Session 2 – Day 1

Refining the Partnerships

Monday 25 June 2018 (14:00-16:00)


The European Commission has signed 28 Framework Partnership Agreements (FPAs) with civil society organisations and associations of local authorities at global and regional levels, in areas as diverse as anti-corruption, gender, human rights, decentralisation, good governance and decentralised cooperation. These agreements create long-term political partnerships around strategic objectives. Through such partnerships, the European Commission promotes civil society and local authorities' civic space and helps strengthen their voice in the development process, while advancing political, social and economic dialogue. Those partnerships can also be instrumental in implementing and localising the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and the European Consensus on Development. FPAs are willing to strengthen collaboration through increased synergies, increased contacts – with more regular contacts, more space for exchange and structured political dialogue and dedicated focal points within the EC. Similarly FPAs had formulated a set of recommendations following the Partnership Forum 2017 related to: Improving synergies between the FPAs and the EU at national, regional and global levels for the implementation of Agenda 2030; Involving FPAs in policy dialogue and; Providing opportunities for sustainable funding. Time has come to draw lessons on our collaboration, clarify expectations and think out of the box for increased collaboration and synergies, such as the creation of an informal exchange mechanism.

Objectives of the session

Clarify expectations on future cooperation and strengthen multi-actor partnership for realizing the SDGs, considering our mutual expectations, FPAs specificities as well as lessons learned from our relationship and from other multi-actor platforms.

 Expected Results

  • Participants have a better understanding of the FPAs in political, technical and financial terms
  • Lessons are drawn from the FPA experience, including potentials and limitations so far
  • A roadmap is designed to increase synergies
  • Proposals are identified for enhanced dialogue between FPAs and with the European Commission.


The session will be introduced by a panel composed of representatives of the EC, local authorities and CSOs to frame the discussion.

The introduction will be followed by working groups with 4 round tables of 20 participants, taking language considerations and the diversity of constituencies into account. Participants will discuss concrete strategies and challenges to implement and localise the SDGs and recommendations regarding the programming of the MFF on the basis of the guiding questions below. Each table will have a rapporteur identified beforehand.

Finally, rapporteurs from each round table will present the recommendations identified during the discussion to the plenary followed by a discussion, Q&As and reaction of the EC to the recommendations.

Guiding questions

  • How to engage in a policy dialogue with the EU on policies and issues impacting developing countries and sustainable development in general?
  • What should/could the partnerships look like in five years' time? What are our expectations on the future of the FPAs at technical, political and financial levels? What are our expectations on our forum? How to make the partnerships a reality at country and at regional levels?


  • Maurice Claassens, SOLIDAR


  • Rosario Bento Pais, Head of Unit, Civil Society, Foundations, Directorate General for International Cooperation and Development, European Commission
  • Paolo Ciccarelli, Head of Unit, Local Authorities, Cities, Infrastructure, Digitalisation, Directorate General for International Cooperation and Development, European Commission
  • Jean-Baptiste Buffet, United Cities and Local Governments (UCLG)
  • +1

Session rapporteur

  • Deirdre de Burca, Advocacy Co-ordinator, IFP

Working groups’ rapporteurs:

  • TBC

Background documents 

Annex: FPAs recommendations as a follow-up to the Partnership Forum 2017

Improving synergies between the FPAs and the EU at national, regional and global levels for the implementation of Agenda 2030 with:

  • DEVCO facilitating FPAs’ contacts ("opening doors") upon request with European Union Delegations at country level as well as other DGs in HQ to stimulate more systematic and structured policy dialogue with EC officials
  • Possible invitations of some FPAs in Policy Forum on Development (PFD) regional multi-stakeholder and/or in additional regional and thematic meetings
  • Improved and systematic communication between FPAs, EUDs and DEVCO on contacts, dialogue and events at country level
  • Linkages between regional and national projects/partners
  • Country meetings of FPAs having activities in the same country
  • Greater visibility given to the FPAs in annual meetings with the EU country delegations (and on the Europe Aid website)
  • Long-term partnerships also with organisations, which are not only regional and global platforms.

Involving FPAs in policy dialogue

  • FPAs to be better involved in the policy process and in promoting the coherence of other EU policies that have a bearing on the lives of the most marginalized in partner countries - i.e. trade, investment, competition, financial, among others
  • Promoting ongoing structured dialogue between civil society and subnational governments with various European decision makers, going beyond DG DEVCO and the dialogue mechanisms existing within it.

Providing opportunities for sustainable funding

  • Ensure financial support of a stable, flexible and long-term nature, with core support to partners, rather than time limited, project based financing, so that all FPAs have the resources to fulfil this role in the near future
  • Consider changes in financing arrangements and financial instruments to make it easier for CSOs to be supported and their capacities to be developed, including the availability of diverse grant windows, the possibility of simpler procurement and supervision processes, a greater focus on ongoing structural support for CSOs rather than for time-limited projects, and sufficient provision to cover overheads.

Against this background we would like to confirm our interest and offer our support to building a plan of partnership engagement with the EU that would allow civil society and local and regional governments to feed into the policy processes in a more timely and structured way by defining in advance cooperation, themes, and dialogue meetings with the ambition of achieving more effective outcomes of the Partnership (…) and to agree on concrete actions to realise the ambitions of the Agreements and the EU’s SDG17 commitment.


Funded by the European Union