European Development Days

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European Development Days

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European Development Days

Verslag EDD – 6 en 7 december 2010 – Brussel

Jaarlijks worden de Europese Ontwikkelingsdagen (European Development Days – EDD) georganiseerd en vanwege het Belgisch voorzitterschap in de tweede helft van 2010 vond de editie EDD-2010 plaats in Brussel. De Vereniging van Vlaamse Steden en Gemeenten (VVSG) bevolkte samen met de Waalse (Union des Villes et Communes de Wallonie – UVCW) en de Brusselse collega’s (Association de la Ville et des Communes de Bruxelles – AVCB) een stand in het Belgisch paviljoen om informatie te verspreiden aan de deelnemers over gemeentelijke internationale samenwerking.

Tijdens de European Development Days worden heel wat debatten en workshops georganiseerd. Hieronder kan u een beperkt verslag terugvinden van enkele debatten en workshops, voor een meer uitgebreid verslag over de activiteiten kan u nog steeds terecht op de website van EDD:

Maandag 6 december
Structuring dialogue: cooperation of non state actors and government actors fur inclusive and sustainable development – Meeting room 204
The aim of the meeting was to present a new successful and democratic way to sustainable development such as the Programme South – South Cooperation on Sustainable Development (PSC) set up between Benin, Bhutan and Costa Rica (PSC). The Social Watch methodology to overcome poverty in developing countries was also presented during this meeting. Ms Marianella Feoli, Head of PSC Secretariat, Costa Rica and Mr Mathias K. Pofagi, Director National Mechanism, Benin presented their own experiences. The other Speakers were Roberto Bissio, Coordinator of Social Watch; Simon Stocker, Director of Eurostep, EU member of Social Watch and Aristoteles Bouratsis, Director of Thematic Operations from the European Commission (DEVCO). The meeting was chaired by Mirjam van Reisen, Director of EEPA.

With guiding principles such as equality; reciprocity and participation; PSC get out from North – South development stereotypes and emphasizes sustainable economic development, social justice, gender equality and environmental protection.

In this conference, the international network of citizens’ organizations, Social Watch, presented also its methodology to achieve its primary goal; the eradication of poverty. Through a better comprehensive strategy of advocacy, awareness-building, monitoring, organizational development and networking, Social Watch emphasises its strategy of building a true relationship with government in order to achieve economic, social and gender justice in developing countries.

The International Social Watch and European report 2010 were presented to Mr Bouratsis.

The overall meeting focused on initiatives aiming at cooperation and dialogue between Southern actors. The cases are resented in the context of the “Quadrilogue”, a consultation of the EC with non state actors in preparation of the Green Paper on Inclusive Growth and Sustainable Development. the “Quadrilogue” draft document was presented during the European Development Days conference on 7 December, provides a summary of the discussions and preliminary conclusions and recommendations arising from meetings held with stakeholders over the past nine months on complementarity and coherence within the aid effectiveness agenda and the roles and added-value of civil society organisations and local authorities.

The Europe External Policy Advisors (EEPA)

Social Watch

Democracy and human rights: clichés, hopes, and cynicism. Lessons from 15 years of EU Support – Copper Hall
- Moeilijk in Islamitische landen vb Afghanistan om human rights te verdedigen

- Groter risico om leven te verliezen

- wereld nu complexer dan voorheen, wel meer tools ter beschikking

- regeringen niet steeds bereid te luisteren naar stem van het volk, vb verkiezingen Ivoorkust

- netwerken nodig voor human rights defenders – om snel en sterk te kunnen reageren

- corruptive: mensen laten zwijgen door functies aan te bieden – angst om iets te zeggen

- wetten worden vaak niet toegepast

- international community doet te weinig

- Eu politiek geeft middelen om te overleven, maar doet niets met rapporten over situaties ivm human rights – zeer frustrerend

- Indigenous people – is about land, culture, language and self-determination – people still die defending their land in Argentina

- Human rights – democracy – development: synergy between those 3
Are justice and reconciliation compatible? 64% yes, 25% no, 1% no comment.

Peace without justice and justice without equality is not possible.

Justice is needed before reconciliation.

History has to be recognized – can be difficult to get all sides to agree to one version.

Are elections creating expectations that cannot be met? 74% yes, 23% no, 3% no comment

“politicians make promises that their voters have to fulfill”

Verwachtingen van de mensen zeer hoog.

Are elections free and fair? – observers – fail to fulfill hopes on recommendations.

Is it possible for the EU not to have a human rights policy? 8% yes, 91% no, 1% no comment
Morgan Tsvangirai – situatie Botswana is nu beter – expect dignity – growth for themselves

Leaders don’t want to give up leadership – how to turn around this mentality?

Economy developed without democracy?
Benevolent dictatorship – human dignity – no excuse.
Solidarity needed for people in struggle for freedom.

Freedom comes from the people themselves. They know what is best for them.


Twee YouTube-filmpjes over het gebrek aan mensenrechten en persvrijheid
Better service delivery through improved governance – Silver Hall
Professionalize the auditors

Need for transfer of knowledge and expertise on how to do audits. It is precisely in this area that Europe can contribute to development.

Need to publish audit reports: public finance is an issue for all, it needs to be transparent and accessible to the whole society
Link between public budget transparency and service delivery

Budget transparency is a pre-condition for monitoring service delivery. The government is to be held accountable for service delivery to its population. The budget is a crucial instrument to analyze where public money is spent on. For countries that are dependent on aid transparency can be achieved at low cost: financial reports for donors should be put on the internet so that at least that information can be used internally, and not only for the donors.

Participative budgeting

At local level citizens can better follow what is happening with public finance. It is very important that local authorities become acquainted with instruments such as participative budgeting. In the case of donor money, citizens of the receiving country do not count as the accountability is provided to foreign donors, foreign enterprises, …

If there is a better system of taxation the corruption will decrease. In Africa, there is a saying underlining the importance of collective public goods: those have to kept for the community.
Budget support

In the receiving countries more effort should be made on the fight against corruption and upgrading of control by national parliaments.

The World Bank is experimenting with a system of geo-coding. This means that google maps are used to make investments (in infrastructure, schools, ..) visible. The World Bank also uses a mix of smaller scale community driven development projects and budget support. The advantage of community driven development is the stronger control at local level. Good governance at all levels is crucial, but it cannot be imposed from the outside, it has to be secured from the inside, within the country itself.
Assistance versus partnership

There is a need to move away from ‘assistance’ and to engage in real partnership. Donors should not interfere with the policy ie support for health, for education, … but should put ‘governance’ upfront as a primordial condition for receiving aid. It is essential to know how the budget system in a given country works and how that system can be used for accountability. Apart from the budget system, the judiciary system has to be just and fair.

Dinsdag 7 december
EU Development Policy in the next financial framework. What financial tools? – ARC Auditorium
What are the main points for action in 2013?

  1. Incentives for regional integration in Africa combining aid policy with trade policy

  2. Rational mix of grants and loans provided by EIB and by EU

  3. More differentiation and more focus on Africa post 2013

  4. Maximum use of instruments (public consultation for EU budget post 2013)

  5. Support for the private sector

Support to low-income countries

  • Need for a new architecture for development including a mix of grants and loans whereby loans should not lead to a problem of debts that cannot be repaid. However, there are two hurdles that need to be tackled. At political level (national), first, borrowed money should be put into investments and secondly, borrowed money should be invested in productive investments as to create a return into the country.

  • Service delivery should be focused on health, education, … but it needs to be scaled-up, NOT following the European state models. The basic services should be delivered by structures that do work such as churches, NGO’s, … adapted to the context of the country itself.

  • Incentives for action to promote regional integration have to be made available. A comparison with the success of the cohesion funds for European integration tackling the regional disparities can be a source of inspiration.

  • In fragile states it is necessary to invest in keeping peace and security instead of investing into development. Also, every country requires a tailor-made approach: financial instruments should be adapted to the specificity of each country ie budget support to low-income countries versus loans to middle-income countries.

Development versus defending EU’s own interests

  • Development is the ownership of the country itself: respect for sovereignty is crucial and is a guarantee for accountability to the population. The question can be raised how to use ‘bad’ money ie money that is not matching the needs of the country itself in an adequate way? Country lead development should be conditionality for EU (financial) support.

  • In development, in particular for the poorest countries, there is a mix of genuine compassion and enlightened self-interest. Africa has all the potential of a new emerging market for the EU (ie in retail, in a wide range of economic activities): it is a very important ‘new’ neighbor of EU. The EIB has a long term interest in Africa and investments should be made from a point of view of mutual interests.

Regional approach

In comparison with the BRIC-countries the African countries have a problem of economy of scale. Private investors are mostly interested in large investments, but the average size of population in most African countries is around 20 million people. So projects (from the point of view of private investors) are too small or not ‘bankable’. Therefore, regional cooperation might be a solution. A project like the Single Market in the EU could be very valuable for Africa as well. However, there is reluctance towards regional cooperation for historical and political reasons combined with the problem that countries have an important revenue from border taxes and customs ‘rights.


Moving away from policy conditionality – that is the responsibility of countries themselves – towards governance conditionality. Focus needs to be on results, not on how you do it.

It is essential to have a thorough dialogue beforehand in order to define projects and programs. Ex-post monitoring is of no use in fragile countries. Money must be spent in an effective way so ex-ante systems that work, have to elaborated.
Convincing the public

EU support to developing countries suffers from lack of visibility. It is fragmented and sometimes goes against the interests of the Member States who want to highlight their own efforts in a given country. There is also a certain ‘pudeur’ of Europeans not too push too much forward their support (ie in comparison with the USA that make their help very visible in the media). It is very important to keep organizing public debates on how aid for development is used and spent. It is important to give the message that development support is about ‘intelligent generosity’ with eyes wide open (not being naive). Good stories about successes need to be told and advertised avoiding the trap of charity and aid. ‘Who owns development?’ is a question that needs to be asked.

Do Europeans care about the rest of the world? – Auditorium 400
Ambitious development policies are not enough: to build a just and sustainable world, responsible and engaged Europeans are needed! However, while public surveys repeatedly show high support to development, the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals is far off track, also due to failed commitments by the donor countries.

“If the world changes it is because citizens are engaged and aware”, said Eva Joly, MEP, in October 2009 during the event “European Citizens as catalysts for change”. Are we on the right track? Are EU citizens really making the difference?

The theme of international solidarity and EU citizens will be tackled on Tuesday December 7th, during the high level panel “ Do Europeans Care about the Rest of the World?” organised by the European Multi-stakeholder group on Development Education (MSH), taking place in the frame of the European Development Days.

Following an introduction by a member of the MSH, high level panellists, coming from the academia, governments and civil society, will assess if, and how much EU citizens care about the rest of the world, and which is the best way to empower them on solidarity.

The European Commission will also take part to the event and will take the opportunity to launch the “Study on the Experience and Actions of the Main European Actors Active in the Field of Development Education and Awareness Raising” (“DEAR Study”) which contains concrete policy proposals to strengthen its development education policy and involvement of Europeans with the development agenda.

From theory to practice : the high level panel will be closed with the World Aware Education Awards, highlighting three exemplary development education projects, as an illustration of what can be done concretely to mobilise European citizens’ support for global development.

The MSH is a group of representatives from civil society, national governments, international and European organisations. The group released in 2007 “the European Consensus on Development: the contribution of Development Education and Awareness Raising” and in 2010 “the European Development Education Monitoring Report (DE Watch)”.

Developing Europeans’ Engagement for the Eradication of Global Poverty (DEEEP)
The special challenges of the least developed countries – Gold Hall
Bevolkingsgroei = grote uitdaging.

Exportmogelijkheden moeten groeien.

400 miljoen mensen in armoede in de ‘least developed countries’ (LDC’s). Vrede, veiligheid en stabiliteit spelen hierin een grote rol.

Nastreven MDG’s zeer belangrijk – productiviteit en capaciteit kan alleen wanneer infrastructuur aanwezig is.

Climate change is extra probleem.

Economie stimuleren door verschillende maatregelen.

Missing link between aid and trade is capacity to produce.
Veel geld van Eu naar LDC’s, maar helpt niet. Waarom? Focus op human development, urgent interventions, faiblesse du people/institutions dans pays pauvres.
Sterke staat nodig om vrije markt-economie te stimuleren.

Zonder economische groei geen ontwikkeling.

Macht van het volk respecteren.
Human development index: op lange termijn is veel verbetering merkbaar – optimistisch.

Inclusieve groei! Investeren in gezondheid, opvoeding, vrouwen, plattelandsontwikkeling…

Voedselhulp is structureel geworden – mensen ervan afhankelijk.

“Tirany of averages” – investeren in opvoeding – “tirany of vulnerabilities”

Kwijtschelding van schulden is noodzakelijk.
Open markt – subsidies vervormen alles.

Failliet van ontwikkelingssamenwerking: wat wordt uitgegeven aan OS in het Noorden is niet hetzelfde als wat in het Zuiden terechtkomt.

Afrika kan EU niet blijven beschuldigen voor alles wat fout gaat – moeten geloven in eigen capaciteiten – moeten “volwassen” worden – zelf in actie schieten – zelf infrastructuur voorzien voor ontwikkeling
Media and Development – Auditorium 300
Media zijn het eerste slachtoffer bij crisismomenten of achteruitgang in een samenleving, maar hebben ze ook een rol te spelen in ontwikkeling? Ja, media hebben een belangrijke rol in het kader van democratie maar ook over beeldvorming/sensibilisatie over het Zuiden. Laatste jaren zijn de media steeds meer ‘gemondialiseerd’ en komt dit mondiaal aspect veel vaker naar boven.

Media-regulator wordt gedurende de workshop onderstreept als een belangrijk onderdeel in het medialandschap, bv bij de verspreiding van verkiezingsuitslagen. Discussie over de concepten ‘Freedom of press/expression’ vs ‘individuele/collectieve rechten’. De regulator moet echter wel geheel onafhankelijk kunnen werken (anders heeft een regulator geen zin).

Is ontwikkeling mogelijk zonder communicatie of vrije media? Voorbeelden van Saudi-Arabië en Singapore – met een toch iets beperktere persvrijheid – worden aangehaald. Hier mag geen systematische link gezien worden. Bovendien hebben we het hier enkel over economische ontwikkeling, niet over het humanitair aspect (cf mensenrechten).

De workshop had het ook over de mediatisering van grote natuurrampen, cf tsunami en Haïti. Maar hoe komt het dat voor Haïti er bijzonder veel aandacht was, terwijl de ramp in Pakistan wel besproken werd maar waar geen ‘hype’ rond onstond? Aanwezige journalisten hebben het daarbij vooral over de betere mogelijkheden (technisch) in Haïti om uitzendingen te verzorgen.

Laatste tegenstelling: de ‘klassieke’ journalistiek vs de ‘nieuwe journalisten’, in de laatste categorie de vrijwilligers die via blogs boodschappen de wereld insturen. Zijn op zich geen journalisten maar brengen wel een andere boodschap dan bv de staatsmedia (China en de winnaar van de Nobelprijs voor de Vrede).

Verslag European Development Days - /

  • Maandag 6 december
  • Dinsdag 7 december

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