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The proceedings at the Partnership Forum.

 

A short report on ICA’s participation at the 2nd EU Partnership Forum - a platform created by the European Union in 2017 to not only foster a deeper relationship of the EU with community led organizations, but also promote partnerships and collaboration among the Framework Partnership Agreement signatories, in June this year where the European Commission’s message on the need for transformation and fundamental change to the “Business as Usual” was highlighted. The Commission has recently released a comprehensive report on the second edition of the Forum. The raison d’être of the Forum was to find means to enhance collaboration between the 30 FPA partners present in the meeting. A notable outcome for the ICA-AP was the initiation of talks of collaboration with  Fair Trade’s Network of Asia & Pacific Producers (NAPP).  The Forum relied on its commitment to support collective action and shared additional means to implement SDGs. Some of the findings and key recommendations are listed in brief: In terms of Implementing and Localising SDGs, the forum reports that participants have urged the EU to work with national focal points on SGDs, and support “shadow reports” in continuum of a State’s response (VNR); On Future of partnerships, the forum reports that the EU urged participants to make most of the www.Capacity4Dev.Eu platform and the EU roadmaps on Civil Society Engagement.

 

The report further found that the participants, especially the FPAs were unaware of the two mechanisms mentioned. The ICA-AP included an orientation to the platform and the EU roadmaps for its members and partners in the ASEAN sub-region during the recently concluded capacity building seminar in Jakarta (hyperlink) that follows the ICA-AP driven Co-operative Development Meeting for members in the ASEAN region in September 2017 in Manila, the Philippines where participants were introduced to the SDGs, the ICA-EU Partnership on Co-operatives in Development (#Coops4Dev) and the role co-operatives are increasingly expected to play in achieving the global goals. The forum concluded that EU and FPA cooperation was crucial for the implementation of Agenda 2030 and implied importance of the two key multi-stakeholder platforms viz. Partnership Forum and the Policy Forum on Development. It further added that more thematic and regional meetings with CSOs and LAs were needed and that, partners ought to engage with EU Delegations in the revision and implementation of the EU Roadmaps for Civil Society Engagement in External Actions. The Forum laid special emphasis on the need to address sexual exploitation and abuse in the development field and asserted the importance of cultural exchanges in light of cross learning among partners on SEA cases. The closing speech delivered by Hon’ble Commissioner Neven Mimica of the International Cooperation and Development of the EU where he recalled the 27% budget increase in EU development spending proposed by the European Commission to carry out external assistance. The Forum ended at a high with two additional FPAs signed by Commissioned Mimica on behalf of the EU, one with the International Trade Union Confederation, and one with the International Organisation of Employers.