Back in 1983, the first “Forum d’Agen”, initiated by La Guilde, gathered for the first time ever a new generation of NGOs, both humanitarian and development-oriented, from a wide spectrum, but all featuring a common pragmatic and non-ideological approach to International Solidarity.
This first Forum d’Agen aimed at bringing together field actors in order to compare their experiences and achieve synergies.
Sœur Emmanuelle (ASMAE), Paul Emile Victor (La Guilde Honory Patron), Bernard Kouchner (MDM), Jean-Baptiste Richardier (HI), Pierre Fyot (MDM), etc. were among the first attendants.
At the end of that very first Forum, Patrick EDEL, then both La Guilde Chief Executive and Forum d’Agen Founder, informally united the main attending NGOs in order to build up a sustainable organization called Coordination d’Agen, whose motto was “For any emergency and voluntary cooperation missions”.
That new organization included:
– AICF (now Action contre la Faim, ACF)
– Handicap International (HI)
– Médecins Du Monde (MDM)
– Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF)
– Centre International de Développement et de Recherche (CIDR)
– La Guilde Européenne du Raid (GER)
– Raoul Follereau
– Aviation Sans Frontières (ASF)
– Aide Médicale Internationale (AMI)
– Aide et Action
In 1988, this initially informal coordination was structured like an organization (in accordance with the French law of 1901 in the Paris-based La Guilde Headquarters). Its first Chairman was André Récipon, Raoul Follereau Chairman, a great advocate for tax deductions essential to French NGOs.
In the early 90’s, the Coordination came across other French NGOs collectives, all gathered within an Inter Collective (which became CLOSI later on) and finally accepted to join in for the purpose of a single pattern for International Solidarity French NGOs.
As part of Coordination d’Agen some incorporated the Commission Coopération Développement, first discussion body ever between public authorities and NGOs relating to International Solidarities.
– Rony BRAUMAN (MSF) with Deputy Patrick EDEL (La Guilde)
– Nicolas BEROFF (CIDR) with Deputy Philippe CHABASSE (HI).
Photo credits: Agen 1998 / Jean Christophe RUFIN (AICF – ACF Chairman) / Patrick EDEL (Coordination d’Agen Secretary General – La Guilde Chief Executive) / Rony Brauman (MSF)
Coordination d’Agen main field missions:
– Modifying taxation rules allowing France to catch up in that sector
– Supporting volunteering on an international scale in partnership with CLONG (joint Secretary to both collectives)
– Choosing specific topics for the Agen Forums by a member organization (Childhood by Aide et Action for instance)
– Working group on professional training
– First survey on public assistance to French development (then taken over by Coordination SUD)
– First survey on payroll practices within IS NGOs in France (2009)
– Creating and running Comité France Pays du Mékong, a platform gathering NGOs working in that area, following a panel discussion organized by public authorities.
Coordination d’Agen Chairmen:
– André Récipon (Raoul Follereau Chairman)
– Nicolas Beroff (CIDR Chairman)
– Jean-Claude Buchet (Aide et Action Managing Director)
– Patrick Edel (La Guilde Chief Executive)
In March 1994 Coordination d’Agen as well as CLONG Volontariat left the CLOSI. Together with CRID, they became Coordination SUD Founding Members in May 1994, whose first two Managing Directors were previous La Guilde Members ie Vincent RATTEZ and Emmanuel FAGNOU.
Coordination d’Agen kept its specific character, bringing together emergency and development agents, and advocated for financial resources for field NGOs (taxation/public funding).
Finally, in May 2013, ie 30 years after it was created, two General Assemblies made real bringing together a group of Humanitarian NGOs with Coordination d’Agen, which became Coordination Humanitaire et Développement (CHD).
At that time, Patrick EDEL handed over the chairmanship to Xavier BOUTIN (IECD Managing Director) and Alain BOINET (Solidarités International Founder and Managing Director).
Those closer ties brought back the Coordination to its roots. As a matter of fact CHD fulfilled its mission to bring together field actors with both its poles, Humanitarian and Development-oriented, continuing its fight in favor of International Solidarity actions.
For CHD, the aim was first to ensure a better collective representation for humanitarian NGOs, especially within Coordination SUD, closely with those not belonging to CHD. But also to promote exchanges among CHD members while sharing field experiences from emergency, restoring and development, as well as prevention actors.
As for now, CHD features 39 member NGOs. It is thus able to play a positive defining role. Challenges and issues are still there in 2016: better deal with crises, strengthen populations’ resilience, their ability and empowerment, improve efficiency, and influence public policies, both in France but also in European Commission and the UN.