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4. Add comments on Component 2: Strengthening CSO and LA networks

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Laetitia Ricklin11 October 2012

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  • The programme will focus on supporting CSO and LA networks in order to enhance their representation, internal communication, coordination and collaboration to contribute effectively to policy dialogue on development-related issues at regional and global level.
  • It will seek to strengthen networks' engagement with decision makers and political leaders from partner countries and the EU itself. CSO/LA networks' role in capitalisation and sharing of lessons learnt - among European CSOs/LAs, Southern CSOs/LAs and between them - is considered of vital importance in this regard.
  • The programme will seek to support Southern CSO and LA networks to engage with relevant supranational organisations, regional institutions and other relevant stakeholders, and to contribute to regional and global policy debates.
  • The programme will also seek to strengthen European CSO platforms, including their capacity to build transnational alliances, to coordinate and collaborate, and to actively engage in advocacy and contribute to EU development policy processes.
  • The programme will support the capacity and representativeness of CSO and LAs networks in view of their participation in dialogues linked to the EU Policy Forum on Development.

The last decades have seen a substantial increase of regional, international and global networks and platforms of CSOs and also of LAs, articulating and advancing global norms concerning issues as diverse as health, trade, human rights, migration, global justice, climate change aid effectiveness. Facilitated by the rapid evolution of information and communication technology and mirroring emerging transnational and regional governance structures, different actors around the world are extending their contacts across national borders. They are playing a pivotal role in linking local concerns and priorities, often caused by global challenges such as climate change, to regional and global dialogues and debates, including at EU level. In this regard, European CSOs can play an important role in promoting networking and coordination at different levels and in linking their local partners to global networks and ultimately to global policy debates.

With a view to enhance CSOs' and LAs' contributions to policy development and thinking, the programme intends to strengthen transnational alliances and as well as initiatives for dialogue, exchange, networking and dissemination of good practices. The programme will particularly consider the role of CSO and LA networks in relation to policy debates at the European level, promoting structured dialogue among CSO and LA networks and between them and EU institutions.

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Comments

On behalf of the EU environmental platform (Green10 + IUCN):

The European Commission should define what they mean by “network”. We believe that family organisations are networks indeed and believe that they should not be excluded from the definition of networks. Family organisations should be recognised for their specific added-value inherent to their organisational structure. 

The focus on supporting networks should allow for the creation of new networks as well as support to existing networks. The EU should consider support to both formal (with legal personality) and informal networks (without legal personality) at national, regional and global level. It should respect the right of initiative of those networks and as such the support of the EC to the networks should not be bound to only policy debates or sharing of lessons learnt. Networks should be free to propose specific areas of focus that are most relevant according to the local, regional and global needs of those networks.

We believe that the EC should also support thematic networks because such specificity can also be extremely effective.  Thematic networks also allow for networks to operate across regions and encourage opportunities for south-south, north-south learning.  

CONCORD's comments on component 2:

In CONCORD’s view there is a clear added value of multi-country operations, and not only on networks. Although we strongly support the need to strengthen southern networks, if we want to have strong CSO networks able to interact at policy level with relevant institutions and donors at the end, we first need to build them. Having a legally formalised autonomous network is the very end of the process, and does not reflect the reality of the organisations with which we work with today.

Moreover, we build both informal and formal partnerships which result in networks based on our area of expertise, leading to the creation of thematic networks. This component should rather focus on multistakeholder partnerships rather than formal networks, and should trigger dynamic and innovative partnerships to work on complex integrated issues. Multistakeholder partnerships do not need to be formalised into official networks. There should be space for creation and innovation. Networks based on an area of expertise can develop into various geographic directions, including southern, northern and other countries. A minimum or maximum number of “network” members for a specific action (or call) do not make sense, as it contravenes the bottom-up idea of growing networks.

Furthermore, it is not really defined what the EC means by network. In the last multi-country call for proposals, the EC excluded family organisations from the definition of network. We believe that family organisations are networks indeed, and that they have a specific added-value, and therefore believe they should not be excluded from the definition of networks.

Suggestion: CSO and LA Networks should be changed to Cross border cooperation and networks. We would like to see support to cross border cooperation and networks, not just exclusively networks.  We would like CSOs to cooperate across borders on issues of common concern, not just on policy debates. This cooperation cannot just be limited to non-thematic issues. The MIP should also mention the possibility to have international cooperation (EU-Southern CSOs) and acknowledge that not all EU CSOs work according to the partnership model. The EC should respect the Right of Initiative for those EU CSOs that are directly operational in southern countries.

PLATFORMA COMMENTS

English and French versions of the note differ on this component. LRAs networks are missing in some parts of this component. We urge the Commission to make corrections and circulate the right version in both languages so that comments are made properly.

We are proposing the following modifications:

  • Quoted issues of cooperation: health, trade, human rights, migration, global justice, climate change, food safety, aid effectiveness.
  • In this regard, European CSOs and European LAs can play an important role in promoting networking and coordination at different levels and in linking their local partners to global networks and to global policy debates.
  • Strengthened CSO and LA coordination at regional and global level  
  • The programme will also seek to strengthen European CSO and European LA platforms, including their capacity to build transnational alliances, to coordinate and collaborate, and to actively engage in advocacy and contribute to EU development policy processes.

In terms of supporting LRAs networks, the programme should aim to grant multiannual institutional programmes in order to reinforce the networks’ representativeness, capacities and advocacy.

We believe important to support actions aiming to contribute to the EU development agenda, and cooperation between CSOs and LAs.

While we believe important to support networks at regional, EU and global level, and in light of our comment above on the important support to European actors, clarification on the budget allocation would be necessary given that the ambition is higher than in the former NSA-LA programme with roughly an unchanging budget allocation.

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