Friday, 19 October 2012

European Commission Communication on “The roots of democracy and sustainable development: Europe's engagement with Civil Society in external relations” and the subsequent CONCORD reaction

On 12th September, the European Commission published the long-awaited communication on the EU’s work with civil society. This is one element of the follow-up to the 2010-2011 Commission-led Structured Dialogue on the involvement of CSOs and Local Authorities in EU development cooperation, in which a range of development actors came together to assess their contributions to development and make improvements for future collaboration.

The communication puts forward three priorities for EU support regarding CSO work:
1. Promoting a conducive environment for CSOs in partner countries;
2. Promoting meaningful and structured CSO participation in partner countries’ domestic processes, the EU programming cycle and international processes;
3. Increasing local CSOs’ capacity to perform their roles as independent development actors.

CONCORD’s reaction to the communication is generally positive, with a strong acknowledgement of its constructive nature, recognising the central role of civil society in democratic governance and in building just, equitable and inclusive societies. The aspects that the CONCORD paper point to as needing further attention include recognition of the multi-stakeholder approach; a stronger role for policy coherence for development and the distinctive role European CSOs play in fragile situations. There are also concrete recommendations for the institutions, which include defining what differentiates the EU from other donors in their engagement with civil society, the need to explore new modalities for dialogue and financing and to take the spirit of the communication forward into the discussions surrounding the multiannual financial framework (MFF).

Check the details of the CONCORD reaction on the new CONCORD website.

Download the EC Communication here (pdf).

Information provided by Rebecca Steel-Jasińska, TRIALOG

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