Thursday, 13 October 2011

Updates from the Policy Officer in Brussels

Since returning from maternity leave a couple of weeks ago, TRIALOG Policy Officer Rebecca Steel-Jasińska has been getting back into the swing of things with some new developments requiring particular attention.

First, the European Transition Compendium is about to be relaunched as an interactive database, with the aim of making all the information gathered over the past years available to whoever is interested. During a meeting with Antonio Lopez-Pena from DevCo, who is in charge of the ETC database, the policy officer got a sneak preview. The launch should take place later this month and a real test will be spreading information about its existence and encouraging its use.

At the end of September, the European Commission adopted four decisions that affect the neighbourhood, including the launch of the Neighbourhood Civil Society Facility. This is something we have been advocating for a number of years and the EPAN working group, which TRIALOG convenes, is currently working on a joint statement with the CONCORD FDR working group to respond to these measures.

CONCORD has a busy time ahead of it and the coming weeks see a period of intense work within working groups including the policy forum, CONCORD’s main space for debating policy direction and advocacy work.

Information provided by Rebecca Steel-Jasińska, TRIALOG

Fostering Successful Partnerships

Between the 19th and 21st of September TRIALOG held for the third time a Partnership Fair in Vienna. This event hosted about 120 participant coming from 84 development NGOs of 24 countries of Europe. The main objectives of the event were to deepen the dialogue and mutual exchange between Old Member States (OMS) and New Member States (NMS), to enable NMS platforms and organisations to access European Commission (EC) funds for Development Cooperation (DC) and to facilitate partnerships, cooperation, learning and exchange at an international level for joint projects for development.

During the conferences programme the participants attended lectures and discussions about EC funding schemes about the 2011 calls for proposals for Development Education and Awareness Raising and other relevant calls for proposals for NGOs. Input was also given about guidelines on how to write a successful co-financing application. Another significant focus of the Partnership Fair was the upcoming call for proposal 2011-2012, which has now been published by the European Commission. Deadline for submission of a concept note will be 21st of November 2011.

The main element of the Partnership Fair was the intensive and fruitful work in groups, in order to develop projects together for the EC calls and to share experience and knowledge. At the end of the event, 19 project proposals have been concretised with topics varying from women empowerment, migration issues, school partnerships, land grabbing, climate change, or local authorities, food sustainability and others.

For the TRIALOG team as well as according to the feedback of the NGO representatives the Partnership Fair was a great event. Participants evaluated that the Partnership Fair was “a very useful event to find potential partners for future projects, to establish contact with other European NGOs as well as to share visions and exchange ideas.” We want to thank the participants for their engaged work which was important for the genuinely atmosphere and the great results and wish success for their project proposals.

The full documentation is available at the TRIALOG website.

Information provided by Emilia Nunnari and Hannah Angerbauer, TRIALOG

Effectiveness Matters! Zagranica Group’s Conference “See People Behind Politics”

Over 60 people from all around Europe and global South met in Warsaw, to discuss solutions for improving aid effectiveness. There are two months left to the Fourth High-Level Forum on Aid Effectiveness (HLF4). The Joint Position of the European Union for Busan is developed under the Polish Presidency. The conference “Why effectiveness matters? Perspectives from the global South” on 10th October 2011 was supposed to show that political decisions and declarations that will be made, affect millions of people in countries of the global South. In the conference representatives of development Civil Society Organisations (CSOs), academics and representatives of Polish Ministry of Foreign Affairs took part.

The first part of the conference was dedicated to the Human Rights Based Approach. Roberto Pinauin from IBON Foundation (Philippines) and Zsofia Farkas from the Minority Rights Group (Hungary) discussed how the HRBA can improve aid effectiveness, based on practices from partner countries and in terms of the upcoming HLF4 decision. During the second part of the conference, panelists discussed if solutions concerning ownership and accountability can bring concrete changes in the current aid system. The discussion was supported by Vitalice Meja from the Reality of Aid Network and Franklin Oduro from the Ghana Center for Democratic Ownership.

The biggest success of the conference was a Role Play Game, in which participants simulated Busan negotiations. Delegations had to prepare own positions about including HRBA and democratic ownership principle in a Busan Outcome Document. The simulation showed in an innovative way how difficult and fervent the decision-making process is – especially if the issue is so significant.

Zagranica Group expects that the European position for Busan (which has not been finalised yet) will be an expression of solidarity and real co-responsibility and a re-establish progressive framework for poverty eradication focus instead of being led purely by economic interest.

More information on the conference and the Zagranica Group Presidency project. and Watch the Presidency spot at:

Information provided by Magdalena Trojanek, Zagranica Group

V4 Aid Transparency Conference in Prague

Czech Forum for Development Cooperation - FoRS, People in Need and OpenAid co-organised an international conference on aid transparency of Visegrad countries (V4) - Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland and Slovakia. The event took place under the auspices of the Czech Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) on 4th October 2011 in Prague. There were about 50 participants from Visegrad and other countries.

The opening speech of the conference was given by Zuzana Hlavickova, head of Development Cooperation and Humanitarian Aid Department of the MFA and the director of People in Need Simon Panek. Several speakers were present at the conference, including Fola Yahaya, former UN and World Bank economic consultant, Anna Lauridsen, representative of Development Gateways, an organization providing advisory services in development in Brussels, Rolf Kleef, co-founder of Open for Change, a network focused on transparency in development, Owen Barder, development economist and director for Europe of the Center for Global Development in Washington and Ton Zijlstra from European Public Sector Information Platform.

The speakers focused mainly on the International Aid Transparency Initiative (IATI) and its importance for emerging donors, in particular EU12 countries. Further, they have shown a number of projects fostering aid or state budget transparency. There were other topics raised as well, such as positive impact of aid transparency on aid effectiveness or on reducing corruption. Participants could also learn about and discuss the level of aid transparency in the Visegrad countries. More information at

Information provided by Renata Lupacova, Intern, FoRS

Building a Common Vision” - Black Sea NGO Forum

The 4th edition of the Black Sea NGO Forum took place from 6th to 8th of October 2011 in Bucharest, Romania. During the event more than 200 participants from various countries (among which Armenia, Azerbaijan, Bulgaria, Georgia, Greece, Republic of Moldova, Turkey, Ukraine, Russia) debated on the main regional issues and tried to find common solutions to the current local and regional problems. The event was organized by the Romanian NGDO Platform (FOND), with support of the Romanian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Representation of the European Commission in Romania and the Black Sea Trust for Regional Cooperation.

The forum was attended by NGO representatives, experts and donors from region, Governments, other EU member states active in the wider Black Sea region, embassies, mass-media. Mr Staffan Nilsson, President of the European Economic and Social Committee, was one of the guest speakers, together with Mr. Doru Costea, State Secretary on Global Affairs – Romanian and Mr. Traian Ungurean – Member of the European Parliament (Rapporteur on “An EU Strategy for the Black Sea”). Mr. Nilsson stated his support for this event and stressed that “Civil society is able to build partnerships and create and implement common projects. The projects developed by civil society in the last three years are excellent examples, but their number must increase. "

The Black Sea NGO Forum reiterates the importance of the Black Sea as an area of ​​collaboration and interaction beyond the barriers and explores similarities and opportunities for joint action between countries in the Black Sea. The quality of governance, democratization, regional cooperation models, lessons learnt from the transition period, environmental issues, child protection, education, building leadership were some of the themes addressed in this edition.
The Forum aims at increasing the level of dialogue and cooperation among NGOs in the wider Black Sea Region, building links and common projects in the region. The Representation of the European Commission in Romania awarded the Black Sea NGO Award for Excellency for a partnership to both the ARI Movement from Turkey and the Analytical Centre of Globalisation and Regional Cooperation from Armenia. The aim of this award is to enhance the profile of the Black Sea Synergy and its role in proposing a regional, cooperative approach in the region, as well as the multilateral dimension of EU external policies.

Find more information about the previous editions on the website

Information provided by Adriana Zaharia, FOND

New Czech Aidwatch Report Focusing on Aid Transparency

A new shadow report on Official Development Assistance (ODA) of the Czech Republic was published by FoRS on 4th October 2011. The Aidwatch 2011 report analyses the Czech ODA in 2010 and the transformed Czech ODA system. Further, it elaborates on bilateral ODA, its territorial and sectorial focus in 2010 and the Czech multilateral aid. The report contains a chapter also on the transparency of the Czech development assistence. An executive summary of the report is available in English here.

Information provided by Inka Pibilova, FoRS

22 million EUR for new Civil Society Facility

The European Union is setting up a Civil Society Facility to provide funding for non-state actors in its Neighbourhood Partners, with EUR 22 million between 2011 and 2013, targeted at reinforcing the role of civil society across the region (read more). This refers to the Communication on ‘A new response to a changing Neighbourhood’, outlining the EU’s response to recent events in the 'Neighbourhood South'. The Neighbourhood Civil Society Facility is made up of three components, to be funded by the ENPI over 2011-2013:

  • Component 1: Strengthening capacity of civil society, through exchanges of good practice and training, to promote national reform and increase public accountability, to enable them to become stronger actors in driving reform at national level and stronger partners in the implementation of ENP objectives.

  • Component 2: Strengthening non-state actors through support to regional and country projects, by supplementing the funding available through thematic programmes and instruments.

  • Component 3: Promoting an inclusive approach to reforms by increasing the involvement of non-state actors in national policy dialogue and in the implementation of bilateral programmes.

  • First regional calls could be published by mid-October already. Part of the funds for several countries could be combined with funds for the NSA/LA call and announced together with a local call. The list of eligible countries contains countries from the partnership programme East (EuroEast) as well as Partnership Programme South (EuroMed).

    Besides, a „SPRING Programme“ for the "Support for partnership, reforms and inclusive growth (SPRING)" was decided according to which in 2011 and 2012 altogether 350 million EUR for democratic transition in Tunisia, Egypt, Marocco and Jordan will be spent. (Document)

    More information: and

    Sources: bengo, CONCORD, EC

    Butterfly Effect – Seminar about the Role of Media in Development Cooperation and Climate Change

    The Seminar about the role of media in development cooperation and climate change, under the title "Buttefly Effect" took place in Ljubljana on 26.9.2011 and was organised by Sloga - the Slovenian Platform of development NGOs - and Focus – association for sustainable development - as a part of a project financed by Slovenian Ministry of Public Administration and European Social Fund.

    The aim of the Seminar was mainly to discuss with representatives of Slovenian and international media on climate change, interlinkages between solutions for climate change and development challenges, ways of communicating the issues and the role media can play in it. First, Sandra Bašić Hrvatin, professor of media communication from University of Primorska, analised media in Slovenia and their communication of above mentioned issues. She concluded by saying that Slovenian media are subject to pressure for producing large amount of news, which decreases their quality. BBC correspondent and professor of journalism at the Reuters institute for the study of journalism, James Painter conducted a research on media reporting in countries in development on climate change and its impacts. He, on the other hand, implied there is a certain environmental fatigue occuring in media. Simple and relevant stories that the public can relate to, are the key to success. Also Vlasta Jeseničnik, a TV Slovenia reporter from Cancun climate change negotiations agreed with Sandra, that reporters and journalists are usualy subject to pressure from editors and media owners.

    Accordingly all the speakers concluded, that the national televisions are the ones which have the most important role in communicating the climate change and developments cooperation issues to public. They also set standards for commercial televisions. NGOs on the other hand can help media by supplying them with stories that are simple and relevant for the common public. And so, like the butterfly effect, we can make small steps here, to make huge effects on people on the other side of the planet.

    Information provided by Aleš Rovšnik, SLOGA

    Partnersearch: Development Education on Migration and Identity

    The Devon Development Education / The Global Center (UK) is looking for partner organisations for a DE project on migration and identity to apply under the NSA/LA call for Development Education in Europe (objective 2). For more information follow the link (pdf).

    Transition Manifesto

    As a result of the Transition Experience Conference in Budapest (26-27 May 2011) DemNet drafted a Transition Manifesto, a statement of civil society organizations, active in the field of democracy support, on what they believe to be indispensable for transitional societies in the post-communist context, and what they can offer, based on their own transition experiences, to be utilized in development cooperation (DevCo) programmes and external relations of the EU and its Member States. Find the Manifesto here.

    Slovak - Balkan Public Policy Fund: Raising the Policy Development Capacity of CSOs

    In cooperation with Pontis Foundation and with the financial support of SlovakAid, BCSDN will be launching a pilot grant scheme for CSOs and individuals. The aim of this program is to build the capacity of CSOs and young experts through offering them a grant support. The pilot phase running between September 2011 and October 2012 will cover 3 countries: Albania, Macedonia and Montenegro. The kick off meeting of the partners implementing the project, BCSDN and Pontis Foundation, took place in Skopje on the 26th of September which served as a starting point defining all the general procedures on how to continue the project. The fist call for proposals should be expected by the end of October. More information is available at the BCSDN website.

    Source: BCSDN No. 238

    Integration of the Human Rights Based Approach into Development Policies and Programmes: A guide for the New EU Member States

    The human rights based approach (HRBA) is a powerful and pragmatic framework which offers practical solutions for the new EU Member States to overcome some of the specific challenges they face as relatively new donors. This guide by the Minority Rights Group (MRG) provides a range of programming tools for policy makers and programme developers to enable them to integrate and thus capitalize on this framework in their specific context.

    The new landmark publication, intended as a follow-up tool to MRG’s policy paper on the relevance of the HRBA for new EU Member States, provides an overview of the policy and programming processes of official aid administrations and identifies entry points for the integration of the HRBA to policy development and programming. The tools presented provide a general guide to development planning and implementation. They are applicable to any thematic area, ranging from infrastructure development to social development and beyond.

    Specific focus in the guide is given to three countries, all of which are holding the Presidency of the Council of the European Union during 2011 and 2012: Hungary, Poland and Cyprus. The countries were selected because the Presidency provides some political space for agenda-setting and brings increased attention to the respective countries, including to their development cooperation activities and frameworks.

    The toolkit also provides HRBA project management tools tailored for the needs of new EU Member States’ NGDOs to integrate HRBA principles into their projects. See the toolkit by following the link.

    Information provided by Bernadett Sebály, Minority Rights Group Europe

    European Network Academy - ATTAC Summer University

    It’s been the second time that Polish delegates participated in the ATTAC Summer University. This year the event took place in Freiburg, Germany. Around 1200 people from different European countries (mainly Western Europe) participated. From Central and Eastern Europe, where there is lesser social activity, the Polish delegation was the largest with 6 persons. Attac Poland has been involved in a worldwide movement criticizing the neoliberal globalization for 10 years now. They took part in many events, beginning with the 1st European Social Forum, ending with the ATTAC University. Other countries of the region, for example, Hungary or the Czech Republic were represented by only two persons, which might mark a large crisis in social activity the region.

    The academy itself was very well organized. It took place in the university building, where the offices of the event organizers were located, as well as rooms for translators and coordinators, meeting halls, registration and information for participants. Overnight stays were organised in local schools, camps or hostels. The organisation was impressive, there were no problems what-so-ever with registration and other administrative matters.

    Representatives of ATTAC Poland participated in a number of meetings, for example, against privatization of public services, entitled “PrivatAttac”. Here also members of German and French Attac participated. The issues discussed there are crucial discussion points of all social movements. This event will be cyclically repeated in the future. Polish participants took part in numerous debates, seminars, integrating with activists from Western Europe.

    Soon we are facing next meetings of Attac and other social movements. Hopefully, one day the countries from the Eastern Europe will become more active.

    TRIALOG supported the participation of 8 persons from new member states in the European Network Academy in Feiburg.

    Information provided by Piotr Kawiorski, ATTAC Poland

    UNDP Lithunia is Looking for Partners for an International Student Exchange Programme

    The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) in Lithuania and 5 main high education establishments of Lithuania are looking for organisations that might be interested in cooperating with and receiving Lithuanian students for international internships. Participation costs would be sponsored by the Lithuanian Government. The aim of this initiative is to provide Lithuanian undergraduates / graduates with real-life work experiences to: a) back up their studies, b) provide them with international profile for advancement of their early careers and c) contribute to “brain circulation”. Receiving organisations will in their turn benefit from new ideas, qualified temporary assistance and a talents pre-selection opportunity. Find more information...

    Danube Road of Learning for Culture

    FIDE (Romania) is looking for project partners for a network of organisations of 10 countries sharing the Danube river in the area of tourism, culture and local development. Please read more.

    Evaluation of the Implementation of the Paris Declaration

    An independent group has evaluated the effects of the Paris Declaration on Aid Effectiveness. The evaluation looks at how the principles of aid effectiveness have been put into practice and what results this is having in developing countries. The outcomes of this important international evaluation include a synthesis report, 21 country evaluations, 7 donor studies and several thematic reviews (see further down). The evaluation was managed by an independent reference group that includes country partners and will be a key input to the Busan High Level Forum in November 2011. For more information follow the link.

    Source: OECD

    Food Sovereignty: Exploring Debates on Development Alternatives and Women’s Rights

    AWID – Association for Women’s Rights in Development has published an article on Food Sovereignty. This article compiles and analyzes current debates about food sovereignty from a gender perspective, in which the international and Latin American peasant women movement have played a central role. It explores the challenges and promotes debate among gender equality advocates on how to connect with the peasants’ movement vision of food sovereignty and peasants’ rights. The Feminist Perspectives Towards Transforming Economic Power series shares experiences from the ground and testimonies from diverse groups of women; provides analysis; and builds knowledge on alternative visions and practices of development, with a vision of transformation. Download the article.