Thursday, 23 January 2014

2014: New Plans, Vision and Fresh Inspiration

We hope you had a great start to 2014, which will hopefully be a visionary and inspirational one.

In the TRIALOG team we welcome back Rebecca Steel-Jasińska as Liaison Officer after one year of maternity leave. She returned to our Brussels office at the beginning of January and is working in close collaboration with the CONCORD secretariat, with which TRIALOG shares the premises. Rebecca will coordinate the Study Visit to Brussels for EU13 participants and the Policy Digests, which are elaborated with the Liaison Officers of the EU13 NGDO platforms. Six editions are planned in 2014 with the first one on the European Elections to be published in February. Watch out for it!

We say a big “Thank You” to our dear colleague Mirjam Sutrop who performed the role of Liaison Officer last year and was in the TRIALOG team as Junior Liaison Officer from January 2012. Mirjam’s dedication, her excellent and professional work and her open mind contributed significantly to the support of EU13 NGDO platforms. We wish Mirjam all the best and hope our paths will cross again soon.

In 2014, we will continue to look back at the long experience of TRIALOG through the lens of the systematisation process which will come to an end in the summer. It will also be a year where vision and creativity will be required to design our activities such as the Training of Multipliers and the Study Visit to Brussels. Already in February, the Liaison Officers of the EU13 platforms will come to Vienna for the three day Training of Multipliers, where they will exchange and elaborate communication strategies especially in view of the EP elections 2014. The Study Visit to Brussels will take place in early March and focus on Development Effectiveness. The EU13 platforms are already working hard on their capacity building activities for 2014 and we are excited to hear about their plans!

We are looking forward to a new year full of joint efforts to build a more just and peaceful world.

To stay in touch closer and share fresh information, you can also follow TRIALOG on Twitter now: @TRIALOG or via the icon on our website.


News from the Slovak NGDO Platform

The Slovak NGDO Platform: Successes and challenges over the last 10 years
At the occasion of the 10th anniversary of the establishment of the Slovak NGDO Platform, all its milestones were put together in a brochure which presents to the public the achievements of the last 10 years. The brochure entitled 10 years of the Slovak NGDO Platform: From Aid to Policy Coherence for Development also presents the evolution of its activities such as the Development Day, the Development Cooperation Magazine, the photo contest as well as the new campaign Live Fairly for the life in the fairer world. The brochure is available here or via
It also includes information lists of the member organisations of the Platform (available here). The brochure was produced by the Slovak NGDO Platform thanks to the financial contribution of the European Commission and SlovakAid within the project V4 Aid – Common Support for Millennium Development Goals.

Slovak journalists in the field
By the end of 2013 the Slovak NGDO Platform in cooperation with its member PDCS supported several field trips of representatives of selected Slovak media to Burkina Faso, Cambodia and South Sudan. Editors, cameramen and documentary directors working with TV stations, print media or as freelancers were given a chance to get on-hand experience from life in those countries and meet the locals. Upon return they have made various articles and reportages on the current issues of the countries visited as well as policy coherence for development related topics. Media coverage from their trips that were presented to the Slovak public by the Economist Daily, RTVS and TV JOJ can be found at the website of the Platform here. The field trips of the journalists were financially supported by the European Commission and SlovakAid within the frames of the projects World-Wise Europe: A more coherent Europe for a fairer World and V4 Aid – Common Support for Millennium Development Goals.

A seminar on Policy Coherence for Development
On 18th December 2013 the Slovak NGDO Platform organized a seminar on PCD: How to ensure coherence of non-development policies with development cooperation objectives. The lecturer from Glopolis, a Czech organisation with expertise on PCD, introduced to the Platform members and decision makers the concept of policy coherence for development, its principles and pointed out concrete incoherent policies and their impact on developing countries. The second part concentrated on showing the examples of advocacy of European biofuels policy and climate financing. SDI, a Platform member, presented their advocacy achievements related to migration within the frame of the project CoMiDe. The seminar took place as part of the project World-Wise Europe: A more coherent Europe for a fairer World supported by the European Commission and SlovakAid.

Information provided by Andrea Girmanova, The Slovak NGDO Platform

Effectiveness of Hungarian CSOs in the Field of International Development Cooperation

Short summary of the findings of the research project commissioned by HAND.

As a first step for engaging in the international processes and discourses on the effectiveness of development cooperation - particularly of NGOs, the Hungarian NGO platform HAND initiated a research project on the topic. The aim of the project was to assess the current concepts and practices of Hungarian NGOs to ensure that they bring about the positive social change they ultimately strive for during their work. In the framework of the project a survey was carried out on Civil Society Organisations (CSO) effectiveness among 19 Hungarian NGOs and its findings were summarised and published in the form of a study in October 2013. The survey was based on interviews conducted with NGOs and government officials. Focus areas of the research were: identifying the opinions and concepts related to the NGO’s own effectiveness, their knowledge about international initiatives, mainly the Istanbul Principles of the Open Forum for CSO Development Effectiveness, their notions and perception on factors of the so called enabling environment and how all these are reflected in their everyday work.

Survey findings show that in Hungary addressing the issues of CSO development effectiveness happens only sporadically and mainly at the level of the individual organisations and none of the Hungarian or international initiatives around effective CSO work are widely known, accepted or adopted. In this way only few Hungarian NGOs are well versed in or even familiar with the Istanbul Principles however all of them more or less consciously try to live up to certain internal organisational principles, which are very much in line with some of the Istanbul Principles. Experienced humanitarian NGOs embedded in their international network and NGOs having civil society development as their field of operation tend to be more knowledgeable and conscious and they are more likely to assess their own work or develop internal documents, procedures integrating such principles. Almost every organisation recognises the need of starting a common coordinated reflection on the aspects of effectiveness in their work and the need for capacity building.

As for the external factors of the so called enabling environment NGOs think that in the Hungarian context the negative rather than the positive aspects are more prevalent in the legal, financial environment, regarding the potentials for democratic policy dialogue and most importantly related to public support. The lack of knowledge and social support related to development on the side of the general public is perceived a root cause for all other flaws as well.

For more information you can read the here.

Information provided by Réka Balogh, HAND

Grupa Zagranica: Solidarity with the Ukrainians and Appeal to the Polish Authorities

Non-governmental organizations from Grupa Zagranica - the Polish platform of organisations involved in international cooperation - appealed to the Polish authorities for response to restriction of civil rights in Ukraine, connected with the adoption of new law by the Ukrainian parliament.

"We appeal to the Polish authorities to take a firm stand on the Ukrainian authorities’ anti-democratic actions. We express solidarity with Ukrainian society, as well as admiration and respect for the millions of Ukrainians proving every day that their country’s rightful place lies in a United Europe" – said Grupa Zagranica in the statement.

The acts adopted last Thursday by the Ukrainian parliament, greatly strained the restrictions agianst citizens for participation in non formal public gatherings and limited the activity of NGOs. On Sunday it came to clashes between demonstrators and the police in Kiev. On Wednesday morning, the Ukrainian media reported the first fatality.

Grupa Zagranica warns that the newly passed legislation radically restricts the freedom of assembly, and exempts state bodies from liability should force be used against protestors. "New, simplified procedures to revoke the immunity of members of parliament, and allow proceedings to be initiated against anyone who criticises the Ukrainian authorities openly, represent a threat to the freedom of speech and could facilitate the eradication of the democratic opposition" – is underlined in the statement.

According to Grupa Zagranica intentions of Ukrainian authorities is to discredit non-governmental organisations in the eyes of Ukrainian society, to deprive them of independent funding sources, and to prevent them from cooperating with foreign partners.

Read the statement here.

Picture: Euromaidan, Kiev, December 2013, Participants and supporters of the protest leave a mark using the most available material - firewood. Author: Agnieszka Komorowska

Information provided by Magdalena Trojanek, Grupa Zagranica

CONCORD Director’s Blog: Outlook on 2014

CONCORD Director Seamus Jeffreson blogs “2014 will be a year more of politics than policy”. In his latest post, he is looking back at achievements of European NGOs in 2013 and focusing on issues coming ahead such as the European Parliament elections in May and the implementation of the new EU aid budget 2014-2020.

Further he gives an overview on the four annual priorities of CONCORD, which were identified by the members of the confederation.

Read the blog here.

Photo: Seamus Jeffreson, CONCORD


Hungary’s Fight Against Tax Evasion

Tax fraud and tax evasion are global challenges that affect not only our lives in Europe but also in many developing countries. Developing countries fall short of considerable financial resources because of the harmful tax evasion practices of multinational companies that otherwise could increase financial capacities of the host country.

The Hungarian DemNet foundation, together with 12 European civil society organizations launched a joint, EU funded project in January 2013 aimed at raising awareness of decision-makers and the broader public about the harmful practices of illicit capital flows and tax evasion. During the three-year project the participating countries will publish several research studies bringing together some of the best experts from NGOs, public administration, private sector and academia to shed light on the harmful effects of illicit capital flight.

The first round of the project aims at illustrating the impact of capital flight on development work through case studies and examples and examines what EU and its member states do and could do to improve the situation. Furthermore the study introduces a situation analysis in case of the 13 participating countries. The research found that even though the Hungarian money laundering regulations are in compliance with respective EU regulatory frameworks to prevent harmful capital flight and tax evasion, the national taxing system is far from being transparent. The OECD Global Forum on Transparency and Exchange of Information for Tax Purposes (GFT) exempted Hungary from providing regular follow-up reports and considered as an improving jurisdiction in implementing the internationally agreed tax standards. Despite these achievements there are still desired improvements regarding the availability of information of ownership issues, especially information available on foreign companies operating in Hungary. The country report on Hungary claims, that in spite of the increasing public awareness of harmful consequences of offshore flows, tax solidarity towards developing countries is still missing from the Hungarian public discourse. This is strongly reflected in the preliminary Hungarian international development policy strategy, which failed to make reference to support the fight against capital flight and tax dodging.

For more information you can read the full report here or download it from the Eurodad website.  

More information on the project (only in Hungarian) available on the DemNet website.

Information provided by DemNet

Western Balkan Transition Experience Shared in Myanmar

In November 2013, the Croatian peace activists Vesna Teršelič from the NGO Documenta - Center for Dealing With the Past visited Myanmar (the former Burma) on behalf of the Croatian Ministry of Foreign Affairs. She shared her impressions with us:

In November 2013 I spent ten days in Myanmar on invitation of Igor Blažević from Education Initiatives, as part of a Women’s Leadership for Peace Program, which is supported by the Government of the Republic Croatia. The purpose of my visit was to discuss what would be the most appropriate ways of exchange of experience regarding the transition process in Croatia and other post-Yugoslav countries with civil society organisations. Representatives of local women, youth, human rights and development initiatives as well as associations of former political prisoners were keen to continue a dialogue in order to search for suitable activities including study visits and programs aimed at women’s empowerment and direct support to survivors of gross human rights violations.

Democratic transition in Myanmar is challenging, as fights between the central government and non-Burman ethnic groups started immediately after the independence in 1948, and partly are still ongoing, following British colonial control and Japanese occupation during World War II. The violent conflict between the Burmese Army and ethnic armed rebel groups is the longest ongoing civil war in the world. Burma was ruled by successive military regimes from 1962 until November 2010, when it held its first elections in two decades and transitioned into a civilian-led government, headed by President Thein Sein. However, these elections were widely criticized for being neither free nor fair, and the 'civilians' who came to power were simply the same generals who had been ruling for decades, though no longer in uniform. Still ongoing fights in Myanmar in border areas are accompanied by ethnic violence.

For more information, please contact Vesna Teršelič,

Information provided by Vesna Teršelič, Documenta

Foundation from Malta Opened Orphanage in Madagscar

The “Arnaud Guesry Foundation” is a Maltese registered charity set up in 2012 with the idea of using a small budget and efficient facilitation to make a real difference. Since then they have opened an orphanage in Northern Madagascar in an attempt to tackle extreme poverty through child development.

The focus of the foundation, which is also member of the Maltese NGDO platform SKOP, is to provide a safe and happy domestic environment in as much of a family setting as possible for children for whom they are the only option. The foundation takes full moral and legal responsibility for the health and happiness of the children in their care. Children are provided with education, nutrition, security, healthcare and everything else any normal family would provide.

The Arnaud Guesry Foundation is currently preparing to move into a new, purpose built, establishment, which will see a growth from a capacity of 20 children to 60. To that end they are currently having a drive toward increasing interest in our child-sponsorship, volunteering and donation programs. Whether you are interested in fundraising, volunteering or can simply help to spread the word, we encourage you to read more about the project either on the website at or through the Facebook page under ‘The Arnaud Guesry Foundation’.

The acting Director, Christina Lejman, would also be happy to answer any questions you might have. Please email her directly at:

Photo: Children in front of the orphanage, Arnaud Guesry Foundation

Information provided provided by Christina Lejman

News from DEEEP

DEEEP, a project initiated by the CONCORD Development Education Forum to mobilise global citizens for systemic change and global justice,  launched a new online platform

Focusing on their recent conference for the moment, this portal will progressively replace the current website.This will be soon the perfect place for you to search for information about global education, meet new people active in Global Justice, find resources on the online library, exchange about the latest hot topics...

Two articles including the input of DEEEP research officer, Amy Skinner, have been published in November 2013:

Article 1: Development Education in International Development Policy: Raising Quality through Critical Pedagogy and Global Skills. The essay provides a background overview of the key challenges of the education goals in international development up until now and provides some food for thought and initial arguments for why it is important to make global citizenship education a key focus of any education initiatives on the post-2015 framework. 

Article 2: Catalysing the shadow spaces: challenging development discourses from within the DEEEP project. This article explores the idea of applied development education at organisational level in order to critically reflect on current development paradigms within which we are working and how we as development educators can promote change from within.

Source: DEEEP Times December 2013


The European Economic and Social Committee on the European Year of Development 2015

The European Economic and Social Committee (EESC) welcomes the fact that the European Commission has responded to the joint initiative by civil society and the EESC to nominate 2015 as the European Year of Development.

The aim of the proposed European Year of Development (EYD) 2015 is to inform EU citizens about EU development cooperation, highlighting what the European Union can already achieve as the biggest aid donor in the world and how it could do even more with the combined strength of its Member States and its institutions. The European Year of Development will be the first European Year with a strong global and rights-based dimension.

The EESC calls on the EU institutions to do their utmost to reach the goals as stated by CONCORD: this Year is "a unique opportunity for a broad public discussion and meaningful civic engagement on the vision of Europe on Global Development, within Europe as well as for other continents, with its dimensions of Human Rights, environmental sustainability and social cohesion." Engaging and involving European citizens and civil society organisations and their partners throughout the world in development and in a political dialogue on global development and global justice is seen as the key to the success of the Year and development as such.

The EESC comments that CSOs play a key role not only in implementing development activities, but also in political processes and expresses its concern that at this stage only a very small percentage of the funding for the EYD is earmarked for civil society engagement and activities.

The EESC is providing an overview on the initiative to nominate 2015 as the European Year of Development and is gathering opinions how the Year could be designed. HAVE YOUR SAY!  

Find the full opinion here (section “Related documents”).

Source: CONCORD / European Economic and Social Committee


First EU Accession Conference with Serbia

Negotiations with Serbia on its accession to the European Union were opened on 21st of January 2014 at the first Intergovernmental Conference at Ministerial level. This follows a decision by the EU General Affairs Council on 25 June 2013 to open negotiations with Serbia.

Several countries in the Balkans have made progress on their way into the EU: Montenegro started accession negotiations with the EU in 2012. The European Commission has also recommended that membership negotiations start with Macedonia. In addition, Albania will probably be granted EU candidate status.

Most striking is the progress seen in Serbia, long considered the eternal troublemaker in the region. The governments of Serbia and Kosovo achieved an historic breakthrough in April 2013 when they completed an agreement concerning the normalisation of their relations. Critical to this agreement was Serbia's concession to dismantle its parallel structures in North Kosovo in exchange for the right to form an association of the Serb-inhabited municipalities and to grant them a high level of autonomy within Kosovo.

Although the EU does not ignore Serbia's deficits, prospects are good that the negotiations will still run smoothly. Serbia's aspiration to accelerate its EU integration process is also clearly influenced by Croatia's EU entry in July 2013, which demonstrated that the prospect of gaining membership can materialize if there is sufficient commitment by the applicant state.

Find out more about the process in this video

More information on EU Enlargement on the EC website.  

Sources: Council of the European Union Press Release and Tolksdorf Dominik: Start of EU Membership Negotiations With Serbia Could Further Stabilize the Western Balkans in The World Post, 10/16/2013  

EU Support for Rural Development in the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia

The EU has approved €18 million to support reforms in agriculture and rural development in the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia. This will complement the €56 million already available under the 2012-2013 Instrument of Pre-Accession.

Commissioner for Enlargement and European Neighbourhood Policy Štefan Füle said: "This funding will help improve services and infrastructure in poor rural areas, bringing concrete benefits to local citizens. It will help the country meet the EU standards in agriculture and make further progress in European integration."

The bulk of the programme (€15.5 million) will be implemented under joint management with the World Bank. It will specifically target poor rural areas and municipalities, thus facilitating access to funds.

Read the EC press release here

Source: CONCORD, EU Monitoring Newsletter 17.01.2014

E-Course on Human Rights

The next North-South Centre Global Education: the Human Rights Dimension E-course will take place from 17 February - 16 March 2014 and you can apply now.

The application process consists of two steps:
1. Submitting the online application form underneath with your personal and organisational details;
2. Downloading the online MS Word application form and sending this filled-in form by email to:

The deadline for submitting the complete application is 10 February, 2014.

Only applications that are complete will be considered. We will inform all applicants about the selection on 12 February, 2014. Please note that participation in this course requires an active collaborative participation taking at least 10 hours per week for four weeks!

More information online.  

Please also visit the website for the Global Education: The Intercultural Dimension course which takes place from 24 March - 20 April, 2014 and apply now.

Information provided by Miguel SILVA, North-South Centre - Council of Europe

The Age of Sustainable Development: Free Online Course by Jeffrey Sachs

If you are interested in sustainable development but were not really sure what it meant, you are in luck! The excellent free open Coursera has gotten Jeffrey Sachs of Columbia University to give a 14 week online course.

Find out all about it here.

Information provided by DEEEP


First CONCORD Gender and Development Lunch at the European Parliament

In the context of the current processes and discussions underway to determine the Post-2015 Framework, the CONCORD Gender Working Group is organizing, with the support of Mr Gustafsson, MEP – Chair of the Committee on Women's Rights and Gender Equality – and Ms Estrella, MEP –Vice chair of the Committee on Women's Rights and Gender Equality - a “Gender and Development Lunch” on 29th of January 2014 (12h-14h) at the European Parliament in Brussels.

The purpose will be to further discuss the outcome of the UN General Assembly held in September 2013 and the next steps the European Union, multilateral organizations, and civil society organizations in Europe and globally can take to ensure the adoption of a Post 2015 Framework in which gender equality and the empowerment and rights of women and girls feature as central elements, with a special focus on sexual and reproductive health and rights.

More information and subscription here.

Source: CONCORD Member to Member newsletter from 14th of January 2014

National Conferece in Serbia: Define the Civil Society You Want

The Office for Cooperation with Civil Society of the Republic of Serbia has announced a call for participation in a national conference entitled “Get Involved – Define  the Civil Society You Want: The Vision for the Civil Society in Serbia in 2018 – creation of the first National Strategy for the enabling environment for the development of civil society”.

The conference will be held on the 20th-21st of February, 2014 in Belgrade. The national scale event will be organized in cooperation with the EU IPA 2011-2013 funded “EU Support Office for Cooperation with Civil Society” project and TACSO Serbia’s People 2 People programme. The conference will bring together around 300 representatives from government and public administration institutions, and civil society to discuss the importance of creating the first strategic framework for the establishment of an enabling environment for civil society in Serbia and is a great opportunity to contribute to the drafting of the National Strategy document.

The conference will also present the best EU and regional examples and lessons learned related to the process of creating and implementing a strategic framework for the development of civil society. Accommodation and travel costs for participants outside of Belgrade are limited and only one representative per CSO will be allowed to register. The deadline for applications is the 4th of February, 2014.

For more information and application procedures follow this link.

Source: BCSDN Newsletter E-Mail Alerts Nr. 285 of January 15, 2014

Destination Unknown: Conference about Children on the Move

As the Maltese partner of the Terre des Hommes International Federation and member of the Destination Unknown Campaign, the Maltese NGO KOPIN is happy to invite you to the Destination Unknown EU Public Conference which aims at raising awareness on the reality of children on the move in the light of recent development on EU asylum policy.

At the conference, which will be held on 19 February 2014 at the European Parliament in Brussels, Farah Abdullahi will provide his perspective on children on the move, also with a focus on Malta, to Commissioner Malström and other key stakeholders in the field of migration and asylum.

Information provided by KOPIN

European Commission Releases Q&A Regarding the DEAR Call

The European Commission has updated the list of online documents for it’s curent call on Development Education and Awareness Raising (DEAR Call).

A new "Questions & Answers" document is available on the Commission website.


Source: EC

ITUC: Development Partnerships Officer

The Trade Union Development Cooperation Network (ITUC) seeks a full time Development Partnerships Officer for their office in Brussels, Belgium.
Apply by 31 January 2014.

Find the job advertisment here.  

Source: ITUC

Oxfam: EU Partnership Development Adviser

Oxfam is looking for an exceptional, dynamic candidate with high level expertise and professional experience of relationship building, intelligence gathering and influencing EU institutions.

Deadline is 27 January 2014, see full add here

This is a new post at the Oxfam International EU Advocacy Office in Brussels, and the purpose of which is to work with Oxfam affiliates to develop our strategy to cultivate a closer partnership with the EU Institutions and identify and cultivate new funding opportunities that align with our strategic priorities, in order to increase the income of the Oxfam confederation. The post holder will also work to raise the profile of Oxfam’s development work with key EU staff and departments, and facilitate access to affiliate staff to key fora and opportunities related to their programmes.

Information provided by Oxfam