EU-CORD celebrates 20 years as a network.
2017 was an important year for the network, as we celebrated 20 years of working together in partnership for better development and humanitarian outcomes.
A year of reflection culminated in a special General Assembly that brought together most of our members from across Europe.
We chose to challenge ourselves by exploring how we can increase the contribution that we make to the humanitarian, development and peace-building sectors by developing our understanding of political engagement and what it take for us to be more political as persons, organizations and as a network.
Our speakers, Ambassador David Donoghue, most recently co-facilitator for the intergovernmental negotiations of the sustainable development goals, Dr. Denis Mukwege medical director of the Panzi Hospital and activist on the rights of survivors of sexual violence – and Andy Flannigan – Co-Director of Christians in Politics presented their perspectives in a lively and challenging exchange.
We were invited by our speakers to consider:
- What does it look like to be political and where do we find this political space?
- Is there a unique faith-based contribution to be made and how are faith-based organisations to be challenged by this?
- And if it is about political engagement, where does that leave our traditional ways of working?
By the close of the discussion there was a clear consensus that developing and utilising our capacity to engage at a political level is going to be critical if we want to see better outcomes for those who are amongst the most vulnerable in our world. We were encouraged by David Donohue’s perspectives on the positive role that civil society had to play in the negotiations around the Sustainable Development Goals and challenged by Andy Flannagan to discover and make use of our political voice.
Dr. Muwege’s personal experiences moved us all and as a first step, we joined with him to call for a peaceful resolution to the conflict in Democratic Republic of Congo and an end to the use of sexual violence as a weapon of war.
It is timely that in 2018 the network will embark on its next strategic cycle. While it is largely a continuation and extension of what we have been doing, we now better appreciate the more we can do as faith-based organisations in flexing our political vocal muscle.