The Founder and Executive Director of ACCORD, Vasu Gounden, has been invited by the Swedish Ministry of Foreign Affairs to be a resource person at a roundtable discussion entitled “Policy Coherence in the Real World,” that they will be holding tomorrow, 12 December 2006, in Stockholm. The aim of the meeting is to broaden the understanding of the new Swedish policy for global development.
In December 2003 the Swedish Parliament adopted a Policy for Global Development (PGD). By doing so, the Parliament acknowledged that development cooperation alone cannot correct imbalances and injustices that lead to poverty and exclusion. The fight for an equitable and sustainable global development is a responsibility shared by all policy areas; trade, agriculture, the environment, migration, defence and security policy, human rights etc. OECD countries all have a strong impact on development and poverty reduction. This is why the objective of the PGD – to contribute to equitable and sustainable development – applies to all policy areas.
The aim of the roundtable discussion is to analyse coherence issues in general, and the Swedish PGD in particular, focussing on its implementation so far. In order to do so, it is important to have a perspective from the South. Mostly, coherence issues are discussed among governments and international organisations from the global North, but this occasion will give Swedish government officials an opportunity to get views directly from three distinguished African analysts/commentators, one being Mr Gounden.
In addition, the roundtable discussion aims to stimulate a policy-relevant discussion on the Swedish PGD, as informed by the presentations provided. Around 20 participants from the relevant Swedish ministries – responsible for foreign trade, agriculture, the environment, human rights and development issues, respectively – are all expected to participate.
Some of the issues that Mr Gounden will cover in his presentation will include: (i) the three main constraints to a rapid economic and social development in the African countries he is most familiar with; (ii) what role relations with the global North has played in this context; (iii) would increased coherence between various policy areas improve the situation?; and, (iv) discussing the Swedish PGD, and how it relates to the first three points, above.
Mr Gounden will also make a similar presentation at a public meeting to be held on the evening of the 12th, which will be attended by representatives from NGOs and the general public.
Prior to arriving in Sweden, Mr Gounden will visit Norway on the 11th where he will meet representatives from the Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, before travelling to Sweden that evening. Besides participating in the above roundtable and public meeting in Sweden, Mr Gounden will also meet with various representatives from the Swedish Ministry of Foreign Affairs, especially from the African Department.