Friday, 16 December 2011

European Development Days 2012

TRIALOG director Christine Bedoya and policy officer Rebecca Steel-Jasinska are currently in Warsaw, attending this year’s European Development Days (EDDs). The event has been reduced in size this year and does not include some of the successful features of previous years such as the development village. However this gives the event a more intimate feel, with smaller discussion panels, and opportunities remain to network during sessions.

The central theme of the event is democracy and development, with a strong emphasis on the Arab Spring. The EDDs were opened by the President of Poland and featured prominent members of Poland’s struggle for democracy including former trade union leader and President of Poland Lech Walesa.

Panels will cover many development topics over the two days of the EDDs including one panel ‘Beyond 2015 – A Citizen Driven Agenda’ organized by CONCORD, two sessions on ‘Agenda for Change’ organised by the European Commission and a number organised by the Polish Presidency, including one on Aid Effectiveness and Accountability organised in cooperation with the Polish platform of NGDOs Grupa Zagranica. Webstreaming is available from the EDD website and the event’s organisers are encouraging interaction through social media such as facebook. Link:

Information provided by Rebecca Steel-Jasińska, TRIALOG

Busan Partnership Agreement for Effective Development Cooperation adopted

From 29 November to 1 December 2011 the High Level Forum on Aid Effectiveness (HLF-4) in Busan, South Korea gathered over 3000 international delegates who met to review the aid effctiveness agenda set up at the previous meetings in Rome (2002), Paris (2005) and Accra (2008). After extended negotiations, 18 sherpas elected to represent a wide group of stakeholders reached agreement on the Busan Partnership for Effective Development Cooperation. This declaration for the first time establishes an agreed framework for development cooperation that embraces traditional donors, South-South cooperators, the emerging donors Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa( BRICS), CSOs and private funders. This marks a turning point for international development cooperation. The process has been guided by the Working Party on Aid Effectiveness (WP-EFF), which brings together representatives of over 80 countries and organisations. Five fundamental principles have been set out to make aid more effective: ownership (developing countries are responsible for their development strategies), alignment (donor countries align to these strategies), harmonization (donor countries coordinate and simply aid procedures), results, and mutual accountability. The level of aid at stake has been estimated by the OECD to be $129billion a year, a figure which does not include money from private foundations or countries like China.

Although civil society representatives were proud to be part of the newly forged global partnership for the first time, they recognize that they had to compromise. Better Aid, a platform for CSOs from all over ther world that carried out many of the civil society activities in the lead up to the Fourth High Level Forum on Aid Effectiveness (HLF-4) in 2011, expressed the following critics towards the Busan Agreement: no explicit commitments to adopt human-rights based approaches, lack of implementation of Paris and Accra commitments, cooperation retains overall private sector led growth as framework for development. Read the full statement here.

CSOs will continue to pursue a stronger commitment to an enabling environment for civil society to fulfill their role in development.

Read more reactions on the website of the Open Forum for CSO Development Effectiveness

Sources: BCSDN Newsletter Nr. 243, Open Forum for CSO Development Effectiveness, Eurostep, Better Aid

Conquering Rules and Regulations: Building Capacities to work with EuropeAid Standard Contract

From 13th to 14th December 2011, TRIALOG in cooperation with the Slovenian platform of NGDOs SLOGA (Slovenian Global Action) held a training seminar on “EuropeAid Standard Contract Management” in Ljubljana. This seminar was a follow-up to the training on “Quality Criteria for Development Cooperation“ which TRIALOG and SLOGA organised in June 2011. The training on Standard Contract (SC) Management looked at the basics of project management related to the EuropeAid SC and introduced and discussed the various components of the SC. A considerable part of the training was dedicated to exploring the potential for change within the SC system and learning more about the financial regulations of the SC. Hands-on exercises regarding the EC requirements on visibility provided a larger frame to contextualise the SC’s set of laws within participants’ own projects and activities. An additional emphasis on monitoring and evaluation concepts, approaches and methods concluded the training seminar. Ten participants from Slovenian NGDOs, mainly project managers and programme directors working with the SC on a day-to-day basis, participated in the seminar. They appreciated the dynamic and participatory design of the training and expressed the wish and need to continue with such trainings in the future in order to increase NGDO’s capacities of contract management and to ensure that the complexity of the SC is not a limitation but can be transformed into opportunities for NGDO’s work.

Information provided by Emilia Nunnari, TRIALOG

Who is the Democracy Owner?
Zagranica Group’s Conference "Democracy and Development"

"The EU can assist in the process of democratization of Arab countries, but on our terms" - said Kinda Mohamadieh from the Arab NGO Network for Development at the conference "Democracy and Development", held on the 30th November in Warsaw. The conference was attended by activists from the countries of North Africa and the Middle East, and representatives of Polish NGOs involved in development cooperation and democracy support.

Representatives of organizations and social movements from the Arab countries agreed, that they want democracy, but fostered independently by their society. Mustafa Haid, a Syrian activist suggested that the support from the European countries should be based on the transfer of knowledge and skills related to democratic and peaceful methods of civic participation. The experience of creating a democratic basis, autonomy and self-organization from the countries of Central and Eastern Europe would be very useful, although not to be uncritically transmitted to Arab countries, because they are different from the countries in the West and diverse internally. Behind the relief efforts of European countries often stands an assumption that economic growth goes parallel with the process of democratization. This correlation does not always occur, which shows an example of Arab countries. "This restricted way of understanding the civil liberties as economic freedom may actually impede the process of social transformation started in the Arab countries." - stresses Mohamadieh.

The conference preceded a High-Level Conference on EU cooperation with countries of the South Neighbourhood (1-2 December, Warsaw), organized by the Polish Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

More information, conference materials and agenda here.

Information provided by Magdalena Trojanek, Zagranica Group

(On the picture: Kinda Mohamadieh, the Arab NGO Network for Development)

CONCORD working group on Enlargement, Pre-Accession and Neighbourhood meets in Warsaw

The CONCORD EPAN working group, which TRIALOG convenes, met in the middle of November for one of its six-monthly meetings. The group, which brought together participants from all over Europe, combined its regular working group meeting with a seminar on democracy and development, described in more detail in the article Zagranica Seminar Development and Democracy in EU External Policy.

The working group’s agenda was dominated by making plans for the coming year, and participants spent time working in subgroups as well as coming together in full plenary sessions to share information and discuss central themes. One important aspect of the agenda was a session on evaluation, where some of the common challenges faced by the group were discussed and solutions put forward. The second day brought the participants into contact with national NGO representatives and speakers from Polish institutions as well as speakers from the European Commission and European External Action Service. This gave everyone an opportunity to deepen their understanding of a number of European initiatives linked to strengthening democracy in the neighbouring countries of the EU.

The EPAN work plan for 2012, as well as the minutes of the Warsaw meeting will be available shortly on the TRIALOG and CONCORD/EPAN websites.

Information provided by Rebecca Steel-Jasińska, TRIALOG

Zagranica Seminar Development and Democracy in EU External Policy

During the seminar, held on 17th November in Warsaw, organized jointly by the Zagranica Group, Institute of Public Affairs and the Working Group EPAN (Enlargement, Pre-Accession and Neighbourhood) of the European NGO confederation CONCORD, the impact of the EU Neighbourhood Policy and Community Development Policy was discussed. The panelists analyzed the main trends in European Union policy that link development cooperation, the support of democracy and the consequences of the so-called Arab Spring for EU policy in relations with neighboring countries, as well as changes that should be implemented to the Neighbourhood Policy to foster peaceful democratic change.

The first part of the seminar was dedicated to democracy support and development cooperation in EU policy. Paweł Baginski from the Stefan Batory Foundation, John Hofmokl from the chancellery of the Prime Minister and Elena Fanetti from the European Centre for Development Policy Management discussed both policies in the context of the so-called Arab Spring and two documents released this year: Agenda for Change for the Development Policy and Civil Society Neighbourhood Facility for the Neighbourhood Policy. Alexandra Nerisanu from the European Commision and Monika Hellmeyer from the London School of Economics discussed tools of development policy and among them the case of the EU Civil Society Facility.

During the second part of the seminar the issue of "European Endowment for Democracy" was tackled. Jacek Kucharczyk from the Institute of Public Affairs, Susan Kierzkowska from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Pirkka Tapiola from the European External Action Service discussed conditions that should be fulfilled by the European Endowment for Democracy.

More information from the seminar you can find here.

Information provided by Magdalena Trojanek, Zagranica Group

Croatia and EU Sign Accession Treaty

On 9th December 2011, EU and Croatian leaders have signed Croatia's EU Accession Treaty. Subject to the Treaty's ratification by all Member States and Croatia, the country will become the 28th Member State of the European Union on 1 July 2013. The Accession Treaty has been signed by the 27 Heads of State and Government and by the Croatian President and Prime Minister. Following the signature each Member State proceeds now with the ratification of the Treaty in accordance with their national provisions. Croatia has announced that it will hold a referendum on the ratification of the EU accession treaty in early 2012.

During the interim period between the signature of the Accession Treaty and the actual date of accession the work on Croatia's preparations for EU membership continues. Croatia needs to complete the remaining implementation of the commitments taken during the accession negotiations. Through the closing of accession negotiations and by finalising the Accession Treaty, Member States have given a mandate to the European Commission to carefully monitor the progress Croatia is making in all the areas covered. The Accession Treaty includes provisions which allow for appropriate measures to be taken in case problems are identified during the monitoring process.

Until its accession, Croatia will have an active observer status in most of the Council working groups as well as Commission committees. This allows Croatia to become familiar with the working methods of the EU institutions and to become involved in the decision-making process.

More information here, full Treaty available here.

Source, Reference: MEMO/11/883

Roundtable on Aid Effectiveness

On 23rd November 2011 the Slovak NGDO Platform (MVRO) and PDCS (Partners for Democratic Change Slovakia) organized a roundtable on Aid Effectiveness of the Slovak development cooperation before the HLF-4 in Busan. At the beginning, Head of the Department of the Development and Humanitarian Aid of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs where the event took place presented the position of the EU for Busan. Thereafter representatives of the platform presented two resource papers on Aid Effectiveness and Aid Transparency (will be available in English next month) and recommendations followed. Although only a small Slovak delegation participated at the forum in Busan, the discussion at the roundtable was fruitful and can serve as a basis for further policy making and improvements of the Slovak Official Development Assistance. One of the key messages of the platform regarding Aid Transparency was a recommendation for the Slovak Republic to join the International Aid Transparency Initiative.

Information provided by Andrea Girmanová, MVRO

Learning for a Just and Sustainable World - DE Conference in Warsaw

DEEEP organised, together with Grupa Zagranica the Polish national platform of development NGOs, an international development education (DE) conference on Learning for a Just and Sustainable world: Global Education and Education for Sustainable Development (ESD) in initial teacher training.

This multi stakeholder event with around 100 participants took place on 14 December in Warsaw, preceding the European Development Days. The conference in the frame of the Polish EU presidency examined the relation of development education and education for sustainable development, and discussed the role of both in initial teachers training. Among the speakers were Prof. Charles Hopkins, UNESCO chair at Toronto University; Polish development under-secretary of state Krzysztof Stanowski; Under-secretary of state on environment Joanna Maćkowiak-Pandera and Kerstin Wittig, Chair of the CONCORD DARE Forum Formal Education Working Group.

For more information visit the DEEEP website .

Eurobarometer: Europeans and the Future of Development Aid

The European Commission has published recently a Eurobarometer poll on "Making a difference in the world: Europeans and the future of development aid" (pdf).

An anaylsyis done by DEEEP reveals that:
  • A vast majority of Europeans (85%) think it is important to "help people in developing countries". However, there is a continuous decline over the years (2004: 92%, 2009: 88%).

  • There is no significant difference between EU12 and EU15 member states on this question: While Hungary (23%), Estonia (24%) and Slovenia (28%) are the countries with highest rates saying helping people in developing countries is "not important", Cyprus is the country with by far highest percentage of people saying helping people in developing countries is "very important" (74%), and is together with Poland the country with the lowest percentage saying help is "not important" (4%). Poland (92%), Czech Republic (83%) and Slowakia (84%) show higher support to help people in developing countries than UK (81%) or France (82%). There is no pattern or common characteristic for EU12 or EU15 as categories.

  • Sub-saharian Africa is by far considered as the region most in need of aid (70% of responses). Also, it is "number one" in all member states. However, there is a tendency that in many EU12 states (excluding Slovenia, Cyprus and Malta) plus UK, Portugal and Italy, priority given to this region is lower (>66%) than in other countries. Interestingly, eastern Europe outside EU as a development priority is cited most in Austria (27%), Sweden (26%) and Denmark (23%).

  • There seems to be awareness on questions of policy coherence, trade/finance, peace building, migration and agriculture being mentioned most often as policies having biggest impact on developing countries ("in addition to aid"). However, 13% say "none" or "don't know".

  • 62% of Europeans say aid should be increased (64% in 2010). However, 80% state that "in addition to fighting poverty, (..) aid should be linked to other European objectives such as the management of migration flows, access to energy and raw materials or trade opportunities of the EU". Aid only if you take back your migrants and let us exploit your resources.

  • 47% of Europeans are ready to pay more for fair trade products, 47% aren't. This varies significantly between countries, depending on economic situation, with RO (22%), PT (21%) and BG (19%) ranking last. Interestingly, 60% of the students are ready to pay more: More than income, level of education seems to be a key factor when it comes to fair trade products.

  • More information at the DEEEP website.

    Information provided by Tobias Troll, DEEEP

    Towards a Federal Solution in Cyprus

    The ENGAGE-Do Your Part for Peace project which is being implemented by the Management Centre and the NGO Support Centre, with the co-operation of the United Nations Secretary-General’s Good Offices in Cyprus, hosted a public discussion on the 18th October in northern Cyprus. The UN Secretary General’s Special Adviser Mr Alexander Downer was the guest speaker of the evening, which was titled Towards a Federal Solution-What does this mean to you? Mr. Downer, who believes the only structure that the two sides can agree on, is a bi-communal, bi-zonal federation said that “the predicted outcome at this point in the negotiations is a federal structure with limited authorities, which will be discussed when the constitution is formed. In this federal structure there will be Cyprus Greek and Cyprus Turk partial government.” Further he underlined that there are many different federal structures in the world, and the system that will be formed here will be unique to Cyprus. Mr. Downer, who reminded that ownership, security and guarantor ship are the hardest issues to discuss, stated that the sides were getting closer to an agreement on the topics of ruling, sharing of power, EU and internal affairs.

    The event provided an opportunity for the Turkish Cypriot Community to take part in an open discussion with a representative directly involved in the negotiations process and ask questions related to the concept of a Federal Cyprus. Those that attended the meeting included mayors of Local Authorities, local business men, non-governmental organization representatives, politicians, foreign residents in Cyprus, people living in the region, and a multitude of media representatives.

    For more information about the project please visit the official website or contact Jale Canlibalik

    Information provided by Jale Canlibalik, The Management Centre and NGO Support Centre

    Seminar Series on Civil Participation

    Südwind NÖ South and their international partners in Weimar and Brussels organise in March and September 2012 a workshop series to strengthen civil participation in Europe called "Play Your Part – Active Participation in Civil Society". The conditions for participants are really good and if you want to participate you are more than welcome to apply. Applicatiions are welcome for persons from an EU country or from Albania, Croatia or Macedonia. Deadline for application is 10th of January. You find more information about the programme and application procedures at

    Photo Competition “Human Rights in Development Cooperation”

    The first year of the photo competition for amateurs and professionals called “Human Rights in Development Cooperation”, that was organized by the Slovak NGDO Platform (MVRO) in cooperation with PDCS (Partners for Democratic Change Slovakia), lasted from 6th June to 9th September 2011. Through this photo contest, organizers aimed to refer to the interconnection of basic human rights and development of the poorest countries in the world.

    The jury has selected the best 30 photos that were consequently displayed within the exhibition touring through Slovak cities. The opening of the exhibition took place on 17th October 2011 during the Development Day 2011 at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs that concentrated on the theme “Human Rights and Freedoms in the context of Slovak Development Cooperation”. Thereafter the exhibition moved to other Slovak cities.

    Finally, the exhibition returned to Bratislava where it formed part of the international festival of documentary films “One world” organized by People in Peril Association. The exhibition is now displayed in the European Information Center in Bratislava until the end of December.

    The photo competition and exhibition were organized within the project „V4 Aid – United Support for Millennium Development Goals“ funded by the European Commission and co-financed by SlovakAid. The photo competition will be organized again in 2012.

    Information provided by Andrea Girmanová, MVRO

    High School Students Debate on Development Approaches

    At the occasion of the International Day of Human Rights, the Slovak NGDO Platform (MVRO) in cooperation with its member organizations eRko, People in Peril, UNICEF Slovakia, and the Slovak Debate Association organized a debate on the Human Rights Based Approach in development cooperation. The debate took place on 9th December 2011 at the European Information Center in Bratislava. Around 70 students from 6 high schools in Bratislava and Malacky participated. At the debate two approaches to development were discussed: the charity approach and the Human Rights Based Approach. Members of the Slovak Debate Association discussed the thesis: the Human Rights Based Approach in development cooperation is more effective than the charity one. One team of students was advocating the thesis and another group was disapproving it. After the debate a vote followed. Despite the fact that the opposing team used interesting arguments in favor of the charity approach, most of the participants voted for the Human Rights Based Approach.

    The Slovak NGDO Platform believes that the Human Rights Based Approach is an important tool to achieve the MDGs. The Human Rights Based Approach enables the new donors, where Slovakia belongs, to concentrate more on quality than quantity of aid and fight poverty more effectively.

    Information provided by Andrea Girmanová, MVRO

    Social Watch Report 2012: The Right to a Future

    The Social Watch Report 2012 refers to the upcoming United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development (Rio+20). The lengthy study, based on the contribution of citizens’ organizations in 66 countries from all over the world that produced their national reports, concludes that “growing inequalities and unregulated finances are expropiating people everywhere from their fair share in the benefits of global prosperity”. “Our children will inherit the burden of deforestation, desertification, erosion of biodiversity and climate change. To revert this trend, the promise of universal dignity brought by human rights has to be enforced and the rights of future generations need to be recognized and properly defended,” concludes this 16th edition of the Social Watch Report.

    The report includes thematic chapters written by members of relevant social and academic organizations, such as the Civil Society Reflection Group on Global Development, Third World Network, Arab NGO Network for Development (ANND), Social Development Network (SODNET, Kenia), Eurostep, Feminist Alliance For International Action (FAFIA, Canadá), Global Policy Forum and terre des hommes.

    Also a number of organsiations from the EU12 contributed with national chapters, such as on Bulgaria, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Hungary, Malta, Poland, Slovenia. There is also a chapter on Croatia.

    For the full report and the country chapters visit the Social Watch Report Website.

    NGO-IDEAs Publications on Monitoring and Evaluation

    NGO Impact on Development, Empowerment and Actions (NGO IDEAs) is a cooperation of 8 African, 22 Asian and 13 German NGOs working in the field of development cooperation. It is a unique concept as it intends to identify and develop, jointly with all partners some genuine concepts and tools for NGOs in the areas of Outcome and Impact Assessment and Monitoring & Evaluation (M&E). Three publications of NGO IDEAs and VENRO are available now online:

    NGO-IDEAs Impact Toolbox: The Impact Toolbox describes simple tools for participatory planning and monitoring of grassroots’ projects. It is designed to enable NGOs, groups and group members to steer a project to enhance positive outcomes or impacts, and reduce negative ones. For download of the NGO-IDEAs Impact Toolbox (910 KB), please click here.

    “How do they do it? – Civil Society Monitoring Self-effectiveness”: An NGO-IDEAs documentation of field experience: The publication presents descriptions of examples of outcome and impact analysis, which illustrate to staff of development organisations how outcome and impact assessment can be implemented and used in different ways. For download of the documentation of field experience (1 MB), please click here.

    „Monitoring Self-Effectiveness“: A Manual to Strengthen Outcome and Impact Oriented Project Management: The Manual intends to support an organisation to focus its planning, monitoring and evaluation procedures towards increased outcome and impact orientation. For download of the Manual (1,47 MB), please click here.

    Wednesday, 14 December 2011

    Environmental Project in Europe

    Circolo Legambiente Cuneo (Italy) is seeking partners from the EU countries for an environmental project under the programme “Europe for Citizens, 2007-2013”. Circolo Legambiente Cuneo is a branch of Legambiente, the most widespread environmental organization in Italy. The project aim is to connect, convene and facilitate dialogue among organizations and single citizens, enabling them to learn and share sustainable best practices on the resource efficiency in Europe and to create value for their community. More..