Monday, 16 May 2011

Human Rights Based Approach in Development Policy of New Member States

The Minority Rights Group launched a policy paper on the integration of Human Rights Based Approach to development policy in the New EU member States. The mainstreaming of human rights in development cooperation is a legal and political obligation for all Member States of the European Union (EU), including the New Member States. This policy paper argues that, rather than being an additional burden, human rights mainstreaming through the application of the human rights-based approach (HRBA) offers practical solutions for the New Member States to overcome some of the specific challenges they face as relatively new donors of Official Development Assistance (ODA), such as limited human and financial resources and limited public awareness on aid. Moreover, it shows that the specific context for ODA in the New Member States provides excellent opportunities for the integration of the HRBA and would allow these states to capitalize on their particular expertise and their ‘added value’ as donors while being in line with international and EU obligations. See the full the policy paper.

Information provided by Bernadett Sebály, Minority Rights Group Europe

Friday, 13 May 2011

EPAN Working Group meets in Brussels

On 11-12 April 2011 the Enlargement, Pre-Accession and Neighbourhood (EPAN) working group of CONCORD met in Brussels. The group discussed its strategy and positioning towards current events in the North Africa and Middle East region and the action plan concerning several upcoming policy related events, for example the review of the European Neighbourhood Policy, the consultation on the instrument for Pre-Accession countries (and specifically the Civil Society Facility).

Visibility of this particular CONCORD working group is especially important in the context of this year’s Hungarian and Polish presidency where several priorities correspond with topics covered by the group such as the Eastern Partnership policy, and with 2011 marking the break through of the voice of civil society of several North African and Middle East societies, and European response to it.

The minutes from the group meeting can be found on the TRIALOG website. Two of the planned position papers of the Subgroups are now finalised: one on IPA, and one on policies towards Eastern Neighbourhood. They are available on the website soon.

Information provided by Monika Matus, TRIALOG

Macedonia: First Steps towards Development Cooperation Platform

On 27th and 28th April, 8 Macedonian CSOs gathered in Skopje to discuss development cooperation, the role that Macedonia has today as a recipient country and the role that the country will have in near future as a giving country. The consultation was a possibility for CSOs to discuss civil society in the context of development cooperation and the necessity of development platforms. It was organized by the Macedonian Center for International Cooperation, the Macedonian Helsinki Committee, the Balkan Civil Society Development Network and it was supported by TRIALOG. The objectives were to introduce the understanding of EU and its role in international development as well as the development policies in place and to introduce the possibilities that exist for Macedonian CSOs already.

TRIALOG and its objectives, activities, the history of engagement and successes in the new member states were presented as well as EU policies concerning development cooperation. The highlight of the meeting were the tips and tricks shared by the Slovenian and Bulgarian representatives, Marjan Huc and Valery Padzharov about their concrete experiences. Both of them confirmed that building a platform takes a lot of time and commitment and starting early while still a candidate country is the best way to have institutions and CSOs that will be ready to address these issues once Macedonia will join the EU. The event served as a platform building initiation and there were two important outcomes: A Coordinative body and a Working Group were created for leading the process towards the creation of a national platform for development coordination.

Information provided by Ilina Nesik, BCSDN

Croatia as a Foreign Development Aid Donor

On 6th and 7th April 2011 the Centre for Peace Studies from Zagreb organized a two-day seminar on the role of civil society in offering foreign development aid, held at the Human Rights House in Zagreb.

The seminar organized in cooperation with TRIALOG aimed to jumpstart Croatian international developing aid planning from the perspective of civil society organizations. Some 20 representatives of NGOs from various fields, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Croatia and the Government Office for Cooperation with NGOs had the opportunity to learn about the experiences of EU member and candidate countries in organizing development NGO platforms and what development cooperation is about, while also taking an active part in shaping the Croatian platform.

The first day of the seminar members of TRALOG presented the ways in which platforms were organized in new member states and candidate countries. Marjan Huc from the Slovenian development NGO platform SLOGA offered concrete examples of its work and beginnings. It was noted that most EU states have a national platform, which serves the interests of their members by providing support, information and educational activities, as well as representing their interests before the EU wide platform CONCORD. Given that Croatia is not a member of the European Union, priority fields for development aid of the EU were presented along with some principles of development in general. Overall, the first day served to increase awareness regarding the importance of organizing a NGO platform and emphasized the opportunity that Croatia has in producing a solid working platform before it joins the EU.

The second day of the seminar was used to deal with more practical issues related to developing the NGO platform and priorities that need to be addressed. Participants shared views on the institutional set up needed in Croatia and worked on defining possible roles the Croatian platform would have along with suggesting next concrete steps. It was suggested that along with a platform it would be a good idea to have a consortium, which would be organized on a project basis in order to gather like-minded NGOs to undertake a given project. Thus far a total of 4 NGOs committed themselves to working towards organizing next steps in the development of a NGO platform.

Overall, the seminar served to promote the idea of Croatia as a donor county, which will eventually provide international development aid not only to countries in its neighborhood, but also further oversees into Africa, Asia and Latin America. This is an important shift in the capacities Croatian civil society organizations need to develop and the roles they could take. The representatives of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs expressed their willingness to continue working towards enabling civil society organizations to provide foreign development aid by assisting in the development of the platform. The next meeting is penciled in for mid-June, where more concrete steps towards the creation of a national platform will be addressed. It will also address a greater number of CSOs – as well as other stakeholders –in order to raise awareness regarding the issue.

Information provided by Tihomir Popovic

Strategy for volunteer sending to developing countries

From March 2010 to March 2011 Slovak NGDO Platform coordinated the first Volunteer sending program in Slovakia in the frame of which 4 Slovak NGOs (eRko, People in Peril, Savio, Tabita/GLEN) sent 9 young people to volunteer in 4 less developed countries (Kenya, Mongolia, Vietnam and Georgia). The implementation of the project contributed to improving the capacity of partners in volunteer sending management. After the return of the volunteers, professional discussions about the legislative and institutional framework took place and recommendations for creation the national strategy of Volunteer sending program in Slovakia were recommended. A final document called “Recommendations of Slovak NGDOs Platform to create a National mechanism for volunteer sending in the frame of the Slovak Official Development Aid” was prepared and presented to the representatives of the Slovak MFA on 14th April 2011. The document was appreciated by the MFA and the strategy should be incorporated into the ODA National Program for 2012 including a special budget line for volunteer sending. For further details of the report contact the MVRO office

Information provided by Andrea Girmanová

Civil society dialogue crucial for Baltic-Mediterranean cooperation

Historical events shaking up North African countries and the Middle East create new opportunities for cooperation in the Baltic-Mediterranean framework. Several experts on regional cooperation from the Baltic Sea and Mediterranean regions gathered in Finland on April 4th-5th to discuss these issues at the seminar "Baltic-Mediterranean Axis: A New Framework for Cooperation?”. Practical ideas and tools for developing dialogue and cooperation among civil society actors were presented by the thematic working groups. “Arab uprisings offer an opportunity to challenge stereotypes regarding our vision of the Mediterranean and the Arabs and to put an end to the distorted perceptions which have affected dialogue between Western and Arab societies”, stated Anna Lindh Foundation’s Executive Director, Andreu Claret, in his opening speech.

Practical tools to develop cooperation between Baltic and Mediterranean societies were discussed in three thematic working groups focusing on environment, mobility and culture. The ideas from the working groups provide a good starting point for the future development of Baltic-Mediterranean cooperation, concluded Secretary General of the Finnish NGDO Platform to the EU, Kehys, Rilli Lappalainen. It is evident that the two regions are facing many common challenges, and further cooperation is important in providing solutions as well as making the voice of the civil society better heard.

The uprisings in North Africa and the Middle East have made it an urgent task for all actors to re-evaluate old cooperation models, and civil society should have a central role when planning future cooperation. The message of the seminar was that Baltic-Mediterranean axis has potential to become one of the frameworks for this cooperation: if we want it, now is the time to act.

For further information, visit our online discussion portal Baltic-Mediterranean Axis: A New Framework for Cooperation? at

The seminar was organised by the Finnish NDGO Platform to the EU, Kehys, together with Tampere Peace Research Institute and the Ministry for Foreign Affairs of Finland.

Information provided by Pauliina Räty, Kehys

Kenian Soap Opera "Makutano Junction" across Europe

The Kenian soap opera "Makutano Junction", already very successfully used as a global education class room tool in the UK, shall spread to Europe! This is the invitation for potential partners for the upcoming European Commission development education call for proposals (October 2011). See more information.

Partner for Project “Learning together”

The Youth Academy in Finland is looking for partners for a project "Learning together - international network to support young people's own activities". The Youth Academy has already decades of experience on working with educational institutes in Finland and they could share different types of cooperation with the partner organizations of the network. Registrations from interested partners must reach Youth Academy by 20 May, 2011. Please find more information by following the link (pdf).

International series event “Kapuscinski Lectures” in Bratislava

On 16th of March 2011 the “Kapuscinski Lectures” took place in the University Library in Bratislava. David Hulme, professor of Development Studies from the University of Manchester, director of the Brooks World Poverty Institute and Head of the Institute for Development Policy and Management at the University of Manchester, hold a lecture on how to reduce poverty. During the lecture he introduced ideas from his recently published book “Just Give Money to the Poor”.

Professor Hulme thinks that cash transfers provide immediate poverty reduction and social protection; they may increase good governance, reduce risk and they do not make people lazy. This way of fight against poverty worked in various countries in Southeast Asia, sub-Saharan Africa and Latin America. The main message is to give money to the poor. However, not as a charity or out of helicopters, but as carefully designed programs deriving from national decision-making and experience. There is a role for donors and international agencies to support it with cross-national learning, help countries to recognize the affordability and joint financing, particularly in low income countries in Africa. Professor Hulme recommended to Slovakia as a smaller donor to support volunteer sending programs to developing countries and projects of Slovak NGOs in developing countries. The event was organized by Slovak NGDO Platform and supported by the EU and the UNDP.

Please see also “Kapuscinski Lecture” with Prof. David Hulme on 16th March 2011 in Bratislava

Information provided by Andrea Girmanová

Contract Management and Training Skills: new round of TRIALOG Training of Multipliers started in April

From 11th to 14th of April the second year of TRIALOG’s Training for Multipliers started in Vienna. This year the two-module training focuses on management of the EuropeAid Standard Contract. In-depth input and expertise on this issue was given by Angela James, who runs the BOND EC Funding Advice line. Next to the contract management part, which also included practical exercises, about half of the time of the training was dedicated to learning and improving training skills through interactive exercises. This time the group also visited two Austrian organisations with long experience with EC-funded projects: HORIZONT3000 which is implementing development cooperation projects in several African, Latin American and Asian countries and Südwind, which is active in the field of Development Education and Awareness Raising. This gave both sides the opportunity to share experiences and was much appreciated.

At the end of the four days the 12 participants from 8 countries agreed that they deepened their knowledge on the EC Standard Contract Management and that they could relate what they had learned with their own practice and experience with managing projects. Newly learned tools and methods for training they will apply before the next module in October as each of the participants will do some activities related to the Training for Multipliers in their respective countries.

Information provided by Ulrike Bey, TRIALOG

Getting to Know! Development Education in Bulgarian Curricula

Getting to Know! is a three-year joint initiative of six of the founders of the Bulgarian platform for international development (BPID) - Centre for Inclusive Education (CIE), Global Initiative on Psychiatry - Sofia, Bulgaria, Caritas Bulgaria, BlueLink Information Network, Gender Project for Bulgaria (GPF) and Cooperation for Voluntary Service – Bulgaria (CVS-Bulgaria). Getting to Know! is the first truly Bulgarian development education project, funded by the European Commission through thematic programme “Non-state actors and local authorities in development: public awareness and education for development in Europe”. It aims to contribute to the process of delivering development assistance by activating a clear mechanism for integrating a global development dimension in the curriculum of the education system in Bulgaria. The methods implemented in the project will allow children and young people to explore global links by participating in activities and classes organized in schools and universities. The initiative seeks to raise awareness of global development issues by promoting education for development as an important component of the curricula in Bulgaria.

The Centre for Inclusive Education manages the development of curricula and training materials to be used by partner schools and universities in the country and is responsible for and training of schools teachers and university departments in the country. As part of the capacity building a Training of trainers for teachers and university professionals from pre and in service training institutions was organized by CIE in the period February-April 2011. The training team in the 3 modules involved experts from BPID and UK. 17 teachers from the three educational levels and 7 representatives of university departments for further qualification of teachers acquired knowledge on the basics of development cooperation, the MDGs, links of development education and school curriculum and tools and training skills to deliver effective development education.

For further information: Nadya Boneva, National coordinator of BPID,, Desislava Koleva, Program Officer Centre for Inclusive Education,

Information provided by Nadya Boneva, BPID

Workshop on humanitarian practice and standards

On 13 April 2011 the Humanitarian Response Center (HRC), which is functioning in the framework of the Slovenian Platform of NGOs for development cooperation and humanitarian aid - SLOGA, organized its first workshop on the topic of international humanitarian aid. The workshop “Humanitarian practice and standards” was implemented by the independent consultant for humanitarian issues Jasna Djordjević. As a consultant with various and long-term experience in the area of international humanitarian aid Miss Djordjević is cooperating with a number of international humanitarian actors, especially with ICRC/IFRC. Participants of the workshop included representatives of Slovenian NGOs, the Ministry of Defense and other individuals with certain experience interested in international humanitarian aid. In the first part of the workshop they were introduced with basic principles of humanitarian practice and humanitarian standards, mechanisms of coordination, humanitarian reform, standardization of disasters and phases of humanitarian response. In the second part highlight was given to standard areas and services of humanitarian aid, standards for need assessment and evaluation, finances and human resources, SPHERE standards and current trends in the area of humanitarian aid. The workshop concluded with an interesting debate about consultants' and participants' experience from the field or simply from dealing with international humanitarian issues.

Information provided by Janja Mikulan, Sloga

World Day Festival 2011 in Estonia

World Day Festival is a free open-air event for the whole family to introduce world cultures to Estonians and visitors of Tallinn. The festival promotes global education, tolerant multiculturalism and development cooperation. This year the World Day takes place on 28 May. Artists such as Baba Zula (Turkey), Galaxy (Senegal), ZumbaLand (Georgia), Bombillaz (Estonia), Svata Vatra (Estonia-Ukraine) and many others will perform during the day. There will be numerous development cooperation organizations and projects present in the festival information marketplace to introduce their work in developing countries and to facilitate workshops.

The main topic of this year’s World Day is the human rights perspective of development. In the run-up to the World Day a conference entitled “What’s it to us?: Estonia supporting human rights based global development“ will be taking place in Estonian parliament house with the audience from politicians, civil servants, representatives of NGOs and students.

All through the month of May various events are taking place. Free film screenings will be held in Tallinn cinemas, including “QADIR - an Afghan Ulysses” (Greece, 2008), ”Black Diamond” (France, Belgium, 2010) and “Banker to the Poor” (France, 2000). Various visits to schools are organized for embassies to introduce their development cooperation work all around the world. Seminars on fair trade, women and labor and many other topics are conducted as part of the World Day. Since 2005, Estonian Roundtable for Development Cooperation with the support of the Estonian Ministry of Foreign Affairs has organized the event.

Read more about the World Day Festival from and

Information provided by Piret Hirv, AKÜ

Exhibitions, Volunteers, and South Sudan – Platform MVRO activities

The exhibition of photographs from Slovak projects in developing countries supported by SlovakAid took place between January and April 2011 in 6 Slovak cities. In Banská Bystrica and Košice they were connected with the exhibition of non-traditional toys from Africa and Afganistan called “What do they play with?” which was organized in cooperation with the NGO “Dvojfarebný svet”. Other Slovak cities were Prešov, Žilina and Prievidza. The opening of the exhibitions was accompanied by sharing the experience of volunteers who spent some months working on projects in developing countries such as Kenya and Vietnam. Experiences which the volunteers shared were quite unusual for Slovak people and that is why they were fascinated and expressed recognition to the volunteers.

The exhibition was organised by the Slovak NGDO Platform, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Slovak Republic and the SAIDC (Slovak Agency for International Development Cooperation). The organizers are happy for the interest of the public in the exhibitions and would like to continue organizing similar activities in the future.

The Slovak NGDO Platform organized in cooperation with the University of Trnava a workshop on South Sudan which took place in Trnava on 6 May 2011. It was dedicated to the up-to-date political situation in South Sudan, challenges and possibilities to intervene for Slovak NGOs. The event was held under the auspices of the State Secretary of the MFA of Slovakia who participated in a panel discussion with the NGO representatives. The workshop provided an opportunity to exchange ideas of NGO representatives who are already implementing projects in South Sudan and those who are planning to find some ways of cooperation.

See also What do they play with? - Exhibition in Slovakia

Information provided by Andrea Girmanová

The Black Sea Region in Transition: New Challenges and Concepts. Greece, September 2011

Building on three years of success, the International Black Sea Symposium (IBSS) project continues in 2011 with the 4th International Black Sea Symposium on “The Black Sea Region in Transition: New Challenges and Concepts”. From 19 September to 23 September 2011 the International Centre for Black Sea Studies (ICBSS) will welcome young professionals and international experts on the coastal zone of Attica, Vouliagmeni, Greece, for an intensive course on Black Sea issues. The event’s working language will be English. For further information see the Call for Participation; Application Form; Draft Programme; Draft List of Speakers

Young professionals with proficiency in English are welcome to apply until 31 May 2011. Registration Fees for participants will be 300 Euros. Accommodation, breakfast and one meal per day will be offered by the organizers. All applicants should send their filled application form by e-mail to or by fax to +30 210 324 2244.

Wednesday, 11 May 2011

Challenging the Energy Security concept. Conference and workshop, 24-25 May, Warsaw

The buzzword “energy security” has in recent years become an integral part of the European political discourse both in Brussels and on the national level. Energy security has been used to justify a number of destructive activities like enormous transnational pipelines, coal extraction, and construction of nuclear power plants. Energy security has also subordinated the policies of sovereign countries in its drive to grab more energy for Europe, while at the same time has hindered the development of sustainable energy policies and a robust development agenda at home in Europe. On May 24 and 25 in Warsaw, the workshop and conference will explore avenues for cooperation among environmental and development NGOs to join forces in confronting this dangerous trope from spiraling any further out of control. Organisers are the Polish Green Network, CEE Bankwatch Network, Polish Climate Coalition and the Heinrich Böll Foundation.

Link for information on the conference and for registration (deadline 20th of May).
We are able to cover travel expenses of limited number of participants from Central and Eastern Europe. For details of travel and accomodation arrangements contact: Anna Drążkiewicz For details of the workshop contact: Desislava Stoyanova

Tuesday, 3 May 2011

TRIALOG supports participation in the Conference "Rural Development - Natural Resource Management", 20-22 June, 2011, Vienna

The aim of this conference is to present, share and discuss experiences/ good practices/ methods in the sector “Rural Development – Natural Resource Management” with HORIZONT3000 and its member organizations’ project partners of Latin America, Africa and Asia as well as key stakeholders from Austria/ Europe. It is a unique opportunity to exchange on the issue and network with people from the field. Part of the conference will also be Field Visits to actors on the field of rural development / natural resource management. TRIALOG would like to invite 12 representatives of NGOs from the New EU Member States to participate in this conference. TRIALOG will reimburse travel and accommodation costs to selected participants. If you are working in the sector of rural development and would like to participate in the conference and would like to have more information please contact our office at . Deadline for application is the 12th of May.