Ambassador of the European Union, H.E. Alessandro Mariani
At the European Union Event with Civil society Organisations in Zambia- 3rd May 2016
Minister of Community Development and Social Services, Hon. Emerine Kabanshi,
Your Excellencies, Ambassadors from EU Member States represented in Zambia,
Civil Society Representatives,
I would like to thank you all for your response to our invitation to come together today. I extend special thanks to the Honourable Minister who has accepted our invitation to be the guest of honour and interact with us.
It is an honour to host this event that has been organised by the Delegation of the European Union and EU Member States Finland, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Sweden and the United Kingdom.
In these introductory remarks my objective is to address three main questions
< > did we come to the subjects chosen?
< > are our expectations?
Enhanced CSOs' capacities in project management, internal governance, fund raising, monitoring and evaluation.
Enhanced CSO contribution to governance and development processes, improved interaction with Government and more specifically linked to the 11th EDF focal sectors.
Improved coordination amongst cooperating partners where possible to avoid duplication or unnecessary competition amongst actors
We are organising this event, in the framework of the 1st Europe Week in Zambia, also because we want to put on record our appreciation and recognition to the excellent work done by European and Zambian civil society organisations for the development of Zambia. Whenever travelling to different areas of the country – but also here in Lusaka of course – my colleagues and I very frequently get to know about experiences of solidarity, generosity, professionalism, that make all of us very proud indeed and that go a long way to nurture the development partnership and the people to people partnership which are so important to the overall partnership between the European Union and Zambia. I do not hesitate to say that many of these experiences represent one of the best images of the strong partnership between Europe and Zambia, and therefore deserve to be highlighted in the framework of Europe Week.
A big thank you to all of you present and all friends and colleagues from European and Zambian civil society you also symbolically represent here today.
The Second point is the HOW… (How did we come to the subjects chosen?)
In the RoadMap for Zambia a number of challenges were enumerated when it comes to local civil society. Some of these challenges include limited interaction with state actors, capacity gaps when it comes to expertise, knowledge and management skills. A detailed presentation and discussion on the roadmap will be held in the session after the health break. Special focus will be paid to explore how to enhance the participation of CSOs in public policies.
Following a consultation held in October 2014, the EU Delegation compiled some feedback through a questionnaire that highlighted civil society interests and needs. This is how we came to the three topics of gender mainstreaming in project and programmes, inclusion of disability and environment and climate change which we have proposed to discuss in the breakout sessions.
All the CSO participants present here today are implementing development interventions in Zambia, a number of you have funding relations with the EU and EU Member States but definitely not all of you. In total 75 organisations were invited - numbers had to be limited to keep the event “workable” and to make exchanges and interventions possible and manageable.
As we also strive to have a better coordination amongst Cooperating Partners and the Ministry responsible for civil society organisations in Zambia, this event was organised jointly by the European Union and Member States present in Zambia with the Ministry of Community Devleopment and the EDF NAO; and we have planned a panel discussion that will allow for reflections on the roles of the various stakeholders in enhancing civil society contributions to development.
Last but not least, WHAT are our expectations ….
We have tried, as much as we can, to make this day as interactive as possible. I invite your active participation during the panel discussion, as well as in the group discussions on the topics on the programme.
Finally, and in commemorating Schuman Day which is celebrated on the 9th of May every year, I would like to quote one of the European Union's founding fathers, Jean Monnet where he said, "Beyond differences and geographical boundaries, there lies a common interest." As I said before, we are working towards transforming our interaction with civil society into more permanent dialogue processes, and at the end of today's event, an evaluation will be carried out as we wish to better understand how to feed this process in the most effective and efficient way. We will ask you to communicate to us your feedback on this event which can be done on the boards which you will find attached to the walls of this meeting room. We encourage you to contribute to this.
Lastly, this is also a meeting where you can use the opportunity to get to know colleagues from other organisations and we all know that networking and exchange of experiences is definitely quite enriching and important
On this note I now have the honour of inviting the Honourable Minister, Ms Kanbashi to deliver her key note speech.
Thank you; Zikomo Kwambiri