Tuesday, June 10, 2008

New Austrian umbrella organisation for development and humanitarian aid

Since April 2008, the 'Austrian Platform for Development and Humanitarian Aid' is the successor of the 'Austrian Working Group for Development Cooperation' (AGEZ) and the Austrian EU-Platform.

At its first press conference (in German) the organization called for an increase in the national aid budget. It aims to become the stakeholder of Austrian NGOs engaged in development policy, humanitarian aid and sustainable global economic, social and ecological development.

The emergence the new organization is not without question. According to an article (in German), the Austrian NGOs scene is wasting away and the new organization is not going to make a difference. The author complains that while German or Swiss NGOs participate in new development campaigns nearly every day, Austrian NGOs are conspicuous by their absence.

Furthermore the author criticizes the Catholic orientation of the new umbrella organization. It seems that Protestant NGOs which were members of the former AGEZ are not participating in the new platform. Additionally he doubts that the mixture of environmental, fair-trade, developmental and humanitarian aid organizations can lead to effective advocacy.

by Martin Behrens

See Euforic newsfeed on Austrian development cooperation.