A new impulse for EU LAC CSOs engagement discussed in a gathering

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Wetlands International Europe participated on 25 and 26 September along more than 40 networks and platforms, representing more than 800 organizations from the Latin-American, Caribbean and European civil society, in an event organized by La Coordinadora. This is part of La Coordinadora’s activities associated with the Spanish Presidency of the Council of the EU. The objective was to set a roadmap that puts human rights and the sustainability of life and the planet at the centre.

The relationship between the Latin-American-Caribbean (LAC) and European (EU) regions has taken a new impulse after the publication of the EU’s joint communication setting out a new agenda for relations between the EU and Latin America and the Caribbean, as well as the III EU-CELAC Summit. As part of the Summit, a Forum took place in which civil society organizations (CSOs), youth, local authorities, and trade unions came together to facilitate closer cooperation between non-governmental actors and broaden the debate on the sustainable and inclusive future of the two regions. One of its demands is that, in the creation of the permanent coordination mechanism between the EU and CELAC included in the new bi-regional agenda, a multi-stakeholder space should also be created in which civil society from both regions is represented from a multidimensional and intersectional perspective.

In this context, this CSOs meeting took place in Brussels, organized by La Coordinadora (the Spanish Coordinating Committee of Development Organisations), with the objectives of strengthening the relations and coordinated work of LAC and EU CSOs and to generate a space in which to analyse the enabling environment in both regions. Additionally, to define a 2023-2025 roadmap and a CSO work plan, with a view to the dynamics of bi-regional relations towards the IV CELAC-EU Summit (Colombia, 2025).

During the first day (25 September), we discussed and aligned on:

A definition of the work plan and roadmap 2023-2025 of CSOs regarding bi-regional relations in view of the IV CELAC-EU Summit (Colombia, 2025), including map of actors, key issues and follow-up mechanism.

Analysis of the situation of CSOs in both regions and their role in strengthening democracy, human rights and sustainable development, as minimum and prior conditions that guarantee the work of CSOs.

CSOs meeting – Day 1 (Image courtesy of La Coordinadora)

During the second day a space for exchange was established with decision-makers and other key actors in the framework of EU-LAC relations. Participants were:

  • Félix Fernández-Shaw, Director for Latin America and the Caribbean (DG INTPA).
  • Jorge Rojas, Colombian Ambassador to the EU (pro tempore presidency of CELAC 2025 and host of the IV CELAC-EU Summit).
  • Laura Oroz, Director of Cooperation with Latin America and the Caribbean (AECID).
  • Michèle Deneffe, Counsellor for External Relations (COELA), RePer Belgium.
  • Adrián Bonilla, Executive Director EU-LAC Foundation.
  • Soraya Rodríguez, MEP and Euro-Latin American Parliamentary Assembly.

CSOs meeting – Day 2