ECDPM's Weekly Compass update

European Centre for Development Policy Management Weekly Newsletter
13 March 2015

Melissa Julian

Head of Communications

Dear <<First name>>,

This week’s Editor’s Pick features ECDPM and ISS Dakar work on a mapping and comparative analysis of Sahel strategies and initiatives of regional and international actors.

It considers that on paper, the identification of the Sahel issues are broadly shared, but in reality the various strategies play out in different ways, and there is a risk that competition supersedes coordination in the Saharan-Sahelian region.

We also feature our second blog in a series that will feed into an ECDPM study (to be published this summer) to contribute to a well-informed debate on the future of ACP-EU partnership through a ‘political economy approach’. It considers how fit for purpose the ACP-EU partnership is in relation to the universal Post-2015 agenda. There are several thorny questions that need to be answered.

Another article covers a blog from the President of the African Development Bank, Donald Kaberuka, on regional integration. The political dimension in cooperation needs to be understood properly, also for regional cooperation. ECDPM and IDL will publish a study, funded by Swedish Embassy in Nairobi, on the political economy of regional cooperation in September.

We also give a sneak preview of the upcoming European Report on Development (to be published in May) and include articles on new papers on economic transformation, fragile states, food security, and China’s public diplomacy.

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 

Sahel strategies: Why coordination is imperative
The Sahel has been at the centre of international and regional efforts to solve the multiple crises that affect the region - lack of security, terrorism threats, governance failures and food insecurity. The Sahelian strategic environment has become more and more crowded as international and regional organisations propose their own solutions to tackle this multiplicity of challenges. At the request of the Bamako Ministerial Coordination Platform for Sahel Strategies and Initiatives, ECDPM and ISS Dakar have undertaken a mapping and comparative analysis of Sahel strategies and initiatives of regional and international actors. On paper, the identification of the Sahel issues are broadly shared, but in reality the various strategies play out in different ways, and there is a risk that competition supersedes coordination in the Saharan-Sahelian region. La version française est disponible.


Policy News 

Is education a hidden shortcut from crisis to stability?
Fifty-eight million children of primary school age are still out of school. Half of these live in conflict-affected countries. In such contexts, the challenges faced in education reflect and even perpetuate the fragility of the state, with governments unable or unwilling to provide access to education and other social services. ECDPM’s Matthias Deneckere and Fernanda Faria share their thoughts on the CAERUS project aiming to ‘bridge the gap’ in post-crisis stability. The EU is leading by example, increasing its funding to education in emergencies. Further steps are needed to link this initiative with broader peacebuilding agendas and governance reforms that can provide a more coherent and comprehensive approach. Follow next week’s CAERUS meeting on #bridgethegap


The tipping point for African regional integration
In a changing global world, regional integration in Africa is not just about politics, but also about economics, according to the President of the African Development Bank, Donald Kaberuka, in this guest blog for ECDPM. Despite being a key means of development that Africa’s leaders call for, regional integration has made only modest progress on the continent over the last 50 years. This decades-long prevarication has led to low-level intra-regional trade, which today is the lowest in the world as a share total trade. The political dimension in cooperation needs to be understood properly, also for regional cooperation. ECDPM and IDL will publish a study, funded by Swedish Embassy in Nairobi, on the political economy of regional cooperation in September.

The universal Post-2015 agenda – how fit for purpose is the ACP-EU partnership?
A new universal post-2015 agenda will have far reaching consequences, but what does this mean for the ACP-EU partnership, Jean Bossuyt and Niels Keijzer ask in this ECDPM blog. At first glance, the Cotonou Agreement and the Post-2015 agenda share some key principles: ‘contractual relations’, ‘equal partnership’, and ‘joint management’. However, there are several thorny questions that need to be answered. Can an exclusive north-south partnership be reconciled with the new universal agenda? Can the ACP-EU partnership embrace the new global agenda (which goes beyond poverty reduction), and what type of partnership is possible ‘beyond aid’? It is, therefore, in the interest of all parties involved to check how compatible the new ‘software’ of the Post-2015 agenda is with the ‘hardware’ of the current ACP-EU framework.

Why the African Peer Review Mechanism must remain voluntary
Membership of the African Peer Review Mechanism (APRM) - which stands at 35 of the 54 states of the African Union - is based on voluntary accession. A question that has been asked since the APRM’s inception is whether the process should remain voluntary, or become compulsory for all 54 member states of the African Union. A new policy brief by SAIIA argues that the APRM must remain voluntary. The briefing explains that it is precisely the voluntary commitment to undergo review that imbues the process with credibility, and its successes will serve to attract more members. This briefing makes the case that mandatory accession would actually undermine the mechanism.

The emerging messages of the 2015 European Report on Development
Under the theme of ‘Implementing a transformative post-2015 development agenda: Combining finance and policies’, the 2015 European Report on Development (ERD) will set out a new conceptual framework for thinking about development finance. ECDPM’s James Mackie was invited by Japan’s International Cooperation Agency (JICA) and the EU Delegation to Japan to present the emerging messages of the ERD in Tokyo. While there is progress in ‘means of implementation’ of the Post-2015 development agenda, they are not yet fit for purpose. Policy makers should consider all financial resources for sustainable development, focus finance on enablers of sustainable development, and consider policy and finance to enable a transformative post-2015 agenda.  The ERD will be officially launched in Brussels on May 4th.

Why we need more and better jobs in the developing world
“Working for economic transformation”, a new study by ECDPM’s Bruce Byiers in collaboration with ODI, discusses what the challenge of generating more and better employment opportunities means for developing countries, particularly in the context of economic structural transformation. ODI and ECDPM, alongside research partners in Sri Lanka and Uganda, have been working on a set of case studies on employment progress, as well as in a more broad discussion paper on employment and structural transformation. “Work in Progress: Productive Employment and Transformation in Uganda” is one of the papers setting out the key reasons on why the poverty in Uganda has fallen substantially. See all the reports here.

Fragile states: an urgent challenge for EU foreign policy
Around a quarter of the world's states are classified as 'fragile', meaning that they generally suffer from weak governance and persistent poverty while being prone to conflict. State fragility is a particularly urgent challenge for EU foreign policy because a large proportion of fragile states can be found in Europe's extended neighbourhood. FRIDE analyses the global drivers of state fragility – such as natural resource competition, demographic growth and climate change – which will likely intensify in the coming years, as well as the changing types of fragile states. It calls on the EU to further join up the disparate instruments of its foreign policy to better tackle state fragility.

Food and nutrition security: Inclusive partnerships
This month’s issue of ECDPM’s GREAT insights magazine covers partnerships for food and nutrition security through three lenses: the latest developments in Africa and within the Comprehensive Africa Agriculture Development Programme (CAADP), the evolving global context, and the role of the private sector in ensuring such partnerships are really inclusive. It includes interviews with  Dr. Ibrahim Mayaki, CEO of NEPAD; Sindiso Ngwenya, Secretary-General of COMESA and articles on family farming by the Director General of the World Rural Forum, Auxtin Ortiz.

The benefits – and challenges– of regional economic integration in Africa
Regional economic integration holds potential and strong benefits for Africa, but this is true only if the continent succeeds in finding a formula to counter the challenges that go with regional integration, according to TRALAC’s latest edition of its Monitoring Regional Integration Yearbook. It considers capacity issues, financial and resources concerns, expertise, overlapping membership to different Regional Economic Communities, and, most importantly, the political will to succeed with the project. ECDPM’s Bruce Byiers and Jan Vanheukelom contributed one chapter to the book, “Political drivers of Africa’s regional economic integration: Lessons from the Maputo and North-South Corridors”.

China’s public diplomacy: Implications for Europe
EU-China cooperation is impressively expanding and deepening, especially in the field of research and innovation. But could this cooperation be culturally deeper? What does the rapid development of China’s public diplomacy mean for Europe? At a recent event hosted by Clingendael and the Madariaga Foundation, ECDPM’s Damien Helly argued that cultural relations are important and that the EU should invest to become an enabling power, an interpreter and a ‘composer’. The EU should create a European Foundation for external cultural relations at arm’s length from the EU institutions and Member States. A meeting report prepared by Madariaga, a College of Europe Foundation, can now be found online.

-The Brookings Institution outlines six priorities for Africa in financing development, ranging from domestic finance to remittances, financial regulation, illicit financial flows and philanthropy.

-The FAO has released a report on ‘Making economic corridors work for the agricultural sector’ and outlines how economic "agrocorridors" can be a strategic tool to draw private capital and large-scale investment to projects that can boost food security in lower-income countries.

-The ten richest Africans own as much as the poorest half of the continent, according to latest ‘Let's Talk Development’ blog from the World Bank.

-The WTO has created a new webpage dedicated to the issue of quantitative restrictions, measures imposed by governments limiting the quantity or value of goods that can be traded.

-The European Parliament has collated European Court of Auditor’s findings on external relations, including reports on EU climate finance and aid, the European External Action Service, blending and EuropeAid evaluations systems.

-Edward Carr of the ‘Open the Echo Chamber’ blog argues that the SDGs are in need of rescue in this two-part blog. He suggests that the SDG process should engage with climate negotiations, implementers and donors earlier. Part 2 can be found here

-This UNECA report shows the progress in the implementation of the priority areas of the Istanbul Programme of Action for least developed countries.

-IDS asks if China’s role in African fragile states is exploitative or developmental?

-This European Parliament report looks at Community-led local development as an approach to territorial development where local actors work in partnership to design and implement their own strategies.

-The OECD DAC have published their workplan to implement the December 2014 high level meeting decisions on the measurement and monitoring of development finance.

-This Development Progress report, synthesises findings from two country case studies and analyses the progress made in security in post-conflict contexts when caught ‘between liberal peacebuilding and elite interests’.

-This CSPPS paper analyses the implementation of the New Deal in South Sudan, particularly  from the perspective of South Sudanese civil society.  

-This FOI report analyses regional peace operations launched by the AU and sub-regional organisations, identifying advantages, challenges and trends.

For more, see The Filter


Recent and upcoming events

The EU Development Council met today. As we go to press the conclusions are not yet posted. They will posted later here.

The High Representative/Vice-President, Federica Mogherini’s, speech this week at the UN Security Council on cooperation between the UN and regional and sub-regional organisations stressed Europe’s commitment to multilateralism.

EU Ministers discussed how to address the recent developments on migratory pressures that the EU is facing and what immediate actions can be taken to respond to the most acute issues. The Council took note of the information provided by the Commission and welcomed the progress achieved so far in the implementation of the operational actions identified by the Task Force Mediterranean. It also took note that the recent developments show that the EU needs to reinforce its action as migratory pressures continue to affect not only the Mediterranean Region, but also the land borders in the Western Balkans Region.

In preparation for the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change conference, the EU Council approved the Intended Nationally Determined Contribution of the EU and its member states, in accordance with the EU 2030 climate and energy framework adopted by the European Council of October 2014, setting out a binding, economy-wide reduction target, covering all sectors and all sources of emissions, including agriculture, forestry and other land use.

The European Commission's Directorate-General for Research and Innovation launched an independent expert group on the ‘Follow-up to Rio+20, notably the Sustainable Development Goals' (SDGs). The group will provide advice on the role of innovation, research, science and technology in implementing the SDGs, serving as an input to intergovernmental negotiations on the post-2015 development agenda and implementation of the SDGs.

The European Parliament adopted resolutions on the Annual report from the High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy and on the Annual report on human rights and democracy in the world 2013 and the EU policy on the matter. MEPs called for binding human rights clauses in all EU international agreements. MEPs also said the EU has yet to exploit its full potential to shape the international and security environment. EU foreign policy must be proactive, credible and strategic and based on a shared vision of EU interests and values and a common perception of threats.

The Parliament also adopted a resolution on Common rules for imports from certain third countries.

Responding to widespread anger about corporate tax avoidance, the impacts of such avoidance on inequality and poverty, and concerns that current tax reform processes are inadequate, a new nonpartisan body - the Independent Commission for the Reform of International Corporate Taxation (ICRICT) - has been established to propose reforms from the perspective of the public interest. The inaugural meeting of the Commission will take place on 18-19 March.

The EU-Africa High Level Policy Dialogue Expert Working Group on food and nutrition security and sustainable agriculture met for the third time to make progress on their input to a roadmap developing a long-term EU-Africa Research and Innovation Partnership with a particular focus, initially, on food and nutrition security and sustainable agriculture .

The UK is first G7 nation to enshrine in law commitment to UN development spending goal.

African Ministers called for adaptation-mitigation parity in 2015 Climate Agreement to keep global temperature rise below 1.5°C.

China will enhance cooperation with African nations on three pressing issues, namely industrialisation, sanitation and safeguarding security and peace, Foreign Minister Wang Yi said. See also here.

A focus of the EU Foreign Affairs Council on Monday will be Africa.  See also here.

On Wednesday, the European Commission is due to adopt a first package to promote tax transparency. It will include a proposal to introduce the automatic exchange of information between Member States on their tax rulings. It will enable Member States to detect certain abusive tax practices by companies and take the necessary action in response.

The EU-AU Joint Session on Infrastructure for the Raw Materials Sector on 19 March will discuss the infrastructure needs of the raw materials sector and identify ways in which those can find support in the broader context of existing and planned infrastructure projects and networks.

The European Economic and Social Committee event on 20-21 March on promoting the involvement of economic and social actors in development cooperation will consider how to their integrate concerns into the objectives of the European Year for Development 2015

ECDPM’s Bruce Byiers will moderate the panel session on “Working together for an enabling business environment for Sustainable Development.” at the European Commission Workshop with the Private Sector in the Framework of the Policy Forum on Development (PFD). This 2nd workshop follows the adoption of the Communication on the role of the private sector and its Council Conclusions. It is organised prior to the PFD formal meeting to allow conveying some key messages from the private sector.

Fernanda Faria will attend the UNICEF meeting on New Paradigms for Peacebuilding: How Social Services and Shared Societies can build Sustainable Peace for Children. The event brings together policy makers, donors, influential leaders, academics, government and civil society to present evidence that demonstrates how education and other social services reduce conflict and contribute to social cohesion and sustainable peace, and why education and these social services should be promoted.

Fabien Tondel will attend the Climate-Smart Agriculture 2015 meeting. Climate-smart agriculture is a way to achieve short-and-long-term agricultural development priorities in the face of climate change and serves as a bridge to other development priorities.

Volker Hauck, Fernanda Faria, Tony Land, Matthias Deneckere, and Rhys Williams will attend the CAERUS meeting on Bridging the Gap – The Role of Health, Education and Data in Paving the Way from Crisis to Stability. It is the first of two consultative workshops on the CAERUS research project – Evidence Based Policy for post Crisis Stability: Bridging the Gap. The aim of the research project is to identify and test improved responses to questions on linking humanitarian relief and post-crisis recovery with resilience and development that pave the way for stability in fragile, post-disaster and post-conflict situations.

Ivan Kulis will attend the UCSIA meeting What Kind of Knowledge for the Knowledge Society? It will consider what kind of knowledge we need to address the big societal challenges facing us.

San Bilal will speak at the meeting of the ACP-EU Joint Parliamentary Assembly Committee on Economic Development, Finance and Trade.


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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