No signs of the UK withdrawing from the continent with a strong contingent at the AidExpo in Brussels
It was a bit weard, walking around at the AidExpo in Brussels this week. Listening to representatives of respectable agencies presenting facts to the audience as if everyone in the room had decided yesterday to engage themselves in humanitarian aid. Yes dad, let's go to the AidExpo!
I really wondered what kind of audience was expected to come to this annual 'aid event'. A good exception to the sub-standard sessions in the plenary was the workshop on the Joint Standards Initiative that I attended. This is an initiative of the HAP, People in Aid and Sphere Project to come up with a joint standard against the proliferation of standards currently available. The JSI coordinator, Robert Shofield, updating the few attendees that had not interest in the future of the NGO as discussed in the main hall by Oxfam and others. Admittedly I turned up late, distracted by a few very enthousiastic colleagues from Ghana and the Philippines who had their stalls 'nicely' sidelined giving centre space to splendid expositions of the latest 4x4 models. Others possessing strategic locations were ECHO, the UK Trade initiative and a few other entities that had supposedly 'earned' a space in the middle. It is worth exploring the Expo floor plan to discover hierarchies in the business of humanitarian aid.
I attended Shofield's session also with a business purpose, as I intended to turn in a bid for a consultancy for the Joint Standards Initiative (JSI) next day. Unfortunately apparantly there was sufficient choice with more experienced consultants applying as well. JSI staff managed to review the applications in less then a day rather efficiently as I received notice I was not selected for the lead-consultant post. Never mind, there is plenty of work around with funds looking for 'bankable' projects (of which there seems to be shortage). It's a strange world.
My name is Reinier van Hoffen.
Click here for a summary.
Also find the text of a lecture Dr. Achterhuis held at the 2012 Bilderberg conference.