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.

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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.

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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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