2015, The European Year for Development, began in the Irish Parliament’s foreign affairs committee by a meeting with the EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security, Ms. Federica Mogherini, attended by many Irish AWEPA members.
Irish AWEPA chairperson, Ms. Maureen O’Sullivan TD, reminded Ms. Mogherini of AWEPA’s mission to keep African parliaments and civil society at the heart of EU development efforts in the post-2015 context. She also asked whether enough priority is given to gender equality in EU aid and if EU foreign policy is becoming increasingly militarized at the expense of its development efforts.
Of the seven Irish parliamentarians from the Irish foreign affairs committee who met Ms. Mogherini, all seven were active Irish AWEPA members and they brought up a range of topics including migration, trade and conflict, in particular the current violence in Nigeria. Ms. Maureen O’Sullivan also made Ms. Mogherini aware of how active the AWEPA Section is in her own country, Italy.
High Representative Mogherini paid credit both to Irish parliamentarians and Irish citizens for their high level of input to the post-2015 agenda. She travelled to Dublin as part of extensive preparations among Irish civil society, government and parliamentarians for the post-2015 agenda that will last throughout 2015, the European Year for Development (EYD).
During the month of January, these preparations included:
- a major diplomatic conference in Dublin where UN Special Envoy on Climate Change and AWEPA member Mary Robinson spoke on “Global Challenges post-2015”;
- a European Parliament launch where all of Ireland’s MEPs published their respective visions of how the EYD and post-2015 goals could work most effectively;
- and an official launch by President of Ireland and AWEPA member, President Michael D. Higgins, of the EYD and how it will integrate with his active citizenship and ethics initiative throughout Ireland.
Just as AWEPA has sought to reinvent its relationship with Africa to one of a dynamic and active partnership, Ireland’s emphasis regarding the European Year for Development will be on active participation, global citizenship, reaching out to social movements and making positive choices – “not so much what we give as how we live”.
The Irish AWEPA section will play its part in the European Year for Development by engaging Irish parliamentarians fully in this participative process.
Active partnership with Africa also continues as the motif of the Irish AWEPA Section in 2015 through its Joint Monitoring Teams project. Two Irish AWEPA Members, Anthony Lawlor TD and Seán Crowe TD, travelled to Tanzania in late 2014 to work closely with their Tanzanian counterparts in seeking transparent and effective development outcomes. The Irish AWEPA Section is committed to supporting strong and representative African voices throughout AWEPA.