In the first of two articles on ECDPM Talking Points Blog, Andrew Sherriff looks at recent institutional developments in the EU and outlines the recommendations of one of the most comprehensive evaluations in the field of
. Although dealing with conflict and fragility remains a shared responsibility across the different EU institutions, new specialised units to deal with the topic have been created in the EEAS and the European Commission’s DG DEVCO. In line with the evaluation, Sherriff notes that despite positive developments, much needs to be done in order to strengthen the EU's ability to achieve outcomes in this area. A follow-up article will be posted on ECDPM Talking Points blog next week which will look at recent policy developments in conflict and fragility.
EU Development Ministers met in Brussels on 14 November to adopt a common position
for the high-level forum on aid effectiveness taking place in Busan from 29 November to 1 December. There is a strong accent on a more inclusive understanding of domestic ownership and on accountability, as fundamental prerequisites for aid to achieve sustainable development results. A new approach to situations in conflict and fragility is also elaborated. Interestingly, the position does not refer explicitly to policy coherence for development. But, there is a demanding call on partner countries and both traditional and new donors to live up to their commitments and to be more transparent. In a 'Transparency Guarantee', the EU commits to provide more detailed and forward-looking information on aid volumes and allocations. This is important as statistics from OECD DAC only provide information on past flows. The EU’s common position for Busan also increases the use of joint planning at country level. A lot of questions remain on how all this will translate in practice and in specific contexts and situations. Although the EU is indeed scoring pretty well in many aspects of aid effectiveness principles and aid transparency, the gap between its policy discourse and practice is still wide.
EU shows its interests in Africa more openly
The EU Foreign Affairs Council signed off on a new “EU Strategic Framework for the Horn of Africa”
earlier this week. This document clearly illustrates that the EU, with its institutions and member-states, wants also to pursue its interests beyond poverty alleviation to protecting its own citizens from threats that emanate from the region. The EU commits to appoint a new European Union Special Representative for the region with the goal to enhance the coherence, quality, impact and visibility of the EU’s multifaceted action in the in the Horn of Africa. This strategic framework represents yet another indicator of a trend where the EU is being more open about pursuing multiple interests in addition to poverty alleviation in Africa.
Member States in EU divided on EDF budgetisation
An interim report from EU Council Ambassadors on the development finance aspects on the EU’s Multiannual Financial Framework
(MFF) for the 2014-2020 period says that some countries could accept that the European Development Fund (EDF) would remain outside the MFF. While a number supported the Commission proposal to keep, for the time being, the EDF outside the MFF, some called for its budgetisation. In this context, the question of the contribution key for the EDF was raised, with some States insisting on the fact that it should be identical to the usual budgetary contribution key, while others pleaded for the status quo, which reflects historical links of some Member States to the beneficiary countries. A number of countries supported the priority to respect the EU's formal undertaking to commit 0.7% of gross national product to Official Development Assistance (ODA) by 2015. Some however expressed doubts on the fact that as much as 15% of the collective EU ODA effort should come from the EU budget and the EDF. A comprehensive report on the MFF debate will be presented to the EU General Affairs Council on 5 December. The MFF negotiation phase is due to start in January 2012. The proposal for the 11th European Development Fund that is supposed to enter into force at the same time as the new MFF is also under preparation.
South Africa receives additional EU support
A draft EU regulation approved by the EU Parliament and Council Conciliation Committee on 31 October proposes to include Asia, Central Asia, Latin America, Iraq, Iran, Yemen, and South Africa in the current EU financing instrument for cooperation with industrialised and other high income countries
in order to promote diversified links with those States. These countries will continue to also remain under the scope of the EU’s Development Cooperation financing instrument, but inclusion under the additional regulation will allow the financing of measures which, in principle, do not qualify as Official Development Assistance (ODA) under the existing criteria, but which are crucially important. The European Commission is expected to present its proposals for new legal bases for financing EU external action on 7 December.
EU: unclear instruments with clear results?
The current European multi-annual budget includes 10 external action budget lines, or so-called ‘legal instruments’. ECDPM carried out a study for the EC
, looking into what lessons could be learnt from the past experience of EU external action programmes under 6 of these 10 instruments. The evaluation analysed at two separate bodies of evidence: preparatory documents and EU Regulations that explain what the 6 legal instruments set out to achieve, as well as 57 EC evaluation reports describing whether these expected results were actually achieved. The study finds that the 6 instruments are in themselves not always clear and that they were not designed in a manner that facilitates their evaluation. Key conclusions from the study could inform the design and ‘evaluability’ of the legal instruments under the EU’s next multi-annual budget. Such efforts are needed both for accountability and for policy learning, especially beyond the level of outputs and outcomes in order to verify whether results achieved promote the required global impact, which ultimately justifies the financial investments made.
New Organisational Charts Available for EEAS and European Commission’s DEVCO
The European External Action Service has made available a new version of its “Graphic Representation”
on its website dated 1st
of October 2011. With the same date the European Commission’s DEVCO also has a new version of its organigramme
which still notes that two high level positions of Deputy Director General have yet to be filled.
More private sector for development - but whose private sector?
“Policies for Promoting The Private Sector’s Role in Development” was the subject for debate at a recent high-level roundtable event
organised by Friends of Europe on 8 November. ECDPM's Bruce Byiers, who attended, reflects on the discussions from the event in an article on the Talking Point blog and stresses the need for more clarity
– and perhaps different terminology – when speaking about "the private sector". As this is inevitably a very broad theme, policies for promoting "private sector" involvement need to distinguish between international private finance for development ends, and strengthening domestic private sectors in developing countries. This distinction can take the debate on bringing the private sector in forward in more concrete terms, Byiers points out.
Neo-patrimonialism can be beneficial
Donors see neo-patrimonialism - a term used for patrons using state resources in order to secure the loyalty of clients in the general population - as irredeemably bad for economic development, but evidence shows that the opposite can be true. Two new publications, “Rethinking the Relationship between Neo-patrimonialism and Economic Development in Africa”
by Tim Kelsall and “Neopatrimonialism in Africa and Beyond”
by Daniel Bach and Mamoudou Gazibo look deeper into this issue, calling for a reappraisal of the concept of neo-patrimonialism. Case studies from Africa present country-specific evidence. To weave a comparative analysis of the interplay between public policies and private interest, Bach and Gazibo’s book also discusses neo-patrimonialism across other word regions, Including Europe.