ECDPM's Weekly Compass update

European Centre for Development Policy Management Weekly Newsletter
19 Sep 2014

Melissa Julian

Head of Communications

Dear Jacques,

The European Parliament launched a website for the hearings for Commissioner-designates which will be held from 29 September-7 October. The hearing for Development Commissioner-designate, Neven Mimica, will be in the Development Committee on 29 September from 18:00-21:00. Cecelia Malmstrom, Trade Commissioner-designate, will face the International Trade Committee on 29 September from 13:30-16:30. Federica Mogherini, EU High Representative/EC Vice President-designate, hearing with Foreign Affairs Committee will be held on 6 October from 18:30-21:30. Commissioner-designates written answers to European Parliament questions will be published on 29 September.

Many of the Heads of Cabinet for the Commissioner-designates have being appointed. Stefano Manservisi will be Federica Mogherini's Head of Cabinet. Nils Behrndt will lead Neven Mimica’s office. The Head of Cabinet for Cecilia Malmstrom will be Maria Asensius.

Weekly Compass subscribers received an ECDPM The Filter News Service e-mail earlier this week. If you would like to continue to receive this daily news service, which Filters Africa-EU cooperation news from over 500 sources, please subscribe to The Filter.

All the best,

Melissa Julian


Editor’s Pick

Politically Smart and Locally Led Development
The Overseas Development Institute (ODI) looks at seven cases where donors were successful at facilitating developmental change ‘despite the odds’ when they adopted politically smart, locally led approaches, adapting the way they worked in order to support iterative problem-solving and brokering of interests by politically astute local actors. ODI’s study highlights the changes that donors need to make to their own thinking and practices in order to act as effective facilitators of development change. They need to be politically informed and astute to assess the scope for change, and to make good choices regarding issues to work on and partners to work with; and they need to allow local actors to take the lead in finding solutions to problems that matter to them.

Policy News

Four Messages on Governance and Water in Mali and Niger
As part of our ongoing work on connecting policy to practice in regional strategies for the Sahel, ECDPM, in collaboration with Eau-Vive, interviewed practitioners from Mali and Niger who shared ‘good’ and ‘bad’ examples of local development practices and gave us four messages on governance support to water management in the Sahel: invent ways to empower those who are already managing water; give responsibility to local communities; locally owned projects can survive the end of the ‘development intervention’ itself and can promote local governance systems; and give importance to local accountability mechanisms.

The Future Africa Wants Post-2015
A matrix of power in the current world system impinges on the dynamics of multilateral negotiations, the nature of international development assistance, and on Africa’s ownership of its own development according to this paper from The African Centre for the Constructive Resolution of Disputes (ACCORD). They argue that while the common negotiating position on the Post-2015 Development Agenda was a major step forward demonstrating agency on the part of Africa, there are many hurdles that must be overcome for this achievement to result in prosperity for all. As 2015 approaches, there is growing realisation of how poorly MDG interventions were implemented, and the negative ramifications of this on Africa. ACCORD critically discusses the Common African Position on the Post-2015 Development Agenda against lessons learnt from operationalisation of the MDGs. 

A Safer Entrance than Lampedusa?
To better govern migration for the future economic benefit of both Europe and Africa, and to ease the current crisis of migrant deaths in the Mediterranean, Jean-Claude Juncker’s new Commission College must show innovation and leadership and bring effective synergies in the way the EU works across all its policy areas. ECDPM’s Anna Knoll and Essete Abebe Bekele argue that the new Commission set-up offers potential to overcome siloed working and design more integrated and effective solutions. Yet, pressure by Member States for a new post that narrowly caters to migration interests and reinforce borders will be high. Given the current crisis of tragic sea deaths, the opportunity presented by a new Commission should not be wasted on retrograde approaches long proven to be ineffective.

Shallow Political Summits but Active Technical Dialogues for the EU?
Technical dialogues could be used better by the EU in order to run more effective strategic partnerships. Along with the concept of “reciprocal engagement”, the European Council on Foreign Relations argues that the EU could leverage stronger on this and that an adequate management of bilateral technical groups could improve its international negotiation power. While the EU lacks some of the tools of a traditional diplomacy (notably military power, visas and the prestige of nations-states), its norm setter’s power, as well as its technological collective knowledge, make it attractive for third countries to discuss at technical level.

Better Growth, Better Climate
Just one week before a major climate summit opens at the United Nations, a new UN report released by a commission of global leaders argues that major structural and technological changes in the world economy are making it possible to achieve lower carbon emissions and economic growth at the same time. The Better Growth, Better Climate: the New Climate Economy uses new data in an attempt to refute the idea that the world must choose between fighting climate change and growing the world's economy. Simply put, eradicating extreme poverty is not possible without fighting climate change - the two agendas must be pushed simultaneously.

Why a New Dutch Food and Nutrition Security Policy Should Invest More in Improving Governance
A review of Dutch food security policy is underway, By the end of this year, the Ministries of Foreign Affairs and Economic Affairs will send a joint food security policy paper to the Dutch Parliament. The Food & Business Knowledge Platform has launched an online consultation to ensure that the newest topics and debates on food security are included in the paper. Paul Engel, Director of ECDPM and Chair of Steering Committee Food and Business Knowledge Agenda, provides input to the discussion. ‘A new Food and Nutrition policy needs to invest in the governance and the transformation of key institutions’, Engel says, ‘to help create an enabling institutional environment for diverse stakeholders to be able to improve food and nutrition security’.

VIDEO Sustainable Economic Development, Views from the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs
Marcel Vernooij presents policy and priorities that the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MoFA) have adopted for its work on sustainable and inclusive economic development. This includes support for an enabling environment for entrepreneurship, support for local SMEs and for Dutch companies that can present innovative solutions to development constraints. He also speaks about the role of the EU in private sector for development and also how the Comprehensive Africa Agriculture Development Programme (CAADP) process can support farmers to get a fair price in markets. In a recent GREAT insights article, his colleague, Jeroen Roodenburg, Ambassador of Private Sector and Development Cooperation in the Dutch MoFA, outlined the Dutch Approach: Combining Aid and Trade and Working Together for Effective Private Sector Development

VIDEO ECDPM Interview with Mandi Rukuni, Strategic Review Panel Member for the CAADP
Francesco Rampa, Head of the Food Security programme at ECDPM, speaks with Mandi Rukuni who is an expert on the Comprehensive Africa Agriculture Development Programme (CAADP). Rampa asks if in this African Year of Food Security, leaders have done enough to transform agriculture? And have the new targets set for trade in agriculture been enough to make the CAADP more results oriented?

A Civil Society How-To-Guide to Monitor the African Peer Review Mechanism
The extent of civil society engagement with the African Peer Review Mechanism varies greatly between the two stages of Country Review Report and the National Programme of Action (NPoA). The South African Institute of International Affairs (SAIIA) argues in spite of rules and guidelines, the implementation of the NPoA as well as the monitoring and reporting of it remains vested solely in the government domain. The country review meanwhile tends to be inclusive of non-state actors and many countries have already benefitted from the opening up of political space and normalisation of debate about governance.

From Best Practice to Best Fit
Complex systems research are increasingly being used and valued by international development organisations and evidence is that these methods can help development partners better navigate the complex, dynamic realities they face on a day-to-day basis. There are considerable opportunities for doing more programming using these methods, with real potential for enhancing development decision-making in the face of wicked problems. This ODI Working Paper summarises the findings of a series of small-scale pilots of selected complex systems methods in DFID’s wealth creation work.

  • The latest UN MDG Gap Task Force report found much progress towards achieving the goals set under MDG 8, but also highlighting the many challenges that remain.
  • A new UNICEF progress report finds that while child survival rates have increased dramatically since 1990, one million babies each year do not see their second day of life due to complications during labour and delivery that could be easily prevented with simple, cost effective interventions.
  • The IMF’s proposed quality of growth index (QGI) for developing countries finds that quality of growth has been improving in the vast majority of developing countries over the past two decades, although the rate of convergence is relatively slow. At the same time, there are considerable cross-country variations across income levels and regions.


  • The OECD finds that, with a number of new country-level frameworks for agricultural policies that will become operational in 2014, overall producer support is slowly in decline, and differences in support levels across OECD countries remains large and in the In the longer term. An increased focus on innovation will be needed to improve productivity and sustainability.


  • Bringing together the voices of people in poverty to the sustainable development debate, this ATD Fourthworld report  brings a unique voice to the global debate on international development with over 2,000 participants from over 20 countries, a majority of whom came from a background of poverty.
  • The return of the proceeds of corruption can have a significant development impact and development agencies and those committed to development effectiveness have a role in the asset recovery process. This StAR-OECD publication provides recommendations and good practices, and suggests specific actions for development agencies.
  • Economic convergence: The headwinds return, says The Economist. ‘Ten years ago, developing economies were catching up with developed ones remarkably quickly. It was an aberration.
  • The State of Food Insecurity in the World 2014. The latest  Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) estimates indicate that global hunger reduction continues: about 805 million people are estimated to be chronically undernourished in 2012–14, down more than 100 million over the last decade, and 209 million lower than in 1990–92.
  • African Regional Economic Communities' engagement with China. The development of effective African Regional Economic Communities (RECs) stands to benefit African countries immensely says the Centre for Chinese Studies, Stellenbosch University.

See more at The Filter


Recent and Upcoming Events

The European Council published the European Commission Proposal for an EU Council Decision on the conclusion of the West African-EU Economic Partnership Agreement and the European Commission Proposal for an EU Council Decision on the signing and provisional application of the West African-EU Economic Partnership Agreement. Several annexes were attached to both of these documents.

The European External Action Service published its latest organigramme.

The OECD released its first recommendations for a coordinated international approach to combat tax avoidance by multinational enterprises, under the OECD/G20 Base Erosion and Profit Shifting Project designed to create a single set of international tax rules to end the erosion of tax bases and the artificial shifting of profits to jurisdictions to avoid paying tax. The OECD recommendations will be a key item on the agenda when G20 finance ministers tomorrow.

African Union Commission Chairperson H.E. Dr Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma and Foreign Minister of the Russian Federation H.E. Mr. Sergey Lavrov signed a Memorandum of Understanding establishing a framework for political consultations. The framework will allow the African Union and the Russian Federation to coordinate their joint efforts on “strengthening world peace and security, settlement of regional conflicts, and resolution of urgent economic and humanitarian problems.”

The African Union and partners held a three-day regional security sector reform (SSR) training workshop for representatives of the countries of North Africa. The purpose of the workshop was to introduce participants to the AU Policy Framework on SSR, in the context of the operationalisation of the African Peace and Security Architecture.

The first African Forum on Business and Human Rights concluded this week with a strong call for action to make business a force for improving human rights in Africa. At the meeting, senior officials and experts underlined that the African Union and the United Nations will join forces to support responsible business practices in line with fundamental human rights standards.

On Wednesday, the International Peace Institute hosted an African Leaders Series event on the African Governance Architecture (AGA) featuring Ambassador Aisha Laraba Abdullahi, African Union Commissioner for Political Affairs, who reflected on Africa’s capabilities, opportunities, and challenges in strengthening governance systems, institutions, and embedding a culture of democracy and peace. The meeting acknowledged the need for pre-emptive diplomacy and to address the root causes of conflict in order to ensure the sustainable development of the continent. In that sense the AGA was described as complementary to the African Peace and Security Architecture and NEPAD.

The East African Community Council of Ministers has been meeting this week, climaxing with the Ministerial session tomorrow. The Economic Partnership Agreement with the EU is an item for discussion.

WTO members remained divided on how to proceed with work on agriculture under the 2013 Bali Ministerial Conference’s decisions, when they met informally as the regular Agriculture Committee this week.

The ACP-EU Council published the ACP Centre for the Development of Enterprise Work Programme and Budget for 2015.

Heads of Government will meet on Tuesday at a Climate Summit hosted by UN Secretary-General. It is intended to be a key moment for raising ambition and political will en route to the Conference of the Parties on Climate Change in Paris in December 2015 where a new agreement on climate change should be adopted. China and India, however, will not attend the meeting next week, dampening prospects for progress.

The United Nations General Assembly opened its 69th annual session this week. The theme of this year’s general debate is “Delivering on and implementing a Transformative Post-2015 Development Agenda”. Heads of Government joint UN General Assembly meeting (see also note to delegations) on Monday and the meeting will run until 1 October. The Intergovernmental Committee of Experts on Sustainable Development Financing and Open Working Group on Sustainable Development Goals will report back to Assembly.  Meetings will be livestreamed.

On Wednesday, OECD Development Assistance Committee (DAC) Members will discuss the final Experts Reference Group recommendations on development finance ahead of the 15-16 December DAC High Level Meeting which will finalise the proposal.

The OECD also hosts a meeting on Curbing Illicit Financial Flows for Domestic Resource Mobilisation and Sustainable Development in the post-2015 era next week. A panel of high level representatives from governments, international organisations, civil society organisations and the private sector will identify concrete international actions needed in key areas for achieving this target, such as international tax evasion and avoidance, money laundering, bribery, and asset recovery. The meeting will be livestreamed.

The Global Partnership for Effective Cooperation will also be holding side events at UN General Assembly.

An African Union Subcommittee of Directors General of Customs/AUC-Regional Economic Communities and Customs Cooperation meeting will be held from 22-26 September.  The major outcome of this meeting will be a set of recommendations that will guide the thinking of the Conference of Ministers of Trade so that they may be able to channel decisions to the AU Summit of Heads of State and Government.

The European Parliament’s International Trade Committee will hold and exchange of views with the European Commission on the State of Play of the negotiation and implementation of Economic Partnership Agreements on Wednesday. You can watch live or a recording after.

The Overseas Development Institute (ODI) hosts a meeting on the Political Economy of Agricultural Policy Processes in Africa on Wednesday. ODI will present key findings and policy insights emerging from a range of Future Agricultures’ recent research activities on key themes of relevance to Comprehensive Africa Agriculture Development Programme (CAADP) and the G-8’s New Alliance for Food Security and Nutrition.

European Think Tank Groups member FRIDE launches the ETTG “Our Collective Interest: Why Euorpe’s problems need global solutions and global problems need European action” report in Madrid on Wednesday.

The Africa Forum on Security Sector Reform meets from 24-27 September to discuss the opportunities and challenges of security sector reform as a component of stabilisation and peace-building in Africa.

A Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research (CGIAR) meeting  on Thursday will focus global attention on the vital role of research on agriculture, livestock, forestry, fisheries, landscapes, and food systems in achieving sustainable development.

ECDPM’s Franceso Rampa and Bruce Byiers will facilitate a session on preparing the private sector development conclusions at the informal meeting of the Council Working Party on Development Cooperation next week.

On Monday, Greata Galeazzi will attend the EuropeAid event on Pastoralism and Conflict - Perspectives from East Africa. The meeting will discuss Cross Border Intervention and land conflict and pasture management.

On Tuesday, Damien Helly will attend the Hanns Seidel Foundation meeting on Global Partnerships and Germany’s Role in World Politics. The meeting will discuss expectations for Germany in the context of the NATO-alliance

On Thursday, San Bilal will attend the German Marshall Fund meeting on Shifting Patterns of Trade: TTIP and the South Atlantic. The meeting will discuss how the TTIP will affect the political economy of trade relations in the Atlantic and the impact on existing and future economic relations with other global partners.

Damien Helly is attending a Confrontations Europe meeting on Thursday which will discuss the reality of cooperation between Africa and emerging countries.

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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