ECDPM's Weekly Compass update

European Centre for Development Policy Management Weekly Newsletter
20 March 2015

Melissa Julian

Head of Communications

Dear <<First name>>,

This week’s Editor’s Pick features a blog post by the Head of ECDPM’s Food Security Programme, Francesco Rampa, ahead of next week’s Comprehensive African Agriculture Development Programme (CAADP) Partnership Platform meeting. Rampa will also be from the meeting.

We also include a presentation by ECDPM’s Isabelle Ramdoo on local content requirements in the extractive sector, given at last week’s E15Initiative meeting.

Other articles look at tackling illicit financial flows from and within Africa, extra-governmental involvement in African regional integration, and the EU’s new Sahel Regional Action plan.

Read further for more and visit The Filter for all the news collected on EU-Africa relations and international cooperation from this week.

All the best,
Melissa Julian


Editor's Pick 

CAADP Partnership Platform: “Walking the talk” on regional cooperation?

The Partnership Platform taking place next week in Johannesburg is the key annual event of the Comprehensive African Agriculture Development Programme (CAADP). This year is particularly important because it’s the first platform meeting since the 2014 Malabo Declaration which introduced ambitious commitments for agricultural growth and transformation in Africa to be reached by 2025. ECDPM's Head of the Food Security Programme, Francesco Rampa, argues in his latest Talking Points blog post that Regional Economic Communities (RECs) should have a stronger role in CAADP implementation. RECs, he says, are better positioned than continental institutions in helping Member States in their own CAADP processes. Rampa will be in Johannesburg raising this and other issues. Follow him on Twitter to know more of the day to day discussions at the CAADP Partnership Platform.

Policy News 

Unpacking local content requirements in the extractive sector: What implications for the global trade framework?

ECDPM’s Isabelle Ramdoo made a presentation on local content requirements in the extractive sector at last week’s E15Initiative workshop. The event is attended by experts in the extractive industries sector who consider the relations that exist between natural resources and trade and investment, aiming to identify the challenges and opportunities that would lead to a favourable environment in these areas. Ramdoo’s presentation outlined the scope and instruments for local content requirements and explained where they have worked and why. For the way forward, she suggested finding a balanced and pragmatic approach on regulation which make economic and political sense.


Policy News 

Tackling illicit financial flows from and within Africa

Reshaping the global financial architecture is necessary to reverse the problem of illicit financial flows and to subsequently mobilise the necessary domestic resources for development financing in Africa, according to a new paper from the African Civil Society Circle. They recommend that African countries strengthen the capacity of their financial institutions to monitor transfer-pricing rules and to adhere to the “arm’s length principle.”  At the regional level, the African Union secretariat should expeditiously develop a roadmap and action points for the implementation of the key recommendations of the High Level Panel on Illicit Financial Flows from Africa report. At the global level, the African Union should consider engaging the G20 and OECD members that adopted the Action Plan on Base Erosion and Profit Shifting.


Extra-governmental involvement in African regional integration

Africa’s desire for a meaningful and participatory partnership between states, citizens and business on regional integration remains a work in progress. Drawing extra-governmental constituencies into regional integration initiatives is important in ensuring that durable systems emerge according to a paper by the South African Institute of International Affairs (SAIIA). They say the African Peer Review Mechanism (APRM) shows that involving civil society and business in regional integration efforts has been difficult due to lack of awareness and underdeveloped civil society and business organisations. Bodies set up to help facilitate such engagement have failed to alter this dynamic. To foster broader engagement, public education must be undertaken, together with better organisation and mobilisation by civil society and business, SAIIA says.


Security and development in the Sahel region are crucial to the European Union

There are serious challenges to the Sahel region - extreme poverty, internal tensions, institutional weaknesses, frequent food crises, fragile governance and rule of law, radicalisation and violent extremism. These have potential spill-over effects outside the region, including in Europe. The European Commission and the EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy agreed a Regional Action Plan (RAP) to implement EU Sahel Strategy. It applies a comprehensive approach to ensure that the policies, instruments and tools work together for the same objectives. The RAP identifies four domains to be reinforced: 1) preventing and countering radicalisation; 2) creating appropriate conditions for youth; 3) migration and mobility; and 4) border management, fight against illicit trafficking and transnational organised crime.


Challenging old paradigms, but still far from new ones: View from South Africa civil society

The world has changed, and the divisions that once shaped it can no longer be used (North vs. South, developed vs. developing, first world vs. third world…). We are looking now at a world with strong developing industrialised countries that have their own demands and challenge the old paradigms, explains Professor Chris Landsberg, of the University of Johannesburg. Landsberg attended a workshop facilitated by ECDPM with many other representatives from South African civil society. He stressed the important role of civil society in making sure that governments live up to their commitments. For this, he said, civil society actors need to collaborate with each other and work across borders.


Creating jobs at the heart of economic policy

The Broker has concluded an international debate exploring what policies are needed to create more and better jobs in a globalised world.  The debate comprised 44 written contributions by international experts from academia, research institutes, the private sector, trade unions, NGOs, multilateral institutions, and EU institutions. One contribution came from ECDPM’s Isabelle Ramdoo on whether Economic Partnerships will create jobs. Contributors to the debate distinguished economic globalisation, trade liberalisation, financialisation and technological change as the main factors influencing employment. They also proposed answers to the main question of how more and better jobs can be generated within a globalised world and made policy recommendations, with Europe’s economic recovery as the starting point.


Policy News 

-The UN Food and Agriculture Organisation look at the impact of natural hazards and disasters on agriculture and food and nutrition security. The FAO has announced the launch of a special facility aimed at helping countries better equip their food production sectors to reduce risk exposure, limit impacts, and be better prepared to cope with disasters.

-ODI explore the patterns of progress on the MDGs and implications for target setting post-2015. They find improvements across different MDG dimensions are often non-linear: they occur at varying rates at different times in different countries.

-Leaving no one behind: how the SDGs can bring about real change, is the new report from ODI. The commitment to ‘leave no one behind’ has been a key feature of all the discussions on the post-2015 agenda and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). However, what this means in practice is still not clear. This briefing looks at how the idea of leaving no one behind can be integrated into the SDGs.

-This paper from the IMF explores the impact of fiscal decentralisation on the efficiency of public service delivery. It uses a stochastic frontier method to estimate time-varying efficiency coefficients and analyses the impact of fiscal decentralisation on those efficiency coefficients. The findings indicate that fiscal decentralisation can improve the efficiency of public service delivery but only under specific conditions.

-As violence and instability spreads across the Middle East and North Africa, the European Union recognises its failings in this region. FRIDE looks at the EU's geopolitical crossroads in the Middle East.

-The European Council on Foreign Relations has released a review of German foreign policy. Germany will perform this role in addressing the three crucial challenges identified in the review: crisis, order, and Europe.

-This briefing from Oxfam explores some of the solutions for fighting corporate tax avoidance that the European Union should present in 2015, and explains why it is important to adopt them as soon as possible.

-The 2015 European Commission  Trade and Investment Barriers Report addresses a selection of key barriers faced by European Union companies on the markets of the EU’s six strategic economic partners, i.e. China, India, Japan, Mercosur (Brazil/Argentina), Russia and the United States. Its main objective is to raise awareness of the most significant trade restrictive barriers and reaffirm the importance of tackling such barriers in a focused and concerted way.

-OECD has released their report on Chinese export credit policies and programmes.

-The Conflict Barometer from Heidelberg Institute for International Conflict Research, explores disputes, non-violent crises, violent crises, limited wars, and wars.

-“Do aid donors specialise and coordinate within recipient countries?” asks Kiel Institute for the World Economy.

For more, see The Filter

Recent and upcoming Events

European Foreign Ministers held a discussion on EU relations with Africa, covering peace, prosperity and partnership with regional African organisations. Following the debate, the High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy highlighted the opportunities Africa offered to its people and to its partners around the world. The Council discussed the need to move from a donors recipients relationship to a full political partnership with Africa and its regional organisations. Africa and Europe share common interests, not only bilaterally, but also on a global level, such as climate change negotiations and the post-2015 agenda. The EU has two top priorities in Africa: to encourage a peaceful continent through the prevention of conflict and terrorism and to generate prosperity through an acceleration of sustainable growth and development. Partnership with Africa is essential in achieving these objectives. They adopted conclusions on Burundi, ebola, Gulf of Guinea, Mali, and Libya.

The European Commission presented a package of tax transparency measures as part of its ambitious agenda to tackle corporate tax avoidance and harmful tax competition in the EU. A key element of this Tax Transparency Package is a proposal to introduce the automatic exchange of information between Member States on their tax rulings. Eurodad and Oxfam are think they need to go further in its action plan and include country by country reporting.

The European Commission launched the Raw Materials Information System (RMIS), a comprehensive online repository of information on policies, activities and data related to the European raw materials sector. The RMIS supports a series of European Commission initiatives which aim to tackle the pressure on valuable resources and their more efficient use to the benefit of EU’s economies.

The @My_AfricanUnion campaign was launched in Addis Ababa. It is intended to bring citizens into the Agenda 2063 debate.

The first meeting of the Independent Commission for the Reform of International Corporate Taxation meeting agenda took place.

The Global Forum on Transparency and Exchange of Information for Tax Purposes published 9 new peer review reports, including a Phase 1 Supplementary Report for Switzerland,  demonstrating continuing progress toward implementation of the international standard for exchange of information on request.

Germany, France, Italy and Britain will become founding members of a new Chinese-led Asian investment bank.

Germany announced a record boost to its development aid budget.

WTO Director-General Roberto Azevêdo called on members to share information and review progress on negotiations to agree a work programme on the remaining issues of the Doha Development Agenda.

The report of last year’s ACP-EU Subcommittee on Trade Cooperation and ACP-EU Committee of Ambassadors were posted this week.

The “Zero Draft” of the International Financing for Development Conference Outcome Document was published. It lays out the current political consensus on a vast array of development issues including how to address the growing problem of illicit financial flows. It gives a good indication where things are heading.

The 2015 edition of the Economic Report on Africa, “Industrializing through Trade”, will be launched on the side of the Conference of African Ministers of Finance and Economic Development in Addis Ababa, on Tuesday. The report builds on the key messages of the previous editions of ERA focusing on industrialization and structural transformation.

The annual AgriBusiness Forum 2015 takes place from 22-26 March.a

The closing conference on sustainable raw materials management in Europe takes place on 23-24 March. The closing conference of the COBALT project will bring together experts and representatives of the raw materials related industry and business, policy makers, civil society, and academia to: describe the challenges faced by the industry and society; discuss how stakeholders should engage in shaping the solution for the raw materials management in the EU.

The third session of the Post-2015 intergovernmental negotiations will be held from 23 – 27 March and focus on the sustainable development goals and targets.

The European Commission will hold a public meeting on on 24 March to discuss "The future of foreign aid", written by Andy Sumner and Richard Mallett.a

The OECD Integrity Forum 2015: Curbing Corruption-Investing in Growth

takes place from 25-26 March. Debates will review existing anti-corruption mechanisms across the investment policy cycle and explore good practices in mitigating corruption and ensuring that investment remains pertinent and efficient for stakeholders.

The Joint AU Conference of Ministers of Economy and Finance and ECA Conference of African Ministers of Finance, Planning and Economic Development takes place from 25-31 March. The Conference will tackle the theme, Implementing Agenda 2063 -Planning, Mobilizing and Financing for Development. An African Regional Integration Index will be presented.

The EU Development Council of Ministers meets on 26 March.a

UN Secretary General Ban Ki Moon visits the EU institutions from 27-28 March. There will be a big 'semi-public' event with him on development.a

The European Parliament Development Committee will discuss financing for development, budget support, migration, EU-Africa relations, and tax at its meeting on 31 March-1 April. Fernando Frutuoso de Melo, Director General, European Commission will discuss budget support. There will be an exchange of views with Nick Westcott, Director for Africa, EEAS on Africa. Watch online live or a recording after.a

ECDPM’s Francesco Rampa will attend next week’s CAADP Partnership Platform and Business Meeting. The meeting will focus on operationalising the Implementation Strategy and Roadmap on the 2014 Malabo Declaration.

Paul Engel will participate in a Partos meeting on Coherent Policies for Development – The next Level. It will discuss the government’s efforts at policy coherence for development.

Andrew Sherriff will act as a resource persona at the European Peacebuilding Liaison Office’s meeting on The EU and Peacebuilding – Taking Stock. The meeting will gather recommendations to improve the EU’s response to conflict, including for the upcoming review of the European Security Strategy and evaluation of the EEAS, as well as the implementation of the Comprehensive Approach.a

San Bilal and Isabelle Ramdoo will facilitate and present at a discussion on Economic Partnership Agreements in West Africa at the Luxembourg Assises de la cooperation which takes place on 25-27 March.

Publisher: The Weekly Compass is produced by ECDPM with financial resources provided by our core and institutional funders: The Netherlands, Belgium, Finland, Ireland, Luxemburg, Portugal, Sweden and Switzerland.

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