ECDPM's Weekly Compass update

European Centre for Development Policy Management Weekly Newsletter
12 September 2014

Melissa Julian

Head of Communications

Dear <<First name>>,

On Wednesday, European Commission President-elect Jean-Claude Juncker put forward his proposals for European Commissioner portfolios and a new Commission structure. The proposals aim to ensure a dynamic interaction of all Members of the College, breaking down silos and moving away from static structures.

On our Talking Points blog, I’ve summarised the radical new structure proposed, the priorities of the new Commissioners and the next steps in the confirmation process. For external relations, the EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs/Vice-President of the European Commission-designate, Federica Mogherini, will be responsible for the project of 'A Stronger Global Actor'. She will steer and coordinate the work of all Commissioners with regard to external relations.

The European Parliament now has to give its consent to the entire College of Commissioners following confirmation hearings later this month.

The European Think Tanks Group has provided its report “Our Collective Interest: Why Europe’s problems need global solutions and global problems need European action” to MEPs as an input into their preparation of questions. We will also send the report to the High Representative and Commissioner-designates.

All the best,



Editor's Pick

Key Attributes for the Top Jobs in European Commissioners’ Private Offices

The European Commission President has revealed the portfolios for the new EU Commissioners, but they are not the only top jobs up for grabs. ECDPM’s Andrew Sherriff explores what key attributes are needed for the people who will comprise the private offices, or cabinets, of the new Commissioners, as they will play a highly influential role in the EU’s international effectiveness. In addition to having credible knowledge on the global issues they are dealing with and using the expertise within the Commission and the External Action Service, cabinets will need to understand how EU policy is implemented and have an intrinsic feel of how EU Delegations work from personal experience in non-EU countries. To achieve progress and change on real issues of concern to the EU, cabinets will also need to have political and institutional smarts to help Commissioners navigate the politics of inter-institutional dynamics, member-states posturing, as well as their own Directorates’ manoeuvrings. They should have a genuine all-of-EU approach to global problems. “What can the EU collectively do better” should be an imperative.


Policy News

More Integrated Approach is Essential to EU Global Role

Senior EU officials attending Wednesday’s launch (recording available) of the European Think Tanks Group’s report “Our Collective Interest: Why Europe’s problems need global solutions and global problems need European action” agreed with the report’s call for more integrated, comprehensive EU global action. The European Commission Director General for Development and Cooperation said the new Commission structure, adopted on the same day, seeks to address this issue through clusters of Commissioners responsible for specific policy areas, such as development, who will work closely together and under the guidance of the EC Vice-President/EU High Representative (a recommendation of the ETTG report). The Director for Multilateral Relations and Global Issues at the European External Action Service said the report reflects his own view that the EU has to overcome silo thinking, draw on all its available tools (policies, finance, etc) and speak with one voice to have a role on the global stage. The Chair of the European Parliament Committee on Foreign Affairs said the new EC organigramme is the best way of organising the institution and will provide synergy effects.


What Would Scottish Independence Mean for Development Cooperation?

While the debate on Scottish independence is heating up prior to the referendum next Thursday, ECDPM’s James Mackie says it is important to consider what implications an independent Scotland would have for UK and European development aid. While UK aid would undoubtedly be affected, this new donor country would need to make an effort to minimize the effect on further aid fragmentation. In a related podcast, Florian Krätke from ECDPM speaks to Humza Yousaf, MSP, Scottish Government Minister for External Affairs and International Development. He discusses Scotland’s role in the post-2015 development discussion and what Scottish aid and assistance can do differently to make its mark on global development cooperation.


ECOWAS and SADC Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA): A Comparative Analysis

After 12 years of hard negotiations, the EPAs between the European Union and the Economic Community Of West African States (ECOWAS) and Southern African Development Community (SADC) have finally been agreed. In terms of product coverage, ECOWAS will liberalise 75% of its tariff lines over a period of 20 years while the SADC EPA group is expected to liberalise 80% of its trade with the EU. This ECDPM Discussion Paper by Isabelle Ramdoo describes how both EPAs contain flexibility for countries to apply export taxes in exceptional circumstances in case of specific revenue needs. Both the EU and the regions that have concluded EPAs will now have to mainstream the agreements in their own economic dynamics.

Un répertoire des expertises sur le Sahel (disponible uniquement en français)

English description: ECDPM has published a directory of expertise on the Sahel to provide a resource for people seeking to identify experts who can explain the social, political and economic dynamics in the region. This first collaborative tool aims to stimulate information-sharing dynamics and answers a need expressed by diplomacy and development actors for analysis of the Sahelian dynamics.

Description français: L'ECDPM vient de publier un répertoire des expertises sur le Sahel qui se veut une ressource mise à disposition de tous ceux qui cherchent à identifier des experts disposés à expliquer les dynamiques sociales, politiques et économiques dans la région. Ce premier outil collaboratif vise à susciter une dynamique de partage d’information en répondant à un besoin d’analyse et de compréhension des dynamiques sahéliennes, tel qu'exprimé par les acteurs de la diplomatie et du développement.


DR Congo’s Miners Bear Brunt of Attempts to Make Minerals Conflict-free

Legislation that requires firms to trace the supply chains of minerals sourced in the Democratic Republic of the Congo is disrupting people’s livelihoods and creating sources of funding for armed groups according to an open letter signed by 70 academics, politicians and civil society professionals. They warn that efforts to block armed groups from selling minerals “risk contributing to, rather than alleviating, the very conflicts [such measures] set out to address”. This article in the Guardian says that ‘instead of crippling armed groups, legislation has encouraged cross-border smuggling and forced rebels to diversify how they make money’


Climate Change and Smallholder Agriculture in Sub-Saharan Africa

Smallholders still account for about 80 percent of the farms in sub-Saharan Africa, providing livelihoods for more than 175 million people. This new report from the Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA) emphasises the vulnerabilities of the region’s smallholder farmers to the adverse effects of rising temperatures - which are expected to increase by between 1.5 and 2 degrees celsius by 2050 - and changing weather patterns. The report also concludes that climate smart agriculture techniques can significantly mitigate impacts - if they are sufficiently implemented and invested in. AGRA recommends a two-pronged approach to climate adaptation: one that targets short-term adaptation techniques, while the other addresses medium to longer-term adaptations. These could include developing alternative livelihoods if agriculture is no longer a viable option.

European and African Union roles in the post-2015 development agenda

This paper from UNU-CRIS explores the potential and challenges for the European Union (EU) and the African Union’s (AU) involvement in the governance of the post-2015 agenda. It finds that while the European Union could foster the implementation of the new development agenda, it will only be able to do so effectively if it reconsiders its approach to sustainable development and manages to strike a balance between economic, social and environmental priorities. The African Union could build on the progress made by NEPAD in promoting regional cooperation for development, but the organisation and its member states first need to address a number of governance challenges that obstruct the effective functioning of regional institutions.


Secteur extractif : Perspectives africaines (Version française)

Les relations entre le secteur des industries extractives et le développement sont complexes et le plus souvent abordées par deux biais : celui de la gouvernance des ressources extractives, et les liens entre le secteur extractif et le reste de l’économie. Le dernier numéro de GREAT insights, le magazine mensuel de l'ECDPM, porte sur plusieurs questions clés et défis qui sont à l’ordre du jour, en mettant l’accent sur les perspectives continentales et sous régionales, ainsi que les actions concrètes relatives à la réalisation de ces objectifs. Dans un entretien exclusif, la Commissaire Acyl de la Commission de l’Union africaine souligne la place essentielle du secteur extractif dans la transformation industrielle de l’Afrique.  Le Secrétaire exécutif de la Commission économique pour l’Afrique des Nations unies, Dr. Carlos Lopes, souligne le rôle transformateur que les ressources extractives peuvent jouer dans la restructuration du paysage économique en Afrique. Ce numéro jette aussi un coup de projecteur sur des initiatives nationales, et présente également des points de vue du secteur privé. Also available in English.


Recent and Upcoming Events

The European Commission has taken decisions this week providing EU funding – of over €5,5 billion – for cooperation priorities with partners in the EU Neighbourhood. The package includes programming documents for Algeria, Armenia, Azerbaïjan, Belarus, Jordan, Lebanon, Libya, Morocco and Tunisia, as well as for regional cooperation in both the Eastern and Southern neighbourhood and for European Neighbourhood-Wide programmes. In another decision, the name of the European Commission Directorate-General for Enlargement will be changed to the Directorate-General for European Neighbourhood and Enlargement Negotiations. The Neighbourhood Directorate of the Directorate-General for Development and Co-operation will be moved to this new Directorate.

The International Tax Compact, the European Commission, and the World Bank held a meeting this week on strengthening tax compliance in the taxation of extractive industries. It took stock of existing experiences in building revenue administration capacity for taxing extractive industries and considered different perspectives (policy, administration, external audit, civil societies and private sector) to create a differentiated picture and assess synergies. It also identified ways for effective support through strengthening domestic tax systems and international cooperation.

On Wednesday, the United Nations General Assembly adopted three resolutions, including one that would pave the way for the incorporation of Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs into the post-2015 development agenda. In adopting the Report of the Open Working Group on Sustainable Development Goals, as orally amended, the Assembly decided that the Outcome document from the Open Working Group would be the main basis for integrating the SDGs into the future development agenda.  The resolution went on to state that other inputs would also be considered during the intergovernmental negotiation process.

UN General Assembly President, John Ashe, urged Member States to craft a ‘bold, pragmatic’ post-2015 agenda to fight poverty, hunger, disease and climate change at yesterday’s United Nations General Assembly’s High-Level Stocktaking event on the post-2015 development agenda. He called for the global partnership for development to be strengthened and a robust accountability framework to be ensured. UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon called on Member States to push to achieve the Millennium Development Goals by the end of next year and continue work towards agreement on a new development agenda. He also called on Member States to fulfill their pledge to deliver a meaningful universal climate change agreement by the end of next year. He will produce a synthesis report bringing together the results of various work streams on the post-2015 development agenda to facilitate further deliberations.

The stocktaking event is a key step in preparation for the negotiation phase of the post-2015 development agenda which will commence at the General Assembly next Tuesday. The report of the Intergovernmental Committee of Experts on Sustainable Development Financing, mandated to identify financial resources and actions as part of the means of implementation, will also be presented to the General Assembly.

The EU Council Working Party on Customs Union will consider if preferential trade arrangements are appropriately managed. The group will consider the European Court of Auditors' report on this issue which finds that while the European Commission has increased the quality of its impact assessments, it still does not sufficiently analyse the economic impact of preferential trade agreements with third countries and loses revenue because of weak Member State customs controls that fail to prevent some imports from wrongly benefiting from preferential tariffs.

The OECD will release its first recommendations for a coordinated international approach to combat tax avoidance by multinational enterprises under the OECD/G20 Base Erosion and Profit Shifting (BEPS) Project next week. OECD Secretary General Angel Gurría will present the first BEPS deliverables with Pascal Saint-Amans, director of the Centre for Tax Policy and Administration, during a livestreamed press conference beginning at 2:00 p.m. (CET) on 16 September.

The Overseas Development Institute and the World Bank's Governance Partnership Facility will host a conference next week to explore the priorities and challenges for governance in development, as well as sharing innovative examples of governance in country programmes and thematic sectors.

ECDPM’s Geert Laporte will be on the panel of The Graduate Institute Geneva’s conference on “Democratisation: What Role for International Development Cooperation?” next Wednesday. The meeting will focus on the role of international development cooperation in democracy promotion and decentralisation in Central Asia. The Policy Debate will be streamed live and the link will be announced on the following websites just before the start: International Development Policy, Policy Debate blog, Twitter and Facebook.

Bruce Byiers will make a presentation at the Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research (CGIR) workshop on Corridors, Clusters, and Spatial Development Initiatives in African Agriculture in Accra on Thursday. The workshop aims to help develop a strategic study for CGIAR on this topic

Sebastian Große-Puppendahl will attend the Sud Wind conference on Private funding in development finance.


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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Melissa Julian

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