As you all know, the European Commission, Council and Parliament are currently discussing the multi-annual strategies for the thematic programmes within the new Development Cooperation Instrument (DCI) and some other instruments. This is of particular importance for NGOs. Indeed, NGOs consider that the programming process is not just a technical matter: how the process is organised has important political consequences, not least for the quality of the programmes and the level of public acceptance of policies.
CONCORD has invested a great deal of energy and expertise in internal debates and in its consultations with the European Commission. But because these programmes affect not only Development NGOs, CONCORD and NGOs from other sectors – including human rights, migration and the environment – met recently to share proposals and concerns.
Together, NGOs have drafted a paper setting out critical concerns and constructive proposals for better programming. The programming process would benefit from better timing to allow civil society to come up with largely shared positions, clearer direction allowing thorough debate on key points, and a better definition of roles and levels of consultation. NGOs are therefore asking the European Commission to be more explicit and transparent about its approach to thematic programming and how it organises its accountability to politicians, civil society's organisations and the public in general. NGOs emphasise the potential for learning lessons and the need to have a policy formulation that takes field experience into account.
The NGOs' comments and proposals are grouped in five sections: consultation and planning, the role of European NGOs, complementarity with geographic programmes and global funds, the role of the European Parliament, and a cross-cutting issues' approach.
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Source: CONCORD Flash - February 2007.
See also Euforic dossier on EU cooperation