On March 13 to 15, more than 130 representatives of civil society organizations (CSO), local authorities (LA), professional and business associations as well as European Union (EU) and Member States representatives gathered in Brussels for the 7th edition of the Global Meeting of the Policy Forum on Development (PFD). Established in 2013, the Policy Forum on Development is a strategical dialogue in the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals and an opportunity for the participants to increase visibility, exchange knowledge and best practices, streamline processes, enrich experiences while strengthening civil society dialogue space.
This year, the dialogue focused on the role of partnerships in the 2030 Agenda implementation specifically the environmental and climate components, the key issues affecting the global development agenda implementation and corresponding EU policies. These include the Multiannual Financial Framework (MFF) and the proposal for a new Neighborhood, Development and International Cooperation Instrument (NDICI).
The global and regional networks that have ongoing Framework Partnership Agreements (FPA) with the European Commission, among whom Forus, have officially integrated the PFD in 2019. Structured in 3 days composed of complementary sessions and peer-to-peer learning workshops, the Policy Forum on Development started with a session dedicated to the challenges of partnerships in the strengthening of 2030 Agenda implementation and working group discussions on mechanisms to improve Framework Partnership Agreement (FPA) signatories engagement and relationship with EU Delegations regarding the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG).
Forus’ Chair and Director, as well as few members such as REPONGAC, PIANGO, MESA were very involved in these sessions as co-organizers or speakers,and seized these opportunities to put forward key messages. In the first panel of the PFD, Forus Chair Iara Pietricovsky highlighted the critical role that civil society and local authorities have at local level in achieving a fair and sustainable development for all, leaving no one behind. In light of the shrinking space for civil society which is a growing trend internationally, Forus believes the opportunities presented by the implementation of Agenda 2030 to strengthen civil society globally must be seized, in order to enable it to respond collectively to the challenges it faces. Forus is also pushing for the creation of official spaces for meaningful CSO participation within official regional and international forums, and use them to promote the exchange of ideas, tools and resources related to capacity development between CSOs and with other stakeholders involved in the implementation of the Agenda 2030.
As one of the FPAs with members in around 70 countries, Forus has been a strong voice asking for a more structured political dialogue with both the European Commission’s Headquarters but also with the EU Delegations (EUDs) throughout the world. Key recommendations of the discussions focusing on the engagement with EUDs include : the European Commission to send strategic policy guidance to EUDs on relations with FPAs; EUDs to involve civil society and local authorities in dialogue to design, implement, monitor and follow-up political processes involving various stakeholders; proper hand-over mechanisms in the European Commission and EUDs.; civil society and local authorities to have more joint initiatives at national and regional levels with EU Delegations.
Forus highlighted the importance of multi-stakeholder platforms such as the PFD as the strength of how the EU Partnerships with CSOs and LAs can be the tool to achieve the 2030 Agenda.
Forus will continue to work with all of its civil society & institutional partners at global, regional and national levels to make sure that this important work is properly resourced and supported.