The FIDC works towards raising awareness about various dimensions of development cooperation policies through seminars, discussion meetings and publications including policy briefs. However, as most of the FIDC seminars and conferences were organised in New Delhi, there were suggestions that FIDC as a platform should be expanded and the outreach of FIDC as a forum should be spread out to other cities as well. Taking this idea forward, Regional Consultations on Development Cooperation were organized in the city of Pune and Kolkata during 10th and 11th February, 2015 in Pune and during 23rd and 24th March, 2015 in Kolkata. Partner institutions for the regional consultations were Symbiosis International University and University of Calcutta for Pune and Kolkata respectively. The consultations brought together multiple stakeholders including academics, civil society organisations, industry representatives, private sector and policy makers and enabled discussions on their engagement in SSC.
The first Regional Consultation on Development Cooperation was held in Pune at the Symbiosis International University. The consultation covered a wide ambit of issues including a special session on role of higher education and capacity building as a means to foster development cooperation. Since the focus of the consultation was to demystify the engagement of civil societies in development cooperation, parallel sessions on development cooperation were undertaken with a view to capture varied ideas, experiences and success stories of civil societies organisations operating in multiple sectors within and outside India.
The Kolkata round of consultations were organized in collaboration with the University of Calcutta’s Institute of Foreign Policy Studies. While the parallel sessions in the Pune consultation had over-arching discussions on civil societies and development cooperation, the sessions in Kolkata were more specific and focussed on three major aspects including Capacity Building and Training Programmes, Field Based Developmental Interventions and Project Designing and Monitoring evaluation. The special session concentrated on the dynamics of ‘Education and South-South Cooperation’ and emphasized on the role of primary education in SSC.
The regional consultations have succeeded in spreading the idea of South-South Cooperation amongst multiple stakeholders in different regions of India. It was identified that the template of the CSO directory “Profile of Indian Voluntary Organisations” needs to be revisited in order to make it concise yet informative. Most importantly, the regional consultations have resulted in enabling a network of CSOs from different regions of the country.