Business as usual is not an option

“It’s time to time tell a clearer story of who we are and where we want to be”. President Joanna Maycock blogs on CONCORD’s new Political Narrative process and takes a look back at achievements in 2012.
Looking back at 2012
As CONCORD marks its 10th Anniversary, it’s important to reflect on our story as a confederation and learn from the achievements and challenges we have faced on the way so that we can build upon these as we move forward.
With austerity measure throughout the EU we have seen many governments shy away from their commitments to fighting global poverty.
Throughout last year CONCORD took a stand against cuts to the EU’s future development and humanitarian budget, championing a policy that maintains Europe’s responsibilities in fighting against poverty and injustice in the world.
Regarding the EU’s Agenda for Change, we took a critical look at the role of the private sector in development, reflecting on how to improve the accountability of the private sector for upholding human rights and protecting the environment in partner countries.
2012 also brought some good news, as the EU firmly recognized the role of civil society organisations in development. Through our work on Policy Coherence for Development, we highlighted to EU decision makers the impact of EU domestic policies on energy, agriculture, trade, and the environment in developing countries.
I would also like to particularly congratulate all those who took part in the “Open Forum for CSO Development Effectiveness” process that developed practical tools to improve the work of civil society organisations across the world.
We can be proud that together we have strengthened our impact, reputation and legitimacy as a representative of European development NGOs. We have achieved this collectively by building stronger partnerships and alliances within Civil Society and by having a more solid common voice.
Global partnerships are increasingly important for CONCORD, and I’m pleased that we strengthened our contacts with CSO partners throughout the world.
Shifting the political agenda in 2013 – a new political narrative
Now we really have to use this new, growing influence to shift the political agenda in Europe towards championing global issues on equality, justice and poverty eradication.
It’s clear that business as usual is not an option! The political space as well as funding CSOs are dwindling, and too often our work is reactive instead of proactive to the political agenda.
This is why our new Political Narrative process comes at the right time.
The political narrative aims to be a participatory process that will set out our vision of where we want to take the sector in the next years, so that we can collectively increase our impact on poverty and injustice.
The narrative will help feed into discussions such as on Beyond 2015, the European Year for Development 2015, the Concord strategy for 2016-2020 and the European Parliament elections in 2014
So far, we’ve had a fantastic response.
Video: Results of the Political Narrative process so far
At the crowdsourcing forum where you can share, comment and vote ideas, 1.200 people have joined, over 50 ideas have been shared and over 1.000 votes have been given. We also hosted an online debate that engaged 132 people from 28 different countries.
Clearly there’s both demand and interest in telling sharper story about who we are and what we believe in. I invite you all to debate, share and engage in this new process to change the sector.
Joanna Maycock – CONCORD President