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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.

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Editor's Pick


Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela (1918 – 2013): Condolences to a Nation
ECDPM’s Jan Vanheukelom pays tribute to Nelson Mandela who passed away at the age of 95. He looks over the six lives of Mandela from his life in rural Transkei, through his early political activism to his 27 year prison sentence where he “learnt to control his temper and strong will, to empathize and persuade, and to extend his influence and authority, not just over the other prisoners, but over the warders.” Finally he explores the life of Mandela from 1990 and beyond, where he: “turned his Presidency into a period of reconciliation, open debate and deliberations.” Vanheukelom says: “To offer condolences to an entire nation may appear somewhat pompous, but in such a moment as this, it feels natural and appropriate to do so.”
 
Policy News

What went wrong with the EPAs?
ECDPM’s San Bilal talks to Clem Silverman on this new podcast about the ongoing Economic Partnership Agreement negotiations between Africa and the EU. Bilal says we need to move beyond the technical issues to a more political dialogue. After over ten years of negotiations, the Economic EPAs are due to be completed over the next few months. Failure to do so by October 2014 - a deadline unilaterally set by the EU - will mean that some African countries will lose their preferential access to the European market. Bilal adds it is important to move beyond the technical issues, and it is time to take more explicit account of the political nature and interests behind this EPA process, so as to encourage more strategic diplomacy. ECDPM also recently released a paper asking what would it take to make an EPA economically and politically feasible for Europe and Africa? See our GREAT insights magazine for the latest update on EPAs.

Central African Republic: Better late than never
Over nine months, the weak Central African Republic (CAR) state has collapsed, triggering a serious humanitarian crisis, with 400,000 displaced and nearly half the population in need of assistance. As the CAR stares into an abyss of potentially appalling proportions, the international community must focus on the quickest, most decisive means of restoring security to its population. In its latest briefing, the International Crisis Group looks at the derailing of the transition that started after the March 2013 coup. They suggest a selection of short-term and mid-term recommendations, that includes that the UN and donors should support inter-religious dialogue and implement urgent reconstruction projects.
 
Challenges 2014: The Great European Renaissance or Depression, who will lead the EU from 2014?
The future role of Europe in the world will be seriously affected by the outcomes of next year’s European elections and related appointments at the top of EU institutions. Will European diplomacy continue with a cautious Commission President with a low-profile High Representative submitting to the interests of member states and favouring intergovernmental policy-making, with only a few Commissioners with international profiles? A more encouraging option for Euro-fans could be a “European renaissance” – the top management of the new Commission has proven leadership, a strong international track record and the trust of the European Council to guide the EU towards a new Treaty deepening political integration, establishing new supranational financial and economic regulatory bodies and strengthening external action by narrowing down the space for unanimity procedures.
 
Against the odds: A few insights from successful capacity development in fragile situations
Peacebuilding and statebuilding are perceived as the most important aims of aid particularly in fragile states, and capacity development is central to achieving these. This policy brief from the Danish Institute for International Studies looks at successful capacity development in fragile situations. It recommends donors should build on existing good relations with a recipient country, and support ad hoc planning on a long-term basis and ensure initial, bold changes. It explains that capacity development is a human process and depends on motivation and committed leadership. It also says that prioritisation of South-South cooperation is key, so that regional interests, ownership and cultural affinity can facilitate change.
 
ECDPM at the European Development Days: post-2015, climate change and PCD
ECDPM experts interviewed a number of high level participants at the  European Development Days (26-27 November) held in Brussels. The Chair of the OECD’s Development Assistance Committee, Erik Solheim, told ECDPM’s James Mackie: “we need a very strong focus on the big aim of eradicating poverty by 2013.” Owen Barder from the Center for Global Development said there is a feeling that Europe has so much to offer, due to being in a 'remarkable position' of States that have come together voluntarily, to share that experience to shape policy in developing countries. Brecht Lein spoke about Policy Coherence for Development (PCD) and biofuels with Gaspar Frontini, head of the Policy Coherence unit at DEVCO in the European Commission. And Bruno Wenn, the chairman of EDFI, the Association of European Development Finance Institutions, talked to Floiran Krätke about the merits of EU blending. Read more about ECDPM at the EDDs in our new blog. Hanne Knaepen also wrote about the various climate change sessions at the EDDs on ECDPM’s Talking Points blog.
 
Crossing the border between Malawi and Zambia: How to convince informal traders to give up the ‘Zalewa’ route?
A new blog from Kathleen Van Hove on ECDPM’s Talking Points blog looks at the COMESA Simplified Trade Regime, which encourages free trade between countries and aims to improve life for small traders. Based on a meeting held by Ministries of Trade from Malawi and Zambia organised to discuss and validate their Diagnostic Trade Integration Study. She says many small traders at the meeting hadn’t heard of COMESA, and the Simplified Trade Regime still had a surprisingly low uptake. The traders argued the reason for this was that the list of products is too limited, the threshold of US$1000 is rather low, the system is applied differently at different borders, but most of all there are too many other hurdles.
 
The EU’s State Building Contracts: courageous, but how effective in the end?
In 2012, the EU’s new policy on budget support introduced a specific modality for fragile and transition countries, the State Building Contract (SBC). This ECDPM Briefing Note looks at the early experiences with SBCs and questions related to their future use. The note says SBCs are a courageous and flexible response to past criticisms on the EU budget support to fragile situations. But stakeholders should avoid overloading this modality with too many expectations and objectives. Strong flanking measures to accompany the implementation of SBCs are indispensable to make this modality effective in fragile situations, an issue that could be underestimated given current records.

More news from The Filter

The Development Co-operation Report (DCR) from OECD is the key annual reference document for analysis and statistics on trends in international development co-operation. This year, the DCR explores what needs to be done to achieve rapid and sustainable progress in the global fight to end poverty. The OECD launched the report with a meeting with experts discussing the key issues that the report raises.
 
This Policy & Practice Brief (PPB) from Africa Portal is a postscript to the Golden Jubilee celebrations of the founding of the Organisation of African Unity (OAU) and the 21st African Union (AU) Summit. It reviews the successes and triumphs of Africa’s peace and security architecture, set against the constraints and challenges of making peace in difficult times.
 
“This Is Africa” look at the China-Africa engagement and ask: has it peaked? It says China-Africa relations may be near a high point and will decline in priority within a decade. This does not mean that relations will sour, nor that there will be a collapse in activity, but rather that there will be a slowdown in growth and a scaling back in importance.
 
UK axes £100m southern Africa aid programme over 'serious concerns'. Ministers to scrap five-year TradeMark Southern Africa programme due to concerns about financial oversight.
 
The German Development Institute look at how migration could work for sustainable development. They say discussions in the post-2015 debate should pay attention the following: migrants’ rights as well as living and working conditions; internal migration; environmental change and migration; and low-skilled migration.
 
Transparency International’s Corruption Perceptions Index 2013 offers a warning that the abuse of power, secret dealings and bribery continue to ravage societies around the world. More than two thirds of the 177 countries in the 2013 index score below 50, on a scale from 0 (perceived to be highly corrupt) to 100 (perceived to be very clean).
 
The National Board of Trade for Sweden has released two reports on the European Union’s experience of the effects on trade and competition of abolishing anti-dumping measures and eliminating anti-dumping measures in regional trade agreements. The first provides an empiri­cal analysis of the effects (on value, volume and price) of abolishing anti-dump­ing measures within the EU at the time of its enlargement in 2004. The second argues an overview of those regional trade agreements that have eliminated the use of anti-dumping measures, as well as the legal foundations for this provision.
 
The Global Partnership for Effective Co-operation have launched a new blog, which is is a forum for sharing advice, learning and experiences on key issues in the run-up to the High-Level Meeting to be held in Mexico City in April 2014. The first blog is ‘From taxes to illicit flows: how can effective development co-operation mobilise domestic resources?’ from Nigerian Finance Minister Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala.
 
Complying with the Maputo Declaration Target: trends in public agricultural expenditures and implications for pursuit of optimal allocation of public agricultural spending - a new report from ReSAKSS.
 
This book from OECD offers an overview on recent trends and policies in intergovernmental fiscal relations and sub-central government. Accessible chapters provide: insight into how sub-central governments are managing ongoing consolidation, as well as how fiscal decentralisation fosters economic growth and educational attainment.
 
“Think Africa Press” have published an interview with Shantayanan Devarajan, former Chief Economist of the World Bank's Africa division, entitled World Bank: "Structural Adjustment Programmes Worked in Africa", in which he argued that SAPs were a major reason behind Africa's current economic growth. Carlos Lopes, Executive Secretary of the Economic Commission for Africa, wrote a reply to Devarajan, refuting that SAPs had been successful.
 
This paper from the Centre for Chinese Studies is a preliminary consideration of issues relating to the relationship between Botswana and China. There is little existing research on the subject and the paper seeks to develop the basis for further conceptual analysis and empirical study. It provides a country-level exploration of Africa-China relations and how they might be strengthened. 
 
The German Development institute looks at allocating the next European Development Fund for ACP countries. They say it would appear as a much better solution to use an allocation formula that is linear instead of geometric and applied to each country income group’s predetermined share. That is, a formula where the considered indicators are added to each other and a weighted sum is produced.
 
A leaked European Commission document dispels earlier warnings that the financial transaction tax (FTT) which 11 EU countries agreed to put in place by next year breaches EU or international laws, say Oxfam.
 
OECD set out draft principles to enhance the transparency and governance of tax incentives for investment in developing countries. They say strong evidence that calls into question the effectiveness of some tax incentives for investment, including in particular tax free zones and tax holidays.
 
FRIDE look at empowering Europe’s Future through governance, power and options for the EU in a changing world. In this less predictable world, power shifts – measured in terms of economic output, scientific research, demography, and military spending – from the West to the rest will not be linear, not least due to the proliferation of domestic challenges in emerging economies, the report says.

More policy news is available at The Filter: collected from over 500 sources.

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No 171, 6 December 2013


Dear Jacques,
 
The news as we go to press is that the ministers attending the WTO’s Bali Ministerial Conference received revised draft decisions on a package of issues designed to streamline trade, allow developing countries more options for providing food security, boost least developed countries’ trade and help development more generally. WTO Director-General Roberto Azevedo signaled that he believes he has found terms that are acceptable to all members.

The EU Council this week adopted the regulation laying down the EU's multiannual financial framework for 2014-2020. This follows the European Parliament's consent of 19 November. The decision marks the end of two and a half years of negotiations and allows the new generation of EU spending programmes to be implemented as from 1 January 2014.

EU foreign-policy spending from 2014 will be more efficient, effective and democratically accountable, under new rules backed by foreign affairs MEPs. The rules govern six foreign-policy funds for pre-accession, neighbouring and partner countries and peace-keeping, democracy and human-rights actions, worth over €51 billion.

Following an agreement reached by the negotiating teams of Parliament, Council and Commission on the EU's Development Cooperation Instrument (DCI) for the next seven years, the Committee on Development this week voted in favour of the compromise text. The compromise ensures increased oversight for Parliament on how and where EU development aid under DCI, amounting to € 19.622 billion for the period 2014-2020, will be spent. Thematic and geographic areas of cooperation are described in detail in annexes of the DCI regulation, including financial allocations, and can only be changed with Parliament's agreement during the implementation period. Furthermore, a new form of strategic dialogues will enhance the Parliament's involvement in strategic decision-making in development policy throughout the seven-year period.

The Parliament’s Development Committee also published its draft report on promoting development through responsible business practices, including the role of extractive industries in developing countries.

The European Commission published a presentation on the planned Communication on the role of the private sector in development. It includes an invite to contribute on it's key issues: 1) EU support to local private sector development; 2) The role of the European private sector in development; 3) Introducing a people-centered and rights-based approach; 4) Enhancing dialogue with the private sector; and 5) The private sector as “delivery channel” for development.

The European Commission’s Staff Working Document on the Annual Strategy for Humanitarian Aid in 2014 was published.

EU Development ministers meet next week to push forward discussion about the international development agenda after 2015. They will also discuss policy coherence in development.

The European Council next week is an opportunity to assess the status of Common Security and Defense Policy 15 years after its formulation and determine its future. The High Representative will put forward proposals and actions to strengthen CSDP and improve the availability of the required civilian and military capabilities. The European Council has underlined the need to increase the effectiveness, visibility and impact of CSDP by further developing the comprehensive approach to conflict prevention, crisis management and stabilisation, including by developing the ability to respond to emerging security challenges.  European Geostrategy says the focus should be put in particular on three issues: 1) strategic visions of the EU in a changing world; 2) autonomy of the EU from NATO/ the US for most part of missions; 3) intervention capacity of the EU: can the EU live up to its ambitions as security provider? In what sense did the EU's missions provide lasting security so far?

The Africa-EU Partnership hosts a lunchtime seminar on the future of the Africa-EU Partnership: Africa-EU, future relations and continental integration next week. Key speakers include Pascal Lamy, Honorary President of Notre Europe- Institut Jacques Delors and former WTO Director General and Dr Obadiah Mailafia, Chief of Cabinet of the ACP Secretary General. ECDPM’s San Bilal will attend this meeting.

UNECA hosts a forum on governance in post-conflict countries which will bring together key figures from national institutions charged with fighting corruption, sub-regional and regional organisations as well as experts in the domain. They will share ideas on the nature of corruption within countries recovering from conflict situations and exchange notes on lessons as well as good practices across contexts.

For more on the latest policy issues concerning international cooperation, with a focus on the EU and its relations with the developing world, see ECDPM’s The Filter.

All the best,
Melissa

Melissa Julian
Communications Manager
mj@ecdpm.org      
www.ecdpm.org/seasonsgreetings2013



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