Friday, 6 March 2009

TRIALOG Central Training focused on core concern of NMS platforms

The Central Training is a TRIALOG seminar for development NGO platforms from new EU member states (NMS). For this year’s Central Training, which took place between February 24- 26 in Vienna, we chose the topic of “Financial Sustainability of National Platforms“ since several NMS platforms expressed the need for such a discussion and exchange. The training was organised in close cooperation with the Latvian platform LAPAS and the Polish Platform Grupa Zagranica.

Each NMS platform was invited to participate with the coordinator and a board representative which made up a good group of high level platform representatives who presented the current financial situation of their platforms as well as received new input for their work from the exchange with others and from the speakers’ presentations.

Hans Zomer from the Irish platform Dochas talked about the Dochas strategy on sustainability and about fundraising in a cold climate. CONCORD board member Rilli Lappalainen from the Finnish platform Kehys gave a presentation about regional programmes (such as the FEST project between Finland, Estonia and Sweden) as one way to support the sustainability of platforms. Representatives from Light for the World and Greenpeace Central and Eastern Europe shared their experiences about fundraising methods such as communication with major donors, street collections and so on. The question about whether fundraising methods can be copy-pasted to emerging markets was answered differently - not all methods work in all countries, but it might be worth trying out some ideas in the NMS context. As is the case every year, also CONCORD news and priorities for the current year were presented, this time by Policy Officer An Van Goey.

As a result of the training, the need to further assess the financial situation of NMS platforms and the need for national platforms to develop financial strategies as well as to find joint approaches at the European level was felt very urgently. Most of the NMS platforms do not have secured core funding for their activities but depend on project money from governments or other sources, which makes long term financial planning difficult. The very low national platform membership fees often lie even below the level of the CONCORD membership fee of the respective platform. The financial crisis has already had a direct impact on the situation of the development NGO sector in most NMS. Although ODA budget cuts are not limited to NMS, in NMS the cuts are happening at a time when public awareness of, and governmental commitment to, poverty eradication around the globe is less well-established.

The feedback after the Central Training showed that the event was highly valued by the participants as a unique opportunity to discuss issues of vital importance to NMS platforms. Read some quotes:

- The training was excellent and contributed enormously to my understanding.
- It was interesting to see that having a financial strategy is vital for the platform. Here I learned some pretty interesting tips and ideas that will help us to do a very well structured strategy, but also interesting ideas for fundraising.
- What I got from this training is networking, new contacts, maybe not completely new ideas but new approaches to already existing ideas and fun and pleasure.
- For me, it was interesting. Maybe it was not a training in a pure meaning, but for the first time since really a long time we had the chance to openly discuss all the financial questions with the other platform coordinators.

Thanks a lot to all participants and speakers for their input and engagement! Now it is up to all of us not to stop but to incorporate the outcomes in our daily work...

The documentation of the 2009 Central Training (incl. presentations, more quotes/video messages,..) will become available on the TRIALOG website soon. Photos are already available. Visit:

Information provided by Anita Bister, TRIALOG

Montenegro country study published

A new TRIALOG country study has been published, this time on the situation faced by civil society organisations in Montenegro. The report was written for TRIALOG by Maša Lekić, a recent intern from Montenegro who spent five months in the TRIALOG office in Brussels.

The report covers the history, development and main areas of work covered by civil society in the country. The challenges that must still be faced are outlined, including low administrative capacity, low levels of public trust and the need for improved relations between the NGO community and the government. It concludes that despite the relative short history of NGOs in the country, civil society has already started to exert a considerable influence within Montenegro.

TRIALOG's country study on Montenegro can be downloaded from

For more information, comments or changes to the text please contact

Information provided by Rebecca Steel, TRIALOG

AidWatch Workshop in Vienna

A number of people responsible for producing the AidWatch report in their countries gathered in Vienna for an AidWatch workshop which was hosted in the TRIALOG offices. The session, on Thursday 5 March 2009, led by CONCORD AidWatch Coordinator Jasmine Burnley and AidWatch report writer Javier Perriera, took participants through the questionnaire used to collect the data, and discussions around its analysis. The main topics that will be covered within the Europe-wide AidWatch report include ownership, conditionality and predictability, as well as transparency.

This session, and a similar workshop held in Malta in February, are part of a longer term capacity development strategy that aims to increase the knowledge and skills of the different platforms (especially in the new member states) and networks involved in AidWatch work, allowing them to contribute more fully to the annual report.

For more information see the AidWatch pages on the CONCORD website:

Information provided by Rebecca Steel, TRIALOG

Thursday, 5 March 2009

EC development education evaluation positive on TRIALOG

In 2008, for the first time EuropeAid has been running an extensive general and pan-European evaluation of the Development Education NGO co-financing over the last 10 years (1998-2007). The aim was to access the relevance, efficiency, effectiveness, impact and sustainability of Development Education/Awareness Raising (DE/AR) programmes and projects. The evaluation was done on 40 selected projects and on TRIALOG and DEEEP as targeted projects. The final evaluation report was now released by the EC in February 2009.

The evaluation has been overwhelmingly positive for TRIALOG as one of the very few programmes which allowed the Commission to take a more strategic approach and give more coherence to the budget line. Even if TRIALOG is not exclusively working in the field of DE/AR (but also supporting national and pan-European coordination and networking, general development policy topics, advocacy towards New Member States/NMS governments and EU institutions, capacity building for NMS civil society organisations in a wide range of development topics etc.), the DE evaluation which only looked at the DE related components of the project has been very positive for TRIALOG.

It states that TRIALOG promotes the compatibility between EC procedures and the beneficiary’s capacity, gives more coherence to the budget line and helped to achieve the objectives of the “Co-financing with European Development NGOs” programme. The evaluation clearly says that TRIALOG has increased the capacity of NGOs in NMS to work in DE and initiate dialogue with their own national government as well as networking within the NGO community. TRIALOG has had an impact on civil society’s involvement in the field of development in NMS, which was not so common at the beginning of the enlargement process. By encouraging experiential exchanges between Old Member States and New Member States (e.g. the DE Partnership Fair which we organised in 2006), TRIALOG promoted the success of the EC programme.

Indirectly, TRIALOG’s lobby work for special eligibility criteria and a separate budget for DE/AR projects for NGOs from the new EU member states was not only proven to be the right approach for the EC but additionally, in the recommendations to the EC it’s mentioned to maintain them.

To read more about the results on TRIALOG in the EC evaluation, please go to:
For the full evaluation report, please turn to:

Information provided by Christine Bedoya, TRIALOG

Evaluation of EC aid channelled through civil society organisations

This evaluation, covering the period 2000 -2006, assesses the EC aid channelled through civil society organisations (CSOs). Over the period evaluated, the total amount channelled through Civil Society Organisations amounts to 5.3 billion EUR, and a clear increase of CSO channelling can be observed. All in all, 76% of total specified payments have been channelled through Northern CSOs and 24% through Southern CSOs.

The three main conclusions according to the evaluation summary are:
  • The participatory development agenda, adopted by the EC, is gradually changing the use of the CSO channel but the participatory development agenda has not yet been fully internalised by the Commission. The EC still lacks a consistent, shared and institutionalised strategy to manage the CSO channel (across regions, sectors and themes)

  • The added value of the CSO channel is not optimally used by the EC because the EC is not
    well-equipped to properly deal with the question all along the cooperation cycle, i.e. from the identification phase (“what added value can CSOs, in all their diversity, offer in a given
    context?”) to the design phase and related choice of implementation modalities (“how best to support CSOs to fully realise their added value?”).

  • There is a mixed record with regard to results, impact and sustainability. Evidence has been collected of positive effects on a project level. However it is less evident to draw firm
    conclusions with regard to the sustainable impact of these interventions, particularly considering that broader processes of societal change require a longer time span to achieve results, valid questions can be raised on the likelihood of sustainable impact of aid channelled through CSOs.
For the full report, the summary and a presentation of main outcomes and recommendations, please visit:


EC presentation during the Multistakeholders meeting

On the 25th of February 2009, the "Non-state actors and local authorities in development (NSA-LA) Multistakeholders Meeting" – also known as the “Quadrilogue” Meeting – convened by Mr. Ridolfi, Head of the EC's EuropeAid Cooperation Office (Direction F “Thematic Programm”) – took place, bringing together representatives from the EC, the European Parliament, the Member States and European Civil Society Organisations (CSOs).

Mr. Ridolfi gave a presentation (see link below) on the results of the Call for Proposals 2007, on the Annual Action Plan 2008 and 2009 and on the results of the external evaluation of the EC-programme on Development Education over the last 10 years (see also related TIS article at:

Although the presentation did not only tackle very new topics, some very interesting and relevant information from the EC´s perspective was given:

The contract results demonstrate, that projects with lead agencies from New Member States (NMS), financed within the Development Co-operation Instrument DCI for projects in developing countries, will receive only 0,3% of the budget-line's total amount (see slide Nr. 13).

As a conclusion regarding the already past Call for Proposal-procedure of the 2007 budget, he highlighted, that “NMS are highly represented in partnerships (regarding projects within the thematic line NSA-LA “Public awareness and education for development in Europe “), although further efforts need to be made to encourage their participation as main applicants” (see slide Nr. 24).

As the Call for Proposals 2008 on “Public awareness and education for development in Europe“ has been closed only some two weeks ago (February 17, 2009), the preliminary information about the number of received concept notes is still very global: the EC received 400 project proposals in total, 62 more than in the past year (see slide Nr. 28).

We would like to highlight the published “plans ahead” of the EC for the next steps: the contracting of the selected projects is scheduled for the time between January and March 2010, while the next Call for Proposals with the planned budget of the year 2010, will be launched in March or April next year (see slide Nr. 43).

For further information, download the EC presentation from the following link:

Information provided by Petra Kreinecker, TRIALOG

Wednesday, 4 March 2009

Introductory Seminar on the Cotonou Agreement in Romania

The Romanian NDGO platform (FOND) organized an introductory seminar on the Cotonou Agreement on the 29th January 2009, in Bucharest. It was for the first time when a public debate was made on this topic.

The purpose of this seminar was to present a general overview of the agreement emphasizing the political and trade implications for Romania. The speakers invited were Florent Sebban (Department of Foreign Relations of the French NGDO Platform - Coordination Sud), Monica Alexandru (Department of Assistance for Development , the Romanian Ministry of Foreign Affairs), Dan Maxim – general deputy director (Department of Foreign Trade, the Romanian Ministry of Small and Medium Enterprises, Commerce and Environmental Affairs). Among the participants at this seminar there were FOND members, mass-media, representatives from the UK Embassy in Romania, UNDP Romania, the Ministry of Education and Research and political science students.

Romania ratified the revised Cotonou Agreement in the beginning of 2008. As it became a member of the European Union only in 2007, Romania had no influence in the revision of the Cotonou Agreement and had to accept “by default” all the EU agreements.

It was interesting to notice during the seminar that the Romanian Ministry of Trade is aware of the fact that one of the objectives of the agreement is the eradication of poverty. The Romanian Government seems to agree with the generally shared view that one of the means of achieving it is to integrate the economies of the ACP countries (African, Caribbean and Pacific States) in the global economy. It seems that the Romanian Government shows no signs of interest to consider also the problematic aspects of the liberalization of the African states’ economies, despite Romania’s own transition experience before the accession to the EU. Civil society organizations have emphasized that the Economic Partnership Agreements (EPAs) pose a serious threat to the local producers in the ACP countries. Representatives of the Romanian Government also mentioned that at present there is a low interest from the part of the Romanian state towards Africa, despite its intention to renew old connections with some African states.

The seminar concluded with a very interesting message, inspired by our French speaker on which civil society representatives agreed: Although it has no direct interest in the African countries and no heritage as a colonizer, precisely because of those reasons Romania should try at least to respect ACPs by supporting their cause and interests in Brussels.

This event was organized as part of the FOND project: “Development Cooperation in Romania: Building FOuNDation for Policy Work ”, financed by the Presidency Fund (

Information provided by Adela Rusu, FOND,

Czech NGOs met Swedish Minister for Development Cooperation

On the eve of the Informal Meeting of the EU Development Ministers in Prague (29-30 January 2009), Czech NGO representatives had the chance to debate democratic governance support, one of the topics of the Informal Meeting, with Gunilla Carlsson, the Swedish Minister for International Development Cooperation.

Both parties exchanged their views on democracy, development cooperation and the role of democratisation processes in the eradication of poverty.

Apart of the Swedish minister, also Catherine von Heidenstam, the Swedish Ambassador to the Czech Republic, and Tomas Brundin, Deputy Director of the Department for Development Policy of the Swedish Ministry for Foreign Affairs, were present at the meeting.

The meeting was arranged by FoRS – Czech Forum for Development Co-operation, in cooperation with CONCORD Sweden; it was hosted by the Czech NGO People in Need. The Czech NGOs were furthermore represented by DEMAS – Czech platform for democracy assistance organisations, and Green Circle – association of environment NGOs.

For more information on the meeting, please contact FoRS Policy Officer Zuzana Sladkova,

Information provided by Zuzana Sladkova, FoRS

TRIALOG training for "EC newcomers" in Latvia

At the end of January 2009, TRIALOG realised the second 2 day training on “How to write an EC proposal” in Latvia (the first one took place in early 2008).

To get into the topic, we started with presenting the frame of the EU-strategy 2007 – 2010 of the thematic programme Non-State Actors and Local Authorities, the Annual Action Plan 2008 and the Call for Proposal on Development Education and Awareness Raising in Europe.

7 participants from different Latvian NGOs worked together and decided spontaneously during the workshop, to elaborate one concrete common project to raise awareness in Latvia on development issues. In the meanwhile, the group of 5 NGOs submitted a concept note within the call by the deadline in February.

So far, Latvia is one of the few EU new member states which did not make much use of the EC development education budget line and as a consequence, no Latvian NGO was so far awarded an EC development education contract as applicant. We hope that the training was one little further step for Latvian development NGOs to compete successfully at the EU level for development education funds in future.

Information provided by Petra Kreinecker, TRIALOG

Open Partner Search for Joint Projects

There is huge interest and great potential for common projects and the exchange of experiences between European NGOs. TRIALOG supports NGOs accross the EU in getting into contact with each other.

Currently the following partner search for joint project proposals to the EC is posted on the TRIALOG website; visit for details:

  • Hungarian NGO searching for cooperation partners for participation in specific EC country calls. Cooperation with NGOs/CSOs from both new and old EU member states with experience in development projects in specific geographical areas is welcome. Read more...
Find information how to post your own partner search at:

You can also use the TRIALOG NGO database to search for new NGO contacts.

Information provided by Anita Bister, TRIALOG

Tuesday, 3 March 2009

EP report urges formal recognition of social economy actors

On 19 February 2009, the European Parliament adopted a resolution on Social Economy which is likely to encourage the effective acknowledgement of the role of social economy actors in the development of a sustainable social and economic model. The text highlights the need to formally recognise civil society organisations through the adoption of European statutes for associations, foundations and mutual societies and invites the European institutions to include these actors within their social and civil dialogue practices.

The EP resolution could be a good document for development NGOs to refer to in their future advocacy actions - especially when urging recognition and dialogue with European institutions on specific issues.

Read the related press release of the European Civic Forum:
Access the full EP report:

Source: EU Civil Society Contact Group, weekly mailing 26.02.09

Development Youth Prize 2008/2009: Creativity meets Africa

“Human development” in Africa is the challenging topic of the Development Youth Prize 2008-2009. The current edition of the competition is now online and open for new submissions.

In the year of Creativity and Innovation, the European competition invites students aged 16 - 18 to highlight their creative views on Africa.

All contributions must include two parts: a short message of maximum 100 characters concerning the subject of the competition and an artwork in the form of a poster or a video. The video should not be longer than 3 minutes and the visual part can be a drawing, painting, collage etc. All artworks must be sent to Brussels by 31 May 2009.

Selected by a high-level jury, national winners and runners-up will be awarded with a two-day stay in Stockholm, in the framework of the next European Development Days. The winners will also visit an African country, getting a first hand experience of European aid programmes.

More information, including the guide for teachers, are available at:

The Development Youth Prize represents a unique opportunity for students as well as an extensive learning resource for teachers. In the words of previous participants, “the Development Youth Prize is a true eye-opening experience”. The winners of the last edition and their teachers are now about taking part to a four-day trip to Zambia, where they will join Louis Michel, European Commissioner for Development. Being involved in a rich programme of visits, the students will observe and discover European actions in the field.

About the Development Youth Prize: The Development Youth Prize for schools is organised by European Schoolnet ( and supported by the European Commission's DG Development ( It has been organised since 2006, with the theme changing each year.

Information provided by Sylvia Binger, European Schoolnet, and Lucyna Knopik, DG Development

EADI Prize for Development Studies: Call for Submissions

The European Association of Development Research and Training Institutes (EADI) announces the 2009 prize for excellence in development research. The prize, worth 1000 EUR , will be awarded for an essay on an issue of development studies in any field of the social sciences submitted and written by a postgraduate student from an EADI member country or attending a programme at an institutional member of the Association (see

Manuscripts should be submitted as email attachments in Word format to All entries for the EADI Prize for Development Studies should reach the Association’s offices in Bonn no later than 31 May 2009 by e-mail.

Subjects may be chosen from any field of development studies, but contestants are asked to bear in mind that their work will be subject to scrutiny by one of the EADI Working Groups prior to being sent on to the jury. Entries coherent with Working Group themes will, therefore, clearly enjoy an advantage. A list of the Working Groups can be found on the Association’s website(

Find more information and the submission guidelines at:

The Jury for the 2009 EADI Prize for Development Studies will make its decision known in September 2009. The prize winner will be invited to the Association's Annual Directors' meeting in Copenhagen (Autumn 2009, date tbc) where the award ceremony will take place. Both the winning entry and other high quality entries might be considered for publication in the European Journal of Development Research (which is upon the decision of the Editors after a refereeing process).

For further information please contact EADI:

Source: EADI e-newsletter, 17.02.2009

Monday, 2 March 2009

CONCORD Flash and Working Groups Newsletter

The January issue of the CONCORD Flash - with news from the European NGO Confederation for Relief and Development - is now out.

In this issue:
- A word from CONCORD on the governmental cuts in development aid
- What's next for the Policy Coherence for Development?
- Meeting of the Global Facilitation Group in Kuala Lumpur
- European election 2009 toolkit – Get started!
- Gender Budgeting: An instrument for good governance
- Ten New Member States turn five - Czech Presidency's official priorities
- What will the Swedish NGOs do during the Swedish Presidency?
… and many other subjects!

Another newly available CONCORD publication is the Working Groups newsletter which gives an overview on the work of the Working Groups for the second semester of 2008, July to December. Also the work of the TRIALOG and DEEEP projects in this period is covered.

You can download both documents from the “publication” section of the CONCORD website or use the direct links below.

January Flash:
Working Groups newsletter - 2nd semester 2008:

Information provided by Agnès Philippart, CONCORD and

DE Times - February

The latest newsletter of DEEEP, the Development Education Exchange in Europe Project, is out now. The current issue is focussing on information coming from the readers - read about their development education projects and initiatives in the February issue of the DE Times. Link:

Global Education Guidelines

The Global Education Guidelines are the result of a need expressed by the North-South Centre network of global education practitioners - the Global Education Week network - to have a common tool, built on experience gained by the network and partners, to help educators to understand and implement global education.The guidelines should be regarded as an ongoing process, which should be regularly reviewed with new ideas and practices brought from stakeholders’ experiences.

There is a printed version of the guidelines currently under preparation, meanwhile, the electronic version is available from the North-South Centre website. Link:

Website of the North-South Centre:

Information provided by Miguel Silva, North-South Centre of the Council of Europe

March 23-24, 2009: Promoting Global Education in new EU member states, Budapest

The North South Centre of the Council of Europe is informing about the launching event for promoting global development education in the 12 new EU member States which will take place on 23-24 March 2009 in Budapest, Hungary. This event will be held in partnership with CONCORD and the Hungarian Association for Development and Humanitarian Aid (HAND) and is supported by the European Commission and the North-South Centre.

The objective is to bring together all relevant stakeholders in the field of global development education in a consultation process that will be followed up by 12 national seminars in all new member states in 2009-10, 3 sub-regional meetings (Baltic Sea Region, South East Europe/Mediterranean region, Visegrad countries) in 2010 – and eventually a pan European policy conference in 2011. All seminars should strategically contribute to the development of global development education in the new member states of the EU, and thus to the European development education multi stakeholder process and to the implementation of the European Development Education Consensus on national and regional level.

A concept paper that describes the launching event in more detail, the draft programme and further information can be accessed at:

Information provided by Gordana Berjan/Miguel Silva, North South Centre

March 30-April 1, 2009: The World in Crisis - Alternative ECOFIN Conference, Prague

The Prague Global Policy Institute - Glopolis is inviting to "The World in Crisis: Economies and Policies for Global Transformation – Alternative ECOFIN Conference" which will take place in Prague from March 30th until April 1st 2009.

The meeting of EU Economic and Finance ministers (ECOFIN) is taking place for the first time in the Czech Republic. The historical conjuncture of this event is exceptional. The world is witnessing the deepest financial and economic crisis since the Great Depression in 1929. At the same time, the climate crisis seems to be escalating; energy crisis, poverty and hunger are increasing.

In such a situation, civil society has to raise its voice and to mobilise for change. The economic paradigm dominating the last decades, has failed. We urgently need alternatives. The EU has to play an eminent role in the process of change. The conference is meant to discuss such alternatives and to contribute to the process of reform ahead.

The conference in Prague continues in the tradition of Alternative ECOFIN Conferences held since 2006 in Vienna, Berlin and Ljubljana. With respect to deep and multiple crises, the conference will go beyond the EU financial and economic policies.

The program of the conference can be downloaded from: For latest up-dates, please check (in the menu on the left side).

The registration form is available at:
and needs to be send to by March 15th.

The organisers ask the participants to cover their travel and accommodation costs. The conference fee is up to EUR 25 for all participants (except speakers and facilitators). The fee can be waived if based on justified request. Those who would need further financial assistance are kindly asked to fill in the Application for funding part of the registration form and send it to by March 15th.

Find more information on the conference, logistics etc, at:

For any further inquires on the content of the conference, you can contact Ondrej Kopecny at or Petr Lebeda at For help with logistics, please contact Jana Knechtlova at

Information provided by Ondrej Kopecny, Glopolis

April 18-26, 2009: Course on Peacebuilding, Stadtschlaining/Austria

The Austrian Study Centre for Peace and Conflict Resolution (ASPR) organises a Course on “Peacebuilding”, sponsored by the Austrian Ministry of Defence and Sports. The Course will take place from 18-26 April 2009 at the premises of the ASPR in Stadtschlaining / Austria.

The upcoming Peacebuilding Course seeks to support relevant institutions of EU Member States, EU candidate countries and OSCE participating states in training experts from a wide range of professional and organisational backgrounds who are already involved or plan to become involved in planning and implementing Peacebuilding activities, either from their home base in governmental or non-governmental organisations or in a leading position in the field.

With this course on Peacebuilding experts from governments, civil society, police and military, the private sector, international institutions and agencies as well as international non-governmental organisations will be prepared and supported for their engagement in crisis prevention, crisis management, humanitarian aid and development cooperation.

Nominees are requested to send their application for the Peacebuilding course not later than 19 March 2009.

For further information about the Peacebuilding Course, the nomination of participants, application and costs, please see the following links:

Invitation letter:
Course Concept/Appendix 1:
Info-Note on Nomination/Application/Appendix 2:
Application Form/Appendix 3:

Any further questions regarding the Peacebuilding course should be directed to Ursula Gamauf, ASPR,

Information provided by Ursula E. Gamauf, ASPR