UNCDF’s Executive Secretary, Mr. Marc Bichler, hosted a workshop to discuss the common needs ACP countries have in the context of the post-2015 development framework and how to address inclusive growth as a priority.
The meeting was opened by Mr. Antonio Vigilante, Director of the UN Office and UNDP Representative in Brussels, who highlighted the continued close cooperation of UNDP and UNCDF throughout the years.
Mr. Bichler and UNCDF representatives briefly discussed UNCDF’s approach to inclusive finance and local development finance, followed by presentations from two of UNCDF’s partners, the ACP/EU Microfinance programme and the Belgian Fund for Food Security highlighting their successful partnerships with UNCDF in recent years. Participants also viewed videos of interviews with policy makers and programme beneficiaries of the Support to Local Economic Development/ National Programme of Local Development (PADEL/PNDL) in Senegal and the Pacific Financial Inclusion Programme based in Fiji.
The remainder of the event consisted of vibrant exchanges between Mr. Bichler and his guests. His Excellency M. Amadou Diop, Senegal’s Ambassador to Belgium, opened the dialogue by expressing Senegal’s appreciation for the work that UNCDF has done and the great need to do more in promoting growth at the local level. Mr. Milton Lawrence, Office of the Assistant Secretary-General Sustainable Economic Development and Trade of the ACP Secretariat commented on the priority of the ACP countries to support private sector development, particularly at the local level with micro, small and medium enterprises in accessing finance. He also noted that the EU and UNCDF needed to make the ACP members more aware of its works in the member states so that the good examples may be shared. Several attendees commented on the important link between local development, access to finance and food security in their countries.
The workshop, held at the UN House in Brussels, was attended by 25 guests, including Ambassadors and representatives of the ACP countries and officials from the European Commissions’ Development and Cooperation Directorate (DEVCO). This gathering will be followed by a meeting between Mr. Bichler and European Commissioner for Development Andris Piebalgs later in the week.