Practitioners stronger together
Coordination and dialogue are often key for advancing further. And that is exactly what the so-called Practitioners' Network is for when it comes to development cooperation with a European perspective. The Network serves as a platform for the exchange of experiences, coordination and harmonization between European development cooperation organizations as well as with the EU institutions. The members share their knowledge of the implementation of projects worldwide, discuss experiences and synergies and work on operational issues, contractual frameworks and recommendations arising from their daily work to achieve greater effectiveness.
During this year’s Annual Meeting of the Network's General Assembly in Berlin, the 15 members and the European Commission as an observer focussed on future cooperation opportunities and challenges to work even stronger together. Background of the discussion were new policy guidelines and programmes on the EU level, such as the New Consensus, the Global Strategy for Foreign and Security Policy, the European Agenda on Migration or the EU External Investment Plan.
After 365 days of work and exchange, GIZ handed over the Presidency of the Practitioners' Network to Expertise France and summarized the main achievements of the Network's last year. Among them is a well-established policy dialogue with the European Commission and other EU institutions and a higher visibility and interest representation in Brussels. In addition, the Network took further important steps towards knowledge sharing, for example through joint publications, events and the newly designed visual identity and website.
At the core: Joint Implementation and Inclusiveness
But there is still more work needed on two of the Network's core priorities: Joint Implementation and Inclusiveness, the latter meaning the involvement of new organisations and their expertise in the activities of the Network. Therefore, the CEO Roundtable on the first day of the General Assembly concentrated on these topics and showed a clear willingness and openness of all members to proceed.
Tanja Gönner, Chair of GIZ's Management Board, honoured in her opening speech the multilateral exchange as well as the support of the European Commission's DG DEVCO as a valued dialogue partner. She completed quoting Konrad Adenauer on Europe which also fits for the Network: "Its greatest charm and wealth lies in its diversity. To work out the common in the diversity, to unite the difference into a unity, that is the task.”
After further exchange, the day found its peak at a joint dinner where the Network members signed the new Charta and where GIZ handed over the Presidency to Expertise France. The members also welcomed Martin Jäger, new State Secretary at the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development and new chairman of GIZ's Supervisory Board who shared his thoughts about upcoming challenges and the need to tackle them together Europe-wide.
Continued strategic priorities
On the second day in Berlin, the Network discussed its strategic priorities and the intended projects for the upcoming year. As a main outcome it decided to continue its work in the four existing working groups and its task force, covering the topics “Effective Partnership”, “Contractual and Financial Frameworks”, “Crisis, Fragility and Migration”, the Private Sector and Public sector expertise to which GIZ will continue to contribute experiences and ideas.