Between the 3rd and 4th of December 2014, TRIALOG partners met in Sliema, Malta, for the last Partner and Strategy meeting of the current TRIALOG phase.
The Partner Meeting on the 3rd of December was an excellent opportunity for TRIALOG partners to review together the successes and challenges encountered since their last meeting in December 2013.
As TRIALOG in its current formula is coming to an end, partners and consortium members jointly looked at ways forward and how to make the best out of the last project year in TRIALOG V, particularly in the context of the European Year for Development – the perfect time to remind national governments and citizens why development work is important and the significant role the CSOs play in this context.
After looking back at the most recent experience in platform building – the Croatian NDGOs platform – CROSOL, partners, together with guests from Serbia and Macedonia, explored ways of using the rich TRIALOG experience and expertise in building and supporting national NDGO platforms, in support of CSOs from accession and candidate countries in the Western Balkans.
On the 4th of December, participants had the chance to get some insights from the experience of two national platforms: LAPAS (Latvia) and SKOP (Malta).
Inese Vaivare from LAPAS shared with the TRIALOG partners some of the lessons learned while preparing for the implementation of the Presidency project (as Latvia will hold the presidency of the EU Council in 2015), but also general insight gathered over the years by LAPAS, as a national platform. From her perspective, the presidency project is a great opportunity for a national platform to raise awareness on issues of priority, as well as to invest in the future, but with this opportunity comes the challenge of maintaining the relations and links as well as new staff brought in for the project beyond the project duration.
SKOP, on the other hand, proposed a question to the partners: how to keep members engaged? The conclusion of the discussion emphasised the need to justify the relevance of the platform for its members – if member organisations can identify a clear benefit from being part of a platform, they will remain engaged. The practical ways and mechanisms of showing the relevance of a platform for its members remain still an open question.
The second half of the Strategy meeting was dedicated to discussions on the European Year for Development.
A panel discussion was organised with representatives of the Maltese MFA and MEUSAC (Malta-EU Steering & Action Committee), as well a TRIALOG platform representatives from Croatia and Czech Republic. The questions addressed to the panel were connected to the challenges in the implementation of the EYD2015, as well as what success would look like at the end of the year. In terms of challenges, Pavel Pribl from FoRS (CZ) highlighted the fragmentation of the different actors involved, as well as the different understanding of the issues connected to development cooperation. This was also seen as a challenge by Mr. Vanni Xuereb, representative of MEUSAC. For him, the challenge of all stakeholders working together during the EYD is the most exciting challenge concerning the year.
A huge success at the end of the year would be, as expressed by Gordan Bosanac (CROSOL – HR), if the development cooperation policy would be as strong as the austerity measures and migration policies.
Photo: TRIALOG, Experience sharing Western Balkans group
Information provided by Iulia Jolley-Socea, TRIALOG