The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic is having significant repercussions on civil society organisations and the people they support. As the coronavirus continues to spread, we are supporting our members and partners to stay informed, adapt their programmes and keep their organisations safe. We are extremely concerned about the impact of the outbreak, both in terms of everyone’s well-being and the ripple effect on our sector more broadly. We will continue monitoring the situation closely, clarifying key issues, and updating this page as the crisis unfolds and more information becomes available.
In these challenging and uncertain times, we thank our members for sending us information and updates, which help us to stay informed and represent the needs and interests of European civil society working in international development in the best way that we can. We express our solidarity with all of you and hope that you are finding new ways to stay connected and resilient. We wish you strength and good health.
Impacts on our sector
We are shaping EU plans for recovery:
- We sent a letter to Commissioner for International Partnerships, the EU High Representative and national governments ahead of the upcoming Development Foreign Affairs Council asking them to focus on the people who are most at risk, to support partner countries to strengthen their health systems, to put women and girls at the centre of their response, and to support local civil society organisations, among other recommendations. We developed a list of key advocacy messages for the EU to consider when drafting recovery packages and stimuluses.
- We analysed the European Commission’s Communication on the Global EU response to COVID-19 that sets out how the EU will address the negative impact of the coronavirus pandemic.
- We analysed how COVID-19 exposes and exacerbates inequalities within and among countries, and provide a list of recommendations for the EU and Member States’ COVID-19 responses.
- We analysed the Joint Communication ‘Towards a Comprehensive Strategy with Africa’ with a detailed look at the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the new EU comprehensive strategy with Africa, which will be approved at the next EU-African Union summit.
- We co-signed the letter “For a Europe that cares for all” together with other European civil society actors to urge the EU to take action and build a solidarity-driven strategy to save lives, tackle inequality, strengthen human rights, and fast-forward the transition to a just, sustainable future based on the European Green Deal.
- We are advocating for sustainable development, which includes investments in public healthcare and social protection systems that benefit everyone in the Director’s blog post for the month of March.
- We are supporting the letter on how effective aid and development cooperation matter during and after the COVID-19 emergency by the OECD DAC civil society organisations reference group to the DAC Chair and to the Director of the Development Cooperation Directorate.
We are sharing knowledge:
We are sharing knowledge on the transformations we want to see in society and in our sector. Our Director contributed a thought piece for ICVA’s latest publication on the importance of civil society coming together to stimulate critical thinking, offer solutions, foster active citizenship and call for a transformation of our political, economic and financial systems.
We are closely monitoring the impact of the coronavirus on EU policy cycles:
We have compiled a list of adopted special measures for EU official meetings and voting procedures with an analysis of how these may impact international development and Agenda 2030, as well as the involvement and consultation of civil society organisations.
We are connecting with the media to provide our expertise:
- Our Director commented on the EU’s communication on the global response to fight the pandemic in a Devex article.
- Our Policy & Advocacy Officer spoke to The Guardian on the EU’s plans to reallocate existing funds for the global coronavirus crisis response.
- Our colleague Zuzana Sládková spoke to Devex about how development aid budgets possibly falling due to COVID-19 in the future underscores the need to support local NGOs.
Support for our members
We are holding webinars on a range of COVID-19 related topics to discuss arising needs and concerns of members, share information and resources, and coordinate responses to the crisis:
- Webinar on measures for national CSOs
- Webinar on the impact of the coronavirus on inequalities
- Webinar for communications professionals in our membership on coordinating responses and campaigns
We are calling on DEVCO and NEAR to exercise flexibility and understanding as the COVID-19 outbreak will necessitate reprioritisation and adjustments in programming and outreach activities by civil society organisations.
- We are connecting with EU officials to raise our members’ practical concerns related to the challenges they are facing in the implementation of projects DEVCO/NEAR projects due to the spread of COVID-19. We wrote a letter to Director-General Koen Doens and Director-General Christian Danielsson seeking guidance.
- Together with our members, we carried out an in-depth overview of the main risks to the development and the implementation of EU-funded projects on a global scale. Based on our analysis, we compiled key recommendations for maintaining continuity of DEVCO/NEAR projects that allow for flexibility, ownership, coherence and coordination.
- We welcomed the specific guidance and flexibility received from DG ECHO regarding current projects and proposals. We have been in touch with DEVCO and NEAR about the need for timely guidance and a consistent approach across EU contracting authorities in dealing with project development and grant implementation. Having received a first response from the European Commission, we are now working to clarify some outstanding issues of concern.
- We welcomed the letter from the Chairs of the European Parliament Committees on Foreign Affairs, Development and Budgets and echo their call for the use of unallocated funds to finance new measures related to the COVID-19 pandemic, so as not to de-prioritise poverty reduction and other development goals.
Resources from our members
- ADRA Europe’s statement on COVID-19 pandemic: “We are in this together“
- COVID-19 advocacy paper
- The Global Rapid Gender Analysis (launched together with IRC)
- Paper on the gender implications of COVID-19 outbreaks in humanitarian and development setting
- Balancing measures to contain COVID-19 with basic survival needs in low-resource contexts: A call for a localized and gender-responsive approach
- Paper on COVID-19, Food & Nutrition Security, and Gender Equality
- Policy brief on Gender-based Violence and COVID-19: The Complexities of Responding to “The Shadow Pandemic”
- Paper on the Implications of COVID-19 on Women’s and Girls’ Economic Justice and Rights
- Where are the Women? The Conspicuous Absence of Women in COVID-19 Response Teams and Plans, and Why We Need Them
- Recommendations for a Climate-Resilient, Sustainable and Just COVID-19 Response and Recovery
- Recommendations to the Swedish Parliament on global response to covid-19 (in Swedish)
- 39 member organisations on global solidarity during the corona pandemic (in Swedish)
- Swedish development organisations on how their global work is affected by COVID-19 (in Swedish)
- Letter to Swedish Minister for International Development Cooperation on EU global response to covid-19 (in Swedish)
Humanity & Inclusion:
- Policy paper on a principled and inclusive response to COVID-19, focused on the most vulnerable
International Planned Parenthood Federation:
- A press release published by IPPF global Federation on the impact of COVID-19 on SRHR globally
- A blog written by Cosmina Marian for IPPF EN on the impact of COVID-19
- A statement written jointly with other NGOs on the impact of COVID-19 on SRHR
- As partners of the Countdown 2030 Europe consortium: Ask for European donors on COVID-19
- COVID-19 Response: Situation in East Asia, South East Asia and the Pacific
- Blog by Anne-Birgitte Albrectsen, CEO of Plan International: Pushing for Equality for Girls in the age of COVID-19
- Plan International’s response to the needs of girls and those most marginalised in times of COVID-19
- How will COVID-19 affect girls and young women? Frequently asked questions about the COVID-19 pandemic
- Blog by Damien Queally, Executive Director of Global Programme Operations: Tackling COVID-19: Lessons learnt from Ebola
- Webpage with the latest updates for their members (in German)
- Deutsche Stiftung Weltbevoelkerung (VENRO member): ‘Saving lives and strengthening health systems – what does the EU’s COVID-19 response mean?’
Women Engage for a Common Future: