Monday, 8 June 2009

European Transition Compendium – a call for cooperation

TRIALOG has been made aware of an initiative from DG Development of the European Commission called the European Transition Compendium (ETC). With it, the EC intends to collect experiences of managing transition from new member states' (NMS) governments to strengthen their roles as EU donors and contribute to EU development policy.

At the moment this is just based on a discussion paper, shown to TRIALOG by the EC, and available to see on request. We think this is the ideal time in the process to get the voices of civil society in the countries concerned heard, and ensure that the ETC is as practical and helpful as possible.

So, feel free to request the document, and send us your comments - what do you feel is missing from the document? How can we ensure that the relevant points are covered and that the focus on economic and political transition does not exclude transition impacts on civil society in general, and development NGOs in particular? What important experiences of transition do you feel must be highlighted in this compendium?

TRIALOG will try and obtain the questionnaire that the EC will circulate to NMS governments and develop a parallel civil society questionnaire, so please let us know which aspects you feel are vital for inclusion in such a questionnaire.

We look forward to receiving your input - please send your comments and suggestions to trialog@concordeurope.org before Monday 15 June 2009. Thank you!

Information provided by Rebecca Steel, TRIALOG

What EPAN worked on last month

The CONCORD Enlargement, Pre-Accession and Neighbourhood working group (EPAN), which TRIALOG convenes, has had a busy month. Subgroups set up at the group’s last meeting in March have been working on a number of issues, and published a number of documents.

The case studies on civil society involvement in EU processes, which the group carried out over a number of months in 2008, have contributed to a number of papers submitted to the EC as part of its mid term review of the European Neighbourhood and Partnership Instrument (ENPI). The case studies (on Egypt and Ukraine) were summarised, with main themes and recommendations outlined for the review, and sent to the delegations in the relevant countries, as well as contributing to the inter-regional review.

A number of EPAN members went to the Eastern Partnership (EaP) civil society conference in Prague, which aimed to clarify the role and structure of the proposed Civil Society Forum (CSF). All the participants came back from the conference with concerns and questions so the group will contact DG External Relations for clarity on a number of points, before producing a position paper providing comments on key issues and recommendations.

A call for the suspension of the EU-Israel Association Agreement following the Gaza violence, a contentious issue, is still being discussed within the group. A position that has been adopted by the Maltese platform, is intended to be adopted as an EPAN position, and eventually a CONCORD position.

For all the latest EPAN documents please see: http://www.trialog.or.at/documents
For more information on EPAN activities please contact TRIALOG Policy Officer Rebecca Steel trialog@concordeurope.org

Information provided by Rebecca Steel, TRIALOG

TRIALOG training event on EC proposal writing in Sofia

TRIALOG organised a 2day training on May 8-9, 2009 in Sofia (Bulgaria) in view of the 2nd stage of the 2008 EC Call for Proposals on Public Awareness and Education for Development in Europe. The event targeted those organisations whose concept notes of projects have been pre-selected in the 1st stage of the Call for Proposals and who have been invited to submit a full application to the EC by May 26, 2009.

10 participants from Bulgarian NGOs worked on 3 different project proposals to raise awareness in Bulgaria on development issues.

In addition to the content related input and formal aspects of the call, a very important side effect of the event consisted in the coordination of the three participating Bulgarian project teams. For them, it was the first time they discussed in detail overlaps as well as possible synergies between their planned projects. It was a challenge to find the right balance between coordination and differentiation and to define topics, activities and strategies without doubling efforts in the same country or region.

Information provided by Petra Kreinecker, TRIALOG

Launch of AidWatch report 2009

This year’s CONCORD AidWatch report was launched in the middle of May, with a press conference, roundtable and stunt - the “Eurovision Aid Contest” street performance. Reports, photos and other resources covering these events are available on the CONCORD website: http://www.concordeurope.org/.

TRIALOG interviewed Javier Pereira, the author of this year’s report, to find out how the new member states (NMS) compare with older member states; in terms of the amount of aid they provide, but also the quality of that aid.

Watch the video here:

video

Download the full AidWatch report 2009 from: http://www.concordeurope.org/Files/media/internetdocumentsENG/3_Topics/Topics/Aidwatch/AidWatch-report-2009_light.pdf

Information provided by Rebecca Steel, TRIALOG

Czech Presidency event focused on effectiveness in Development Education

The role of Development Education (DE) and Awareness Raising (AR) has been acknowledged as essential for the EU to live up to its European as well as international commitments to development. This has been particularly evident in the New Member States (NMS) where a lot of effort has been spent on both actions to build up the public support and strengthen the emerging national ODA policies. With the increasing number of DE & AR actions in NMS inevitably a debate on its effectiveness and sustainability emerges as an imperative question to be addressed.

The European conference “Effectiveness in Development Education and Awareness Raising” held in Prague within the framework of the Czech EU Presidency followed on the conference model built in Helsinki in 2006 where the process of the elaboration of the European Development Education Consensus started. Over 100 participants who represented European non-governmental organizations, national ministries, state institutions and EU institutions met in Prague on 28th – 29th May 2009.

The event was organized by People in Need, a Czech NGDO, in co-operation with the national NGDO platform Czech Forum for Development Co-operation (FoRS) and CONCORD. The conference took place with the support of the EC and the Czech MFA.

The objectives of the conference were to contribute to the already ongoing processes focusing on evaluation and effectiveness of DE & AR and to increase the quality in the field of DE&AR practice. The conference provided a forum for sharing best practices on DE&AR actions and on strategic frameworks for their implementations. The participants had more space to further discuss and develop their ideas within the framework of four working groups (WG). To illustrate, the concrete recommendations based on agreement in the WG „Citizenship education as quality development education” were: to engage youth based on their own interest and speak with them in their own language by letting them use their media to communicate; to create opportunities for youth to have ownership of actions; to build capacity of the DE/AR practitioners; to show the connections between local acting and global changes; to learn with and from (and not only about) the South.


The final recommendations of each working group were presented at the end of the conference and will become available soon. Please check out the FoRS website at: http://www.fors.cz/en/eu_presidency/ or contact office@trialog.or.at

Information provided by Lenka Sobotová, People in Need
Photo: Iva Zímová

Friday, 5 June 2009

BCSDN EP Election Manifesto: Do Not Forget Future European Citizens!

In the run-up to the elections for the European Parliament taking place between 4th and 7th June, the Balkan Civil Society Development Network (BCSDN) was calling on the new Parliament and the new Commission not to forget the future European citizens once they take office. In its manifesto, a network of 14 major civil society development organisations from the Western Balkans and Bulgaria, Romania and Slovenia, calls for the enlargement agenda to remain fully on course amidst the turbulent times of economic crisis and uncertain future of the Lisbon Treaty and immediate visa liberalization for the citizens of future EU member states based on strict but fair criteria. It also calls for future MEPs to support effort for a more serious and concrete involvement of civil society as well as more pressure on regional government in developing sustainable and enabling legal and financial framework for development of the sector.
Read the full BSCDN manifesto at:
http://www.balkancsd.net/WBStorage/Files/BCSDN%20EP%20elections%202009%20manifesto.pdf

For more information, please contact Tanja Hafner Ademi, BCSDN Coordinator at secretariat@balkancsd.net.

Information provided by Tanja Hafner Ademi, BCSDN Coordinator

FOND celebrated Africa Day on May 25

The Romanian NGDO platform (FOND) and the Civil Society Development Foundation (FDSC), in partnership with the Refugee Women's Organisation in Romania (OFRR) and Save the Children Romania, with the support of the Department for European Affairs (Infoeurope Center), celebrated the Africa Day on the 25th of May.

FOND organised a seminar on the Joint Strategy Africa-EU as part of the project "Development Cooperation in Romania: Building FOuNDation for Policy Work" financed by the Presidency Fund. The main objective was to present the Strategy and the opinions of both actors involved. The seminar was also an opportunity to analyze the Romanian relations with the African continent and how they can be improved.

Among the guests were representatives of the EC, the Algerian Embassy in Bucharest, the MFA, NGOs and media. Mihail Dobre, from the MFA, raised the question "What is Africa for Romania?" and said that before 1989 the cooperation between Romania and Africa was very strong. "What remained after 1989?" is a strong political will to cooperate with the African continent. He also mentioned that official development assistance (ODA) is an area in which collaboration with NGO's is possible. Ana Vasilache, from Partners Foundation for Local Development (FPDL) - a FOND member, presented the experience of her organisation in Africa. Their mission is to make governments work in a more effective and efficient way. Since 1998 FPDL has developed a network of trainers and training institutions from more than 30 countries and 4 continents, including Africa. More than 120 trainers worked with local governments from West and East Africa (1999-2005) on different programs: leadership, strategic planning, gender equality.

In the evening, the event moved to Romanian Peasant Museum, under the motto "Africa is everywhere". Several persons from different fields spoke about their experiences in Africa and Romania. Marian Voicu (from the National Romanian Television) launched a photo competition on Millenium Development Goals (MDGs). Iuliana Rada (from FDSC) presented the MEDIP project (Media Engagement Issues in Development and Promotion). The main objective of this project is to increase the contribution of the new EU member states to achieve the MDGs. FOND coordinator Adela Rusu spoke about development cooperation policy and FOND's contribution in this area. The event was accompanied by an open fair with traditional African costumes and handcraft, a photo exhibition and a documentary screening.

For more information visit:

Information provided by Adela Rusu, FOND

World Day celebrated in Estonia

On 23rd May, the "World Day" was celebrated for the 5th time in Tallinn, the capital of Estonia. Organised by the Estonian NGDO platform "Estonian Roundtable for Development Cooperation (AKÜ)", the whole day event attracted a lot of people and families. Among the highlights were performances by artists from Mali and Georgia, an "unfair" football game and several additional accompanying activities prior to the main World Day.

For five days different cultures were brought to town and the topic of development cooperation was introduced to the public via film and discussion nights, a world music event and an NGO fair. An unfair football match was held between the European Parliament candidates to illustrate the situation in world trade. Previously, signatures were collected for pledges for development cooperation and fair trade.

The main theme of World Day 2009 was development education. Thus, a conference on the practises and possibilities of development education in Estonia was held. The outcomes of the conference, which brought together various actors from the educational field, form a basis for the future elaboration of the Estonian development education strategy.

Further activities are planned by the Estonian Roundtable for Development Cooperation and its member organisations. Visit the AKÜ website at: http://www.terveilm.net/

For additional information please contact World Day project manager Tiina-Katrina Kaber at: maailmapaev@terveilm.net

Information provided by Tiina-Katrina Kaber, World Day project manager

SLOGA promoting dialogue with different stakeholders

The Slovenian NGDO platform SLOGA has organised several activities between March and May 2009. An overview:

Preparing Manifesto for the Slovenian EP elections' candidates:
In cooperation with 5 of its working groups, SLOGA has prepared a Manifesto for the EP elections entitled »You too are part of this World – Represent the vulnerable«. It was officialy presented at a press conference and national consultation with development stakeholders on the 27th of May. Among the participants were 8 candidates from 5 political parties, 3 ministerial representatives and a representative from the Office of the President of the Republic of Slovenia. The candidates agreed that we need a responsible Europe in the world and effective development aid. They as well recognised the role of development NGOs in Slovenia and obliged themselves to promote civil dialogue once they are elected.

Slovenian minister for foreign affairs part of the solidarity run team:
In the framework of the Ljubljana Festival which took place from 7-9th of May, Slovenian foreign minister Samuel Žbogar ran for the "solidarity team" together with SLOGA coordinator Marjan Huč and manager of the Fair trade shop "3Muhe" Darja Urbas. The creation of such a team proved that both, the Slovenian MFA and NGDOs, are part of the same world and partners until the finish line – international development committments. After the run, the team was welcomed at the 3Muhe-shop by musicians and fair trade food.

Identifying Slovenian NGDO experiences in Africa:
Following the national NGDO consultation on the Slovenian priority countries in Africa on the 15th of March, SLOGA initiated a process to identify NGDO experiences in Africa. The conclusions reflect the reality: It is not possible to identify one single country where most of NGDOs could agree to work because the Slovenian NGDOs are present in various African countries with different development projects. SLOGA has been collecting questionnaires from NGDOs by the 15th of May and is currently preparing a position paper for the MFA.

Urging the MFA to establish a development project evaluation system:
At the SLOGA national seminar on development project evaluation on the 3rd of April, the SLOGA working group on ODA monitoring and evaluation called the Slovenian government to prepare an overall evaluation of Slovenian development cooperation since 2004, as well as to establish an evaluation system for future projects. The participants of the seminar, among them governmental representatives, agreed on the necessity to start a process of preparing national guidelines on development project evaluation by autumn 2009. Currently, the MFA is preparing a meeting for NGDOs about the evaluation results of project proposals which were submitted within the second call for co-financing of Slovenian NGDO development projects in sub-Saharan Africa and Neighbouring countries; the call had been launched in March 2009.

Information provided by Anja Mešič, SLOGA

The Court of Auditors publishes a special report

The Court of Auditors has published a report looking at the European Commission’s management of so-called Non-State Actors’ (NSA) involvement in EC development cooperation. The report looks at whether the EC makes sure that NSAs are effectively involved in development cooperation; has efficient management systems to ensure NSA activities are relevant and likely to produce the intended results; and allows for the adequate capacity development of NSAs.

The court found that the involvement of NSAs is limited and does not live up to the sustained and structured dialogue foreseen by EU law and EC guidelines. It also found that although EC management systems in place generally do ensure that NSA activities are relevant and likely to produce the intended result, there are a number of problems. The calls for proposals do not always ensure timely completion of project design; there is insufficient guidance for NSAs on application of financial rules; there are inconsistencies in interpretation and application of procedures; there is insufficient monitoring; and prospects for sustainability are poor partly because of short project duration.

In terms of capacity development, the court found that programmes are developed and included in ACP (African, Caribbean, Pacific) strategies but there is significant disparity between this and the approach in Asian and Latin American countries where strategies have not been developed. Programmes were found to be relevant but did not reach their full potential because of delays from management procedures, resulting in less effectiveness and sustainability. Programmes are also faced with the contradiction of supporting the capacity development of NSAs in most need through calls for proposals that are designed to select the best-performing NSAs.

The court sets out a number of recommendations in the report for the EC, suggesting that it strengthen and provide more guidance on its procedure for involving NSAs in the DC process; continue improving the calls for proposals procedure; enhance the targeting of monitoring and support by delegations; ensure guidance for delegation and NSA staff on performance indicators; consider using a mix of instruments rather than just projects to improve sustainability; develop a capacity development strategy for NSAs in Asia and Latin America; and examine additional ways of delivering capacity development policy aims such as partnership agreements, multi-donor funding, and cascading grants to better reach grass-roots organisations.

The full report is available in several languages from the Court of auditors website http://eca.europa.eu/.
The English version of the report can be accessed here: http://eca.europa.eu/portal/pls/portal/docs/1/2554293.PDF

Information provided by Rebecca Steel, TRIALOG

Development and Gender: Regional Advocacy Report

The International Gender Policy Network (IGPN) released an in-depth regional report on advocacy for development cooperation and gender for Central, Eastern and Southeastern Europe, the Caucasus and Central Asia. The study was released at the end of 2008 and reports on the current situation for gender equality in development policies in this region. It points to the difficulties women’s rights advocates encounter in their efforts to advance gender equality within European Commission neighbourhood cooperation (ENP) and pre-accession assistance policies, and national governments’ policies. The report resulted in national and regional advocacy recommendations for stakeholders and women’s rights advocates.

The IGPN report also focused on some new EU Member States (Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Lithuania, Romania, and Slovakia) as newly emerging donors, by analysing the extent to which their ODA strategies include gender equality. In general, there are no specific measures focused on gender mainstreaming and women’s empowerment and no specific funding allocations. And since the ODA strategies of the new EU Member States do not have specific gender indicators, gender impact assessments are difficult and do not lead to improvements in the strategies.

Read more about the report on the WIDE website:
http://www.wide-network.org/index.jsp?id=444
Download the full report from the IGPN website:
http://www.igpn.net/publications.php
Direct link: http://www.igpn.net/download/IGPN%20Regional%20Report%20(Development%20Cooperationa%20and%20Gender).pdf

Source: WIDE Newsletter, No. 4/April 2009, http://62.149.193.10/wide/download/2009_News_4.pdf?id=876

Thursday, 4 June 2009

April CONCORD Flash

The latest CONCORD Flash released in May, reports the April news from the European NGO Confederation for Relief and Development.

In this issue:
- EU strategy for tackling the crisis in poor countries offers no new money
- European NGOs condemn fourth cut in Irish aid budget
- What is civil society doing at the EU-ACP Parliamentary Assembly?
- CONCORD’s concerns about the review of the Cotonou Agreement
- CONCORD and the policy coordinators of the Development Committee
- CONCORD invited to the Global Progressive Forum at the European Parliament
- What will change in ODA as a result of the global financial downturn?

Download the Flash from the publication-section of the CONCORD website (http://www.concordeurope.org/) or use the following direct link: http://www.concordeurope.org/Files/media/internetdocumentsENG/4_Publications/1_CONCORD_Flash/Flash2009/April2009-EN.pdf

For this year’s CONCORD AidWatch report which was launched in the middle of May, please see the article Launch of AidWatch report 2009.

Information provided by Agnès Philippart, CONCORD

Ubuntu International Youth Voluntary Service Award

The Ubuntu International Youth Voluntary Service Award 2009 is a new initiative designed to champion the value of volunteering by young people from African and European countries. It is the first award of its kind giving recognition to sending and hosting organisations across Africa and Europe highlighting good practice in the field of international voluntary service.

The deadline for applications is June 12, 2009.

For more information please visit: http://www.ubuntuaward.eu/

Sources: Slogine e-novice 2009/17, 1.6.09; http://www.ubuntuaward.eu/

Lorenzo Natali Prize 2009

The European Commission has officially launched the 17th edition of the Lorenzo Natali Prize. All journalists committed to the fight for Human Rights, Democracy and Development are invited to take part in the Prize. The Lorenzo Natali Prize concerns journalists working for media in one of the five following regions: Africa, Asia and Pacific, Latin America and the Caribbean, Europe and the Arab World and the Middle East. It rewards journalists for their work defending democracy and the Human rights within the Developing World.

Each applicant can deliver one journalistic work or one extract of a journalistic work printed or aired between January 1st 2008 and June 15th 2009. The deadline for submission of entries is June 30th 2009.

For further information or to apply, visit the website :http://www.nataliprize2009.eu/

Information provided by Laurent Avignon, Lorenzo Natali Prize

New deadline for Development Youth Prize

The new deadline for the Development Youth Prize 2008/2009 is 30 June 2009.

“Human development” in Africa is the topic of this edition. The competition invites students aged 16 - 18 to highlight their creative views on Africa. More information, including a guide for teachers, are available at: http://www.dyp2008.org/

Information provided by Sylvia Binger, European Schoolnet, sylvia.binger@eun.org

Open internship at Caritas Europa

Caritas Europe is searching for an intern in the Brussels office to take part in the organisation's coordination, monitoring and capacity building activities relating to international cooperation. Duration: 4 months (minimum, preferably); Deadline for applications is June 12, 2009.

For more information, please refer to:
http://www.caritas-europa.org/module/FileLib/CaritasEuropaInternship_2009_.pdf

Information provided by CONCORD and Caritas Europa

June 18-20, 2009: WIDE conference - Care Economy and Care Crisis

WIDE (Women in Development Europe) will hold its Annual Conference 2009 on the subject of "Care Economy and Care Crisis" co-hosted with the Swiss platform from 18 to 20 June in Basel, Switzerland. The Care Economy work, paid and unpaid, is a practice and a reality of most women wherever they live and it is (still) perceived and dealt with as women´s domain ­ with all its implications for unequal gender relations. A main objective of the conference is to assume definition power and to design agency with regard to "Care Economy".

The deadline for registration has been extended to 10th June 2009.

Visit the website of WIDE Switzerland for the programme, a list of the speakers and for registration: http://www.wide-network.ch/en/activities/wide_conference_2009/index.php

Source: http://www.wide-network.org/index.jsp?id=424

June 23-24, 2009: CSO Development Effectiveness Conference - still some places available!

The International Conference on Civil Society Organisations Development Effectiveness in Prague (June 23-24, Venue: Hotel Pyramida) is the main event of the Czech NGDO platform FoRS – Czech Forum for Development Co-operation – during the Czech Presidency of the Council of the European Union. The conference is an official accompanying event of the Czech Presidency and will be held under the auspices of Jan Kohout, Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Czech Republic.

The objective of the conference is to discuss and formulate the CSO principles of development effectiveness and thus actively join the global process of the Open Forum for CSO Development Effectiveness (http://www.cso-effectiveness.org/).

The main conference blocks are as follows:
- Presentation of the global process of CSO development effectiveness, including its European level and the vision of developing countries
- Workshops where development effectiveness principles will be discussed
- Multi-stakeholders debate on the global process of CSO development effectiveness
- Agreement on key CSO development effectiveness principles

Download the full programme from: http://fors.cz/assets/files/konference/CSO_prog.pdf
Download the registration form from: http://fors.cz/assets/files/konference/CSO_regform(1).doc

Please note that the deadline for registration is 9 June 2009. After this date, the organisers cannot guarantee accommodation.

For more information, please visit http://fors.cz/en/eu_presidency/seminars_conferences/international-conference-on-cso-development-effectiveness or contact Ineke Adriaens (asistent@fors.cz).

This project is funded by the European Union and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Czech Republic.

Information provided by Ineke Adriaens, FoRS

June 25, 2009: Roundtable "Decent Work for All", Prague

The Roundtable "Decent Work for All" on June 25, from 9.30-12.30, is a side event to the Prague presidency conference on CSO development effectiveness on June 23-24 (see http://trialog-information-service.blogspot.com/2009/05/june-23-24-2009-czech-presidency-cso.html).

In many developing countries, older people are one of the poorest population groups, in particular where there are no public pension schemes. Unless action is taken now to improve the situation, 1.2 billion older people will be living without secure incomes by 2050. Older people who are poor have no choice but to work, usually in the informal sector where they have no legal protection for their rights, access to social protection and formal support networks. These issues and the findings from HelpAge International’s study on older workers in Bangladesh, Peru and Uganda will be discussed at the Roundtable.

Location: Zivot 90, Karolíny Světlé 18, Praha 1; the organisers ask to register by Friday 19th June.

For more information please visit http://www.helpage.org/News/Latestnews/aL6B or contact Alice Livingstone at alivingstone@helpage.org.

Information provided by Alice Livingstone, alivingstone@helpage.org