“New Development Policy – Towards Partnership and a Common Vision” – this is the main topic of the tenth annual CROATIA FORUM, the traditional foreign policy conference organized by the Ministry of Foreign and European Affairs, this year being held from the 9th to the 11th of July in Dubrovnik.
The Forum represents a sort of prelude to the forthcoming International Conference on Financing for Development and the United Nations Summit to adopt the post-2015 development agenda.
The partnership between small and large donors, sustainable development, the challenges of terrorism – those are only some of the issues which will be dealt with during the three-day meeting by numerous senior officials from Croatia and abroad, as well as respectable panelists and moderators, including first-time participants from African countries.
What was then known as Croatia Summit first took place in July 2006 in Dubrovnik under the title “Completing Europe's Southern Dimension: The Values that Bind Us”. In October of the previous year Croatia had started its negotiations to join the EU, simultaneously making progress in the process of accession to NATO, wherefore the first conference was dedicated to security matters and the process of Euro-Atlantic integration, which was also the main subject of the conference the following year. “Security, Development and Prosperity” were the topics of the third annual Croatia Summit held in 2008, only months after Croatia had been invited to join NATO, while the issues of energy, investment and development were in the crosshairs at the 2009 Summit, at the time when Croatia was becoming a full member of NATO. The focus of the 2010 Summit was on global challenges from the region’s perspective and the topic of the following conference in 2011, held only days after the conclusion of the negotiations on Croatian membership in the European Union, concerned future prospects and the finalization of the transition period. “State Building and the EU Experience” were the subjects of talks at the 2012 edition of Croatia Summit, while European energy security was in the center of the participants’ attention one year later, in 2013. It was from that year onwards that the conference has been held under the name of Croatia Forum. Last year’s discussion primarily revolved around the process of European integration in the region of the Western Balkans and the event was attended by, among others, 18 foreign ministers, including the current High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Federica Mogherini.
As in previous years, the spotlight of this year’s conference will be on the most topical issues. International development policy is an important instrument for the establishment of cooperation on a global level and CROATIA FORUM represents both an opportunity to discuss key foreign policy challenges jeopardizing development, such as conflicts and terrorism, and a chance to look into the ways in which development cooperation can contribute to overcoming those challenges.
We have no doubt that this year’s meeting in Dubrovnik, too, will arouse great interest, not only among those involved in international relations and diplomacy, but also among all who appreciate stimulating discussion and creative answers to the global issues that surround us.