We like getting together so much that our CEOs and Senior Leaders commit to meeting in person twice a year. In 2022, we decided to align the General Assembly meeting with the physical meeting of our programme portfolio groups.
As a result, in November 2022, EU-CORD official representatives and members of the Faith in Action programme met at Canterbury Cathedral hosted by MAF International.
Over the course of 2-days, we had opportunities for input, reflection, and application.
The first day of the gathering focussed on input. We met with representatives from the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) to discuss the UK’s international development strategy and implications for our members (most of whom are not UK-based).
In the afternoon, we gave free rein to humanitarian thinker Hugo Slim to present three big ideas that are going to impact the humanitarian and development landscape – and what faith-based organisations can do about it. It was a great session and many dinner conversations continued the reflection.
In the governance session, we welcomed Markus Ask (LM International) and Gladstone Worthington (Leprosy Mission International) onto EU-CORD’s executive board known as the ‘Administrative Council,’ replacing Irén Frändåf and David Verboom who were thanked for their service.
2022 is also the first year of implementation of our 2022+ strategy. The year is not over yet, so a little early for a full report, but thanks to member and secretariat enthusiasm and drive, we are on track to achieve all our big 2022 priorities and many of the smaller ones! We re-iterated our intention to retain the In-Country Forums as a priority area for 2022 and to start work on our climate cross-cutting objective.
We also took time in the governance session to recommit and increase engagement in the PaRD Network: International Partnership on Religion and Sustainable Development. PaRD brings together governmental and intergovernmental entities with diverse civil society organisations (CSOs) and faith-based organisations (FBOs), to engage the social capital and capacities vested in diverse faith communities for sustainable development and humanitarian assistance in the spirit of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.
After the meeting, and before dinner, we were also able to fit in a tour of the Cathedral and participate in Evensong (which was a first for many participants).
The following day, Cord CEO Andy Pask and EU-CORD vice-Chair led us in the ‘application day.’ The programme looks largely unstructured, but we’ve learned that we need time to reconnect with each other on a personal level and to have time to reflect on input received the previous day – without the constraints of a detailed agenda. Discussion focussed on both the In-Country Forums and how we anticipate developing our climate-related work in 2023.
Spring 2023 General Assembly
Our next gathering will take place in Brussels in April 2023 where the General Assembly will be held alongside the physical gathering of our Funding and Partnerships group. This will be an important step to share plans for the continued development of EU-CORD In-Country forums as well as an opportunity for the funding and partnerships group to convey to the CEO’s challenges faced in the changing funding and partnership landscape.