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EU Partnership Forum 2017: a constructive dialogue between the IFP network and Civil society stakeholders

Taking place in Brussels on 6 and 7 July 2017, this event brought together approximately 500 Civil Society Organisations, local Authorities and many stakeholders such as Development and Human Rights actors along with European Institutions and Member States. It aimed to generate constructive dialogue and to gather feedback on best practices to help the EU institutions further develop their Partnerships.

This Forum’s purpose was to help the EU deepen in concrete terms its partnerships with all components of Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) and Local Authorities so that they can play their full roles in relation to governance, and as advocates and implementers. It also sought to explore how these partnerships can be further developed, and enhanced to allow them to be more effective.

The EU has developed a diverse set of political and financial tools for civil society and local authorities, including reactive and innovative support models. The Forum aimed to inform and consult participants on the concrete use of different EU financial instruments, tools and mechanisms available at global, continental and country level.

The panel debates organised as part of the EU Partnership Forum addressed crucial thematic and geographical areas where these partnerships are needed more than ever. The agenda of this year’s Forum included a wide range of issues including, amongst others: Climate Change, Gender, Social Dialogue, the New Deal for Engagement in Fragile States, the Global Compact on migration, Inclusive local economic development, Strengthening local democracy, CSO’s shrinking space and enabling environment, Partnerships with indigenous peoples, EU external investment and promoting and implementing Agenda 2030.

For IFP and its members the EU Partnership Forum was a valuable opportunity to promote our unique perspective as a global network of national platforms and regional coalitions, and to engage in advocacy related to our Agenda 2030 priorities. IFP hosted a two-hour panel debate on the topic of “Consensus, CSOs, Partnerships and Means of Implementation”. Miguel Santibañez (IFP Chair) and Harsh Jaitli (IFP Vice Chair) were members of the panel which was moderated by Deirdre de Burca, the IFP’s Advocacy Co-ordinator.

The purpose of the IFP-hosted panel discussion was to : 

(i) explore how new models of structured dialogue and cross-sectoral partnerships can enhance the ability of civil society organisations to fully play their role as development actors in their own right

(ii) To identify how the new EU Development Consensus & the EU Roadmaps will support the meaningful inclusion and participation of civil society in the development processes

(iii) To discuss how key Agenda 2030 “Means of Implementation” including in particular capacity development and financing for development can support civil society in delivering on the agenda.

The debate which followed was extremely lively and informative and IFP hopes to continue its advocacy on these important issues at the HLPF in New York in July 2017.