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

African Renaissance 2.0 needs to focus on IDEALS
This weekend, the African Union General Assembly meets to debate ‘Pan-Africanism and African Renaissance’. More than 12 years have passed since the notion of ‘African Renaissance’ was brought to the forefront to champion ‘African solutions for African problems’.  It marked the birth of several initiatives aimed at improved governance, security, and Africa’s socio-economic take off. More than a decade later, as the continent has undergone significant transition, it might be time for an ‘African Renaissance 2.0’ ECDPM’s Faten Aggad writes in a blog commenting on the AU summit. She suggests that an update needs to focus on IDEALS: implementation, diversity, efficiency, audacity, leverage and sustainability. “Discussions on African Renaissance aren’t an intellectual exercise” Aggad underlines, “the AU summit has the potential to redefine the African agenda for the upcoming years”.

Policy News

Time to clear confusion around the EU’s comprehensive approach
In the first of a series of blog articles about the EU’s comprehensive approach to external action, ECDPM’s Andrew Sherriff tries to clear the fog of confusion surrounding it. He highlights the critical questions the EU must address to clarify the direction and scope of the comprehensive approach before the European External Action Service  and the Commission will have finalised a joint communication, which is expected to be adopted by the European ministers at the end of May. Sherriff stresses the need to ensure the policy proposal is backed by a real commitment to change ensuring that the comprehensive approach can in future work to the benefit of people in fragile and conflict situations, as well as EU interests.

2013 a crucial year to renew EU foreign policy
The European External Action Service (EEAS) needs to take charge of strategic planning and be bolder in taking the initiative to achieve common EU external policies according to a new paper by The Finnish Institute of International Affairs. The paper calls on European players to use the upcoming review of the EEAS to increase coordination within, between and across EU institutions and policy areas to develop a policy that more than just the sum of national and EU foreign policies. It should build on national strengths, compensate for national weaknesses, and draw together inputs from the whole system. Another paper by FRIDE agrees, arguing that the added-value of EU foreign policy depends on what the Union stands for in global politics, and whether it is prepared to take action in a more pragmatic and effective fashion, adapting to a changing world.

From Aid for Trade to Aid for Business, Partnership and Profits
Looking back at last week’s OECD Policy Dialogue on Aid for Trade, where high-level speakers debated the future of this large aid initiative, ECDPM’s Bruce Byiers explains in a blog post that a change in thinking is taking place. The focus of Aid for Trade is widening, interest in working with the private sector and in helping developing country companies to enter into global value chains is rising. Though, questions remain regarding those potentially left out, and whether such a broad agenda is a good thing. Going forward, a good next step would be to open up AfT policy discussions to all those impacted by Aid for Trade interventions and not restrict them to trade experts, Byiers recommends in his article.

Cost-benefit analysis of Non-Tariff Measures in Agri‑Food Trade
The increasing use of non-tariff barriers to trade, such as strict product standards, border inspection procedures or labelling requirements, is impacting the trade in food and agriculture products. The cost-benefit framework outlined in the OECD’s latest Policy Coherence for Development briefing note contributes to a more comprehensive welfare analysis of non-tariff measures than that offered by looking at trade effects alone. It analyses the impacts of various proposed policy measures on different groups around the world. By helping to identify and avoid unintended effects on vulnerable groups, particularly in developing countries, the framework can serve policy makers to achieve greater policy coherence for development. 

Additional Articles in the Weekly Compass-Extended Version

More recently uploaded resources are available in the Weekly Compass-Extended Version.

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No 135, 25 January 2013

Dear *|FNAME|*,
     The World Economic Forum Annual Meeting continues in Davos through the weekend. The Forum’s Global Risks Report 2013 highlights severe income disparity as the top global risk. A report from Oxfam concurs, noting that the $240 billion net income in 2012 of the richest 100 billionaires would be enough to end extreme poverty four times over and that concentration of resources in the hands of the top one per cent depresses economic activity and makes life harder for everyone else.
     The EU Council adopted a decision authorising 11 member states to proceed with the introduction of a financial transaction tax through "enhanced cooperation". The European Commission will now make a proposal defining the substance of the cooperation, which will have to be adopted by unanimous agreement of the participating member states.
     The United Nations General Assembly this week established a working group to design a set of sustainable development goals (SDGs) to promote global prosperity, reduce poverty and advance social equity and environmental protection. The group will hold its first meeting next month and will prepare a report containing a proposal on the SDGs that the Assembly will consider at its session in September.
     The UN High Level Panel on the post-MDGs meeting next week will discuss Africa’s emerging position with continental and regional representatives and academics.  Barriers and challenges holding back economic transformation will also be discussed, including the enabling conditions required for successful business development and on governance and institution building, with a particular focus on conflict affected and fragile states.
     The communiqué from last week’s Global Forum for Food and Agriculture Ministers meeting on responsible investment in the food and agriculture sectors and key factor for food security and rural development has been published.
     ECDPM’s Francesco Rampa and Jeske van Seters will be attending the Global Donor Platform for Rural Development Annual General Assembly next week where discussions will focus on “Food, Farmers and Markets”.
     For more on the latest policy issues concerning international cooperation, with a focus on the EU and its relations with the developing world, see the Weekly Compass-Extended Version.

All the best,

Melissa Julian

Off The Track   

Investigating Investigative Journalism
The Daily Show’s funny/sad satire on the decline of in-depth international reporting in the major US television networks. 

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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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