Assessment of the PRECEUP programme: how can we speak of genuine partnership?
01 / 1999
ENDA RUP (Relais pour le développement Urbain Participé - Relay for participatory urban development)is a branch of ENDA Tiers Monde working in the field of low-income housing which aims at improving the environment in which people live.
We had a programme with the European Union called the PRECEUP (Programme d’Economie Environnementale Urbaine et Populaire - Popular urban environmental economy programme). It was aimed at supporting local initiatives in the South in the field of urban environment and encouraging thinking and exchange of information on this environmental topic. The programme was developed together with various ENDA teams: ENDA Graf, ENDA RUP, ENDA Vietnam, ENDA Bombay, ENDA Amérique latine, ENDA Caraïbes and ENDA Maghreb. PRECEUP is now coming to an end.
The ENDA delegation in Europe (in Paris)takes care of co-ordination and secretarial work. Hence, this delegation has kept up the relationship with the European Union and taken charge of follow-up on these relations.
We have not had a sustained relationship with the European Union through PRECEUP, but we can offer some observations on the basis of the relations we have had.
* The direct relations that ENDA RUP had took place at the end of the process, when we had to turn in our reports. These were mainly concerned with controlling the financial aspects. We were asked to produce such and such a voucher or a specific detail concerning the accounts, etc.
We also encountered problems because we did not always comply with the time limits provided for in the programme. Due to their budgetary requirements, they were completely caught up in funding logic, totally in contradiction with realities in the field that require great flexibility in order to adapt to the processes under way.
* The fact that they are locked into a bureaucratic, administrative logic, as well as generally out of touch with the realities in the field are a source of great difficulty for us, as we have the impression we are speaking two different languages.
* We also had to submit intermediate reports on programme activities, but there was seldom any in-depth discussion concerning strategies. The interlocutors want to control costs and technical aspects, but there is no involvement at the strategy level nor any dialogue on the subject.
After two years, we had an assessment done by an expert selected by the Commission. Without questioning the technical competence of this expert, we negotiated to have another expert present, proposed by us and chosen for his socio-economic expertise. This assessment allowed us to reorient the programme, mainly with regard to technical questions.
* We regret that EU civil servants are only financiers employing the logic of money management without any other concerns. They are not interested in anything having to do with social problems, social relationships or analysing and finding out about real situations. They are basically managers who have to justify the use of their appropriations.
* We sometimes also have the feeling that the European Union does not wish to recognise us as competent actors, including in the technical field. For example, we were blocked by the Commission because the technical experiments carried out in the field of drainage, which had proven their worth, were contested by a European expert who did not believe in the positive results of this technique. It is difficult to speak of a genuine partnership under such conditions.
Translated from French (see corresponding title).
[Written for the public debate "Actors and processes of the cooperation", which could feed the next Lome Convention (European Union/ACP countries relations). This debate, animated by the FPH, has been started by the Cooperation and Development Commission of the European Parliament and is supported by the European Commission.]