ECDPM's Weekly Compass update

European Centre for Development Policy Management Weekly Newsletter
24 July 2015

Melissa Julian

Head of Communications

Dear <<First name>>,

This week’s Editor’s Pick highlights the European Commission’s report of the roundtable discussions on the future of the ACP-EU partnership. The report prepares the public consultation and eventual EU negotiating mandate on the future of the partnership beyond 2020.

We also feature recent press articles from the Sahel with interviews with ECDPM’s Damien Helly on the importance of coordination of international strategies and a FRIDE paper on the Sahel Sahara conflict.

Other articles include a video interview with the German Parliamentary State Secretary for Economic Cooperation and Development on his views on the components of a new European Foreign Policy and Security Strategy, an ECDPM op ed on the universality of the Sustainable Development Goals, and a blog on West Africa’s regional support plans for rice.

Read further for more and visit The Filter for all the news collected on EU-Africa relations and international cooperation from this week.

All the best,



Editor's Pick 

ACP-EU relations after 2020: Issues for the EU in consultation
The Cotonou Partnership Agreement between the African, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) Group of States and the European Union, expires in February 2020. The European Commission and the European External Action Service hosted a series of roundtable discussions with experts, including ECDPM, this year to prepare for a public consultation and eventual EU negotiating mandate on the future of the partnership beyond 2020. This report summarises the discussions held on: i) what kind of partnership do we want?; ii) the future framework for international cooperation and development policy; iii) means of implementation; iv) stakeholders and institutions; v) regional integration and trade; vi) global challenges; and vii) demographic developments. There was consensus that a future agreement should take into account factors such as: i) the changes that have taken place in global geopolitics; ii) new emerging challenges and regional dynamics; iii) the heterogeneity of the partners; iv) the Cotonou acquis; v) shared universal values; vi) EU specific and mutual ACP-EU interests and vii) the flexibility needed to deal with changing circumstances.


Policy News 

ECDPM IN THE NEWS - Situation in the Sahel
Why is the coordination of international strategies in the Sahel so vital? How does EU development cooperation support civil society in the region? ECDPM’s Damien Helly spoke to Afroline’s Joshua Massarenti on the situation in the Sahel and his interviews were published in French in several newspapers across the region. Here Damien talks about how each government in the Sahel can coordinate its international cooperation at national and local level; here on how local governance is not immune from from aid dependency; and here on how working in isolation does not provide added value.
ECDPM DANS L'ACTUALITE - La situation au Sahel
Pourquoi la coordination des stratégies internationales dans le Sahel est-elle à ce point cruciale ? Comment la coopération au développement de l’UE soutient-elle la société civile dans la région ? Damien Helly de l’ECDPM s’est entretenu avec Joshua Massarenti de Afroline sur la situation dans le Sahel et ses interviews ont été publiées en français dans plusieurs journaux de la région. Vous trouverez ici les entretiens de Damien sur la façon dont chaque gouvernement dans le Sahel peut coordonner sa coopération internationale à l'échelle nationale et localesur le fait que la gouvernance locale n'est pas à l'abri de la dépendance à l'aide ; et sur le constat que travailler de manière isolée ne fournit pas de valeur ajoutée.

Corridors of militancy: The Sahel-Sahara border regions
Conflicts in the Sahel Sahara show that structural factors - such as weak governance, social exclusion and state repression - create enabling environments for radicalisation. But it is the spread of external fundamentalist ideas, the appeal of charismatic recruiters, and the material and emotional benefits generated from affiliation with radical social networks that plays a critical role in producing violent extremism, argues FRIDE in their latest policy briefing. There are specific remedies that governments and the international community can undertake to alleviate specific push and pull factors of radicalisation. They require the adoption of a full spectrum approach that balances engagement of violent extremists with activities such as governance-enhancement, justice and security sector reform, and rehabilitation programmes for former fighters, says FRIDE.

WATCH - VIDEO: ‘Towards a European Global Strategy’
The European Union Institute for Security Studies’ Cristina Barrios interviews Thomas Silberhorn, German Parliamentary State Secretary for Economic Cooperation and Development for his views on the components of a new European Foreign Policy and Security Strategy. Secretary Silberhorn advocates a global approach that moves away from security in a more narrow military sense, and that also focuses on conflict prevention and post-conflict management. Barrios also asks how the EU’s 'Comprehensive Approach to Crisis Management’ can fit within this new security and foreign policy strategy.This interview followed a European Development Days lab debate entitled ‘Our collective interest?: Towards a European strategy for a changing world’ organised by the European Think Tanks Group. More information on the event can be found here.

ECDPM IN THE NEWS - Poverty, consumption and violence: Tough choices ahead for Europe post-2015
A cornerstone of the global agreement on the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) is the idea that they will be ‘universal’ - that all nations will need to comply to the targets and do their bit for collective action on global common goods like climate change and the environment. Now here’s the challenge - if everyone’s actions at the national level have to collectively add up to meet the ambitious global goals, how can politicians and bureaucrats translate these ‘universal’ goals into national policies that can be sold to voters? ECDPM’s Alisa Herrero, Anna Knoll and Sebastian Große-Puppendahl, in an article for Euractiv, illustrate what universality will concretely mean for Europe, looking at the examples of poverty, consumption and violence.

From one grain to another: the rise of rice in West Africa
“If agricultural development and food security are to be achieved in West Africa, the under-tapped potential for regional collaboration and integration has to be unlocked”, writes ECDPM’s Carmen Torres on our Talking Points blog. West Africa’s national and regional agricultural policies prioritise rice as a strategic crop because it is widely consumed throughout the region. But explicit strategies to ensure self-sufficiency based on regional complementarities and opportunities for cooperation are missing. Transboundary rice production basins could be developed for example, and shared water resources could be better managed for increased regional productivity. The low level of protection agreed for rice and the poor implementation of the region’s Common External Tariff, and informal non-tariff barriers to trade, also discourage production and investment in the rice sector, says Torres.

ECDPM’s annual report 2014 now available in French
The report presents who we are and how we work and an overview of a wide range of policy processes in which we engaged, primarily through our five core programmes - Strengthening European External Action; Conflict, Security and Resilience; Economic Transformation and Trade; Africa’s Change Dynamics; and Food Security. Each programme reports on what, why and how it has operated in complex and rapidly evolving policy arenas, using theories of change adapted to the specific processes it was involved in. The English version is available here.


- Oxfam welcomes the improvements in the text of the Final Draft of the Outcome Document for the UN Summit to adopt the Post-2015 Development Agenda. They also offer recommendations on additional changes to make the agenda truly transformative so that it leaves no one behind.

- This Brookings Institution book identifies three critical challenges that define the ‘last mile’ of the road to ending extreme poverty - securing peace, creating jobs, and strengthening resilience. It outlines an agenda to inform development research and poverty reduction strategies for governments, international organisations, donors, charities, and foundations.

- This IMF paper shows that Low-Income Countries participating in IMF-supported adjustment programmes have significant increases in Foreign Direct Investment inflows.

- Aid and development have been historically shaped by the context of the Cold War and the decolonisation process, while the post-cold war era led to new development priorities with a stronger emphasis on issues like governance, rights and democratisation. This is according to a new book by Myles Wickstead, which also looks at priorities for a new set of Sustainable Development Goals.

- This Egmont article argues that ‘going back to basics’ in the revised European Neighbourhood Policy would be counter-productive and that instead the ENP needs to move towards the future and break away with the historical elusiveness of this overarching policy. They put forward recommendations to include is a truly revised ENP.

- While capacity has been developed and new knowledge generated in the Comprehensive Africa Agriculture Development Programme (CAADP), challenges exist in ensuring that all the available knowledge is used to inform policy, improve food systems and processes, and expand product range, according to this CAAST-NET-PLUS report.

- This IMF report argues that declines in union density and minimum wages are linked to higher inequality. But unions, if nonrepresentative, can also increase unemployment and inequality. Labour market policies should be assessed on a country-by-country basis, considering other policy objectives.

- This UNCTAD report looks at how fostering Africa’s trade in services can have a role in achieving the Sustainable Development goals.

- This IMF paper examines how susceptible East African Community (EAC) economies are to asymmetric shocks and reviews adjustment mechanisms that would help ensure a successful experience under a common currency.

- This IFPRI study looks at the appropriate technology hypothesis and the role of the input mix. It argues for a need to increase capital and inputs per worker to not only boost output per worker but also to accelerate technology adoption and total factor productivity growth.

- Free, Prior, and Informed Consent (FPIC) represents a critical tool for ensuring that local communities and indigenous peoples have a say in whether and how extractive industry projects move forward. This Oxfam policy brief examines publicly available corporate commitments and shows disappointing trends in relation to the oil and gas sector and women’s participation in decision making.

For more see The Filter 

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Recent and upcoming events

The EU Council agreed on a draft migration decision establishing a temporary and exceptional relocation mechanism from Italy and Greece to other member states of persons in clear need of international protection. The member states agreed on the distribution of 32,256 persons to be relocated. Ministers committed to agree on the distribution of the remaining 7,744 persons by the end of 2015. The Council will formally adopt the decision once the European Parliament gives its opinion, which is expected in September. Furthermore, the member states adopted conclusions on resettling through multilateral and national schemes 22,504 displaced persons from outside the EU who are in clear need of international protection. Council calls on the High Representative and the Commission to report back to the October Foreign Affairs Council with concrete proposals to support the implementation of the external dimension of the European Agenda on Migration and ensuring coherence between internal and external policies to best effect. The Commission will put forward later this year a proposal for a fixed emergency system, to address future emergencies.

EU Council conclusions on Mali invite the EU High Representative and the European Commission, in close cooperation with all the countries of the Sahel region and its international partner, to seek the most coherent approach between dialogue and the implementation of the relevant parts of the EU Sahel Regional Action Plan with its four priorities areas: prevention and fight against radicalisation; creating appropriate conditions for youth; migration and mobility; and border management and fight against illicit trafficking and transnational organised crime.

The European Union will review its cooperation with Burundi in the wake of controversial presidential polls boycotted by the opposition over President Pierre Nkurunziza's refusal to refrain from seeking a third term.

The EU Council adopted a new Action Plan for Human Rights and Democracy (2015–2019). It aims to enable the EU to meet challenges through more focused action, systematic and coordinated use of the instruments at its disposal, and enhanced impact of its policies and tools on the ground. The EU will put special emphasis on ownership by, and co-operation with, local institutions and mechanisms, including national human rights institutions, as well as civil society. The EU will also ensure a comprehensive human rights approach to preventing and addressing conflicts and crises, and further mainstream human rights in the external aspects of EU policies in order to ensure better policy coherence, in particular in the fields of migration, trade and investment, development cooperation and counterterrorism.

Carnegie Europe says the Human Rights and Democracy Action Plan has garnered nowhere near the kind of high-level engagement, comment, or activity that other strategy-defining exercises have done. This reflects member states’ growing uncertainty over the role of fundamental values in EU foreign policy, they argue. Much work remains if the updated and improved action plan is to serve as a platform for more effective EU democracy support. The plan will need to dovetail with EU bilateral relations in individual third countries, reverse member states’ antipathy to external democracy support, and mobilize additional resources from across the EU institutions.

The EU Council adopted conclusions on climate diplomacy. They address the risk-multiplying threats of a changing climate, including potential conflict and instability, related to reliable access to food, water and energy, and call for effective foreign policy initiatives and responses at the global and EU level. The Council is committed to building up its climate diplomacy component, as an inherent part of its foreign policy.

At an informal EU Council of Environment Ministers, Ministers agreed that the EU should show its leadership in the implementation of the environmental aspects of the Sustainable Development Goals and that environment needs to stay high on the agenda and has to be mainstreamed into other policies. They also assessed the progress towards an ambitious climate agreement and discussed next steps to accelerate negotiations and find convergent positions with other countries. Convergence on several issues starts to emerge, for instance in the field of adaptation to the effects of climate change. The EU Environment Council will adopt conclusions for the COP21 conference on 18 September. Ministers also discussed  how to finance the transition to low emission and climate resilient economies. ECOFIN Ministers will discuss Climate Finance during their informal session in September and also adopt conclusions on climate finance at a formal Council ahead of Paris.

According to a French government document obtained by the Financial Times, diplomats made progress at ministerial level climate talks this week, although many important differences remain over the precise costs, legality and timing of the deal due to be signed in Paris in December. The paper repeatedly refers to “common understanding” and “shared recognition” on the basic shape of an agreement requiring virtually all countries to take voluntary, but progressively tougher action from 2020 to stop global temperatures rising more than 2C from pre-industrial times. The paper says another unresolved debate remains over the question of how much money rich countries should channel to developing nations to help them tackle climate change, beyond the $100bn a year that wealthy economies have already said they will muster by 2020.

The BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa) group of emerging economies launched its New Development Bank in Shanghai. The bank will lend money to developing countries to help finance infrastructure projects.

A round of intergovernmental negotiations on Post-2015 Development Agenda started this week. Negotiations continue to the end of next week and should result in adoption of the Outcome Document for the September 2015 summit to adopt the post-2015 development agenda.

An international conference designed to give a critical appraisal of the proposed Economic Partnership Agreement between Economic Community of West African States, (ECOWAS) and the European Union (EU) will take place in Abuja between July 28 and 29.

ECDPM’s Hanne Knaepen will participate in next week’s UN Africa Ecosystem Based Adaptation for Food Security Conference. The conference discuss approaches of Ecosystem Based Adaptation and their positive impact on Africa’s food security situation that is threatened by the impact of climate change.


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, Denmark, Sweden and Switzerland.

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Melissa Julian

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