Briefing session for parliamentarians and policy makers – Post Copenhagen: Practical Consequences for Europe – 23 March 2010

February 23, 2010 at 3:13 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

On Tuesday 23 March 2010 a briefing session for parliamentarians and policy makers will take place at the Residence Palace in Brussels. The objectives of the session are threefold: (1) to provide a review of what came out of Copenhagen and a look forward to the key challenges and the different options for moving ahead towards COP16 in Mexico, (2) to understand the potential role the EU can play in this proces and (3) to identify the practical implications for the EU’s external relations policy. If you want to know more about the briefing session please click here for the background and (draft) programme including key note speakers.


Fourth Vijverberg Session – Food

September 15, 2009 at 2:40 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Fourth Vijverberg Session on Food

Rabobank Representation in the Netherlands, Korte Vijverberg 2, The Hague, 22 September 2009

The sharp price increases for raw materials, energy and food have direct consequences for the relative positions of countries on the economic world map as well as for their development perspectives. The substantial increase of renewable energy in the US and EU are reflected in the prices on the different markets. Biofuels compete with food and feed (meat production) for scarce resources, cross-integrating the global market. The markets for raw materials, energy and food are increasingly influenced by (geo-) political framework conditions at the international level.

The Session

To elaborate on these issues, the focus of the fourth Vijverberg Session was specifically on the issue of Food. To kick off the discussion, short introductions to the subject were given in a presentation by Mr. Shenggen Fan, Director of Development Strategy and Governance Division at IFPRI, followed by comments from Emeritus Professor Arie Kuyvenhoven from the Wageningen University. After the introduction the chair of the session Gerrit Meester opened the floor for the discussion among the participants around the table. The outcomes of this session, as well as the conclusions and recommendations will result in a report, which will be made available on this website in the coming weeks.



Shenggen Fan, Ensuring Global Food Security, Presentation held at SID Vijverberg Session on Food, The Hague, 22 September 2009

Arie Kuyvenhoven, Food, Fuels and Finance. Some comments, Presentation held at SID Vijverberg Session on Food, The Hague, 22 september 2009

Third Vijverberg Session – Climate Change and Migration

March 3, 2009 at 10:12 am | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Third Vijverberg Session on Climate Change and Migration

EC Representation in The Netherlands, Korte Vijverberg 5, The Hague, 20 January 2009 – Introduction Paper – Report

Even though the climate change has been widely discussed for a number of years the humanitarian consequences have not been given enough attention. It is very difficult to predict what would be the exact number of people affected but is suggested even at the recent conference in Poznan that  by the middle of this century up to 250 million people may be displaced due to extreme weather conditions.


Despite the many uncertainties, one thing seems to be clear,  due to climate change, the lives of many people will be so much affected that they will have to migrate, either in their own country or to another country. It seems therefore necessary that in current discussions on policies and responses of adaptation, mitigation, technology, financing and a shared vision for a new climate change regime, also people displacement and migration related to climate change should be given sufficient attention.

The Session

On Tuesday, the 20th of January, the third Vijverberg Session on Climate Change and Migration took place at the European Commission Representation in the Netherlands, in the Hague.

A select group of participants from different groups of stakeholders were invited to discuss the problems regarding climate change and forced migration. An expert panel of three speakers enthusiastically shared their views on the issues in short presentations to kick off the discussion. Dr. Frank Laczko from IOM and Vikram Kolmannskog from the Norwegian Refugee Council both shared in their presentations the European angle to the current debate. The mayor of Dar es Salaam, Mr. Adam Kimbisa gave us a southern perspective on the issues. The chair of the session, Mr. Jos van Gennip, afterwards led the discussion  between the different groups of stakeholders .The outcomes of the session, as well as the conclusions and recommendations will result in a report. The report will be made available on our website.



Adam Kimbisa, Climate Change and Migration: Perspective of the Big Cities in Southern Countries, Presentation held at SID Vijverberg Session on Climate Change and Migration, The Hague, 20th January 2009 

Vikram Kolmannskog, Climate Change-related Displacement and the European Response, Paper presented at SID Vijverberg Session on Climate Change and Migration, The Hague, 20th January 2009 


  Further reading

 UN High Commissioner for Refugees, Climate Change, Natural Disasters and Human Displacement: A UNHCR Perspective, 23 October 2008.

Graeme Hugo, Migration, Development and Environment, IOM MRS 35 November 2008

Renaud et al., Control, Adapt or Flee: How to Face Environmental Migration?, InterSecTions, United Nations University, UNU-EHS,  N°5 2007. 

Climate Change and Displacement, Forced Migration Review, 31 October 2008. (thanks to

Committee on Migration, Refugees and Population, Environmentally Induced Migration and Displacement, preliminary draft report.  Rapporteur: Mrs. Acketoft, Sweden, ALDE 2 December 2008.


For more information please contact the SID secretariat at





Second Vijverberg Session – Water

November 25, 2008 at 11:15 am | Posted in Scarcities | Leave a comment
Second Vijverberg Session on Water – Rabobank, Korte Vijverberg 2, The Hague, 11 November 2008- Report-Vijverberg Water



On 11 November 2008 the second Vijverberg Session took place in the Hague, this time with the theme Water. A group of 30 participants discussed the problems that developing countries are facing with regard to water and sanitation. The Session was organised in cooperation with initiators of the Water Footprint Network as WWF, UNESCO-IHE and the University of Twente. Derk Kuiper, executive director of the Water Footprint Network, gave a kick-off presentation to the topic. Hammad Naqi Khan, Freshwater and Toxics Programme at WWF Pakistan, gave a presentation on a project concerning water saving in cotton production that WWF is currently undertaking in cooperation with IKEA in Pakistan. Afterwards, the session was open for discussion. Johan van de Gronden, executive director of the WWF Netherlands, chaired the discussion. 



Background of the Vijverberg Session on Water

Europe plays an increasingly important role at the global level, therefore the Netherlands should as a part of the European Union be increasingly aware of this important role. Yet, there is neither enough knowledge nor enough attention on the part of the Netherlands to the European international policies and the outcomes of it. The aim of the Vijverberg Sessions is to engage in cross sector dialogue and critically reflect on – and contribute to – European policies regarding global issues and international relations. As such, the sessions are also meant as a vehicle to actively involve Dutch stakeholders in European policy making, in particular with regard to North-South relations.


The scarcities of water, food and energy have direct consequences for the relative position of countries on the economic as well as the geopolitical world map. Shifts in the economic domain do not fail to have their impact on international relations. Water is by far not a new scarcity, yet in the current changing political as well as natural environment water has become an increasingly vulnerable one. Michel Camdessus, former managind director of IMF, illustrated the urgency of the water scarcity at the SID conference in September 2008 by saying that “in the next 50 years, half of mankind will face water stress. […] No one is in charge. Water is still an orphan in the international development community”.



The first Vijverberg Session took place in May 2008 with as theme Energy, the third and fourth Sessions will most probably take place in January 2009, respectively on the theme Food, and Climate Change and Migration.

The EU, Africa and China: opportunities and challenges of a trilateral cooperation

October 7, 2008 at 3:07 pm | Posted in EU External Relations, Parliamentarians | Leave a comment
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EDC 2020 Briefing for Parliamentarians and Policy Makers – Report

29 October 2008, Brussels/Belgium

Within the EDC 2020 project SID European Programme organised the above briefing. Together with our panelists we have discussed the European Commission Communication on “The EU, Africa and China: Towards a trilateral dialogue and cooperation on peace, stability and sustainable development”, which was issued on 15 October 2009 as well as what further opportunities and challenges may occur and what they imply for political decision-making, policy-making and research.

Opening: Jos van Gennip, President Society for International Development Netherlands (SID)
Panel Chair: Sven Grimm, Researcher, German Development Institute / Deutsches Institut für Entwicklungspolitik (DIE)
Uwe Wissenbach, Coordinator for Africa-China relations, European Commission, DG Development
Helmut Reisen, Research Director, OECD Development Centre
Prof. Dr. Xuewu Gu, Director, Institute of East Asian Studies, Ruhr-Universität Bochum
Senator Rene van der Linden
, Chair of the Committee for European Cooperation, Dutch Senate The briefing is particularly intended to facilitate interaction between parliamentarians, researchers and policy-makers.

The report and more background information is to be found on the website of EDC 2020.

SID Vijverberg Sessions – “The European Agenda on International Cooperation; contribution of the Dutch with regard to emerging global scarcities and power shifts”

June 25, 2008 at 8:15 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment
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First Vijverberg Session on Energy – Rabobank, Korte Vijverberg 2, The Hague, 20 May 2008

Read the full Report of the discussion which took place as a part of the first SID Vijverberg Session focused on the issue of Energy. The session was attended by some 30 participants, experts on the issue of energy from the different stakeholder groups. In order to stimulate the debate and give food for thought the session was open with two presentation, first by Aad van Bohemen, Head Emergency Planning and Operations International Energy Agency and second by Christian Egenhofer, Senior Research Fellow at CEPS. The presentations were folowwed by lively and interesting debate, report of which will soon be posted on this website. The background paper for the session”Two sides of the same coin? Securing European energy supplies with internal and external policies” was prepared by CEPS, SID’s partner in the session on Energy.

The Vijverberg sessions are ‘’fireplace sessions’’ organised by SID Netherlands Chapter and the European programme in cooperation with theme specific partners that bring together a limited number of selected participants to engage in cross sector dialogue, with the aim to critically reflect on – and contribute to – European policies regarding global issues and international relations.As such, the sessions are also meant as a vehicle to actively involve Dutch stakeholders in European policy making, in particular with regard to North-South relations.

Vijverberg sessions are divided in 4 interrelated and interdependent sub-thematic session: energy; food; water; and environment, scarcities and migration.

They are organised by SID Netherlands and SID European Programme in cooperation with a number of theme specific partners and in parallel to SID Netherlands lecture series on “Energy, Water and Food: Global Scarcities and Power Shifts”.

EDC2020 Kick-Off Conference

June 3, 2008 at 9:00 am | Posted in Aid Architecture, Aid Effectivness, Climate Change | Leave a comment

2 June 2008, Residence Palace, Brussels

EDC2020 has officially been launched by the Kick-off conference in Brussels on Monday, 2 June 2008.

During the opening session, Jean-Luc Maurer, President of EADI, described the genesis of the project and placed it within the associations context and its predecessor EDC2010. Jean-Michel Baer, Director of the Directorate Science, Economy and Society at DG Research held the key note speech and pointed out the importance of EDC2020 to the European Commission. Finally, Simon Maxwell, Director of the Overseas Development Institute (ODI), presented the initial working paper and the thematic framework of the project.

Project issues such as “New actors in international development”, “Energy security, democracy and development” and “Climate change and development” were discussed with 80 conference participants during three thematic panels. The work package leaders Sven Grimm, Richard Youngs and Leo Peskett outlined the project issues and engaged in first panel discussions with Yang Guang (CASS), Ana Maria Gomes (European Parliament), Jos van Gennip (SID Netherlands), Imme Scholz (DIE), Merylyn Hedger (IDS) and Walter Kennes (DG Environment).

EDC2020 is the three-year project is funded by the 7th Framework Programme of the European Union. It is co-ordinated by EADI (European Association of Development Research and Training Institutes) in a consortium with 5 other development organizations: Overseas Development Institute (ODI), Institute of Development Studies (IDS), German Development Institute (GDI-DIE), Fundación paralas Relaciones Internacionales y el Diálogo Exterior (FRIDE), Society for International Development (SID). 

The objective of the project is to improve EU policymakers’ and other societal actors’ shared understanding of emerging challenges facing EU development policy and external action. With an interdisciplinary approach EDC2020 seeks to analyse emerging global needs and to give recommendations to policy-makers and other societal actors. EDC 2020 is dealing with three emerging challenges: New actors in international development; Energy security, democratisation and political development; and European development policy and climate change.

The Role of New EU Member States in EU-Africa Development Policy

March 3, 2008 at 12:07 pm | Posted in Aid Effectivness, Parliamentarians | 1 Comment

Slovenian EU Presidency Seminar on Africa

European Parliament, Brussels, 28 February 2008

The relationship between the New Member States of the European Union (EU) and Africa were discussed at a seminar in Brussels aimed to prepare and equip the new donors to play a full part in African development. The seminar, organised by AWEPA (Association of European Parliamentarians for Africa), in co-operation with the European Parliament, the International AIDS Vaccine Initiative (IAVI) and the Society for International Development (SID) European Programme, was held to mark the occasion of the EU Presidency of Slovenia. Participants addopted Recommendations for Parliamentary Action and Resolution on Parliamentary Monitoring of ODA.

Speaking at the seminar, Anton Kokalj, a Member of the Slovenian Parliament and Chair of the Committee on EU Affairs, confirmed that Slovenia, as the first “post-Lisbon EU Presidency,” would take forward the Africa-EU Joint Strategy and its Action Plan, adopted at the EU-Africa Summit in Lisbon. “We are serious about the new strategic partnership with Africa,” he said.

A Member of the European Parliament for Lithuania, Danute Budreikate, noted that the New Member States had no historical and geographical ties with Africa, and target neighbouring countries as they see co-operation benefits. “However, the New EU Member States have faced similar problems to African countries and could exchange transition experiences”, she added. She further noted that most new EU states “are not even close to meeting the development contribution targets”. Drawing on their recent development co-operation experiences, policies and future plans, the participants were focusing on three key areas of parliamentary responsibility: the Joint-EU Strategy, parliamentary oversight of Official Development Assistance (ODA) and the eradication of HIV and AIDS.

Hadj Diao El Kanté, Chair of the International Relations Committee of the Pan-African Parliament (PAP), described relations between the EU and Africa as “at a crossroads after 50 years of African independence and 50 years of EU co-operation”. He said that the EP and the PAP identify shared priorities for development and should work together to ensure that their parliaments take part actively in the implementation of the Africa-EU strategy.

Johan van Hecke, Head of the AWEPA Section in the European Parliament, stressed that national parliaments had a crucial role to play in monitoring the implementation. He emphasised that because parliaments played a major role in the budget, a greater role had to be played by them in improving aid effectiveness.

“Aid is also a matter from people to people, not from government to government” said Professor Ben Turok, Member of Parliament in South Africa and Chair of the NEPAD Contact Group of African Parliamentarians. Professor Turok emphasised that aid must be a public vehicle for public discourse. Otherwise aid becomes a political manipulation or a partnership between two ministers of finance.

In relation to the fight against HIV/AIDS, the participants spoke about ways to scale up national responses to eradicate AIDS with a special focus on vulnerable children. UNICEF Brussels Senior Policy Advisor, Margaret Wachenfeld, stressed the need to strengthen the health sector response to ensure adequate health care for children affected by AIDS. Prince N. Bahati, Senior Programme Manager of IAVI added that parliaments had to “encourage their governments to support financing mechanisms and incentives that stimulate the private sector to contribute to access to new health technologies, like AIDS vaccines and microbicide’s, through which women and girls in particular can protect themselves better”.

Policy Coherence for Development: rhetoric or reality? – Report of the Session

December 13, 2007 at 11:14 am | Posted in Coherence | Leave a comment

The briefing session couldn’t have been opened better then by the Commissioner for Development, Louis Michel stating that “all policy fields of the EU effect developing countries and contradictions with development aid should always be avoided”. To read further click  on the report .

Policy Coherence for Development: rhetoric or reality? – Audience reactions

December 4, 2007 at 9:28 am | Posted in Coherence | Leave a comment

The ‘food for thought’ offered by the speakers contained interesting elements for a vibrant debate. A mixed audience of around 40 people discussed with the presenters a series of questions: from the role of the business sector in addressing Policy Coherence for Development (PCD), to the importance of the International Financial Institutions and the role and influence of the EU in them; from the possible ways MPs and MEPs can influence coherence, to the need for different mechanisms to evaluate the performance of the EU and the various member states in dealing with PCD.

After the session, we captured some of these views.

Rilli Lappalainen, coordinator of KEHYS, the Finnish NGO platform, welcomes the EC report on coherence and underlines the importance of the Finnish EU Presidency in putting PCD on the development agenda. Not only the EC report is a direct result of this action, but more important is the fact that after Finland all the countries holding the Presidency have given special attention to the issue of Policy Coherence for Development. In other words, there is a much bigger awareness of the issue among all EU actors and a genuine debate is taking place, allowing things to move forward.

Offering a perspective from the member states, Michael Woods, chairman of the Joint Committee on Foreign Affairs in the Irish Parliament, presents the experience of his country in dealing with PCD. In particular, Ireland has created and implemented institutional mechanisms to address policy coherence in all different sectoral policies, making sure that trade, migration, education policies – just to name a few – are consistent with development policies and objectives. Listen to his interview

From his side, Paul Engel, Director of ECDPM and chair of the briefing session, reflects on main elements that emerged from the discussion. In particular, he underlines the progress made so far to address Policy Coherence for Development, and invites politicians to “take up the issue very seriously”. He also calls upon the research community to provide evidence for a more informed decision making. Listen to his interview.

Broadening the perspective, Danutè Budreikaitè, vice-chairwoman of the Development Committee of the European Parliament, reflects on challenges and opportunities for development policy in the new member states. In particular, Mrs Budreikaitè emphasizes the importance of better integrating development and neighbourhood policies: it’s exactly here that new member states can offer an important contribution to EU cooperation.

You can also add your voice and comment on the Report. In the upcoming weeks, the European Commission organises an on-line consultation, inviting all stake-holders to comment on the report. Especially NGO’s and other partners from the South are invited to state their point of view. For more information on the consultation, click here

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