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Wednesday, November 2, 2011

GVI Fiji Referenced at Portuguese Human Security Summit

I have just received exciting news from recent volunteer Marcos Farias Ferreira who recently spoke at Portuguese Parliament during a summit on Development and Population issues. Marcos referenced his time on our construction program as an example of a successful collaborative effort to promote positive community development. Marcos's has kindly set me the following letter, Thank you for all your support Marcos!:

Dear Dan,

I am writing to tell you about a working session I was invited to and where I had the opportunity to depict and assess the GVI Fiji construction project. As the leading researcher of the Observatory for Human Security (within the Technical University of Lisbon) I was invited to speak at a session organized at the Portuguese Parliament by the Group of Portuguese MPs for Development and Population Issues. This is a group of MPs from all political parties who recently decided to commit their political action to an International Development agenda. Last 26 October they convened, in the Parliament premises, the official presentation of the 2011 UNFPA Report about the Situation of the World Population (“Possibilities in a World of 7 Billion”).

Apart from MPs, the session was attended by representatives of Development NGOs and the Portuguese Institute for International Development (IPAD) and other officials. The main speech was pronounced by T├ónia Cooper Patriota, the UNFPA representative in Colombia who came to Lisbon to present the report, and the session was closed by the Secretary for International Cooperation. My intervention was meant to introduce a human security perspective into the cooperation agenda in times of deep financial crisis, challenging the Portuguese Government’s plan to merge the cooperation institutions (and agenda) into a broader Economic Diplomacy agenda expected to promote public and private interests abroad. My central point was that Development Cooperation must be approached as a cosmopolitan interest, not a national interest and therefore should not be subsumed in a tool meant to advance national interests.

I underlined the necessity to hold on to Development commitments previous governments subscribed to, despite the dramatic expenditure and budgetary cuts the Portuguese Government is putting in place at the moment, and to concentrate donations and cooperation on well-run projects and trustworthy organizations which have proved to be able to guarantee results on a broad range of human security issues such as adaptation strategies to climate change. That’s the point where I introduced the GVI Fiji construction project and the whole range of strategies being implemented down there to provide water and food security to the people of the Yasawas. I concluded by stressing the importance of forming a corps of Portuguese volunteers aimed at helping in granting coherence to the overall strategy of cooperation and donor public policies.

Keep up the excellent work in the Yasawas, Dan. Take care!

Marcos

Ps. I am looking forward to joining you again on the field next year.



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