SOLIDAR Weekly Round Up 12-12-2014
Editorial by Conny Reuter, SOLIDAR Secretary General
A good New Year’s resolution!
12 December 2014
Wars, violence and injustice are a daily reality in the Middle East region, making it impossible to achieve any sort of peaceful solution or the prospect of peace, security and sustainable development for the people of the region. The failure of political solutions to the conflict between Israel and Palestine is a major factor in the destabilisation of the entire region. These failings and this lack of progress have exacerbated the persistent fighting and ever rising number of civilian casualties. Generations of young people have known nothing other than war, together with conflict resolution based on military strength or popular resistance. Whenever a new peace initiative or roadmap has emerged, the enemies of a peaceful solution on both sides have found ways to derail and undermine the process.
With the Arab Spring and the difficult transitions in the MENA region, religion has been used increasingly as the ideological justification for denial, exclusion, inequality and hatred of anyone different. In this explosive regional situation the recognition of the State of Palestine alongside with the state of Israel, in the framework of United Nations resolutions, is the logical, responsible and consistent position that the international community must take. It will place the conflict firmly within the context of international law and a political solution, defusing any resumption of violence and attempts to undermine the peace process.
More and more people believe that the recognition of the State of Palestine, as a political act of peace, is indispensable to ending the conflict, for the safety of both populations and the defence of democratic and secular forces in civil society of both sides, as the pathway to the much needed normalisation of relations between all states and all the communities of the region.
The European Union should take this important decision, following the example set in recent weeks by the House of Commons of the United Kingdom, by the Government of Sweden and by the French and Spanish parliaments, adding their recognition to that of 132 other countries in the world. SOLIDAR encourages the members of the European Parliament to support and vote for the motion for resolution on the recognition of the Palestinian State next week at the plenary in Strasburg.
What better understanding of the Christmas message – regardless of your belief – and what better start to the European Year of (peaceful) Development 2015?
SOLIDAR Silver Rose Awards – Call for Nominations
Deadline has been extended
Have you already submitted your nomination? Everyone is welcome to make a nomination, especially member organisations or other organisations and individuals who actively support SOLIDAR’s work. The new deadline for the submission of your nominations is 19 January 2015. The nomination can be made using the nomination form or through the online nomination form. A more detailed explanation of the procedure can be found here.
Taking Stock for a Revised European Neigbourhood Policy (South)
Reflections from EU-Arab Civil Society Organisations
On Wednesday 9 December, representatives from the Arab NGO Network for development (ANND) participated in a round table organised by SOLIDAR in the European Parliament to talk to members of the European Parliament and European CSOs about the challenges related to the European Neighbourhood Policy (ENP)’s stock-taking process foreseen for 2015. The round table was hosted by MEP Inés Ayala Sender of the S&D group, and member of the Delegation for relations with the Mashreq countries (DMAS), and the Delegation to the Parliamentary Assembly of the Union for the Mediterranean (DMED). S&D MEP Antonio Panzeri, the Chair of the Delegation for relations with the Maghreb countries and the Arab Maghreb Union (DMAG), and Brando Benifei (MEP, S&D) participated in the discussion with the ANND delegates.
The discussion on the stock-taking process of the new ENP South continued yesterday, Thursday 11 December during a CONCORD-ANND EU-Arab Civil Society Dialogue that brought together several CSOs from both shores of the Mediterranean. The CSD was also joined by the EEAS and the European Commission: Mr. Thomas McGracth and Peter Gebert from the EEAS discussed with the CSOs the mechanisms for a structured regional civil society dialogue; local authorities and EU representatives Mr. José Luis Vinuesa-Santamaria and Ms. Karima Saqui from DG NEAR highlighted the need to define together with CSOs the new priorities for the Civil Society Facility; and Mr. Thomas Seiler from the EEAS highlighted the priorities for the revision of the ENP.
Together for Social Europe
The EU Horizontal Social Clause
10 December 2014
SOLIDAR Partners EASPD and Social Platform organised a Hearing on the EU horizontal Social Clause hosted by Jutta Steinruck (MEP, S&D) on 9 December 2014 in the European Parliament. The aim of the meeting was to bring all Civil Society Organisations, Trade Unions and Social Economy actors together to talk to representatives of the European Parliament and other EU institutions about a more Social Europe, and discuss how we could best use the social clause to achieve our aims.
Conny Reuter (Secretary General of SOLIDAR) said, all stakeholders “should do their social impact assessment”. SOLIDAR with its member organisations have developed a tool, Social Progress Watch, for monitoring social progress. The results for 2014 were presented last week and can be found here. Veronica Nilsson (Confederal Secretary, ETUC) proposed that the Commission should write a progress report, train staff and constructive the initiative.
Building Learning Societies
Policy debate: Validation of non-formal and informal learning
11 December 2014
SOLIDAR partner organisation EUCIS-LLL organised the policy debate ‘Validation of non-formal and informal learning: All aboard! How to reach the targeted public? ‘ as a part of the Lifelong Learning Week 2014 on 11 December.
Sharon Watson, area education co-ordinator of SOLIDAR member organisation Workers’ Educational Association (WEA), was invited to share both good practices from WEA’s work on validation and adult education in the United Kingdom and to present the SOLIDAR Building Learning Societies: promoting validation of non-formal and informal learning project, in which both WEA and EUCIS-LLL are partners. With this project SOLIDAR aims at reducing inequalities within society and at unlocking its full potential through the aim of promoting the concept of “learning societies” – where each personal contribution is utilised, and skills and competences are recognised and further developed.
Organising International Solidarity
Winning the Fight against Poverty and Inequality
11 December 2014
Social security is a human right. More than 60 years ago, article 22 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights declared ‘Everyone, as a member of society, has the right to social security’.
Nevertheless, the everyday life of billions of people around the world, from North to South and from East to West, shows that access to adequate social protection remains a privilege for the few. This is not just a reality in developing countries, but in Europe as well. Those groups with the highest risk of exclusion – such as the 20.1 million non-EU citizens living in the EU or the so-called NEETs (young people between 15 and 24 years not in employment, education or training) – are more likely to lack access to adequate ‘social protection floors’ (access to essential services and measures that guarantee income support).
In this context, the Briefing paper Winning the Fight against Poverty and Inequality – developed by SOLIDAR, Brot für die Welt, Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung in cooperation with the Global Coalition for Social Protection Floors – calls on national Governments to
- Recognise that social protection is a human right which enables the fulfilment of other rights.
- Support the inclusion of an implementation target, by 2030, for universal and comprehensive social protection systems and quality nationally-defined social protection floors (such as outlined in ILO Recommendation 202), in the post-2015 development cooperation framework ’.
- Support the CSO’s role in the design, monitoring, evaluation and, where relevant, the implementation of universal social protection systems and floors (including the design of legal frameworks).
The ILO has published its December issue of the Social Protection Outlook. You can read the full version here.