European cooperation agencies meet to discuss their response to the COVID-19 crisis
The Practitioners’ Network, formed by the main cooperation agencies of the European Union, has held its annual meeting. The meeting, which this year was held virtually, dealt with the network’s role in launching a coordinated response to address the COVID-19 crisis and accelerating the implementation of the SDGs (Sustainable Development Goals).
In her introductory address, Ángeles Moreno Bau, Secretary of State for Development Cooperation and president of AECID, the Spanish Agency for International Development Cooperation, highlighted the need for a global response to COVID-19 that leaves no one behind, and particularly not the most vulnerable countries and people. She also stressed the fundamental role of the European Union as the main donor of development aid and highlighted the substantial experience of the Member States’ agencies on the ground.
During the video-conference, the short-term European response to COVID-19 was debated from the development perspective, and the Commission’s Directorate-General for International International Cooperation and Development ( DG DEVCO) presented its Team Europe approach, as the concrete expression of global solidarity and of the constant efforts to act as a single body in helping the European partners in these turbulent times.
The presidency of the network, held until now by AECID, proposed a debate on the multidimensional consequences of the crisis and the joint medium-term effort necessary to help our partners in the achievement of the SDGs.
For its part, FIIAPP, as co-leader of the working group on crisis, fragility and migration, presented the activities carried out during the previous year, notable among which was the design of an expert workshop on migration and development. It also spoke about the objectives and priorities for this year, highlighting the exchange of experiences and knowledge on the response to the current health crisis.
During her address, the director of FIIAPP, Anna Terrón, emphasised the importance of technical cooperation and knowledge of the public sector in the coordinated European response to the challenge posed by COVID-19.
Stress was also laid on the necessity of adapting to the new needs arising from this pandemic, such as the digitisation of partner administrations and increased support for social dialogue and new social pacts such as the European Green Deal.
The agencies’ directorates endorsed the Declaration on “Cooperation in Culture and Development: Towards a Sustainable Transformation”, which highlights the value of Culture and its contribution to Development within the framework of the 2030 Agenda and the SDGs.
Finally, the presidency of the European network was transferred from AECID to the Belgian agency ENABEL and the Luxembourg agency LuxDev , as the network’s first dual presidency.