CONCORD Development Education Fo by xumiaomaio

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									          Consultation on the European Commission draft evaluation report on
           EC funded development education and awareness raising actions


  Common contribution of the CONCORD Development Education Forum
  and the CONCORD Funding for Development and Relief working group

                                          31 March 2009


EXECUTIVE SUMMARY

  -   CONCORD Development Education Forum (DEF) and Funding for Development and Relief
      working group (FDR) welcome the evaluation report and share most of the findings. We
      invite the Commission to use the report and this consultation as a basis for the further
      development of DE funding, especially in the context of the mid-term-review of the
      instrument and the preparation of the new financial perspectives 2014-2020. A clear action
      plan for the implementation of the recommendations should be elaborated and
      communicated to the stakeholders.

  -   We share the report’s analysis of a “lack of strategic vision” in the evaluated programmes,
      and we invite the Commission to develop a policy vision for DE, based on the European
      Multi-Stakeholder DE Consensus, in order to meet the identified strategic deficit.

  -   The European Multi Stakeholder Steering Group, which unites platforms of all potential
      beneficiaries of the NSA-LA thematic programme as well as other key DE stakeholders,
      should be mandated to assume the advisory role to strategically develop the instrument,
      which is recommended to be set up in the evaluation report.

  -   The report states that NGOs have played a key role in the development of the DE sector.
      They have gained important expertise in DE practise and policy, and they should play
      coordination role towards less specialised actors such as trade unions, research institutes,
      foundations or local authorities.

  -   DE platforms, led by NGOs, have an important coordination role and link the local, national
      and European level. Core funding, e.g. through a specific coordination budget, should be
      allocated to national platforms and DE fora, according to the report’s recommendations.

  -   The targeted projects DEEEP and Trialog have been instrumental to sustainably raise the
      profile of DE in Europe. The Commission should continue to finance these specific projects



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       through direct granting. Furthermore, the Commission should, while keeping the call for
       proposals as actor-oriented, standard allocation mechanism, use a few targeted projects to
       strategically develop DE in Europe. These projects should be defined through consultation
       with the advisory multi stakeholder group. Clear and unambiguous criteria for such grants
       should be set up. The implementation rules of the financial regulations (Art. 168) should be
       revised in this sense.

   -   CONCORD DEF and FDR support the recommendation to asses the financial means
       necessary to meet the objectives, as there seems to be a “growing imbalance between the
       means available and the ambitions of the programme”, and to adapt DE funding accordingly
       within the mid term review of the DCI.



ANALYSIS AND RECOMMENTATIONS

Evaluation process, frame and methodology

1. The CONCORD DEF and FDR warmly welcome the publication of the evaluation report. Such
   a report has been requested by European NGOs, and especially by the CONCORD DEF, for
   years. We also appreciate the consultation on the findings and thank the Commission for
   considering them.

2. We invite the Commission to use this report as a central tool for the evolution of the funding
   instrument, especially in the context of the review of the DCI and the multi-annual strategy of
   the NSA-LA thematic programme. We ask the Commission to elaborate a clear time-bound
   action plan on the implementation of the report’s recommendations, and to share this plan with
   the stakeholders.

3. We appreciate the quality of the work done and we share most of the findings of the report.
   However, the report would have led to even better results by avoiding certain organisational
   and methodological shortcomings:

   -   Not all members of the evaluation team were familiar with development education concepts
       and practices and the DE/AR landscape in Europe. Also, the discontinuity in the team
       composition complicated the exercise, both for contact persons from the evaluated projects
       and beyond as well as for the evaluation team itself. The selection of a solid and DE
       qualified evaluation team should be the basis for future evaluation exercises of this kind
       commissioned by the EC.

   -   Some factual mistakes and questionable assumptions, especially concerning the country
       reports, could have been avoided if feedback mechanisms between the evaluation team
       and the resource persons would have been used. Please refer to the annex of the position
       of the European Multi Stakeholder Steering Group and the positions submitted on specific
       country situations for details on these mistakes.



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   -   The significant delay in the initial timeline resulted in the fact that the report results couldn’t
       be taken fully into account in the 2008 call for proposals. This is particularly regrettable
       given that the next call will only be launched in 2010. We ask the Commission to use the
       evaluation results as much as possible already within the 2008 call for proposals selection
       process (providing the report to the evaluators, adapting the evaluation grids) and then to
       apply the report’s findings fully within the 2010 annual action programme. An explanatory
       note about the linkage between the 2010 call and the evaluation results will not only inform
       all potential applicants of the reasons for changes, but emphasise the value given to
       evaluation, and its contribution to learning by the Commission.

4. The report provides no full evidence on the criteria for the selection of the 39 projects.
   Especially regarding the targeted projects, we wonder why DEEEP, Trialog and two presidency
   projects have been selected, but not CONCORD and other targeted projects, which are
   financed under the same mechanism (de facto monopoly, objectives 2&3). This is particularly
   regrettable, as the report itself states that the selection is not fully representative of the almost
   700 projects funded during the evaluation period.

5. The report only analysed the selected projects, and not the applications (evolution, numbers,
   providence, thematic focus, quality, ratio of selected/refused applications etc.). This is
   regrettable, as such evidence would have provided additional, important elements for the
   evolution of the budget line. We invite the Commission to provide this additional analysis, and to
   publish statistics on the call regularly on the internet.

6. In order to obtain a more systematic collation of best practises and lessons learned, to
   strengthen the institutional memory and to create a strong resource for DE/AR activities, the
   report calls for the EC to conduct, in collaboration with universities or research institutes, an
   additional in-depth study of the DE/AR projects funded under “Co-financing European
   Development NGOs”. Furthermore, the evaluation calls for detailed baseline studies to be
   carried out in each country in order to provide a pan-European mapping of DE. DEF and FDR
   underline the need for additional evaluation and evidence and are ready to collaborate with the
   EC in this respect.

7. It is regrettable that the Commission did not participate at least at head of unit level in the
   convened meeting at EuropeAid on 3 March 2009. We consider this as a missed opportunity
   for significant exchange with a broad range of stakeholders present, including a considerable
   number of member state representatives, and we hope that this is not a sign of low
   consideration and regard given to the DE sector by EuropeAid. We sincerely hope that the
   March 3thd meeting was a preliminary to a subsequent meeting for all stakeholders, including
   Heads of Units, to follow up recommendations and other responses made during exchanges at
   the EuropeAid meeting, and in order to continue to mobilise effective actions between
   stakeholders in a transparent and inclusive manner.



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Strategically develop DE in Europe

8. The evaluation recognises the lack of a strategic vision in the evaluated programmes. On the
   other hand, the programme has significantly supported strategic processes and projects, which
   structurally strengthened DE in Europe (DE Consensus process through the Finnish presidency
   project; the Multi Stakeholder process, to which DEEEP provides the secretariat etc.). However,
   without a strategic vision of the EC on DE/AR and within the even broader programme NSA-LA,
   the instrument could miss its potential in structurally strengthening DE in Europe. We invite the
   Commission to develop a policy vision for DE, based on the European Multi-stakeholder DE
   Consensus and the discussed evaluation, in order to meet the stated strategic deficit. Such a
   European Development Education strategy, e.g. in form of a EC Communication, would
   contribute to more coherent, coordinated and thus more effective DE in Europe. The upcoming
   European Development Days on “Citizens and Development” would be a great occasion for the
   Commission to present such a document. CONCORD is ready to collaborate in the
   development of such a paper.

9. We underline the stated need of national DE strategies for effective DE – within EC funded
   actions and beyond – and we welcome the acknowledgement of the DE Consensus in this
   respect. However, it is not only the number of national strategies, but their quality that matters.
   This means e.g. inclusion of civil society actors in elaboration and implementation of national
   strategies as well as sufficient funding to achieve the stated objectives.

10. We invite the Commission to collaborate more closely with the member states and in particular
   with Ministries, Agencies and other national bodies responsible for support, funding and policy-
   making in the field of Development Education, including their coordination body GENE. It is
   important that, without undermining the right of initiative of eligible actors, the European
   Commission takes into account the learning that comes from national level policy and considers
   ways to create synergies between European and national level funding (e.g. through the
   promotion of national co-funding mechanisms for EC funded projects, as is already existing in
   Czech Republic and Finland).

11. CONCORD DEF and FDR agrees with the evaluators on the need of an advisory multi
   stakeholder group, including representation from non-state actors and local authorities,
   member states and other relevant bodies. However, we disagree with the establishment of a
   new structure. CONCORD would like to highlight that all those actors are already united within
   the European Development Education Multi Stakeholder Steering Group (MSH SG), and we
   invite the EC to consider this existing group as the natural advisory group. We consider that
   this is crucial for the development of the new programme, especially in terms of coordination
   and coherence, as it is stated clearly in the evaluation. The EC should develop, in collaboration




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   with the MSH SG, Terms of Reference to enable the MSH SG play the required advisory role
   for the NSA-LA thematic programme.



Multi stakeholder approaches

12. We welcome the repeated reference to multi stakeholder approaches at local, national and
   European level, and underline that CONCORD and the DEF play already a central role in
   promoting such approaches, by co-chairing the MSH SG (the only body uniting all relevant DE
   actors a European level), and through the promotion of multi stakeholder processes on national
   level. We invite the Commission to assume active membership in the European MSH process.

13. Partnership projects between NGOs and other actors, which create synergies (e.g. between
   NGOs and local authorities, in which the latter assume a dual role as both recipient and donor
   of funds, as suggested in the report) are certainly welcome and should be encouraged.
   However, multi stakeholder approach and partnership should not be imposed as a pre-requisite
   regardless relevance and effectiveness. We would like to underline that sometimes a single-
   stakeholder approach can be more effective and have better impact than “forced” multi
   stakeholder programmes, especially where individual types of stakeholders are not clear about
   roles, differing tasks and responsibilities and possibilities of synergy. We welcome multi
   stakeholder processes where they are most appropriate and suggest that other approaches -
   including pan-European, single-stakeholder support and capacity-building - are equally
   necessary.



The central role of NGOs for development education

14. We welcome the evaluators’ assessment that the single-stakeholder approach of the former
   “NGO-cofinancing budget line” has enabled NGOs to play “a key role in developing DE in
   Europe and they now have the knowledge and expertise to make a significant contribution to
   future DE activities in Europe”. NGOs have been, and still are, above all in NMS, pioneers of
   DE. They accumulated important expertise in DE practise during the last four decades and can
   play a coordination role towards less specialised actors such as trade unions, research
   institutes, foundations and local authorities..

15. We welcome also that the report acknowledges the important function of DE platforms and
   forums, which are led by NGOs and mostly associated with the national NGDO platforms.
   These platforms coordinate DE activities and policies of civil society actors, and beyond and
   play a central role in nurturing country-based and pan-European development education
   processes. Other actors, whose main business is not development or development education,
   cannot assume such national coordination role. We support the suggestion of the report to
   structurally strengthen national DE platforms through the allocation of core grant funding, which



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    should be additional to regular project grant funding (e.g. through a specific coordination
    budget).



Coordination: The special role of DEF and DEEEP

16. The report clearly identified the central role of the DEF and DEEEP as European coordination
    mechanisms, which sustainably contributed to raising the profile of DE in Europe. DEEEP has,
    not only through its supportive role for the DEF, but also as the secretariat of the MSH process,
    a central role in the coordination of DE activities in Europe, which benefits all eligible actors of
    the budget line. DEEEP is also an excellent tool to sustainably integrate newcomers such as
    local authorities, trade unions, foundations and research institutes with their specific potential
    and character in the programme, e.g. through capacity building activities, increasingly open to a
    broad range of actors in the third phase of DEEEP. It is the view of CONCORD and the
    Development Education Forum that the EC should, in the interest of strategic development of
    the programme, continue to finance this project through targeted grant funding.

17. The particularity of DEF and DEEEP is the direct linkage between pan-European grassroots
    practitioners level and European policy level, and the function as information hub for lessons
    learnt and best practises in DE. In order to keep European policy processes linked to the relality
    of DE practise all over Europe, DEF representation in the advisory multi stakeholder group,
    which is meant to develop the financial instrument, should be assured.



Training and capacity building: Cornerstone Trialog

18. We share the analysis of the report that EC funding has most impact in MS with weak DE
    structures and weak national funding systems, and that support should be prioritised in NMS,
    but also in OMS to which these characteristics apply (Portugal, Greece). We underline the
    recommendation to the EC to provide training and capacity building to all eligible actors in
    those countries, in order that they can fully participate in the programme.

19. As acknowledged in the report, Trialog has played a crucial role in capacity building for NMS
    NGOs, which has directly contributed to a significant increase in impact of the programme in
    these countries. EuropeAid should continue to finance Trialog as a targeted project in order to
    strengthen impact and build sustainability of the programme.



Call for proposals and targeted granting

20. The report identifies the call for proposals as the best mechanism to identify projects, in order
    to maintain the demand driven nature of the programme, and to value the expertise of the
    actors in choosing the best activities. However, the report recognises that through this
    mechanism, the Commission reduces its scope to strategically develop the sector. In order to


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    maintain such a strategic margin, a few targeted projects of proven relevance and quality,
    such as the afore-mentioned DEEEP and Trialog, should be identified through the advisory
    multi stakeholder group. The Commission should set clear and unambiguous criteria for the
    allocation of such grants. The referring part of the financial implementation rules (art. 168)
    should be revised in this sense in the frame of the mid-term review of the financial perspectives.

21. We appreciate the introduced two stage application process (concept note – full application),
    which permits applicants to save time and human resources.



Funding

22. The report states that there is “a growing imbalance between the means available and the
    ambitions of the programme”. We underline the recommendation to the EC “to evaluate the
    financial means necessary for the achievements of the overall objectives of the NSA-LA
    programme, given the complexity of the inclusion of new actors”, especially in the context of
    recent and future EU enlargements and the actual crises contexts, which requires additional
    public mobilisation to meet the development challenges. The available funds should be adapted
    within the mid term review of the DCI (multi annual strategy 2011-2013).



The CONCORD Development Education Forum works to deepen European public awareness and promote
a critical understanding of international development, solidarity, and issues related to global mutual
dependence. It aims to foster the participation of all citizens in the European Union, in worldwide poverty
eradication, and the fight against exclusion. We seek to encourage and influence more just, equal and
sustainable economic, social, environmental, human rights based, national and international policies. The
CONCORD Development Education Forum is made up of 43 European NGDO platforms and networks, and
extends beyond CONCORD’s membership to include representatives from Romania, Bulgaria, Cyprus, Estonia
and Lithuania, making it a truly pan-European working group. Through its project DEEEP (Development
Education Exchange in Europe Project), the DEF provides the secretariat to the European Development
Education Multi Stakeholder Steering Group, the only platform uniting all relevant state- and non-state DE
actors on a European level.

The CONCORD Funding for Development and Relief working group (FDR) is, as the DEF, one of the core
working group of the confederation. The policy work of the FDR Group focuses on European Union - NGO
funding policies and priorities, on the allocation of funds to these priorities and on the European funding
process and organisation. The FDR has a steering group and four subgroups: de-concentration, financial
regulations, DCI thematic programs, and Trends in EU development funding for NGOs.

Contact:
Deepali Sood, Plan International, DEF chair – deepali.sood@plan-international.org
Izabel Toth, Cordaid, FDR chair – izabella.toth@cordaid.nl
Tobias Troll, DEEEP – t.troll@deeep.org
An Van Goey, CONCORD Secretariat - an.vangoey@concordeurope.org




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