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

Post-2015: the case for collective global action
The international community is on the verge of a unique opportunity to reset the global development agenda after 2015, the expiry date of the Millennium Development Goals. This new framework that will replace the MDGs needs to build on past achievements, but has to go further by looking beyond MDGs and aid, the latest European Report on Development finds. While impetus for development lies primarily at the domestic level, an enabling international environment is essential for developing countries. Effective multilateral action in areas such as migration, trade, and finance – not covered by the MDGs – will be key to efforts of developing countries to achieve progress. The report presents a series of policy recommendations for the international community. It also presents more specific recommendations for the European Union, and argues for a prompt agreement on a successor framework to the MDGs.

Policy News

Show me the money!
Millions of documents exposing the identities of thousands of individuals involved in tax evasion were revealed this month. Known as the ‘offshore leaks’, the scandal has hit the media by storm. As the EU and its Member States drive towards a crackdown on tax evasion, ECDPM's Florian Krätke asks what benefits this will bring to developing countries? As taxation is fast becoming a hot issue for the post-2015 development agenda, three crucial issues to be tacked by the new framework are highlighted. 

The new reality of aid in Europe
The European Commission has put forward a new proposal for allocating funds between its various instruments for external action within the Multiannual Financial Framework (2014-2020), following the budget cuts decided on in the European Council Summit in February. Most instruments for development cooperation face cuts upwards of 25% to the Commission’s original proposals in 2011. This includes one of the largest of the EU's instruments, the Development Cooperation Instrument, but also smaller strategic instruments. The European Development Fund has been cut by 11%. Following the announcement by the OECD of decreasing ODA figures, this proposal illustrates the new reality of aid in Europe.
EU support to the private sector in developing countries could be improved
Over the period 2004-2010, the European Commission contracted, on behalf of the EU, €2.4bn of support to private sector development (PSD) in developing countries.  The EU has developed a set of instruments for its PSD support that allow it to address comprehensively the range of PSD needs in different regions. There were however some weaknesses in terms of complementarities and synergies between different mechanisms and little coordination between bilateral programmes and regional programmes and investment facilities according to an evaluation published by the European Commission’s Development Directorate this week.
The missing link: African governance and peace architectures
Strengthening governance is high on the African Union’s agenda. Mechanisms such as the African Governance Architecture have been established to increase coordination between African institutions with a governance mandate. At the same time, the link between governance and security is becoming more significant. Patty Claassens outlines AU proposals to connect the African Governance Architecture to the African Peace and Security Architectures in ECDPM’s Talking Points blog.
Good trade governance in Africa makes sense
Since the establishment of the WTO, trade governance has become a very specific challenge for African countries as they have to comply with its rules. The improvement of domestic governance and trade regulation, however, remains one of the main challenges faced by African states according to Tralac’s Gerhard Erasmus. “The domestic technical capacity to do so may often be absent, but so may the will to implement obligations in international agreements, especially when national policy space is said to be curtailed” he argues. Trade agreements and regional integration aimed at better access to export markets can also be catalysts for necessary domestic reforms to improve competitiveness he says.
Three trends in African development drawn from the east Asian experience
Development policy ideas are forever changing, but the rise of non-traditional donors and new economic powers has accelerated the pace of the change in recent years. Elsje Fourie has written a thesis on 'New Maps for Africa?  Contextualising the 'Chinese Model' within Ethiopian and Kenyan Paradigms of Development' which includes views that go against the conventional wisdom that says that Africa sees the Chinese development model as the model to follow. In a guest contribution to ECDPM’s Talking Points blog, Fourie presents the three trends in development drawn from East Asia's experience that are included in her paper.
Society building a prerequisite to a successful state
In many countries, groups with different identities are weakly integrated and have little faith that the state can serve their needs unless they control it. Seth Kaplan argues that these states are missing something more fundamental than a social contract between the state and its population, they lack a social covenant that binds society together, allowing it to cooperate to build a better government and country. “Countries with weak central authority, sectarian divisions, and lots of weapons—a combination that a growing number of countries across the Middle East and Africa have—are in desperate need of a process that can help them heal their wounds, build trust, and creatively map out a strategy for dealing with their governance challenges” he says.

ECPDM seeks Communications Assistant
ECDPM seeks to appoint a full-time Communications Assistant to provide support in the design, planning and implementation of our new website to be launched later this year. Deadline is 24 April.

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No 144, 12 April 2013

Dear *|FNAME|*
     This issue of the Weekly Compass is a bit longer than normal due to the last week’s break.
     Development aid fell by 4% in real terms in 2012, according to an OECD report released this week. It blames the continuing financial crisis and euro zone turmoil for the drop. There is also a shift in aid allocations away from the poorest and towards middle-income countries.
     Despite the OECD’s news, the World Bank President said ending extreme poverty within a generation is possible with a concerted effort by developing countries, donors, and development partners toward supporting equitable and inclusive growth, working effectively in fragile and conflict-affected states, and fighting climate change to secure development gains.
     The EU Council, Commission and Parliament finally reached a political agreement on transparency of extractive industries requiring European companies to report payments of more than €100,000 made to the government in the country they are operating in, including taxes levied on their income, production or profits, royalties, and licence fees. The move was hailed by NGOs internationally, who also called for extending these rules to require multinational companies operating in all industries to disclose this information on a country-by country level.
     The EU Council also adopted the 3-year Action Programme for the African Peace Facility (2011-2013).
     And speculation about who will lead the EU after 2014 has started.
     The Post-2015 Food Security and Nutrition consultation was held last week while a study for the European Parliament called on the EU to ensure a bottom-up post-2012 approach at the national level in both developed and developing countries – with a broad participation of the marginalised in particular, so as to guarantee their voices are listened to and their needs seriously addressed
     Although the overall response to last week's OECD e-forum on Policy Coherence for Development remained fairly limited, some crucial issues were brought up that are likely to influence future discussions on the subject. In this sense, the EC's representative for DG Development raised questions regarding the role of emerging actors, the private sector and whether the Development Assistance Committee was to get its own house in order before expanding the discussion at the global level.
     The Guardian hosted an online debate last week with ECDPM's Francesco Rampa on the eminent panel that discussed how to bring about positive development outcomes in the agribusiness sector.
     ACP National and Regional Authorising Officers and Ministers are meeting next week. Discussions will cover the Post-10th European Development Fund framework, how to increase the impact of the EU’s Development Policy and the MDGs and Post 2015 prospects.
     ECDPM’s Director, Paul Engel will participate in next week’s Practitioners' Network for European Development Cooperation Annual Meeting. The focus of the agenda is on implementation of the European Division of Labour in development cooperation.
     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   

Obama Requests Modest Bump in Foreign Aid
U.S. President Barack Obama asked Congress to approve some 52 billion dollars in foreign aid and international spending in 2014 according to an IPS report. The new proposal calls for modest increases in development assistance and a major reform of the U.S. food-aid programme.
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