Roundtable Madrid 22 February

On Friday, 22 February a roundtable took place in the Casa de Galicia, in Madrid, Spain. The event was organised together with European think tank FRIDE. With 16 participants from development NGOs, the NGO platform CONGDE, central and decentralised governmental donors, including DGPOLDE (General Directorate for the Planning and Evaluation of Development Policies in the State Secretariat for International Cooperation), FIIAPP and academia, it was a lively and well attended event.

Participants mentioned their interest in the Discussion Note, which they found echoed the important issues and perceptions in a very concise manner. They appreciated the event as a timely debate coming just one week after the latest round of consultations on the multilateral strategy. This strategy will inform the forthcoming Spanish Master Plan for development cooperation 2009-2012, in which multilateralism and relations with the European Commission, the implementation of the Paris Declaration as well as Division of Labour will be main features.

Stakeholders intend to use the impetus of the roundtable to contribute to arriving at a Spanish position on the role of the Commission in EU development cooperation, in particular as a financing channel and as an amplifier of Spain’s voice in the international context.

Discussions covered a wide range of subjects, from a common vision and shared objectives for EU aid, to the importance of ownership, measuring impact and complex accountability structures, as well as the implications of Division of Labour. The debates took place against the background of the Spanish context, which is particularly interesting for the EU debate. It is characterised by a high fragmentation of actors with a record in issues of coordination and coherence: a quarter of bilateral aid is given through the autonomous regions according to their own policies and priorities. Almost half of the total ODA is channelled multilaterally, through the European Commission (16.7% in 2007) or multilateral organisations. In 2006, only 17% of ODA was implemented by the Spanish Agency for Development Cooperation AECID of the Ministry for Foreign Relations. Spain also has a large NGO community and is still implementing a very minor share of ODA through “new instruments” such as budget support (1.3% in 2008 ) and others.

While some participants felt that Spain was entering the discussions late, others suggested transforming precisely this delay into Spain’s added value. It can give Spain the opportunity to introduce new perspectives and caveats based on first field experiences such as the transformation of the donor landscape in Nicaragua. Spain can sound a note of caution with regard to implementation, for example by demanding a stronger EU focus on democratic ownership.

List of participants – .doc |.pdf
Report .doc |.pdf

Video statements of participants in the roundtable

David Ortiz, EU Board Member, CONGDE, emphasizes the need to translate words into actions

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7 sec.

Nils-Sjard Schultz, Researcher, FRIDE on Spains possible contribution to the EC policy[ ?posts_id=780938&dest=-1]

28 sec.

Stefan Meyer, Researcher, FRIDE about democratic ownership

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1 min 22 sec.


One Response

  1. Thanks very much to Fride, ECDPM and Actionaid for organising this meeting. It was very useful as it created the opportunity to gather CSO and institutions around the discussion on better EC aid. Many interesting issues were raised and I would have liked to have a bit longer session for reaching some conclussions. In summary, congratulations for the initiative!

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