The ECDPM Weekly Compass is your reliable source on the latest policy issues concerning international cooperation, with a focus on the EU and its relations with countries in Africa, the Caribbean and the Pacific - in your mailbox Friday afternoons.


Editor's Pick

Can stiff support fluid?  EU plans to improve engagement with civil society
Last week, the European Commission’s published a policy proposal aiming to carve out a new and more strategic engagement with civil society organizations and ECDPM’s Frauke de Weijer analyses it on our blog. This proposal, or Communication, goes a long way in recognizing and specifically emphasizing the inherent value of a strong civil society “as an asset in itself”, over and above its instrumental contributions in bringing about development outcomes, de Weijer writes. One weakness is the degree to which it fails to address ways in which it will engage with those actors it is less familiar with. Yet, the biggest concern about the Communication is that “it all sounds quite good on paper, but it is not easy to see how this will translate into practice”, as the instruments and institutional arrangements may not have the required flexibility. 

Policy News

ECDPM at the EDDs: Engaging the private sector for development
Is there any reason to fear a stronger focus on private sector development and engagement in development cooperation? This and many more questions will be debated by leading experts at one of ECDPM’s High Level Panels at this year’s European Development Days. With less than a month to go, ECDPM wants to stimulate online debate prior to the panel itself. We invite our readers to present their views on the pros and cons of private sector engagement and blending instruments on the Talking Points blog. To get the debate going, Bruce Byiers gives a flavour of the main points for discussion and asks throught-provoking questions – such as how loans and investments can be best used to leverage public grants and catalyse additional private resources. What are your views?  
ECDPM at the EDDs: Confronting inequality
Over 70% of the world’s poor live in middle income countries like China, India, Indonesia or Nigeria. As such, high socio-economic inequality is detrimental to poverty reduction, economic growth and political stability. Thus, promoting “inclusive” growth has to go hand in hand with addressing inequality. A European Think Tanks Group (ODI, DIE, ECDPM and FRIDE) panel at this year’s European Development Days will debate how the EU could response to rising inequality in developing countries. On the blog on the European Think-Tanks Group’s new webpage researchers from all institutes write about how public policies and private investment could target distributional issues.
Addressing the “dark side of globalisation”
Fragile states are particularly vulnerable to the dynamics and risks involved in the process of globalisation because of their generally weak governance systems and/or low capacity. The OECD DAC’s International Network on Conflict and Fragility has opened a consultation to complete its study “Think global, act global: Confronting global factors that influence conflict and fragility”. It proposes nine entry points where the international community can address some of the negative global influences on conflict and fragility more effectively and coherently, such as regulation to prevent transnational organised crime and illicit markets in military goods and services.
What can bridge the divide between humanitarian aid and development?
To meet the challenges that armed conflicts or natural disasters bring to countries, more flexibility in implementing the EU policy on Linking Relief Rehabilitation and Development (LRRD) is needed, argues ECDPM’s Volker Hauck in an article on the Talking Points blog. He doubts whether the EU’s recent commitment to enhance flexibility of its funding and to mainstream LRRD into the programming of both humanitarian aid and development cooperation are sufficient to address the current divide. The EU should start to engage more from a partner-led and country-owned perspective, Hauck suggests. A forthcoming EU policy proposal on resilience is an opportunity to take these concerns on board in an updated policy on LRRD. 

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No 122, 21 September 2012

Dear *|FNAME|*,
     The African Union started this week with the drafting of its strategic plan for 2014 onwards. The draft strategy will be presented to African Heads of State and Government in January 2014.
     An article by ECDPM and the South African Institute for International Affairs published in South Africa’s Sunday Independent newspaper ahead of the EU-South Africa Summit this week noted that the appointment of Dr Nkosazana Zuma as chair of the African Union has raised hopes in Europe that the AU as an organisation will be strengthened and that it signals South Africa’s intent to take on a strong continental leadership role.
     In bid to increase transparency and curb corruption, the European Parliament’s legal affairs committee this week voted to tighten transparency rules for energy, mining and logging companies. Companies in the extractive industries will be obliged to report payments of €80,000 or more to government officials abroad. Parliament will adopt the draft legislation and then negotiate the final text with the EU Council.
     The final report of the Future of Europe Group of EU Foreign Ministers published this week calls for a directly elected President of the Commission and there is clear positioning to "influence" the EEAS review due in 2013. A number of issues are coming back on the agenda such as a review of the European Security Strategy.
     The European Commission appointed several new special advisers. Albert Bressand will advise Andris Piebalgs, the European commissioner for development, on natural resources in developing countries and Patrick Guillaumont will advise him on aid allocation.
     ECDPM submitted its contribution to the European Commission’s public consultation intended to inform the EU's contribution to the process of considering options and scenarios for a post-2015 framework on global development.
     EU Foreign Ministers are expected to disagree over the EU's multi-annual financial framework proposals on Monday. A revised version of the EU Multiannual Financial Framework 2014-2020 Negotiating Box that will serve as the basis of discussion was published this week.
     Pacific Trade Ministers will be in Brussels next week for negotiations with the EU on the region’s Economic Partnership Agreement. Next week is also the 10th anniversary of the start of EPA negotiations.
     Also next week, Dr. Jakkie Cilliers, director of South Africa’s Institute for Security Studies will hold this lecture in the Hague entitled “Towards 2025: Security and conflict trends in Africa
     For more on the latest policy issues concerning international cooperation, with a focus on the EU and its relations with countries in Africa, the Caribbean and the Pacific, see the Weekly Compass-Extended Version.

All the best,

Melissa Julian

Off The Track   

Alliance for Tax Reform in Nicaragua Fights for a Fair and Equitable Tax System
To promote a serious and informed discussion on the need to reform the tax system in Nicaragua, three local and three international nongovernmental organizations joined forces to create the Alliance for Tax Reform.

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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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