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Regions & Countries
Roadmaps as a future programming tool for Member States
An interview with Cornelius Hacking of the Netherlands Ministry of Foreign Affairs
Some twenty five percent of the Official Development Assistance (ODA) budget of the Netherlands goes to or through Civil Society Organisations. Sometimes this is distributed directly by the Dutch embassies in partner countries, or by central thematic programmes. A third way is by capacity building programmes like the future programme “Dialogue and Dissent,” established to support lobby and advocacy activities of CSOs in partner countries, starting from 2016.
Cornelius Hacking of the Netherlands Ministry of Foreign Affairs has high hopes of the Roadmaps for engagement with Civil Society. “I hope we can start using the Roadmaps in the near future. We hope to use them to analyse the situation in the country, to see what are the most important issues and, very important, also learn what other countries are doing in a specific country. If we know all this, we will be able to adapt our programming where necessary in order to avoid we are supporting areas that might not be so effective, or areas that are already covered by others.
At the moment we are very concerned about the enabling environment for CSOs. Their space to operate in is shrinking: in a growing number of countries they are facing more and more obstacles, for example by the introduction of new laws against CSOs. This is for example the case in Russia and Egypt. But also in South Sudan and a number of other partner countries of EU Member States it is not allowed anymore or very diffficult to receive money from abroad, therefore making external funding for CSOs impossible.”
“Now that a number of Roadmaps are finalised” Hacking continues, “we ask our embassies specifically to indicate, in their annual plans and reports, what they do or how they have engaged with the EU Country Roadmap. I would call upon all Member States to do the same, to ensure that they take good note of the importance of the Roadmaps. Our Ministry knows that most of our embassies have been involved in the development of the Roadmaps. But so far we have not seen it back in our programming yet. But I definitely hope that this will be the case in the near future. We also hope that the Roadmaps will play an important role in strengthening the enabling environments; for this we find it important that Roadmaps are publicly available. And where this is difficult or where Roadmaps are restricted, it should be ensured that there is an adapted public version available, not only for us, but also for the CSOs in our partner countries.”