Thursday, 19 December 2013

New Policy Digest: Development Effectiveness & the Role of CSOs

As a result of numerous changes in the world the development community is no longer talking about aid effectiveness, but about development effectiveness.

The key role of civil society organisations (CSOs) in addressing this paradigm shift, to which they also contributed, is to focus on poverty reduction and factors affecting development such as human rights, participatory democracy, social and environmental justice, sustainability and gender equality. CSOs engage in development effectiveness in many important ways. Firstly, CSOs monitor the actions of donors and other actors in development and play the ‘watchdog’ role. Secondly, they shape the global agenda of development effectiveness by participating in multi-stakeholder discussions. Thirdly, CSOs make sure their actions reflect the internationally agreed principles of development effectiveness. This policy digest will look more closely how CSOs can act in these roles in order to enhance development effectiveness.

Download the Policy Digest from the TRIALOG website.

Information provided by TRIALOG.

EU13 Platform Strategy Meeting 2013

The annual TRIALOG exchange meeting of development NGO platform representatives from EU member states after 2004 (EU13) looks back at a tradition of nine years, when TRIALOG organised the first “Central Training” in Vienna. A lot has happened since then and the meeting moved from a training setting to a networking and planning event for the now 13 national platforms.

  This year’s TRIALOG Strategy Meeting was hosted by the Slovenian platform SLOGA in Ljubljana and gathered around 30 participants from national platforms, CONCORD and other TRIALOG partners. During a market place session the platforms shared their highlights and challenges of 2013 and exchanged on their situations. CONCORD director Seamus Jeffreson presented the confederation’s annual priorities for 2014 and looked into statistics of EU13 engagement in CONCORD working structures. A special session was dedicated to the EU Presidencies in Lithuania and Latvia. The policy topics chosen by EU13 platforms this year were “European Parliament (EP) Elections 2014” and “The European Year for Development 2015 (EYD2015)”. In workshops the participants went deeper into the planning of activities related to these topics.

Read more and find the presentations here.

Information by Elisa Romero, TRIALOG

Job Vacancy: TRIALOG Project Manager

HORIZONT3000 is currently looking for a Project Manager for TRIALOG V in combination with the responsibilities of EU Co-Financing Expertise based in Vienna, starting March 1st, 2014. The position will last for 19 months until the end of the project, with 30 hours/week for TRIALOG and 8,5 hours for EU Co-Financing.

Find more information on tasks and responsibilities, requirements and the application process here (pdf).

Deadline for applications is 20th of January 2014.

Information provided by TRIALOG

There is an Alternative: Regional Seminar on Global Education

The regional seminar TIA – There Is An Alternative – on Global Education (GE) took place from December 4th to 5th in Ljubljana, Slovenia. This event was organized by the Slovenian NGDO platform SLOGA, in cooperation with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Slovenia, other regional platforms (SKOP – Malta, CYINDEP – Cyprus, FOND – Romania, BPID – Bulgaria) and partners and with the support of the North-South Center of the Council of Europe.

TIA took place in the framework of the Joint Management Agreement signed between the North-South Centre of the Council of Europe and the European Commission for raising awareness of global interdependence and solidarity through global/development education and youth cooperation in Europe and beyond. As a follow-up to the strategic recommendations of the 2nd GE Congress held in Lisbon in 2012, a series of national and regional seminars took place in the new EU member states.

Slovenia hosted the seminar for the South East Europe and Mediterranean region. The event was opened by the Minister of Education Dr Pikalo in front of more than 50 participants (formal and non-formal educators, NGO representatives, governmental representatives such as Ministry of Education and Ministry of Foreign Affairs) from Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Malta, Montenegro, Romania, Serbia, Slovenia, Austria and Ireland. The aim of the seminar was to discuss the concepts of GE. The goal was not to search for common definitions but to look for similarities and differences in its understanding and finding ways to work together for the common goal despite of (or because of) differences. The situation of GE in all participating countries was presented and two round-tables about global perspectives and about GE achievements until 2015 allowed identifying and discussing the current and upcoming challenges. During different workshops (‘National strategy development and implementation’, ‘continuing professional development of educators’, ‘quality in GE’ and ‘Campaigning and outreach’), recommendations have been drafted (they will be published soon on Sloga’ website).

The participants are already looking into further collaboration through reinforcement of existing networks, creation of open spaces for discussions, implementation of trainings and common projects and campaigns.

For more information please contact Marjan Huč, SLOGA at:

Information provided by Malika El Garouni, SLOGA

Malta’s Overseas Development Assistance - What is the Next Step Forward?

On the 22nd of November the AidWatch working group (AWWG) within Malta’s NGDO platform SKOP organized the annual Aid Watch (AW) seminar on Overseas Development Assistance (ODA). The aim of the Seminar was to build up a new dialogue and bring about a structured approach to the collaboration between Government, political representatives and CSOs with regards to Development Aid policies and instruments. Moreover the need of reviewing Malta’s National ODA policy, together with the need of a strategic plan and an annual action plan were discussed.

During the Seminar the official launch of the CONCORD AidWatch Report on ODA took place. This year’s AidWatch study on Malta’s ODA (Overseas Development Assistance) concluded that 87% of the current figure (0.33% of GNI) is inflated aid. In light of the 2015 deadline set for the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), Malta is officially on its way to reach the target of contributing 0.33% of its GNI to ODA, but the results of this study put the authenticity of this figure in question. During the SKOP event, it was pointed out that while Malta’s transition from a recipient to a beneficiary country cannot be underestimated, the current strategy is reactive and neglects the possible contribution in expertise the country can give to developing small states. Transparency was also an issue when it comes to reporting ODA. Until 2007, there was no data on how much was being spent on multilateral and bilateral aid. Government representatives reassured the participants that this issue has been tackled by successive governments, who have consulted experts and critics of the current system to try and improve it. AidWatch recommended joining the International Aid Transparency Initiative (IATI), as an important step towards more transparency. A major concern expressed by AidWatch and civil society in general was the reporting of refugee costs as ODA. The detention of refugees, that is in itself a violation of human rights and a breach of international law, can hardly be considered as a contribution to those objectives.

Photo: Plenary during the seminar (by SKOP).

For more information please contact Paola Prinzis at

Information provided by Paola Prinzis, SKOP

Polish Development Cooperation – Assistance Far Below Our Potential

We failed to create an effective program of Polish bilateral development aid with the objectives and results, adapted to the needs of our priority countries and harmonized with actions of other donors. There is an urgent need to elaborate realistic plans that will significantly increase both the volume and quality of Polish development aid over the next five years - stated the development CSO platform Grupa Zagranica in the published report "Polish Development Cooperation 2012".

In relation to the declarations that Poland made on the international forum, the volume of its development aid still remains at a very low level. The total value of Polish development aid in 2012 amounted to 437.7 million USD, which accounted for 0.09 % of GNI. This level is practically unchanged for five years. Observing this negative trend, it seems unrealistic to expect reaching the target of 0.33 % of GNI in 2015. Polish ODA statistics show a lack of connection between the priority countries (listed in the Multiannual development cooperation programme 2012-2015) and the largest recipients of Polish ODA, which include China - the largest individual country-recipient. China received over 40% of Polish bilateral development assistance in the form of preferential loans.

Moreover, the Polish aid statistics - as in other European countries - are to a certain extent "inflated", which means they include funds, which in fact never reach developing countries. Poland inflates the size of its assistance, including to ODA categories such as in-donor refugees cost, scholarships for foreign students from developing countries or - to the greatest extent - tied aid, mainly concessional loans. Grupa Zagranica, as well as CONCORD – the European confederation of NGDOs, is critical to such approach. This seventh annual report issued by Grupa Zagranica, was launched together with the CONCORD AidWatch report during the debate "Polish development cooperation – do we help with sense?" on 12th of December 2013. The guests of the debate were: Jan Hofmokl (Development Cooperation Department of PL MFA), Patryk Kugiel (Polish Institute of International Relation) and Marta Gontarska, Polish AidWatch Working Group representative.

For more information please contact Magdalena Trojanek at

Information provided by Magdalena Trojanek, Grupa Zagranica

Opportunities and Challenges – NGO Cooperation Between Romania and Moldova

FOND – the Romanian NGDO Platform organized on the 16th of December 2013 a roundtable on the cooperation between civil society organizations from Romania and Republic of Moldova. This event gathered both governmental and nongovernmental representatives from the two countries and marked the end of the first round of the Mobility Fund for Experts, launched by FOND and the Romanian MFA in March.

Mr. Radu Podgorean - State Secretary - MFA and H.E. Iurie Renita – Ambassador of the Republic of Moldova to Romania highlighted the importance of the cooperation among NGOs, their role in the European integration of the Republic of Moldova and the opportunities and challenges encountered. They also reaffirmed their support for NGOs which have a very important role in monitoring and implementing ODA activities.

On this occasion, a research paper covering the cooperation between NGOs from Romania and Moldova was launched. This paper provided an overview on the cooperation between NGOs from these countries in the years 2007 – 2012, including important issues, such as: Romanian ODA and the main challenges, funding opportunities/instruments for NGOs, recommendations for improving cooperation. The research was conducted by FOND with the support of Alin Teclu (FOND Research Associate/ PhD Candidate – Univ. of Liege) and financed by the Romanian MFA.

The Mobility Fund for Experts from Romania and Republic of Moldova was supported by the Romanian MFA from the Official Development Assistance (ODA), in partnership with UNDP Romania. This initiative is a follow-up of the Civil Society Forum Romania – Republic of Moldova and it was one of the recommendations from the participants, emphasizing the need of a mobility fund to support the expertise and knowledge sharing between the representatives of civil society from both countries. The Republic of Moldova is the main recipient country of Romanian ODA.

Information provided by Adriana Zaharia, FOND Romania.

Introductory Workshop on Policy Coherence for Development in Romania

On the 6th of December 2013, The Romanian NGDO Platform – FOND organized in Bucharest for the first time an Introductory Workshop on Policy Coherence for Development (PCD). This event was addressed to FOND Policy and Advocacy Working Group members, other NGOs and resource persons (trade union, Romanian Ministry of Foreign Affairs) interested in this topic (approx. 20 persons attended the workshop).

The aim of this initiative was to introduce Romanian NGDOs to PCD as a key policy issue at European, international and national level. The specific objectives of the workshop were: to build knowledge of participants on policy coherence for development (institutional framework, concrete examples of incoherencies from EU15 and EU13 member states); to introduce to participants tools for effective advocacy in PCD (using examples/best practices from NGO work); develop participants’ capacity/ skills on identifying examples of incoherencies within the framework of Romania’s ODA policy.

The cases of incoherencies identified and discussed during the workshop included topics such as: migration, climate change and policy incoherencies regarding ODA disbursement to the Rep. of Moldova (main beneficiary of Romanian ODA). Regarding facilitation, FOND benefited from the support of the CONCORD PCD Working Group, by having as trainer one of its members, Njeri Jensen (Policy and Research Officer, CONCORD Denmark).

This workshop was organized as part of the PCD project “World-Wise Europe: A more coherent Europe for a fairer world”, funded by the European Commission.

More photos are available here.

Information provided by Adela Rusu, FOND Romania.

International Conference on Migration and Development in Ljubljana

On 5 and 6 December 2013 an international conference titled Developing developers: Migrants as development actors – A new way forward took place in Ljubljana, Slovenia. The conference was organized by the Peace Institute within the project Consistency of Migration and Development Policy (CoMiDe) which is being implemented in four partner countries – Italy, Austria, Slovakia and Slovenia.

Director General of the Directorate for Global Issues and Multilateral Political Relations at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Dragoljuba Benčina, opened the conference with her welcome note and expressed interest in complex topics of migration and development cooperation. Discussants at the panel What is Development without Migrants? were Gibril Faal, representative of African Foundation for Development and Africa-Europe Platform from UK, Charito Basa, representative of Filipino Women’s Council from Italy, and Angela Odai, working at Diaspora Support Unit of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs from Ghana. The “CoMiDe Manifesto on Migration and Development in Europe” was presented at the conference. Over 60 participants from Europe, Asia, Africa and Latin America who attended the event had the opportunity to comment on and change the Manifesto, which at the end of the conference was endorsed.

For more information, please contact Maja Ladič, Mirovni Institute at: or visit

Photo: Panel discussion during the conference.

Information provided by Maja Ladič, Mirovni Institute

MDG Study Visit to Burundi: First Hand Development Experience for Young Romanians, Czechs and Bulgarians

From November 24 to 2 December 2013, a group of 24 trained facilitators and the coordination team took part in a study visit organized in Burundi within the project “8 Goals…We Act!” which is implemented by Partners’ Foundation for Local Development (Romania) in partnership with Partners Czech (Czech Republic), YMCA (Bulgaria) and FOCODE: Forum pour la Conscience et le Dévéloppement (Burundi).

The project is co-financed by EuropeAid and it aims at using participatory, transformative and empowering methods to facilitate the engagement of young people in addressing development issues in their local surroundings and abroad, in developing countries. The 24 young facilitators are currently enrolled in master programs relevant for the topic of the Millenium Development Goals and have been trained on facilitation techniques in October 2013 in order to be able to design and conduct participatory processes aimed at promoting the achievement of the MDGs.

The study visit in Burundi was essential to breaking stereotypes about Africa, to understanding and documenting living conditions and development issues in an African country and to building bridges with local communities and organizations through meeting with different civil society associations working on achieving the MDGs in Burundi, discussing with staff and beneficiaries and visiting projects and services developed by these organizations.

More outcomes, testimonials as well as educational materials developed by the 24 facilitators will be available in January 2014 on the project’s platform:

In the photo: Participants of the Study Visit to Burundi (by Partners’ Foundation for Local Development)

Information provided by Partners’ Foundation for Local Development (Romania)


Albanian CSO Coalition Announced to Support the Open Government Partnership

A group of Albanian civil society groups working to support the Open Government Partnership (OGP) in Albania announced at a December 5th Institute for Democracy and Mediation (IDM) conference the creation of a new coalition to support open government.

The Albanian CSO Coalition on OGP is committed to improve the OGP Albania Process by upholding the value of openness in governments’ engagement with citizens to improve services, manage public resources, promote innovation, and create safer communities. The coalition is open for organizations that share the same values.

The announcement came at a one-day IDM conference held in Tirana that brought together representatives of NGOs and officials to discuss the status of open government in Albania. The conference was held in connection with “Advocacy for Open Government: Civil society agenda-setting and monitoring of country action plan”, an EU-funded PASOS project to encourage governments in Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Kosovo, Macedonia, Montenegro, and Serbia to become more transparent.

More about the conference and coalition can be read here.

Source: Balkan Civil Society Development Network E-Mail Alerts nr. 283, 15 December 2013

European Parliament Approved External Action Instruments 2014-2020

On 10 December 2013 the European Parliament voted on and approved the external action instruments under the Multiannual Financial Framework (MFF) 2014 - 2020, including the Development Cooperation Instrument. After three years of negotiations this marks the end of the MFF process just before the start of 2014.

On 2 December 2013 the European Council adopted the regulation on the MFF 2014-2020 after the European Parliament gave its consent to it on 19 November 2013. The funding confirms the earlier political agreement of the European Council in February 2013. Whereas the overall budget of the MFF and for the heading “Global Europe” was already agreed on, the decisions were now taken for the implementing rules and instruments under this budget heading.

Funds of €51 billion for 2014-2020 cover pre-accession assistance, neighbouring and partner countries, and peace-keeping, democracy and human-rights actions:
• Instrument for Pre-accession Assistance (IPA): €11,699 million
• European Neighbourhood Instrument (ENI): €15,433 million
• Development Cooperation Instrument (DCI): €19,662 million
• Partnership Instrument (PI): €955 million
• Instrument contributing to Stability and Peace (IfSP): €2,339 million
• European Instrument for Democracy & Human Rights (EIDHR): €1,333 million

A detailed overview on the instruments can be found on the EC website.  


European Parliament: Exchange on EU13 Opportunities in Development

On 18 December 2013, the Development Committee of the European Parliament exchanged views on challenges and opportunities for newer EU Member States to contribute to the implementation of the post-2015 development agenda, especially by sharing the transition experience.

Lithuanian MEP Mr Donskis, member of the European Parliament (EP) Development Committee suggested the exchange of views on this topic. Inputs came from the Lithuanian Vice-Minister of Foreign Affairs Rolandas Krisciunas and Evelin Andrespok from the Estonian NGDO platform AKÜ, representing Civil Society as CONCORD delegate.

Mr. Krisciunas highlighted that the transition experience is an asset of Lithuania which can play a crucial role in structural transformation processes of both donors and recipients of development assistance.

CSOs also expressed their views on the topic. CONCORD was represented by Evelin Andrespok from the Estonian Roundtable for Development Cooperation AKÜ, a member of CONCORD. She highlighted that many EU13 countries are very active on the topic of development cooperation. Already four countries (Czech Republic, Poland and Slovak Republic) are members of OECD DAC which shows the relevance of development cooperation for them. Most cooperation is held with Eastern Partnership countries. Today the aim to contribute 0.33% of the GNI to ODI by 2015 is far from being reached in most EU13 countries. Therefore CSOs encourage member states to fulfil their commitments. Ms. Andrespok also tackled the problem of inflated aid such as in-country costs for migrants, which does not contribute to poverty reduction but figures in the development budget. Regarding the future of development cooperation, human rights should be in the centre of the time post-MDG, Ms. Andrespok pointed out. Global inequalities are increasing and should be addressed, as well as linking environment and development issues. Long term solutions require structural changes and EU13 countries have experience in this.

Members of the EP (MEPs) underlined the comparative advantage of the EU in the fields of transition and social inclusiveness. Nevertheless copying of models has to be avoided, instead through good knowledge management the European lessons learnt can be translated to the realities of developing countries.

Watch the Development Committee meeting online here.

Information provided by TRIALOG

Shadow Report on the Progress of Bosnia and Herzegovina’s European Union Accession Process

The Shadow Report on the Progress of Bosnia and Herzegovina’s (BiH) European Union (EU) Accession Process was developed by an in formal coalition of civil society organizations called the Initiative for Monitoring BiH’ s European Integration, which is a group of nongovernmental organizations active in BiH and interested in the EU accession process.

The initiative’s main goal is to effectively monitor the work of the government throughout its mandate and constantly inform the domestic and international public about all of the positive and negative developments in the integration process. The initiative recognizes the need for connectivity and empowerment of civil society organizations working on the promotion and protection of human rights and the promotion of EU integration at the local and national levels.

The main objective of this Shadow Report is to give a nongovernmental perspective on the level of progress achieved by BiH in the EU Accession Process with a focus on human rights. This is the first such report to be published in BiH.

The report can be read here.  

Source: Initiative for Monitoring BiH’s European Integration and Balkan Civil Society Development Network E-Mail Alerts nr. 283, 15 December 2013

European Citizens Say: Helping Developing Countries Benefit Them

In a survey published at the European Development Days 2013, 66% European citizens agreed that tackling poverty should be one of the main priorities of the Union. The Eurobarometer survey also showed that 69% of European citizens believed that helping developing countries also benefits the EU and themselves.

Other key figures show that 61% feel that aid should be increased, and 48% are more willing to buy food products that support developing countries. Younger people also have a more positive outlook on development, with 61% of 15-24 year old believing they can play a personal role in tackling poverty in developing countries, as opposed to only 45% of those aged 55+.

European Commissioner for Development, Andris Piebalgs, commented: "I am very encouraged to see that EU citizens support global solidarity and believe that together we can make a real difference in overcoming poverty. Big challenges lie ahead of us: ensuring that we achieve the Millennium Development Goals and make poverty a thing of the past. For the way forward we all need to work together - the global community should agree on an ambitious joint agenda for the eradication of poverty and sustainable development. Today’s survey has a clear message: Europeans stand ready to play their role in this.”

Read the EC press release here

Source: CONCORD EU Monitoring newsletter from 5th of December 2013

New Partner Requests for Projects Under the EC DEAR Call

The EC published the NSA LA Call: Raising public awareness of development issues and promoting development education in the European Union with the reference EuropeAid/134863/C/ACT/Multi on 19th of November. You find all relevant documents for the "DEAR Call" on the EC website.

Deadline for submission of Concept Notes is 30th of January 2014.

On the TRIALOG website you find Partner Requests of various organisations, here are the latest ones:

(-) International Alert (UK) has been working with diaspora communities over a number of years. They are looking for partners to work through Lot 2 of the DEAR call to build the profile and presence of diaspora communities, in-particular young people, as a recognized and valued voice in development debates and actions.
(-) The Swedish Committee for Afghanistan (SCA) is looking to join a partnership planning for a Campaigning and Advocacy project dealing with Development Effectiveness in fragile states and/or Healthcare. SCA is interested to become partner or associate in a project. 
(-) The Ubuntu Network from Ireland is interested in participating, as a partner, in a consortium under LOT 1: Global Learning - projects within the formal education system. Partners should work to further global development education in teacher education or work with post-primary schools. NGO or university partners are both welcome.

Information provided by TRIALOG