Asian employers provide key input to EU Policy Forum on Development meeting in Nepal

A strong IOE-member delegation from China, Malaysia, Singapore, Sri Lanka, and Viet Nam, supported by IOE’s regional adviser, contributed to the 3rd Asia Regional Meeting of the EU Policy Forum on Development (PFD) in Kathmandu, Nepal from 24 – 26 September, underscoring IOE’s ongoing commitment to ensure the private sector contribution to development is taken into account in EU policy and programme formulation, implementation and monitoring.

The meeting gathered around 80 representatives of civil society organisations (CSOs) and local authorities (LAs) from the region to share experiences and insights on the Voluntary National Review (VNR) processes; the conditions that make for an enabling environment; and the localised implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

The overall assessment recognised the diversity of the region’s cultures, societies and natural environments and concluded that if the current trajectory were maintained, Asia would not meet any of the 17 SDGs by 2030. Despite relative progress towards some of the Goals (1, 4 and 7), progress towards others had stagnated or even declined.  Lack of progress towards Goal 17 (strengthening global partnership), a key priority of IOE, was likely to impact negatively on the achievement of the Agenda overall. 

As a member of the concluding communiqué drafting committee, IOE joined forces with the other stakeholders in setting out global recommendations for the EU’s uptake:

  • Increase support to enable mechanisms for more meaningful engagement at grassroots level 
  • Simplify procedures and requirements at this level for accessing and reporting on funding support
  • Increase support for data gathering, monitoring and reporting on the SDGs with a view to documenting and facilitating the replication of good practices, especially at the regional and sub-national levels
  • Continue to provide spaces for learning and sharing on SDGs with more inclusive participation of constituencies and a mechanism for follow-through and feedback on joint commitments

When it came to specific recommendations impacting the IOE constituency, the employer delegation was instrumental in the inclusion of the need for the EU to:

“Engage the private sector and employer organisations, especially the micro, small and medium enterprises (which make up 96% of companies in Asia) with capacity-building programmes and knowledge sharing opportunities to ensure equitable economic development and climate responsiveness.”

A full version of the draft communiqué, as well as other relevant material, may be accessed via the resources section of this communication. It concludes with a commitment to Goal 17 - including the EU’s recognition of the Asia region as an equal partner in the successful implementation of the global goals by 2030. 

The next Global PFD is set to take place in Brussels from 24 to 26 March 2020 and the next Regional PFD will take place in Latin America in October 2020.