Barcelona, Spain – On 21 and 22 October 2016, AWEPA’s Governing Council, chaired by AWEPA’s President Minister of State Ms. Miet Smet, came together at the Pedralbes Palace in Barcelona, Spain.
The event was hosted by AWEPA’s Spanish Section and facilitated by the Head of Section, Mr. Josep Maldonado, together with AWEPA.
The meeting provided an opportunity for the Council, which comprises some 40 current and former parliamentarians as representatives of AWEPA’s Sections in Europe, including the members of AWEPA’s Executive Committee, to discuss the organisation’s overall policy and direction
During the event, the participants heard from H.E. Jan De Bock, former Secretary General of the Belgian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Trade and International Cooperation and former Ambassador to the EU and Spain among others, who delivered an insightful presentation on the Post-Cotonou Agreement, the Economic Partnership Agreements (EPAs) and the European Partnership for Migration.
This was followed by a lively debate amongst AWEPA’s Governing Council members, especially regarding the EPAs and migration. The current and former parliamentarians discussed the engagement of the African regions in the EPA debate, and addressed the role of parliaments in this process. Regarding migration, the participants shared different viewpoints on migration in Africa and Europe and analysed the role to be played by parliaments in tackling root causes and taking into account the humanitarian aspect of migration crises.
Following this debate, AWEPA’s Strategy for 2017-2021 was discussed with interesting input from the Governing Council members. Mr. Theo Kralt, AWEPA’s Chief Administrative Officer (CAO), gave a financial overview of the organisation and presented AWEPA’s Annual Report and Financial Report for 2015.
Lastly, Ms. Kris Debref, Director Bilateral Programmes West, East, Central Africa, and Ms. Kudzai Makombe, Deputy Director Bilateral Programmes & Partner Relations Southern Africa, updated the group on the progress made and results achieved in their respective programmes.
During the event, Ms. Smet presented the first copy of the AWEPA Handbook on Programme Design, Monitoring and Evaluation to Ms. Maya Ingold, member of AWEPA’s Executive Committee and Head of AWEPA’s Section in the Swiss Parliament, and Ms. Ida Glanzmann-Hunkeler, member of the Section. The publication was developed with the support of the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC).
The meeting also provided an opportunity for AWEPA’s Heads of Section in the Lithuanian, Latvian, Estonian and Polish Parliaments to come together to discuss their work. The Heads of Sections explored a number of themes including development cooperation budgets, priority countries and themes for our work in Africa, and parliamentary friendship groups with African countries and missions.
The Governing Council is AWEPA’s highest policy body. Every five years, the Council elects an Executive Committee and the President of the organisation, who are accountable to this Council. The Governing Council, chaired by AWEPA’s President Minister of State Ms. Miet Smet, operates as a general assembly and aims to meet at least once a year.