Transparent policy decision making leads to a long term sustainable development in the target countries. This is just one among many topics of the International Scientific Conference Democracy and Development held in Bratislava on the 3rd of May 2012. The conference which was organized by the Pontis Foundation, along with the Faculty of Social and Economic Sciences of the Comenius University, aimed to discuss recent trends in development cooperation.
The conference was held under the auspices of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs Slovak Republic and was financed by Slovak Aid.
The conference topic was mainly connected to democracy and development. One of the recent trends has been looking at the development cooperation from the point of view of the democratic system and the promotion of human rights rather than from the economic or social perspective. Besides, transparent political decision making leading towards a long term sustainable development in the target countries has an important role. The conference also sought to provide a dialogue among the decision makers of the development cooperation priorities as well as among the representatives of NGOs having field experience and being aware of the needs of the community and partner organizations.
The conference was attended by international experts and speakers. Possible ways how to elevate the promotion of democracy within the development cooperation were discussed by Geert Laporte from the European Center for Development Policy Management (ECDPM) along with Íňigo Macias Aymar from Barcelona Center for International Affairs (CIDOB) and Zuzana Fialová the president of the Slovak NDGO Platform. Nicoletta Merlo from the European Commission focused on the issue of increasing the impact of development policy and the State Secretary of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs Peter Javorčík spoke about the role of the Slovak foreign policy in the field of the development cooperation.
Danson Mwazo, Kenyan Minister of Tourism and a member of the Kenyan Parliament took part in the forum as well. He perceives a great potential in the Slovak-Kenyan cooperation. “We can mainly speak about fields such as education, agriculture, infrastructure and tourism from which both countries can benefit”, stated Mwazo. He highlighted Slovak support for the development cooperation e.g. projects seeking to elevate the “computer literacy” and projects in the field of agriculture. “We do not want any particular products; show us how to do it. Those are all projects changing the lives of our people”, Danson Mwazo noted. The Pontis Foundation has been already implementing its second project in Kenya regarding the computer literacy. The most recent computer lab has been opened at a school in the village Marungu. It will contribute to a better quality of education of the Kenyan students and teachers will obtain computer skills training also in Slovakia. “We are glad that due to the computers and internet some of our students are able to communicate with their peers from Slovakia and they can download study materials owing to the internet”, Kenyan Minister added.
Information provided by Petra Nagyova, PONTIS Foundation