During October 16-18, 2023 took place Platforma Steering Committee (CEMR/Platforma is CALM key advocacy partner with EU institutions) which most thoroughly and comprehensively deliberated on new global realities and arising from these realities tasks for local authorities and their associations advocacy on international arena.

At the Steering Committee was participating Ms Erica Gerretsen, European Commission DG INTPA Director for Human Development, Migration, Governance and Peace. She expressed the idea that new European Union development instruments including Global Gateway represents the EU response to the new global and geopolitical realities aiming also to move away from “business as usual” in international development. At the same time she presented vision and new approaches within the Global Gateway, which is yet being under consolidation at the conceptual level and mentioned Platforma contribution to this process.    

Important attention was paid to the CEMR/Platforma advocacy strategy 2021-2030, which is currently being updated coming from the new challenges and global developments. Particularly was discussed advocacy in view of the current colossal development challenges – multiple consolidating crises, geopolitical situation, wars and conflicts, etc. Mr Alexandru Osadci, CALM Coordinator of international relations, draw attention that unfortunately it is not a secret that the situation is much worse than we normally discuss it in Brussels up to the point when the old world order and correspondingly old development principles and moreover so policies are falling apart and not working anymore. In fact very recently, Mr Antony Blinken, US State Secretary of State was marking down this fact of the end of the old world order and of the new looming age of world competition. Within the development policies we need something radically different as well or even a major revision and total reconfiguration of development policies, practices, approaches and tools.

Lack of the will to understand and to get to know Global South societies, priorities and needs have lead not only to the high popularity of BRICS as an opposition to global approaches, but also to the significant loss of trust to international partners even in the EU sympathizing countries. Everything went so far that our key task today is to regain Global South and the best way to do it is to radically improve the results of the development policies. We need to learn Global South almost from the scratch, to understand it and to start talking the language of Global South, answer to its priorities and visions of development, otherwise we are losing the Global South

Based on the advocacy strategy discussions Mr Alexandru Osadci, CALM Coordinator of international relations, was entrusted with the preparation of brief summary paper on the new development challenges, relations between Global North (economically developed countries) and Global South (developing countries) and problems within international development policies.

Participants were also contemplating new EU development instruments such as Global Gateway and Team Europe. This is particularly important from the perspective of CEMR/Platforma membership at the Global gateway dialogue and consultation platform. Was presented Platforma preliminary draft position on Global gateway for promotion within this platform as well as were opened the consultations and solicited members’ contribution online in writing. CALM also came up with several ideas and comments related to the paramount need of investments within development programs, role of local democracy and local autonomy as of pan-european value often neglected within the development policies, need of radical changes in aid delivery methods, role of associations of local authorities and the need of through taking into account Global South voice, needs and priorities.

At the Steering Committee was forwarded the thesis that in the new conditions when the trust or even a proper development climate between Global North and Global South at the central governments level is critically evading and vice a versa on many grounds diverse animosities are emerging, addressing development challenges via the local level represents a rather important and promising approach for building bridges of trust between Global North and Global South. Highly representative and benefiting from the highest trust of population local and regional authorities and their associations are becoming increasingly relevant actors for building bridges, partnering and pacification between people, countries and nations

Was expressed a certain caution what concerns two new explicit approaches of the EU Global Gateway instrument – values based approach and politics/geopolitics in development. What concerns politics and geopolitics though informally and implicitly they are being present to one degree or another already for a while within the EU development policies, they still represent a somewhat controversial approach bearing a significant risk of alienation people in Global South. Values based approach has to be very carefully implemented since good faith normally expressed through the values, sometimes is being downgraded on the ground by

  1. Rough imposition of values especially when attention is not being paid to proper knowing or understanding of partner countries context. Such approach quite often is being met with reluctance in Global South and is vice a versa hampering promotion of values
  2. Partiality in values promotion when some values are being heavily or even excessively promoted while the others such as for example local democracy and local autonomy quite often are being neglected
  3. Efficiency of values promotion is raising question marks when dominate narrow parochial approaches to values promotion. For example to fight corruption or to improve justice system much broader spectrum of issues need to be addressed including decentralization of power, democratization of society, comprehensive reform of public administration, while normally in the best case are being addressed some cosmetic changes within particular specialized institutions without touching the fundamentals and systemic issues.

To note that CEMR/Platforma apart from its core focus on overall EU & global policy and advocacy is organically embracing advocacy under specific self-explanatory clusters such as

  • EU Delegations geographic dialogue,
  • Development partners and focal points,
  • 2030 Agenda and Sustainable Development Goals,
  • Global Citizenship Education (GCE), Development Education and Awareness Raising (DEAR),
  • EU Neighbourhood East

The cross-cutting issue of the utmost importance is also a decentralized cooperation – cooperation and partnerships between local authorities from different European countries