Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Feature Remarks by Mr. Benedikt Madl, Head, Bilateral Cooperation

Feature Remarks 
delivered by Mr. Benedikt Madl, Head, Bilateral Cooperation
Public Policy Advocacy Training 
for the Guyanese Vulnerable Communities Capacity Strengthening Project
September 16, 2015 at the Regency Hotel, Hadfield Street, Georgetown

Madam Chairperson
Members of the Head Table
Members of the Diplomatic Corps
Representatives of Civil Society Organisations

Mr. Benedikt Madl, Head, Bilateral Cooperation
Good morning.

It is my honour that I today represent the European Union to deliver the feature remarks at this opening session of the Public Policy Advocacy Training.  This training forms an integral part of the European Union funded Guyanese Vulnerable Communities Capacities Strengthening Project which is being executed by the Society Against Sexual Orientation Discrimination (SASOD).

First, I would like to congratulate and applaud Joel Simpson and the team at SASOD for this initiative which aims to strengthen and further empower the many civil society organisations present here in their approach and engagement with the decision and policy makers in Guyana.  Coming on the heels of the baseline and mapping studies earlier undertaken in the project, this Public Policy Advocacy Training having been informed of the needs of your organisations, will provide you with the principles and practices of effective public policy and for effective public consultations with the policy makers in Guyana.   

The role of your organisations in voicing the concerns of society's disadvantaged cannot be underscored enough. You are usually the first in responding to victims of gender based violence, child molestation and abuse, denied basic human rights to the LGBT community while at the same time advocating for policy change. You therefore are that vital bridge between the policy makers and the general populace. Augmenting your advocacy capacities will therefore certainly allow you to achieve your goal of proper representation of the communities and fora you represent. 

This is the most opportune time to ensure effective and efficient advocacy. As the new Government plans and charts its course for the next five years, your approach in advocating for the change that you want to see for the communities that you serve is crucial.

I am happy to see that your advocacy efforts are being undertaken under the umbrella of the Guyana Equality Forum (GEF) and I want to commend the synergies that you are creating.  Collaborative work always lends greater strength to advocacy efforts. That you will not individually bombard the decision makers on very often closely related issues is already an effective means of activism.  To this end I want to further encourage you to work together towards your common goal of effective policy making for the benefit of all Guyanese.

I note that this Public Policy Advocacy Training will inform a national training programme for civil society organisations on effectively engaging decision makers. This is quite commendable and I laud the initiative.

In closing I wish to commend all of the civil society organisations present here today. You have a partner in the European Union. The European Union is proud to have worked with many of you present here. We are proud of your work. We are cognisant of the very significant role you as civil society organisations play in the promotion and defence of human rights. We are of the firm belief that with financial support and the right policies, we will be on the path towards poverty alleviation and sustainable development. We therefore commend you, encourage you and reaffirm our support to your efforts of becoming better and stronger advocates.

Thank you and I wish you a fruitful session.

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