Intercultural approach for development cooperation and partnership
Cultural diversity lies at the heart of development cooperation. From EU Delegations to Headquarters, every day we encounter people of different cultural backgrounds and identities.
How can we enhance working relations among colleagues and sections within EU Delegations? How can we better engage in cooperation with the partner government and other stakeholders? How do we create the best conditions for dialogue on challenging topics?
Since 2016, DG DEVCO has been developing an intercultural approach to better deal with cultural diversity and its daily impact on business processes management.
This approach provides an intercultural way of thinking, working and acting by accounting for the different cultural belongings and experiential knowledge, helping in the long run improve the relationships with colleagues and, eventually, partners.
This approach was piloted in the EU Delegation to Lao PDR in two steps:
An internal preparation: First, a workshop was held for Delegation staff, involving everyone from the driver to the Head of Delegation. With the use of practical tools, this workshop transformed the way that colleagues internally manage the professional relationships, prepare and hold meetings, support a higher participation of the staff in the strategic discussions and reflect on the Delegation mission statement with a more intercultural awareness. It enhanced trust, cohesion, commitment and thus effectiveness in their daily work.
An external capacity: Second, a year after the first workshop, the Delegation refreshed the concepts and tools for its staff and involved newcoming staff in the exercise. This built the base for a coordination workshop with key Ministries from the Lao Government. This one-day workshop helped build respect, recognition, ownership and trust for an improved mutual understand and working partnership between the Delegation and the Lao government.
As follow-up activity, the EU Delegation is now busy in developing new applications of the intercultural approach to the daily challenges they have to cope with, such as the dialogue with EU Member States on joint programming and several other actions with external stakeholders.
Looking back, this pilot showcased the potential of the Intercultural Approach to enhance the working relations in the Delegation, transform policy dialogue with the partner government and strengthen the joint programming exercise, as well as the operational interventions for a more efficient EU cooperation.
Watch the video to learn more about the Intercultural Approach Laboratories organised in Lao PDR and the EU Delegation's experience of adapting the Intercultural Approach.