On May 7, the EC invited representatives from EU member states, national CSO platforms, CSOs and international networking bodies to a European Union DEAR stakeholder consultation.
As a follow up to the “Structured Dialogue”, the EC has decided to present a “Communication on Civil Society in Development” due to be published later this year. In this context, the EC plans to present a Staff Working Paper regarding the orientations for the EC Development Education and Awareness Raising (DEAR) programme, which will also be the basis for DEAR in the Multiannual Financial Framework 2014-2020 and this was the reason for the consultation with relevant stakeholders.
The main issues discussed at the event were the justification of EC engagement in DEAR, what the EC should do and why, how the relationship with member states and CSOs, their platforms and international networks should work and the added value of the EC being active in DEAR. All of these issues are interlinked and not possible to separate as the justification of the engagement also indicates what should be done and why and how the relationship with other stakeholders should look in each activity. There was broad consensus about a clear justification for the EC being active in DEAR which includes enabling the European dimension of DEAR activities, facilitating European DEAR stakeholder coordination and disseminating good practices regardsing the “encouragement” of and “encouraging” national governments towards more funding and quality standards in DEAR activities in countries where this would not happen without external “support”. Especially in times of financial crisis, when the DEAR budgets in most EU countries are shrinking and only through high European-wide multi-stakeholder interest can this tendency be stopped or reversed. Last but not least the funding for DEAR from the EC and its role in promoting policy coherence for development inside the Commission are seen as key aspects in the justification of the EC engagement in DEAR and its added value over other DEAR stakeholders.
Information provided by Christine Bedoya, TRIALOG