The devil is in the detail

20 November 2018 - 13:00 - 14:00
Shada Islam, Sean Maguire, Paloma Perez de Vega, Wouter Vermeulen

This event is part of our Development Policy Forum (DPF), which brings together a number of important development actors, including the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ), the Agence Française de Développement (AFD), the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA), the European Investment Bank (EIB), the United Nations and the World Bank. Reflecting the growing role of the private sector in development, the DPF has now welcomed Coca-Cola and Eni to the forum. The DPF contributes to the global and European conversation on inclusive development. Through its activities and publications, the DPF reflects the rapidly-changing global debate on growth and development and seeks to encourage a multi-stakeholdered, fresh, up-to-date thinking on the multiple challenges facing the development community.

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Private Sector and Agenda 2030

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The Development Policy Forum (DPF) led by Friends of Europe brings together a number of crucial development actors. This includes the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ), the Agence Française de Développement (AFD), the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA), the European Investment Bank (EIB), the United Nations and the World Bank.


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Private sector and Agenda 2030 – The devil is in the detail

Achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) by 2030 requires synergetic partnerships between governments, international organisations, the private sector, and civil society. Making such coalitions work, however, is not easy. The role of the private sector as an engine for long-term sustainable development is increasingly recognised. But working with business is still relatively new for many development actors. The European Consensus on Development recognises the need to engage with the private sector, with focus being put on developing practical partnership arrangements that are collaborative, transparent and open for businesses, citizens and other stakeholders and which support sustainable and ethical business practices.

Yet, a persistent challenge, among others is the legacy of the negative social and environmental conduct of some private enterprises. Bureaucracy and corruption, cultural traditions and norms can also often hinder the implementation of development projects. As is often the case when partners are not used to working together, the "devil is in the detail" - and these details need to be identified, acknowledged and resolved.

  • What more is required from the private sector to make it a legitimate actor in implementing Agenda 2030?
  • What are the practical obstacles facing the public sector, the private sector and civil society as they seek to work together as development actors?
  • Are Public Private Partnerships as successful in practice as they look on paper?

Speakers include:
Sean Maguire, Executive Director of Influence and Partnerships at Plan International
Paloma Perez de Vega, Head of Division for Project Finance in Africa and the Neighbouring countries, European Investment Bank (EIB)
Wouter Vermeulen, Senior Director of The Coca-Cola Company

Moderated by
Shada Islam, Director of Europe and Geopolitics at Friends of Europe

Shada Islam
Director for Europe & Geopolitics
Shada Islam is responsible for policy oversight of Friends of Europe’s initiatives, activities and publications. She has special responsibility for issues related to the Future of Europe, Migration, the Asia Programme and the Development Policy Forum. Shada is Visiting Professor at the College of Europe (Natolin) where she teaches Asia-Europe relations and has been selected as a fellow by the Vrije Universiteit Brussel (VUB). She has been named as one of twenty most influential women in Brussels by Politico. Shada is the former Europe correspondent for the Far Eastern Economic Review and has previously worked on Asian and Migration issues at the European Policy Centre. She is one of the authors of Friends of Europe’s much-read “Frankly Speaking” commentary and is sought after as a speaker, commentator, columnist and moderator at high-level European and global events. Shada also continues to write on EU foreign and security policy, EU-Asia relations and trade and development issues for leading Asian, European and international publications and academic journals.
Sean Maguire
Executive Director of Influence and Partnerships at Plan International
In his role as Director of Influence and Partnerships at Plan International, Sean Maguire drives an ambitious policy and advocacy agenda on girls’ rights and gender equality. Prior to this position, he covered several posts related to strategic communication in development, including serving as a reporter and then as editor responsible for all international affairs for Reuters where he covered much of the break-up of former Yugoslavia; UK spokesman for the International Committee of the Red Cross and  Head of News and Campaigns of the UK’s Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs.
Paloma Perez de Vega
Head of Division for Project Finance in Africa and the Neighbouring countries, European Investment Bank (EIB)
Paloma Perez de Vega heads the Project Finance Division at the European Investment Bank (EIB). This Division provides structured loans and guarantees to private sector operations in the regions covered by the Global Partners and Neighbouring Countries Departments, with a priority focus on projects in Africa and the Middle East. She previously served as loan officer within EIB’s Near East, Maghreb and Project Finance Divisions, after having worked as credit risk officer at EIB for two years. Perez de Vega started her career in Deutsche Bank’s structured trade and export finance team.  
Wouter Vermeulen
Senior Director, The Coca-Cola Company
With over 25 years of experience in corporate social responsibility, public affairs and communications, Wouter Vermeulen has extensive knowledge of working directly with government, private sector and not-for profit organisations. Within the Coca-Cola Company, one of the world’s most well-known multi-national, he currently spearheads the public policy centre for Europe, Middle East and Africa. Previously Corporate Responsibility Director for Coca-Cola Europe, he looked after the coordination and implementation of the health and well-being strategy of the Company. Wouter started his career as spokesperson to the Belgian Minister for SME’s and Agriculture, André Bourgeois, and State Secretary for Development Cooperation, Réginald Moreels.  

Development Policy Forum:

  FoE AFD GIZ JICA World Bank




UN EIB Coca Cola eni    

This event is exclusively for Friends of Europe’s members, EU institution representatives and media.
For more information, please contact Sarah Bentz, Programme Manager at Friends of Europe.

Sarah Bentz, Programme Manager
t.: +32 2 893 98 23

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