CONCORD Europe organised its General Assembly on 13th and 14th of June in Brussels. As many CONCORD members are currently coping with very challenging situations, the main theme of the General Assembly 2016 was “CONCORD facing shrinking civic space in a Europe in crisis“. How can we create space for CSOs? How to challenge the economic paradigm? How to make Gender Equality a reality in organisations? How do we actually frame development? How to be inclusive in practice? These were the main questions on the agenda we wanted the members to address.

Last year, the CONCORD Delegates endorsed the new strategy. To better reflect where we stand, this year’s General Assembly was therefore focused on giving more space to learn and exchange during sessions. Sessions were divided into different formats: CONCORD Talks, CONCORD Learning, CONCORD Workshops, CONCORD speed-dating.

What was on the agenda?

NEW BOARD MEMBERS: One of the main points of the whole General Assembly was the elections of Board member candidates, elections based on presentations which took place at the very beginning of the event. Members had a whole day to reflect and in the morning of the second day, the voting ballots were counted. We are very happy to announce you that the following board members have been elected: Farah Nazeer for a second mandate, Lars Bosselmann for a second mandate and Floris Faber.

OUR STRATEGY: The first session of the afternoon was dedicated to the new CONCORD Strategy. The key questions were: “Where have we come from and what have we learned after one year of setting up?”. The process of operationalisation was broadly discussed as well as the learnings and the challenges ahead.

As this topic was at the heart of the GA, we wanted members to reflect about what are the biggest challenges they are facing with the space shrinking for Civil Society in Europe.
The graphic harvester has captured again the key elements of our discussion. Discover the main concepts below:

CONCORD TALK: The first day of the event was concluded by an inspirational session dedicated to “Creating space for CSOs: time for leadership and action”. The key question of this session was definitely “How can we strengthen civil society’s key role for democracy in the current challenging environment?”.
A colorful discussion was led by Natalia Alonso (Oxfam International), Nyaradzayi Gumbonzvanda (ActionAid), Dhananjayan Sriskandarajah (CIVICUS), Jean Louis Ville ( European Commission). If you want to listen to/watch the discussion, you can find it below (live streaming):

“We need to go back to civic action. We need to reclaim the power of people, to come together and act!” Nyaradzayi Gumbonzvanda

ActionAid

ANNUAL REPORT: On the second day of our General Assembly, CONCORD Annual Report 2015 was approved. There you can find an overview of CONCORD activities and successes over 2015, financial information, membership updates and statutory documents.

BUDGET: Members decided to allocate the surplus 2015 to the reserve and the CONCORD strategic budget 2017 has been approved as well.

LEARNING SESSIONS: How do we define development? What does it actually mean for us? And what frames should we use accordingly when communicating? These questions were answered by Hélène Debaisieux throughout one of the CONCORD Learning sessions. The other one was dedicated to inclusiveness, since it is a very important topic in the new CONCORD strategy. Alba Gonzalez, who led the discussion, focused on disability-inclusion and gave us some practical suggestions on how to make our organisations more accessible and inclusive.

Later on in the afternoon, the last CONCORD Learning session took place. Kate CarpenterCéline Mias and Sabine Terlecki were talking about “Gender mainstreaming in organisational Culture and HR“. This session gave us a fair and practical idea about how to make Gender Equality a reality in our own organisations.

In parallel, another CONCORD TALK session was dedicated to the topic of “Challenging economic growth paradigm“, where Alison Tate (ITUC) was addressing system change and paradigm shift by questioning our vision of progress and success, questioning the necessary foundation of our work and values.

Last but not least, several members and initiatives were awarded in the “CONCORD’s got TALENT” session, ceremony highlighting some of the great achievements done this year: the Beyond 2015 project, the TRIALOG project, the DEEEP project, the European Year for Development 2015 project and last but definitely not least, we would like to thank Marius Wanders for his engagement and dedication in the constituency and the board.

We certainly want to thank you all for your great work that you have done this year! The work of the confederation would not be possible without you!

See you next year at the General Assembly!

GA 2016 Graphic Harvest Day 2