On the topic
The project has two thematic focus connected to the heart of development policies and the struggle against poverty. Millennium Development Goals and Economic Partnership Agreements, central themes of the project, were indeed both created as development policies: the first one, with the aim of committing governments in the South and in the North on punctual development objectives to be reached by 2015, the second one, proposing economic agreements of free trade as an access point to development for many ACP countries. These political actions, thought with similar aims, do not always use the same development indicators and do not always take into account the reciprocal relations. Furthermore, on both the approaches there are, especially in the south of the world, critical readings that underline their limits and the possible by-effects. In particular the Economic Partnership agreement between the European Union and the ACP countries, from their inception to the methods and the terms of negotiation have raised profound criticisms and concerns in the civil society of the North and South of the world for the fatal consequences that it is feared they might have precisely in the fight against poverty.
Then, the main project focus is the process of approval and implementation of the Economic Partnership Agreements (EPAs), the free trade agreements between the European Union and the 75 ACP countries - amongst them many of the poorest countries in the world - was due to be concluded by the end of 2007. By the beginning of January, only the Caribbean region had signed a full EPA deal, and another 20 ACP countries had initialled interim agreements, while 43 countries did not want - or were unable – to sign up to anything at all.
From this point of view, the project is aiming to heighten the awareness of the role and the dangers of these policies among the actors in the civil society and international co-operation and to draw the attention of the members of the European parliament to these themes to check their coherence and the validity of the fight against the failed development in tin the countries involved.
The object of the project is thus to favour the production and the sharing of awareness around the Millennium Development Goals, the Economic Partnership Agreements and their relations through the involvement of civil society, actors in co-operation and decision makers in the North and in the South of the world in a comparison of the various visions and interpretations that are given to the themes in question
Raising the awareness of the organized civil society, the actors of international cooperation and solidarity and the members of the European parliament on these themes and these problems also means to question the development strategies and the cooperation policies that ought to be implemented in the North and the South of the world to struggle against poverty.
In this way, the project highlights the interdependence of the North/South relationships and shows the need of a greater coherence among development and economic policies, and education policies. With this aims the Partnership for Change project intends to promote a synergic action in Italy, Europe and the ACP countries that is able to enhance the work already carried out by other networks, assist its divulgation and contribute to heightening its impact.
The aim of the NGOs, who manage the project, is therefore that of improving south voices and developing a lobbying and advocacy action aimed at the members of the European parliament to support the request of the civil society in the South of the world directly involved in the agreements.
Framework of the project
The Action promotes dialogue and cooperation between the European and the ACP civil society and as such it provides a framework for advocacy work on members of the European Parliament and Commission to lobby for consistency of development policies and education policies.
The partnership promoting the project intends to activate a series of instruments to stimulate and collect analyses, documents, production and placing in circulation knowledge, readings, case studies, policy positions and requests by the actors of the civil society and the institutions of the south of the world for a clearer analysis of the potential and current effects of the policies in question.
Content analysis will include a comparison of European and African case studies, focusing on the impact of EPAs on the economic development of the ACP countries and their role in terms of the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals in the ACP countries. NGOs are not only interested in weighing on development and cooperation policies, following the inputs from their partners from the South, but also on European education policies that hardly include global education issues, in particular the debate on MDGs and EPAs which cannot be considered topics for professionals only.
Therefore, the action is centred around national seminaries, public meetings, follow-up and research that will provide instruments and documents for the advocacy activities. In details, the project provides for the following type of activities:
- The creation of a web site that allows the partner in the project and the beneficiaries of the themes dealt with to share materials with each other. The use of the web socialisation technologies will enable the project to give life to an on-line community where the international co-operation operators in the various countries can exchange information, documents and materials and breathe life into the discussion on the themes of the project.
- the organisation of seminars to be held in the four countries of origin of the NGOs in the consortium (Italy, England, Spain and the Netherlands) with the participation of the guests from the ACP countries, with the aim of collecting different ideas, opinions and views of the important institutions and the civil society in the ACP countries, paying attention to the experiences of political movements, trade unions, associations and regional authorities;
- the production of books regarding political, economic and educational themes to document different readings and the different perspectives on the MDGs and on the EPAs;
- pressure activities aimed at members of the European parliament and national parliaments who are directly responsible for development and education policies;
- production of materials and documents to be sent or use during the seminars to express the policy positions of the NGOs.
The project is aimed in particular at members of the civil society organisations that are working in the field of international co-operation and the members of the European parliament directly involved in the EU’s economic and development policies. Also parliamentarians will be involved in the project’s activities who are dealing with education policies within the EU to ask for greater attention to be paid to themes of development within the education programmes of the Union. Finally also the civil society organisations and the mass media not directly engaged in the themes of the project will be involved.
This web site is produced with the financial assistance of the European Union by Amici dei Popoli NGO in cooperation Cestas, CMO, Hegoa and Risc. The contents of this web site are the sole responsability of Amici dei Popoli NGO and can under no circumstances be regarded as reflecting the position of the European Union.
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