Poverty, disaster, hunger and violence occur in every part of our world. Every level of society must work together to improve the living situation of our fellow human beings. For many years the Caritas network has formed a bridge between helpers and victims, between poor and rich, by giving local and national Caritas organisations financial and material help, humanitarian support and structural accompaniment. The Caritas network supports and complements the initiatives taken by people who have no means to free themselves from misery. Caritas creates opportunities for them.
One important stakeholder in the fight for the preservation of human dignity is the European Union (EU). The EU is an important actor in international development cooperation with a long history of common action in this area. The European Union (European Commission and Member States) is the biggest aid donor in the world, with about €49 billion of public aid for developing countries in 2008. The EU also has a tradition of exploring innovative models of partnership between Northern and Southern countries, such as the political and financial framework for relations between EU Member States and seventy-eight developing countries in Africa, the Caribbean, and the Pacific, as set out in the Cotonou Agreement signed in 2000.
Because Caritas Europa represents its member organisations to the EU, it works to ensure that the principles of the EU development cooperation stated in the European Development Consensus of 2005, including poverty eradication, human rights, sustainable development, partnership, and participation of civil society are fulfilled in the management of EU external assistance. EU aid must stay focused on meeting commitments made by Member States, especially concerning the Millennium Development Goals.
The different working structures of Caritas Europa, including the Working Group on International Policy and Advocacy (IPAWG) and the Working Group on Funding and Operational relations with the EU (FORWG), focus on coordinating the development work of its member organisations and strengthening their work by lobbying relevant stakeholders in Europe in order to give voice to their partner's needs in developing countries.
In order to improve the impact of their activities and the cohesion of the network, Member Organisations share their experience and good practices, through different meetings and Fora such as the annual International Forum of Caritas Europa and the bi-annual Co-financing Forum, held jointly with CIDSE. A special process is also in place to support Caritas organisations in the New EU Member States to enhance their capacity for international cooperation.
Networking in the field of Development and Peace
Caritas Europa is a member of :
Caritas Europa collaborates regularly with: