TUDCN Open Coordination Meeting 2018

The Trade Union Development Cooperation Network (TUDCN) held the fourth issue of its annual Open Coordination Meeting (OCM) in Brussels on 3 and 4 October. In addition to sharing updates on the work achieved at global and regional level, debates on next strategic steps took place related to a series of topics central to the activities of the network.

Liina Carr, confederal secretary at the European Trade Union Confederation (ETUC), informed about the ongoing negotiations of the EU’s next budget for the years 2021-2027, the Multiannual Financial Framework (MFF). According to the ETUC, the proposed budget might be too small to address EU’s challenges and it fears that development cooperation funds might become subordinated to other objectives, notably migration control and security.

After a presentation on the most recent updates regarding the EU’s Neighbourhood, Development and International Cooperation Instrument (NDICI). Jeroen Kwakkenbos (Eurodad) focussed on the European Fund for Sustainable Development (EFSD). The European Commission expects that the fund’s 4.1 billion euro will attract over 40 billion euro in private investments. “This is a massive level ratio. Even for commercial banks and it’s questionable if it’s realistic,” said Kwakkenbos. The European Commission is proposing to upscale the programme (EFSD+) within the NDICI.

The European Parliament and the European Council are now revising this proposal. The TUDCN, hand in hand with the ETUC, will actively engage in the negotiations process. For the Council in particular, national affiliates are encouraged to get in touch with their national governments to push trade unions key asks.

Élodie Aïssi (CFDT-Institut Belleville, France) presented the process around putting together a framework of recommendations/guidelines to the French government on private sector engagement in development. This process was led by representatives from trade unions and from enterprises. Amongst the most contentious points: taxation and tax havens, transparency of corporate structures, and records on responsible business conduct. The document is available here (in French).

As the last TUDCN study highlights - "Aligning blended finances to development effectiveness: where we are at" - there are still major weaknesses in assessing the contribution of private sector to development. The key trade unions asks finalised during the meeting will be crucial to increase accountability of donor governments and development financial institutions when it comes to business investments in development cooperation programs.

The current monitoring process of the Global Partnership for Effective Development Cooperation (GPEDC) is an opportunity for trade unions to push forward the importance of social dialogue and the need for businesses to respect labour rights and be transparent and accountable.

Next year, SDG 8 will be reviewed amongst other key goals. We already know that commitments will not be met at the current pace, as described by Julius Cainglet (vice-President of the Philippines’ Federation of Free Workers).

Stefano Prato (Society for International Development and co-chair of the UN’s Major Groups and other Stakeholders) underlined the importance for trade union and civil actors to take the lead in UN-driven processes and regain the decision-making sphere.

The final discussions moved to the topic of South-South and Triangular cooperation. Daniel Angelim and Kjeld Jakobsen from the Trade Union Confederation of the Americas (TUCA-CSA) and Alex Nkosi from the International Trade Union Confederation of Africa (ITUC Africa/CSI Afrique) presented trade union-led good practices of South-South and Triangular cooperation in their respective continents.

The trade union cooperation programme that the TUCA-CSA coordinated with Haiti was an example of good practice that was mentioned during the discussion:

 

The meeting background documents and conclusions can be consulted here.

For more information about the Open Coordination Meeting, contact us at dce@ituc-csi.org