The European Union Policy Forum on Development (PFD) met on 14-16 March in Brussels. The meeting brought together policy makers from EU institutions, civil society organisations, local authorities and private sector actors active in development. The Alliance was represented by its global and regional offices, which provided an opportunity to advance the co-operative agenda in the context of the EU’s policy for development.
On the agenda there were important issues such as the revision of the Cotonou Partnership Agreement, the upcoming Habitat III conference on the future of sustainable cities, addressing the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in the new global agenda and the revision of the EU strategy for development.
The majority of participants argued for more coherence between EU policies to ensure that the objectives pursued by development initiatives are not contradicted by other policies (e.g. trade). They also considered that the development agenda should not be undermined by other policy needs such as security and external relations, but rather that it should be seen as a strong component of the upcoming strategy in those areas.
Alliance representatives at the meeting supported those views and also argued that it is necessary to recognise co-operatives as important development partners at national level, similar to what already occurs at EU level. When speaking of the role of the private sector in the implementation of the SDGs, it is important to take into account the diversity of actors within the private sector. In particular, the EU country delegations have an important role to play in supporting national multi-stakeholder dialogues that include co-operatives and their potential for the implementation of national development strategies.
In the context of a new partnership agreement with the EU, the Alliance will continue to work with its institutions to promote greater capacity of co-operatives in development.
Photo: European Union Policy Forum on Development meeting in Brussels on 14-16 March, with Alliance representatives attending