following speaker, Mr. Belev, Head of the Department “Development Policy” in the MFA, brought the audience back down to earth and the poor reality of Bulgarian Official Development Assistance (ODA). Despite the years of preparation of his unit for becoming an important donor country of ODA and many efforts to create a strategy for Bulgarian ODA, Mr. Belev had to commit that the quantity of ODA is very poor and perspectives for 2010 are even worse. In the draft national budget the amount foreseen for ODA was zero (version end of October). This limits not only the governmental bilateral development cooperation but also any attempts for supporting civil society engagement in this field.

The Bulgarian NGDO platform BPID was legally established in January 2009 and is not yet member of the European confederation of NGDOs – CONCORD. Annamaria Kekesi, board member of CONCORD participated in the Round Table and presented the confederation and its role on European level. TRIALOG supported the creation and establishment of the Bulgarian platform since the very beginning in 2005 with seminars, conferences, trainings, study visits, advocacy, advice and other support. Christine Bedoya, director of TRIALOG, explained the role of TRIALOG in establishing partnerships between the 15 old EU member states, the 12 new member states and the Global South.

The second part of the Round Table was dedicated to presentations of examples of national ODA systems of other countries, explained by the Ambassadors or Deputy Head of Missions from the Netherlands, Hungary, Japan, Czech Republic and Great Britain. All these presentations showed not only a profound knowledge of the speakers on their national ODA but confirmed also the importance of the active participation of Civil Society Organisations in development cooperation.

Links:
Information on the Presidency Fund supported project: http://www.presidencyfund.org/wcm/projects-supported-by-the-presidency-fund/call-5/103-ecip-foundation.html
Bulgaria country information on the TRIALOG website: http://www.trialog.or.at/start.asp?ID=75

Photos: BPID

Information provided by Christine Bedoya, TRIALOG

Development Day in the National Council of Slovakia

The Slovak NGDO Platform has appealed to the Members of the National Council of Slovakia to not forget and turn back on the developing countries during the economic crisis. The importance to provide development assistance was presented through the means of an exhibition – photographs from Sudan and original paintings of the young artist Adam Masava Onyango from Kenya who was invited to address the audience. The exhibition included the presentation of some development projects of Slovak NGDOs, printed materials and fair trade products directly at the premises of the National Council.

The exhibition was held on 22nd October 2009 on the occasion of the International Day against Poverty (17th October), and its aim was to alert the Members of Slovak Parliament to the poverty in the world especially when dealing with the state budget. "Assistance to the countries and people who do not have the resources and means to help themselves, is more important than ever in times of crisis. I consider it as a scandal that today - in the 21st century - people are dying of hunger", said the Chairman of the Slovak NGDO Platform Marian Čaučík in his speech.

The Platform has already previously warned that Slovakia will not fulfil its international commitments on increasing the volume of aid to the developing countries. The volume of funds for development assistance in the draft of the state budget is even decreased in comparison with the last year.

Find further photos from the event at: http://www.mvro.sk/sk/fotogaleria/category/7-rozvojovy-den-v-nr-sr

Photo: Slovak NGDO Platform
Information provided by Lenka Nemcova, Slovak NGDO Platform "Platforma MVRO"

Slovak development bulletin "Why Development Assistance"

On the occasion of the Day against poverty, the Slovak NGDO Platform has issued the bulletin "Why Development Assistance". The bulletin aims to be a development magazine for a large public with the focus on explaining the importance of development assistance and presenting the results of the work of Slovak NGDOs. Readers can become familiar with the topic through a couple of published interviews with development experts, politicians and other stakeholders. In this first issue of the bulletin, the Slovak NGDO Platform also presents specific projects of nine Slovak NGDOs in developing countries - Afghanistan, Kenya, Angola, Cambodia, Serbia and Belarus.

The Bulletin is available for download in Slovak language:
http://www.mvro.sk/sk/na-stiahnutie/category/2-publikacie
Direct link: http://www.mvro.sk/sk/na-stiahnutie/category/2-publikacie?download=105%3Apreco-rozvojova-pomoc-bulletin

Information provided by Lenka Nemcova, Slovak NGDO Platform "Platforma MVRO"

Tuesday, 15 December 2009

European Union Enlargement

The European Parliament adopted a resolution on the EU’s enlargement strategy on 26 November 2009. In it, MEPs reaffirm their commitment to continued enlargement “of the area of peace, security and prosperity in Europe” but highlight the importance of strictly respecting the Copenhagen criteria and the absorption capacity of the EU.

The resolution also points out that if enlargement is to be supported by citizens, both in current and future EU member states, it is essential that they get “clear and comprehensive information on the advantages and consequences of this policy”.

At a Council meeting on 7 December 2009, Serbia moved slightly closer to applying for EU membership. Serbia’s movement towards membership was halted by the Netherlands, which has put increased pressure on Serbia to fully cooperate with the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia, but foreign ministers activated an interim trade agreement with Serbia, and moves are being made to unfreeze the Stabilisation and Association Agreement.

Find the EP resolution at the following link: http://www.europarl.europa.eu/sides/getDoc.do?pubRef=-//EP//TEXT+TA+P7-TA-2009-0097+0+DOC+XML+V0//EN&language=EN

Information provided by Rebecca Steel-Jasińska, TRIALOG

Eastern Partnership Civil Society Forum

The Eastern Partnership (EaP) Civil Society Forum (CSF) met for the first time in Brussels on 16-17 November 2009. It was created as part of the EU Eastern Partnership, inaugurated in May in Prague and designed to strengthen the relationship between the EU and six countries along its eastern border.

The European Commission chose 220 civil society organisations to take part in the forum of the 439 that expressed their interest in attending, including the EPAN working group (http://www.trialog.or.at/workinggroupepan) as a whole representing CONCORD and several individual member organisations that specialise in the Eastern Partnership countries. Participants were divided into four working groups, based on the themes of democracy, human rights, good governance and stability; economic integration and convergence with EU policies; environment, climate change and energy security; and contacts between people. These working groups produced recommendations, which were presented at the end of the forum to External relations commissioner Benita Ferrero-Waldner and Swedish Presidency representative Carl Bildt.

A steering group was also elected to lead the future work of the forum. This is composed of two representatives per working group (one from the EaP countries, one from the EU), six country facilitators from the EaP countries and three EU representatives. The steering group will meet next in January 2010.

All documents related to the EaP CSF process so far can be found on http://ec.europa.eu/external_relations/eastern/civil_society/index_en.htm

Information provided by Rebecca Steel-Jasińska, TRIALOG

European Citizens as Catalysts for Change: the film!

The European Multi-stakeholder group on Development Education organised a side event in the frame of the European Development Days (EDD), which were hosted by Sweden in October 2009.

Citizens should be at the heart of the global poverty debate, as they are the ones to ask for change and be the change. However, they need to be empowered to fulfil their democratic potential as change actors. Development education, moving form awareness on global challenges, through understanding of causes and consequences of global inter-dependencies to informed action and critical involvement of each citizen is the tool to empower citizens to be “catalysts of change”.

All speakers at the EDD side event made strong statements on the importance of development education. So emphasised Justin Kilcullen, CONCORD president, the central role of citizen’s engagement and development education in the new CONCORD strategy. Eva Joly, MEP and Chair of the European Parliament (EP) Development Committee, committed to support a EP report on the status of Development Education in Europe.

Another aspect explored during the talk show was the need for national strategies on Development Education, still missing in many EU member states. Manuel Correio highlighted the example of Portugal, that has recently endorsed the national strategy, and underlined that political advocacy and campaigning is explicitly included in the strategy as a four pillar, taking development education beyond a purely pedagogic agenda. This strategy was elaborated in an inclusive, multi stakeholder approach, an aspect also underlined by involved other speakers. As Anja Frings put it: “Change can only be achieved if we work together”.

A short film, with the main higlights of the side event is now available! Watch it on http://blip.tv/file/2942358/

Information provided by Chiara Tripepi, DEEEP

ODA Evaluation in Visegrad Four region

The Pontis Foundation presented the publication "ODA Evaluation in the Visegrad Four", a landmark study into the evaluation of Official Development Assistance (ODA) within the Visegrad four region.

Despite some good intentions and tentative steps, none of the Visegrad Four (V4) countries undertake full and independent evaluations of their Official Development Assistance (ODA) policies, programmes or themes. This important study, funded by the International Visegrad Fund, maintains that the main challenges to progress comprise budgetary constraints, the lack of personnel capacity and limited policy leadership on the issue from V4 Ministries of Foreign Affairs.

Using the Western Balkans as a case study, Pontis Foundation estimates that the V4 countries have collectively spent over 40 million Euro in aid to the Western Balkans since 2003. This significant sum has been spent without knowing the impact or outcomes of its use. Evaluation is the basis on which programming adjustments are made. Without evaluation, ODA funds from the V4 countries will continue to be spent without regard to value for money, policy priorities, or impact on development in the recipient or partner countries.

Non-V4 ODA agencies freely provide a spectrum of tools and mechanisms from which V4 countries can learn best practises. The V4 should use these lessons learnt as a basis for constituting their own evaluation policies. But moving forwards can only come from arriving at the final decision to make evaluation a central component of ODA policy.

The Pontis Foundation welcomes comments on the study and is looking forward to taking the next steps, to enable the issue of evaluation to be discussed at the V4 level and beyond.

Download the study from: http://www.nadaciapontis.sk/tmp/asset_cache/link/0000023707/091201_V4ODAEvaluation.pdf
Information provided by Pontis Foundation, http://www.nadaciapontis.sk/en/14521

Twenty Years of Transition and Human Development

The December 2009 issue of "Development and Transition" is devoted to ‘Twenty years of transition and human development’, marking the twentieth anniversary of the end of communism and of UNDP’s first Human Development Report. Articles consider both the human development and transition paradigms, as well as country experiences during the past two decades.

The content covers a wide range of issues, reaching from crisis impacts in the region to survey results and articles on specific areas (e.g. Russia, Ukraine, South Caucasus,..) as well as many other topics.

Read Development and Transition online at http://www.developmentandtransition.net/index.cfm?module=ActiveWeb&page=WebPage&DocumentID=734 or download the pdf version from http://www.developmentandtransition.net/uploads/issuesAttachments/26/DEVTRANSeng%2014.pdf.

Information provided by Development and Transition, LSE/UNDP

CONCORD Flash

The latest issue of the CONCORD Flash - which reports news from the European NGO Confederation for Relief and Development - was published recently and covers the period of September/October 2009.

In the issue:
- CONCORD at the European Parliament from the start
- A time to meet the political parties
- What’s wrong with Development Aid?
- CONCORD report on the coherence of European policies
- CONCORD and the Council of the EU discuss coherence of policies and aid
- CONCORD at the Development Days
- CONCORD and the European Court of Auditors on the same line
- Meeting President Barroso again
- How to strengthen democracy: the CSCG in action
and other topics.

Download the CONCORD Flash from: http://www.concordeurope.org/Files/media/internetdocumentsENG/4_Publications/1_CONCORD_Flash/Flash2009/September-October-EN.pdf

Information provided by Agnès Philippart, CONCORD

Seasonal office closure

We would like to inform you that the TRIALOG head office in Vienna will be closed during the Christmas and New Year period from Monday, December 21, 2009 until Wednesday, January 6, 2010. The TRIALOG Brussels office will be closed from Wednesday, December 23, 2009 until Monday, January 4, 2010. We send early season greetings to all partners and are looking forward to be in touch again in the New Year!

TRIALOG is searching for an intern to support the DE Partnership Fair

TRIALOG (http://www.trialog.or.at/) is searching for an intern based in the Vienna office for the period January - February 2010 to mainly work on the logistical preparation and implementation of the 2nd Edition of TRIALOG´s Development Education Partnership Fair. Duration: 2 months. Deadline for applications is January 7th, 2010. Start of the Internship: January 11th, 2010.

Find more information on the tasks and requirements for this internship in the area of development cooperation event management at: http://www.trialog.or.at/images/doku/de-fair-internship-announcement.pdf

If you are interested, please send your CV, contact details (email and phone number) and 1 - 2 paragraphs explaining why this position interests you to Andra Tanase, TRIALOG Capacity Buidling Officer at a.tanase@trialog.or.at

Information provided by Andra Tanase, TRIALOG

DEEEP is now recruiting an intern

DEEEP (http://www.deeep.org/) is currently seeking for an intern, starting in February 2010, for a 6 months collaboration in the office in Brussels. A full job description is available at: http://www.deeep.org/fileadmin/user_upload/downloads/Job_descriptions/DEEEP_Internship_-_job_description_2010.pdf

If you want to apply, please send your CV and motivation letter to vacancies@deeep.org. Deadline for receiving applications is January 8, 2010. Only short listed candidates will be contacted for an interview. For further information, please contact Cinthia Alaerts c.alaerts@deeep.org

Information provided by Chiara Tripepi, DEEEP

Call for GLEN Tutors 2010

The GLEN Multipliers Training Cycle (MTC) has started! On this occasion, the Global Education Network of Young Europeans (GLEN) is looking for tutors who will train, prepare and accompany the participants of GLEN MTC 2010.

Please find the Call for GLEN Tutors 2010 at http://www.glen-europe.org/index.php?lnk=9&bc=439. The deadline for applications is January 10th 2010. Please Note! The venues and dates of the Team Seminar and 1st seminar of GLEN Eng have slightly changed since the call was first published. Please check your availability on the dates stated in the call.

Information provided by Kasia Szeniawska, GLEN

Development Education Summer School: Call for facilitators and candides

Each working group of the Development Education Summer School (DESS) to take place in June 2010 in Hungary (see Event section in TIS) is composed of participants (of course!) but also of one facilitator and one candide, who will together guide the participants through the week. DEEEP is now seeking 4 facilitators and 4 candides. Download the job description at http://www.deeep.org/summerschool2010.html and send your application (a CV and a motivation letter) by January 15, 2010 to Cinthia Alaerts (c.alaerts@deeep.org) and to Gabriella Nagy (artemisz@artemisszio.hu).

Information provided by Chiara Tripepi, DEEEP

January 24-29, 2010: Training course - New Media for NGOs, Prague

Transitions Online (TOL) is pleased to announce its "New Media for NGOs" training course, which will be held in Prague from January 24-29, 2010. The course will train non-profit organisations how to use new media to spread their message wider and faster, manage IT projects, improve internal efficiency and revamp their online strategy – even with a minimal technology budget.

Transitions (TOL) is a non-profit organisation that supports other non-profit organisations and independent media through a variety of training courses, seminars and internships. Last year, TOL trained over 300 people from some 50 countries. TOL also published an internet magazine, Transitions Online.

More detailed information about the course can be found on the following website http://journalism-courses.tol.org. For further questions please contact Joann Plockova at plockovaj@tol.org.

Information provided by Joann Plockova, TOL, http://www.tol.org

June 6-13, 2010: Development Education Summer School - Call for Participants

The Development Education Summer School (DESS) 2010 will be hosted by Hungary, from June 6 to June 13, 2010. Artemisszio and the Hungarian Interchurch Aid, on behalf of the Hungarian NGDO platform HAND and in coordination with DEEEP are finalising the programme. The overall theme for this year is "Schools as Key Actors in Promoting Global Education", and the overall objective is to improve quality and quantity of NGOs and school cooperation in the field of Global Education.

Participants will be divided into 4 working groups, focusing on the following topics: 1) Environmental sustainability, 2) Trade and Consumption, 3) Poverty, 4) Diversity. Participants will also have the opportunity to follow some thematic sessions, according to their personal and professional interest. The following thematic sessions will be made available: a) NGO/School cooperation, b) Quality and evaluation of global education projects, c) Teacher trainings, d) School curricula and whole school approach.

A local Action Day - during which participants will go to a local school, and implement some global education activities - is foreseen on Friday June 11. Organisers have also included - following the success such activities had in previous DESS editions - the "market place", where participants can introduce their work and organisations, the cultural evening, to learn more on each other's cultures and countries, the audiovisual evening, to share movies.

The Summer School can host 54 participants from the EU, 10 from Network NGOs of CONCORD, and up to 16 from Economically Less Developed Countries. Participation fees depend on the country of residence. Travel costs will be reimbursed by DEEEP after the DESS (up to EUR 400).

Participants interested can fill in the application form, and send it to their National Platform for the final selection, before January 24, 2010. To find the list of national representatives visit http://www.deeep.org/usefullinks.html. If you have further questions, you can contact Cinthia Alaerts (c.alaerts@deeep.org), DEEEP Coordinator. To learn more on the Summer School, and to download the application form, please visit http://www.deeep.org/summerschool2010.html

Information provided by Chiara Tripepi, DEEEP

July 18-23, 2010: International AIDS Conference, Vienna

The International AIDS Conference is convened every two years by the International AIDS Society (IAS) in partnership with local, regional and international partners. The XVIII International AIDS Conference (AIDS 2010) will take place in Vienna, Austria, from 18 to 23 July 2010. Those working in the field of HIV, as well as policy makers, persons living with HIV and other individuals and organizations committed to ending the pandemic from all over the world will take part.

AIDS 2010 will mark an important milestone: the deadline by which world leaders have committed to ensuring universal access to HIV prevention, treatment, care and support. The conference will be an opportunity to evaluate progress to date and to identify what must be done, both individually and collectively, to achieve this critical goal. With an estimated 25,000 participants and 2,500 media in attendance, the eyes of the world will be upon Vienna.

The theme of AIDS 2010 will be "Rights Here, Right Now" and emphasizes the central importance of protecting and promoting human rights as a prerequisite to a successful response to HIV. It also stresses the need for concrete human rights measures to protect those most vulnerable to and affected by HIV. One part of the conference will be the Global Village which is open to the general public as well as to conference delegates. It aims to intensify the involvement of affected and marginalized communities in the conference and in the global response to HIV/AIDS.

For more information about the global village please see http://www.aids2010.org/Default.aspx?pageId=164, for the youth programme http://www.aids2010.org/Default.aspx?pageId=178. Registration and submissions for global village, youth programme, abstracts, workshops, exhibition space, scholarship applications etc. are now open. For more key dates please take a look at http://www.aids2010.org/Default.aspx?pageId=177. You may wish to also sign up for the AIDS 2010 eUpdate: http://www.aids2010.org/Default.aspx?pageId=160 For further information please refer to the Fact Sheet (http://www.trialog.or.at/images/doku/aids2010-fs.pdf) and the website http://www.aids2010.org/. Alternatively, you can also contact the Community Forum Austria organizing the civil society participation in AIDS 2010: Christine Keplinger at keplinger@aids.at.

Information provided by Tina Hofstätter, AIDS 2010 - Local Secretariat

Friday, 30 October 2009

New Capacity Building Officer

We are happy to inform you that Andra Tanase from Romania will be the new TRIALOG Capacity Building Officer. She will be based in Vienna and start her work with us in the beginning of November 2009. She will be responsible for the planning and implementation of TRIALOG's capacity building programme and will be reachable at a.tanase@trialog.or.at.

Many of you know Andra from her previous work in her organisation PATRIR, the board of the Romanian platform FOND, or as vice-chair of CONCORD's Development Education Forum and from many other occasions and international events.

We are happy to welcome her in our team and are looking forward to good cooperation with all of you.

Bulgarian NGO searching for project partners in the area of migration and asylum

The Bulgarian NGO "Animus Association Foundation" is looking for partners in Moldova, Ukraine and/or Belarus. The project is focused on cooperation to combat human trafficking in Eastern Europe. It is planned to apply to the Europaid call for proposals “New thematic programme cooperation in the area of migration and asylum” (deadline on November 13).

The working title of the project is: "Cooperation between third countries and EU member states on the problem of combating human trafficking in Eastern Europe."

For more information on planned activities, a brief project description, requirements for partner organisations and contact details, please refer to the following document:
http://www.trialog.or.at/images/doku/bg-animus-association-foundation.pdf

Please note that interested organisations have to get in contact with the Animus Association Foundation as soon as possible but the latest by Wednesday, November 4, 2009.

Information provided by Martina Bunk, Animus Association Foundation

AidWatch Seminar 2009 and TRIALOG paper on NMS challenges

The annual AidWatch seminar will take place in Brussels this year on 4-6 November. It is the second major event in the AidWatch calendar, after the report launch in the spring (see June TIS: http://trialog-information-service.blogspot.com/2009/06/launch-of-aidwatch-report-2009.html).

The agenda will include an induction day for newcomers to the AidWatch initiative, which will introduce them to the process and how they can be involved. The rest of the seminar will focus on reviewing and evaluating AidWatch in 2009, and making plans for 2010, a year when important aid targets should be being met by EU member state governments. Participants will look at the situation of ODA levels due to the recession and other challenges to the aid calendar next year; share information on upcoming policy and pan-European actions; and look at the strategy and structure of AidWatch. An ‘AidWatchers fair’ will allow participants to share publications and information about work on aid this year in their respective countries.

The new member states are currently underrepresented among those participants registered for the AidWatch seminar. If you would like to attend, please contact Rebecca Steel-Jasińska urgently: trialog@concordeurope.org

A former intern in the Brussels TRIALOG office, Grant Berg, has produced a paper looking at the different challenges faced by old EU member states and new member states in terms of meeting aid quantity and quality commitments that were highlighted by the 2009 CONCORD AidWatch report. The paper can be downloaded from the TRIALOG website: http://www.trialog.or.at/images/doku/nms-aidwatch-oct2009.pdf

Information provided by Rebecca Steel-Jasińska, TRIALOG

October EPAN meeting in Malta

The CONCORD working group on enlargement, pre-accession and neighbourhood (EPAN), which is convened by TRIALOG, met for one of its twice-yearly meetings at the beginning of October 2009. The meeting, which took place in Malta’s capital Valletta, was an opportunity for members to meet and exchange information as well as plan activities for 2010 around the group’s focus areas – the European neighbourhood and the pre-accession areas of the Western Balkans and Turkey.

The southern neighbourhood subgroup prepared for a development forum that will meet in November on the impact of the financial crisis in the region and at which the group’s chair will represent EPAN. The subgroup members also exchanged information on a number of regional initiatives, following up the Istanbul conclusions of 2006 on the role of women in the region, a conference planned by the French Euro-Med platform and the Slovenian NGDO platform SLOGA for March 2010 and the Civil Med Forum.

The eastern neighbourhood subgroup focused on the Eastern Partnership Civil Society Forum, which will be meeting for the first time in November. EPAN has been invited to join the forum, and several member organisations of platforms active within EPAN will also be in attendance. They also discussed the Black Sea NGO Forum which is taking place these days (Oct 29-31) in Bucharest, and where it might overlap with Eastern neighbourhood priorities.

The pre-accession subgroup outlined a table of next steps to take on various issues: reviewing the country progress reports which have been released in the middle of October (see related TIS article “The EC releases its enlargement package”), a couple of weeks after the meeting; contributing to the EP lobbying that will be part of the CONCORD General Assembly in November and taking forward a forum to share best practices on civil dialogue with organisations in the region.

The whole working group discussed the European Commission initiative ‘European Transition Compendium’ with Adolfo Sanchez, the consultant hired to draft the compendium. It was a lively debate, with Mr Sanchez offering answers to questions on challenges previously identified by members of the group and others in NMS platforms (see earlier TIS articles in July and June TIS).

The decisions taken in Malta will shape the work of the group in 2010. More details are available from the minutes, which will be available on the CONCORD extranet from the beginning of November. For any further questions, please write to TRIALOG policy officer Rebecca Steel-Jasińska at: trialog@concordeurope.org

Information provided by Rebecca Steel-Jasińska, TRIALOG

The EC releases its ‘enlargement package’

The European Commission adopted its annual enlargement strategy and progress reports on each candidate and potential candidate country on 14 October 2009. This ‘enlargement package’ sets out the general policy on EU enlargement as well as giving details on progress made by candidate countries Croatia, the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia and Turkey as well as Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro, Serbia and Kosovo.

The EC has recommended to member states that accession negotiations be opened with the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, which has undertaken political reforms that meet the Copenhagen political criteria. This will now put extra pressure on both parties to end the name dispute with Greece.

In the conclusions and recommendations given at the end of the strategy document, the EC emphasises the encouragement the enlargement process gives to political and economic reform in the countries concerned. The EC also points to the effects of the financial crisis that have been felt in the region and the major challenge posed by the fight against corruption and organised crime. Particular recommendations are provided for each country, with Cyprus and Iceland also included.

The Balkan Civil Society Development Network has analysed 2006 and 2007 progress reports in terms of the two benchmarks introduced by the EC in 2007 – civil society development and dialogue. This document will be updated with 2009 data and published in the near future on the network’s website http://www.balkancsd.net/

The enlargement package and additional information can be downloaded from DG Enlargement’s website: http://ec.europa.eu/enlargement/press_corner/key-documents/reports_oct_2009_en.htm

Information provided by Rebecca Steel-Jasińska, TRIALOG

CONCORD launched Spotlight on Policy Coherence report

Responding to the Commission’s Communication and report on Policy Coherence for Development from September 2009, CONCORD released a report appealing for Europe to stop harming developing countries with its policies.

The “Spotlight on Policy Coherence” report was launched in Brussels on October 14, 2009 and looks at the damaging impact that EU policies such as trade and agriculture are having on developing countries, effectively undoing all of the potential achievements of its development aid.
Of particular concern to CONCORD is the new approach proposed by the Commission in its September 15th Communication entitled “Policy Coherence for Development – Establishing the policy framework for a Whole of the Union approach”. This document marks a clear departure from the Commission’s commitment to scrutinising the impact of its policies on the poor by dropping the focus of its ‘policy coherence for development’ framework, from twelve areas to just five. Vital policy areas such as trade, which has massive implications for the lives of millions of poor people, have suddenly been dropped.

For more information, the press-release and introduction to the report given by Rob van Drimmelen (CONCORD/APRODEV) visit the CONCORD website http://www.concordeurope.org/ or use the direct link to the full Spotlight on Policy Coherence report: http://www.concordeurope.org/Files/media/internetdocumentsENG/5_Press/1_Press_releases/00pressreleases2009/CONCORD_PCD-Spotlight-report_light.pdf.

Find the Commission’s Communication on Policy Coherence for Development at:
http://ec.europa.eu/development/icenter/repository/COM_2009_458_part1_en.pdf

Information provided by Agnès Philippart, CONCORD

World Bank and IMF Civil Society Forum

TRIALOG policy officer Rebecca Steel-Jasińska attended the World Bank/International Monetary Fund (IMF) Civil Society Forum, which accompanied the Bank and Fund’s annual meeting at the beginning of October 2009 in Istanbul. TRIALOG was involved in the Civil Soceitey Organisations (CSO) planning group, which helped with the preparation of the forum, and the opportunity was used to build on links with Turkish NGDOs, many of which were in attendance.

Sessions at the forum featured a vast array of topics, which ranged from human rights, to aid flows, to food security, to climate change, to youth, to women’s empowerment and many of which focused on the current economic situation, looking at how the Bank and Fund could improve their work with other actors. Those of particular interest to TRIALOG included ‘the Crisis in Emerging Europe’ with Marek Belka, former Prime Minister of Poland speaking and ‘Civil Society in Turkey’ organised by The Third Sector Foundation TUSEV.

The event also featured book and report launches as well as networking receptions with almost five hundred civil society representatives as well as those from the Bank and Fund.

More information about the Forum can be found on the World Bank website: http://web.worldbank.org/WBSITE/EXTERNAL/TOPICS/CSO/0,,contentMDK:22294326~pagePK:220503~piPK:220476~theSitePK:228717,00.html
Information provided by Rebecca Steel-Jasińska, TRIALOG

Thursday, 29 October 2009

New joint project of the Greek, Cypriot and Maltese platforms

The Greek, Maltese and Cypriot national NGDO platforms together with leading member NGOs, local authorities (LA) and migrants’ organisations have designed a project in order to enhance cooperation in the three countries, build their capacity to become efficient agents of development and to participate in the planning of and the debate over EU development policy. Further objectives are to establish a strong partnership with migrants’ organisations and local authorities in the 3 countries and to increase the dialogue between development actors in the 3 countries and in Africa as well as enhance interaction with the relevant EU institutions.

The project will tackle the following problems:
- Insufficient coordination among NGDOs at the national, regional and European level
- Lack of cooperation between NGDOs, LAs and migration organisations in the field of development cooperation
- Lack of available information, given the distance of the 3 Mediterranean Platforms from the European centre (Brussels)
- Lack of efficient South – North dialogue
- Lack of sufficient and efficient participation from this part of the EU NGDOs in the formulation of the EU development policies

The activities of the project which will probably start in December 2009 include: a field survey on the partners’ experience and knowledge on issues of development, national trainings for networking, lobbying and advocacy, a series of interactive structured dialogue workshops in Greece, Cyprus and Malta with representatives from all partners to develop a concrete strategy of cooperation, a peer to peer mentoring program, study visits of representatives of the 3 platforms to Brussels institutions (e.g. EU Commission, ECOSOC, EU Parliament and CONCORD), the organisation of an international panel discussion and partnership fair in Greece and the establishment of a web-based forum to facilitate the exchange of expertise and best practices.

For more information on the project please contact Eugenia Vathakou, Planning and Networking Director, Development and Education Centre European Perspective (DECEP) at: evathakou@europers.gr

Information provided by Eugenia Vathakou, European Perspective

Development Days: From Slovenia to Stockholm

In October, the Slovenian NGDO platform SLOGA was much involved in the organisation of Development Days, both at the national and the European level. From October 15-17, SLOGA together with its members (Slovenian Philanthropy, Ekvilib Institute and the UN Association of Slovenia) as well as in cooperation with the Slovenian Foreign Ministry organised the first Slovenian Development Days, that gathered national and international actors in the field of development cooperation. The event was opened by the State Secretary, acting as development minister, Dragoljuba Benčina, who was formally handed over the MDG III Torch. The opening was then followed by two roundtables - one on the topic of development aid in a time of global crisis and one on the inclusion of the human rights based approach into international development cooperation. On Friday, October 16, Slovenian president Danilo Türk addressed the public at the Slovenian Development Days and gave a speech on the topic of women empowerment, which was followed by a public roundtable on the issue.

At the European Development Days held from 22-24 October 2009 in Stockholm, SLOGA presented its activities at the development village. In addition, the platform together with the Slovenian MFA and the European Commission organised a roundtable “East meets South” that gathered several high level speakers and more than 200 participants. Selected speakers, as Jerzy Buzek, President of the EP, Jože Mencinger, Vice president of the first Slovenian government, and many others discussed and shared their experiences in the fields of democracy building and economic transition. They agreed that New EU Member States became an important development actor in the wide EU area. In the near future those countries are planning to increase their cooperation with Africa, also in the area of exchanging best practices on the transition and democratisation processes.

For more information on the recent SLOGA activities, please visit http://www.sloga-platform.org/ or contact Eva Pliberšek at: eva.plibersek@sloga-platform.org

Information provided by Eva Pliberšek, SLOGA

Grupa Zagranica report on Polish Development Assistance 2008

In September 2009, the Polish NGDO platform „Grupa Zagranica" published the report „Polish Development Assistance 2008. Independent Report of Non-governmental Organisations." It is already the third time that members of the Zagranica Group have come together to produce this report as a supplement to and critical review of the information published by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. The report is the result of the work of the Monitoring Group on ODA within the Polish platform. The report was issued on September 17 on a public discussion meeting with media and the Polish MFA. Then it was further discussed at the 3rd Forum of Polish development cooperation organised by the MFA on September 19 in Warsaw.

This year’s report highlights the most important trends in both the quantity and quality of Poland’s ODA, presenting in detail a number of key issues, some of them addressed for the first time, e.g. the report describes in greater detail the aid expenditures reported by the military, particularly in Afghanistan.

In sum, Polish ODA in 2008 amounted to PLN 900m, equivalent to 0.08% GNI. This is the first time since the country’s accession to the European Union that the value of Polish aid has diminished. The NGOs state that Poland is "in danger of missing the main target regarding the quantity of aid, agreed internationally and confirmed by the Council of Ministers." However, the Polish platform acknowledges that "the target could still be met, provided there is strong political will, determination on the part of the government and parliamentary support."

NGO criticism is directed also towards the still missing adoption of the Development Cooperation Act, the practise of inflating aid statistics or to the problem that Poland does not direct enough aid to Africa. It is stressed that in order to ensure a successful EU Presidency in 2011, Poland has to already in 2010 strengthen its development cooperation system and build its capacity to lead the EU’s work on development issues. Positively evaluated are the MFA activities in the field of development education. The report contains a number of recommendations which remind the government to take aid commitments seriously.

For more information, download the English summary of the report at: http://www.trialog.or.at/images/doku/polish-oda-2008-ex_summary_eng.pdf
Visit the website of Grupa Zagranica at: http://www.zagranica.org.pl/
Find information on the MFA Forum of Polish development cooperation at:
http://www.polskapomoc.gov.pl/3rd,Forum,of,Polish,development,co-operation,908.html

Information provided by Ola Antonowicz, Polish Green Network/Grupa Zagranica

First General Assembly of the Bulgarian Platform for International Development (BPID)

The Bulgarian Platform for International Development (BPID) was formally created on 27 January 2009. The process of its establishment lasted about 3 years. After the first conference on EU Development Policies, organised by TRIALOG in Sofia in 2006, the Platform has gone through different phases. After the initial enthusiasm, a group of 10-12 active NGDOs kept on working together, trying to support as much as possible the Bulgarian advancement in the ODA field. This informal network, which included organisations with various profiles, backgrounds and activities, began to participate in different events both at national and international level.

Last 2008 year turned out to be crucial for this informal gathering of Bulgarian NGDOs. Thanks to a project, financed by the Presidency Fund and run by ECIP Foundation, one of the active participants within the network, the process of the official establishment of BPID was intensified. The project, entitled “Bulgarian Civil Society Participation in the EU Development Policies”, brought together the energy and experience collected over the years in favor of the future policy of the country in this field. Thus, 17 NGDOs became founding members of the platform and in the meanwhile the number of members has risen to 19.

The first General Assembly of BPID was held this summer on 23rd of July 2009 in Sofia. The new elected Board comprises of 7 individuals: the Chairman Rumyan Sechkov - Executive director of CEGA Foundation, Iva Boneva – Centre for Inclusive Education (CIE), Ludmila Mincheva – Index Foundation, Nadya Boneva- Alliance for regional and civil Initiatives (ARCI), Natalia Dimitrova – Bluelink Foundation, Ognyan Drumev – ECIP Foundation, Ventsislav Kirkov – Bulgarian Association for family planning.

The participants adopted BPID’ 3-year Strategy and Action Plan, discussed and approved internal rules and procedures of the functioning of the organisation. Participation in shaping Bulgarian and European policy for development and the membership in EU networks was considered to be of high importance for the future of the Platform. Different BPID members expressed their willingness for a close cooperation with the European NGO confederation for relief and development CONCORD, by participating in Working groups and other activities at EU level and beyond.

For more information please contact Nadya Boneva at nboneva@yahoo.com

Information provided by Nadya Boneva, BPID board

We can help others: awareness raising campaign in Lithuania

This autumn the Lithuanian NGO Information and Support Centre conducted the public awareness raising campaign We Can Help Others, with a special focus on the youth in Lithuania. The campaign focused on Lithuania’s neighbourhood countries and the countries of South Caucasus since these are priority countries of the national development cooperation policy and because of historical ties the public has a better knowledge of the political, economic and social systems in these countries. The campaign featured photo exhibitions, discussions with local communities, the production and broadcast of a TV spot, radio spots and programs on national and regional radio stations, advertisements and articles in the press, a journalist competition, inclusion of a development cooperation heading on a national internet portal, launch of a specialised internet site and the production of a brochure.

The photo exhibitions highlighted the everyday life of people in Moldova, Georgia and Tajikistan. The pictures displayed largely reminded of the life in Lithuania twenty years ago and were causing empathy of the viewers. The exhibitions have been shown in all regional public libraries of Lithuania for a whole month. Afterwards, they have been moved to other municipal libraries. In addition, the libraries have been provided with documentaries on development issues in Belarus, Georgia, Tajikistan and other countries for public screenings.

On 17 October – the International Anti-Poverty Day – a screening of films took place in a cinema in Vilnius. The documentaries showed the imprint of the political regime on the lives of circus workers in Azerbaijan, inhuman procedures of issuing visas for Belarussian citizens, migration of men in search of work and the life of deprived women in Tajikistan, schooling and health problems of children in Georgia, imprisonment of opposition leaders and the difficult situation of their families in Belarus. The Stand Up! Take Action! campaign was held to express the solidarity with the people living in poverty all over the world.

Several radio programs and press articles also covered other specific development activities implemented by member organisations of the Lithuanian NGDO Platform, reported about volunteering experiences of young people and provided information on concrete possibilities of giving assistance to developing countries.

The campaign We Can Help Others was part of a project which is supported by the European Commission and the Lithuanian government. More information on the campaign and development cooperation in Lithuania can be found at the recently launched website http://www.pagalba.org/. For further information please contact Martinas Zaltauskas, NGO Information and Support Centre, at info@nisc.lt or martinas@nisc.lt

Photo from the exhibition, A large family in Tajikistan, 2009

Information provided by Olia Zuravliova, NGO Information and Support Centre

Events to mark the International Day for the Eradication of Poverty in Malta

As in the past years, in 2009, the STOPoverty! Neqirdu l-Faqar! Campaign with its partners, namely the Maltese NGDO platform SKOP, KOPIN, KKG, Graffitti and KDZ, has organised a series of events to mark the International Day for the Eradication of Poverty, held on 17 October, and to provide the opportunity to Stand up! and Take Action!

Starting with the launch of ActionAid’s photographic exhibition "HungerFREE women speak out" about women and the right to food and land at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs on October 15, the Stand Up! Take Action! activity was organised in Malta and Gozo between the 16th and 18th of October. The Maltese public was urged to stand up for one minute to remember the poor of the world and to urge governments to keep their promises. The Stand Up! activity is coordinated by the Schools2Communities project - coordinated in Malta by KOPIN. In collaboration with this project, a discussion was held about poverty, the Millennium Development Goals and the Mediterranean region on October 17, following the theatre production Ceda l-Imbatt performed by Theatrencore.

During a press conference on October 16 - the World Food Day, Koperattiva Kummerc Gust (KKG) launched its Right to Food Campaign ‘Kieku l-Ikel Jitekellem’. Two Indian workers participated and passed on a clear message regarding ethical consumption. As part of the campaign and under the slogan "you are what you eat", Moviment Graffitti held its annual activity "Reclaim the World" in Valletta on October 24.

On October 19, a workshop about Art Campaigning Management took place as part of the I SHOP FAIR project of the network of ethical consumers, coordinated in Malta by KKG. Last but not least, a dialogue event on October 24 entitled "Y Standup?" was held to promote participation of young people in discussions on poverty issues locally, nationally, on European and international levels. The young people were invited to discuss their commitment to reducing poverty on all these different levels, while also offering possible routes for policy and for action to church and government authorities.

Information provided by Angie Farrugia, SKOP Malta


National Debate on MDGs in Cyprus

On 10 October 2009, the Future Worlds Center organised a first National Debate in Cyprus about the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). The Debate was hosted by the UNDP – Action for Cooperation and Trust in Nicosia and included a panel of distinguished guests such as representatives from UNDP-ACT, The European Institute of Cyprus, the Cyprus Family Planning Association, the Cyprus NGO Platform ‘The Development’ and the Cameroonian Students Association. Kyriacos Triantaphyllides, Cypriot Member of European Parliament, honoured the debate with an opening speech that was read by Yiannis Laouris, President of the Board of Future Worlds Center.

The National Debate on MDGs was part of the EU funded project ‘Youth Ambassadors for Millennium Development Goals’ (Project No.: ONG-ED/2007/136-678) that the Cypriot NGO Future Worlds Center is implementing as partner organisation, with Salesian Missionary Voluntary Service in Poland as the lead, and EDUCON (CZ) and Hungarian Baptist Aid as members of the consortium.

The National Debate attracted around 70 participants – members of civil society organisations, university students, teachers and high school students from different cities around the island. A large part of the participants have agreed to become Youth Ambassadors and to plan future street happenings and round tables at universities to further promote the MDGs in Cyprus.

For more information about the project, please contact Larry Fergeson at Future Worlds Center larry.fergeson.cyprus@gmail.com or visit http://cy.youth4world.com/.

Information provided by Kerstin Wittig, Future Worlds Center

Well-attended annual EuroNGOs conference in Riga

"The NGO sector was one of the most active change agents in Latvia in the 1990s,” according to Andris Teikmanis, State Secretary of the Latvian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and keynote speaker and honoured guest at the European NGOs for Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights, Population and Development (EuroNGOs) 2009 International conference in Riga, Latvia, on 7 September 2009. Teikmanis’s comment was a fitting start to the event, which highlighted a range of issues related to sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR), including the need for civil society and governments to work in partnership to achieve SRHR objectives.

Dace Matule, a gynaecologist, and President of Papardes Zieds, Latvia’s Association for Family Planning and Sexual Health, which hosted the conference, explained that while few people had heard of Latvia before the recent global financial crisis, Latvia and Iceland are now on the front page. All of the events surrounding the crisis affect health, family planning, fundraising for development and other issues that are at the heart of EuroNGO’s efforts. As such, Latvia was an opportune place to tackle the theme of this year’s conference – Investing in Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights in Times of Economic Crisis.

As the SRHR community faces the challenges of the crisis – while also considering the opportunities it might present – it is understood that partnership with NGOs around the world, who are working towards the same objectives, is vital. This year’s meeting exemplified collaboration, with the largest number of representatives from the global ‘South’ ever. For example, participants came from: Bangladesh, Ecuador, India, Iraq, Jamaica, Malaysia, Mauritius, Mexico, Nigeria, Puerto Rico, Thailand, Uganda and Zambia. There were also more attendees from the US, indicating increasing cooperation between European and US NGOs. In all, nearly 100 individuals attended the conference, with speakers from a variety of disciplines, including economics, research and advocacy, applying their expertise to the specific SRHR agenda.

More information on the conference theme, programme and speakers is available at http://www.eurongos.org/Default.aspx?ID=18832. The final report, presentations and summaries will soon be available at http://www.eurongos.org/Default.aspx?ID=19709.

Information provided by Mirja Leibnitz, EuroNGOs

Promoting global development education in the new EU Member States

On basis of the 2008 Joint Management Agreement between the European Commission and the North-South Centre of the Council of Europe (NSC), the NSC has this year started a new project for promoting global development education in the new EU Member States.

The action focuses on the member states which have joined the EU in 2004 and 2007, using the preceding Visegrad programme which was implemented by the NSC during 2004-2005 in Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland and Slovakia as a model to develop and strengthen global education in Central and Eastern Europe. The Centre intends to collaborate with the already existing initiatives in the regions, such as the DEEEP and TRIALOG projects and to build upon these experiences and accumulated competences, and thus avoiding duplication or overlapping actions. Special attention is given to continue the collaboration with the Visegrad countries and to initiate the work in the Baltic Sea States and the South East Europe/Mediterranean region.

In March 2009, a kick off seminar was held in Budapest (see article in April TIS: http://trialog-information-service.blogspot.com/2009/04/global-education-kick-off-event-in.html) with representatives from all regions, taking stock of past results and experiences from the Visegrad programme. Following the kick off seminar, a national seminar already took place in Bulgaria in September. 4 more national seminars in the prioritised regions will be held in 2009 (in Latvia on Nov. 6, Estonia Nov. 6-7, Slovenia Nov. 17 and Poland tbc) and another 7 national seminars in 2010 - in total, 12 national seminars (one in each new member state) over a two year period. In addition, three sub-regional seminars are foreseen in 2010-11, respectively in the Baltic Sea Region, South East Europe/Mediterranean region and the Visegrad countries following the national seminars. All seminars will produce national and sub-regional reports on the state of global/development education and their results will contribute to the foreseen pan-European conference in 2011. The activity is organised in very close collaboration with main civil society platforms and networks for global/development education.

For more information, eg. seminar presentations and programmes of the 2009 seminars, please visit: http://www.coe.int/t/dg4/nscentre/GE/UE-NSC_JMA_en.asp

For any further questions or information on how to get involved, please contact Nicolas Verneret at: nicolas.verneret@coe.int

Photo: seminar in Bulgaria in September 2009

Information provided by Nicolas Verneret, NSC