The FoRS platform unites 34 organizations (national NGOs, branches of international organizations, think tanks and academic institutions). Since July 2022, when Czechia will hold EU Presidency, it intends to put ODA/DC/HA issues higher on national agenda (Czech contribution to ODA is repeatedly very low, only 0,13 % GNI) and raise awareness on these issues.
The Czech Presidency comes at a time of complex crisis, when the war in Ukraine is significantly changing the face of Europe and confronting us with complicated domestic challenges. The world is also facing a food crisis in developing countries, due to the sharp increase of prices and inaccessibility of grain in some cases. This situation has also significantly affected the Czech government’s priorities for the Presidency.
“We appreciate the Czech government’s approach to help in the context of the conflict in Ukraine. However, assistance and resilience-building is needed elsewhere, including the areas of the Middle East and North and Sub-Saharan Africa affected by food and climate crises. Here, however, Czech humanitarian and development aid is rather insufficient, and the trend of underfunding remains unchange. The Czech Presidency of the Council of the EU is an opportunity to become a more active country in the humanitarian and development agenda than before.”Pavel Přibyl, Director of FoRS
Czechia will hold its second presidency and will closely cooperate with France (presiding over the European Union in the first half of 2022), and Sweden (will take up the presidency duties from January 2023). Motto of the Czech presidency is: Europe as a Task: Rethink, Rebuild, Repower. It refers to a speech given by the former president Václav Havel in 1996 at the Charlemagne Prize ceremonial. Havel urged Europeans to rediscover their conscience and to take responsibility for global environmental, social and economic challenges.
“…we might say the task of Europe today is to rediscover its conscience and its sense of responsibility in the deepest sense of the word, not just with regard to its own political architecture but also with regard to the world as a whole.”Václav Havel, former President of Czech republic, Aachen, 1996
During the presidency, the Czech Republic has many tasks to accomplish, including the organization of many important meetings:
- An informal summit on wider EU cooperation with non-member states is tentatively planned for the Czech Presidency in Prague in the autumn, where leaders could also address the issue of Ukraine. EU leaders have yet to agree on the exact form of the summit.
- Joint informal CODEV-PI and COHAFA meeting on DRR will take place in Prague on 13–15 September 2022.
- The Czech Presidency will also oversee the organization of meetings of the Council of the EU, including The Foreign Affairs Council. The FAC on Development will take place on 28 November 2022. Council Conclusions on DRR and Youth Action Plan as well as triple nexus discussion are expected to be on the agenda.
- There may also be an informal Foreign Affairs Council on Development in Brussels focusing on Ukraine.
During the CZ PRES, FoRS will organize events and participate in various activities to raise awareness around European issues of international solidarity. Most of them are possible thanks to the EU Presidency Project of the France-Czechia-Sweden trio and CONCORD supported by DG INTPA. The goals are focused primarily on informing about the importance of developing assistance and ensuring public and political support for it. Not only the FoRS Secretariat, but also a big part of FoRS member organizations are involved as multipliers via 7 subgrants (some are consortia projects) to reach the wider public through many events and communication campaigns.
“With a contribution of 0.13 % of GNI to official development assistance per year, Czechia places on the last positions in the rankings not only within the OECD Development Assistance Committee of advanced donors, but also within the EU Member States. ODA of comparably populous Sweden, which will hold EU presidency after Czechia, is in financial terms 20 times higher.”Pavel Přibyl, Director of FoRS
FoRS intends to strengthen the capacities of CSOs and take coordinated steps to increase the impact of communication and advocacy activities.
We have held wide-ranging discussions with FoRS member organizations and other partners to set our priorities based on key issues of the development cooperation sector in Czechia.
- Focus on ODA volume, as it needs to bounce from the bottom among EU/OECD DAC countries.
- Focus on qualitative aspects of ODA, especially development effectiveness principles (transparency and inclusive partnership including inclusivity in the bilateral ODA programming process), focus on development impact in the first place especially when engaging national private sector actors in bilateral ODA, increased capacity and quality of the Czech bilateral ODA implementation system including Czech Development Agency, equality focused bilateral ODA including gender equality.
- Follow the climate-related agenda and its linkage to various aspects of agriculture, livelihoods, nutrition, or community resilience.
- Strengthen the awareness raising and Global Development/Citizenship Education.
- Facilitate an enabling environment for CSOs in the development cooperation field – nationally, on the EU level, in partner ODA countries and in countries of Eastern Partnership, in aspects of human rights, democracy and rule of law.
Timeline of events planned by FoRS around the Czech Presidency:
8 September, Prague
FoRS and VOICE debate on EU humanitarian agenda with decision-makers from DG INTPA, CZ, PL, SK.
26 October, Brussels/CZ PERMREP
Round table “Resilience through participation” on enhancing civil society’s contribution to sustainable development in the EU’s external policy. The event is in cooperation of Czech Institute of International Relations and FoRS with the support of the Czech Permanent Representation in Brussels. It aims to explore the participation-resilience nexus and to identify potentials of NDICI-Global Europe with regard to poverty reduction and women empowerment.
7 November, Prague
Round table on the Dublin Declaration (a new European Declaration on Global Citizenship Education to 2050). FoRS and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs are now involved in the drafting. The Declaration will be adopted in November 2022 during the Czech Presidency.
9-10 November, Prague
International conference “Resilience as a task: How to help people of fragile regions to cope with complex crises”. The conference shall provide an opportunity to highlight importance of development cooperation and the role of civil society as a key element in strenghtening the resilience of local communities in developing countries to respond to an increasingly unstable situation.
23 November, Prague
Global Development Education Festival. Includes workshops, programmes for teachers in primary schools/high schools/universities, panel discussion. The festival is organized within Global Education Week, which is coordinated by FoRS and its members around the entire country.
29 November, Prague
Universities for Development. One-day event focused on experience sharing, presentation and networking of the academic institutions (universities, think-tanks) active in development cooperation fields and actors from NGOs, state authorities, municipalities and business sector.