Director at CONCORD Europe
Welcome back! A new year … a new decade… And of course New Year’s resolutions – because, unlike many of my (perhaps more realistic) colleagues, I did make a couple this year. Better work-life balance, more sport (ask me in February if I’m still climbing the stairs to our fourth-floor office!), the usual kind of thing. But making resolutions require only words. Results require action.
This year marks a new, fresh start for CONCORD in the way of approaching several issues we have been working on, which we are hoping will produce some new results. We look forward to convening, connecting and collaborating with a wider range of allies and partners, both in Europe and beyond. By the way, we will be thinking through knotty issues together – such as exploring the new focus on international partnerships and what it means for development cooperation.
And on top of that, we are seeking to involve, inspire and positively influence our members to bring about changes in policy, practice and funding through our interlocutors across the three EU institutions (Commission, Parliament and Council) and the services (EEAS).
Where else are we taking a renewed approach? Increasingly, we will try to reflect the voices of local civil society to ensure their concerns are heard. More importantly, we will acknowledge and incorporate geopolitical complexities into our work. As you may know, the balance of power is, in many senses shifting and has been for a while. But while those shifting sands may not result in fundamental changes to the global order, the context is both less stable and less certain, sometimes more tense and competitive -and the institutions which served quite well over the past 75 years may be unfit for current and future ‘business’ than before. Similarly, the global rules which underpin our economic system are even less so.
What we, in CONCORD, would wish for 2020, is that the year marks a shift away from decision-making by the privileged few behind closed doors towards processes which are more open and in which civil society organisations can play our role with society’s broader interests at heart to shape the future. As we know, politics and economics go hand-in-hand, it is therefore crucial to have a continued, but genuine, focus on reducing inequalities of all kinds across the world (based on systemic change) and on creating well-being of all people and the planet. There has been much talk about climate change in the previous years and all efforts that need to be made over the coming decades. And rightly so; No planet, No future. But let’s not forget the people in the mix. We will expect the EU to show solidarity with people in need and ensure that we leave no one behind.
I wish everyone a very successful year, individually, organisationally and together in CONCORD.