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PFD Africa
Between 8 and 10 October 2018, representatives of civil society organisations, the private sector and local authorities from across Africa gathered in Gaborone for the third Regional Meeting Africa of the Policy Forum on Development (PFD).
In recent years, an increase in authoritarian regimes and the introduction of restrictive laws have resulted in a shrinking space for civil society in over a hundred countries. Engaging civil society actors at the international level and including their say in development policies can counter these worrying trends.
Forum members sit down for a discussion
The Policy Forum on Development (PFD) provides a platform for members of civil society, local authorities, the private sector and European institutions to shape development policies together. The first European Regional Meeting in Ghent in January 2018 provided a chance for a discussion on what works – and what doesn’t – laying the groundwork for new partnerships in pursuit of shared objectives.
What Makes a Good Life?
According to organisers of a recent conference in Munich, Europe could learn a lot from the indigenous communities around the world on how to effectively tackle climate change.
puppet show india
EU bilateral assistance to India is being completed, but cooperation continues on many levels, as Johann Hesse outlines. In this wide-ranging interview the Head of EU Cooperation reflects on lessons learned and the path ahead, including the crucial role to be played by civil society. In neighbouring Bhutan, he considers the impact of the country’s Gross National Happiness approach; and outlines EU support in areas from public financial management to climate change adaptation.
The Philippines, comprising over 7,000 Pacific islands, has wide gaps in living standards and opportunities and faces numerous development challenges. EU Ambassador Franz Jessen explains how the EU is working with the Duterte administration on areas such as human rights, health and law and order.
South Africa is sometimes known as “the gay heaven” of Africa, where same-sex marriage is legal and human rights for all are enshrined in the post-Apartheid Constitution. But there is a gulf between the legal framework and the LGBTI community’s lived experience. Discrimination and brutal hate crimes continue, especially in rural areas. ZwaKala is an EU-funded programme implemented by Iranti-org which builds local capacity to document and report on hate crimes and human rights violations.
Zambia can sound like a success. One of sub-Saharan Africa’s fastest-growing economies – with an average annual expansion of 3% between 2004 and 2013 – it was classed by the World Bank as a lower-middle-income country in 2011.
Groups representing citizen interests around the world are under pressure. Funding cuts and restrictive laws are curtailing their freedom to operate, and many participants at the 2016 Policy Forum on Development (PFD) and Civil Society Organisations (CSO) Forum spoke of a ‘shrinking space’ in which they could work. They called for EU support to strengthen their position and help them achieve sustainable development on a local level.
16-year-old Astghik is an old hand at civic engagement. For the past four years she has been working with fellow citizens and World Vision Armenia to improve local services in Yerevan, with tangible results. Can examples like hers be scaled up across countries, and give citizens everywhere an active role in making sure the Sustainable Development Goals are achieved?

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