ECDPM's Weekly Compass update

European Centre for Development Policy Management Weekly Newsletter
5 September 2014

Melissa Julian

Head of Communications

Dear <<First name>>,

This issue of the Weekly Compass is longer than usual as we cover the full month of August due to our summer break. For all the news from August, see The Filter.

Following the European Council’s agreement last Saturday to appoint Donald Tusk as European Council President and Federica Mogherini as EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs, the EU Council of Ministers is expected today to endorse the European Commission President-Elect, Jean-Claude Juncker’s team of European Commissioners. Juncker intends to announce the distribution of portfolios mid-next week.  The chairs of the European Parliament’s committees plan to meet as soon as they know the identities of the next commissioners, to decide the schedule of their confirmation hearings with the Commission-designates to be held later this month. The new Commission should be appointed by 1 November by the European Council following a vote of consent by the European Parliament on the High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy and the other members of the Commission as a body.

All the best,



Editor's Pick

The EU should look outwards or risk further instability warn leading European think tanks

As a new team of European leaders take office, the European Think Tanks Group (Overseas Development Institute, ECDPM, German Development Institute / Deutsches Institut für EntwicklungspolitikFRIDE) release a major report: “Our Collective Interest: Why Europe’s problems need global solutions and global problems need European action”. The report calls for a new understanding of the EU’s global role, and in particular, a new approach to international development. The key message is that the EU’s ambitions for its own citizens – for prosperity, peace and environmental sustainability – cannot be divorced from its global responsibilities and opportunities. A shared collective effort is in our common interest. The group identifies five global challenges which will shape the future of the EU and the world, and in relation to which the EU’s performance as a global actor can be judged. The report will be launched at an event with Friends of Europe on 10 September. The meeting will be livestreamed. Speakers include the Chairs of the European Parliament’s Foreign Affairs and Development Committees. The report was presented to the European Parliament’s Foreign Affairs Committee on Monday. The Chairman suggested MEPs use it to prepare their confirmation hearing with Federica Mogherini, the Commission Vice President/EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs.

Policy News

EU Evaluations Often Remain Underused to Improve Development Policy and Practice

In a new “study on the uptake of strategic evaluations in EU development cooperation”, the EU reviews how evaluations of long-term thematic and country strategies are used. The study was carried out by a team of ECDPM and ODI over the course of 2013 and is part of an on-going review of the EU’s external assistance architecture. The results suggest that evaluations often remain underused to improve policy and practice and that the institutional environment does not always favour uptake. This “uptake study” proposes a systemic approach to strengthening the evaluation culture that looks at the evaluation function itself as well as possible incentives for making better use of evaluation data. Unlike most evaluations, this report comes with an action plan to strengthen the evaluation system in EuropeAid. This is driven by the evaluation unit in the European Commission’s Development Cooperation Directorate, but it also involves a much wider group of institutional stakeholders from the Commission, the European External Action Service, EU Delegations as well as the European Parliament and Member States.


Extractive Sector: African Perspectives

The relationship between the extractive sector and development is complex. It is often addressed in two ways - the governance of extractive resources and links between the extractive sector with the rest of the economy. The latest issue of ECDPM’s GREAT insights magazine addresses some of the key questions and challenges at stake, looking at the continental and some sub-regional perspectives and concrete actions towards the realisation of this objective. It includes an exclusive interview with Commissioner Acyl from the African Union Commission on the critical role of the extractive sector in Africa’s industrial transformation. Dr. Carlos Lopes, Executive Secretary of UNECA, unpacks the game-changing role that the extractive sector can play in transforming the economic landscape in African countries. The issue also zooms into national initiatives and provides views from the private sector perspective. Aussi disponible en français.


Making Sense of the Funding and Implementation of Sahel Strategies

Our series of blogs on international strategies in the Sahel aims to better equip practitioners working in the region. We started by comparing Sahel strategies (African Union, European Union, World Bank, African Development Bank, Economic Community of West African States, United Nations) looking into the geopolitical stakes behind coordination and identifying ways of working regionally. Our fourth blog on the financing of international efforts in the Sahel argued it is still difficult, on the basis of open sources, to give a clear-cut and comprehensive picture of the amount of funds available for the Sahel region. Our fifth blog, recently published in French, brings further examples and insights and raises some questions on the implementation of the various Sahel strategies. You can read, download and share all of our work on the Sahel in ECDPM’s New Sahel Dossier. Aussi disponible en français.


How Can the EU Promote Human Rights Under its External Action?

There is no magic bullet to improve political dialogue on human rights issues in EU external action, explains this European Parliament study on the Political Dialogue on Human Rights under Article 8 of the African, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP)-EU Agreement undertaken by ECDPM. Based on a systematic literature review of the legal provisions in place, as well as an analysis of the human rights dialogue in practice in a selection of country-cases, the study offers an assessment of current practices. It recommends that the EU develop a more strategic and structured approach to political dialogue and to fully exploit the potential of development programmes and financial instruments to underpin and strengthen the dialogue.


Ensuring Public Debt Sustainability in Africa: Prospects and Policies

Sustainable levels of public debt may need to be reconsidered in the context of Africa’s high economic growth rates and improved debt management among other factors, says a new ECDPM report on ensuring public debt sustainability in Africa. It explains current African debt is the lowest in decades, with the fastest decline posted by the most indebted countries thanks to debt relief and accompanying policies that made relief possible. There is scope for debt management strategies to emphasise growth for countries with borrowing space, this includes prudent borrowing for growth-enhancing outlays, and the report recommends African policymakers adopt sound fiscal policies and complementary monetary policies, while seizing opportunities for growth-enhancing investment.


What China is Doing to Africa: Copper Beneficiation in Botswana

Roman Grynberg from the Botswana Institute for Development Policy Analysis (BIDPA) provides his unique insight into the effects felt across Africa, and specifically in Botswana, of China’s domestic policies. Recently, Botswana’s copper and base metals firms have been in discussions along with the government over the road ahead for beneficiation in the country. Two things are pretty clear: the copper companies want nothing to do with the country’s desire to beneficiate its base metals; and the iron ore and coal miners do, at least for the moment. Why? Well, ‘it’s the price – stupid’, says Grynberg.


Video: CAADP REC Updates, COMESA in 3 Minutes or Less

The third in our series of Regional Economic Community updates on the CAADP (Comprehensive Africa Agriculture Development Programme) from the Food Security team at ECDPM. This time Fabien Tondel gives the latest on the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa  - and the three priorities for a COMESA regional compact. See our other updates from ECCAS and SADC on our dedicated page


Breaking Heads Over Questions of Change

In his article ‘Building inclusive societies in fragile states’, Seth Kaplan looks for ways to make the elite work more for the benefit of their countries and populations. ECDPM’s Frauke de Weijer responds in this article in The Broker saying that approaching the problem in this way is commendable, but we might ask whether the tools presented would ultimately be used by those elites that are in the position to use them effectively.


How Can the Netherlands Most Effectively Contribute to Achieving Sustainable Food Systems?

Jeske van Seters contributes to the review of Dutch food security policy which 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. In this process, 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. The consultation is structured according to the five international targets of the Zero Hunger Challenge. van Seters responds to target 3: “All food systems are sustainable”


What Future for the ACP Group in the Post-Cotonou Agreement?

A short working paper from the African Governance Institute. The evolving dynamics in the world of geopolitics reinforce the relevance of the question of the future of the African Caribbean and Pacific (ACP)-EU Cotonou Agreement and the ACP Group of states. The paper has a number of points, including challenges for the ACP such as the quick rise of emerging economies, and asks the question: how to rethink the partnership of the ACP Group?


Reducing Poverty in Africa: Realistic Targets for the Post-2015 MDGs and Agenda 2063

The eradication of extreme poverty is a key component of the post-2015 MDG process and the African Union’s Agenda 2063. This paper by the Institute of Security Studies uses the International Futures forecasting system to explore this goal and finds that many African states are unlikely to make this target by 2030. In addition to the use of country-level targets, this paper argues in favour of a goal that would see Africa as a whole reducing extreme poverty to below 20% by 2030 (15% using 2011 purchasing power parity), and to below 3% by 2063. See also the video of the 3 September launch event.


ECDPM Vacancy: Junior Policy Officer for Africa’s Change Dynamics Programme

ECDPM provides demand-driven technical and facilitation support, focusing on institutional innovations that have the potential to enable Africa to internally promote good governance. Particular emphasis is placed on promoting good governance at continental and regional levels, promoting a ‘shared values’ agenda for its potential to strengthen accountability and enhancing the linkages between governance and security. The programme also aims to facilitate EU-Africa dialogue in the area of governance.

For more, subscribe to The Filter

Recent and Upcoming Events

The EU launched a new programme to support Africa's continental integration - the first ever EU programme in development and cooperation that covers Africa as a whole. The Pan-African Programme will fund activities in a broad range of areas. The decision allows the launching of projects for the period 2014-2017, with a total allocation of €415 million. The Pan-African Programme’s multiannual indicative programme for 2014-2017 was also published.

The 2014 Annual Report on the European Union's development and external assistance policies and their implementation in 2013 was published together with 3 detailed annexes (annex 1, annex 2, annex 3). The EU committed a substantial sum, EUR 14.86 billion, to external development assistance. The report recognises that the EU could do more to meet its collective target of providing 0.7% of the EU Gross National Income (GNI) for development by 2015. It also recognises that development cooperation is about more than money.

The European Commission adopted a strategy and action plan for better customs risk management. The new strategy seeks to ensure that customs is more coherent, efficient and cost effective in identifying and supervising supply chain risks. The action plan sets out specific measures to achieve this, together with the actors responsible and clear deadlines for doing so.

The African Union Commission held a domestic resource mobilisation strategy workshop. The meeting examined a number of strategic options presented for the development of domestic resource mobilisation strategy for the African Union Commission.

The first Bureau Meeting of the African Union Conference of Ministers Responsible for Mineral Resources Development was held on 11-13 August. The Center will implement the Africa Mining Vision and foster stability and cooperation in the minerals sector in conjunction with key regional and national mineral development centers and facilitate the effective and predictable integration in the African minerals sector.

An African Ministerial Conference on Decentralization and Local Development considered a strategy on how to implement the newly adopted African Charter on the Values and Principles of Decentralization, Local Governance and Local Development and the African Union High Council of Local Authorities.

August 18th marked the 500-day milestone until the target date to achieve the Millennium Development Goals. The United Nations launched a website to raise awareness of the progress made and rally to continue the momentum. See also the message from the UN Secretary General.

The Appellate Body of the World Trade Organisation (WTO) ruled that China’s export restrictions on rare earth are in breach of WTO rules and that China’s export duties and quotas were not justified for reasons of environmental protection or conservation policy.

The African, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) Eminent Persons Group on the Future of the ACP Group concluded its final round of regional consultations as part of an 18-month review of the ACP Group. The meeting follows an earlier meeting of the drafting committee. Some key themes have emerged including the need to diversify partnerships with other groupings in the North and in the South to meet new challenges. The final Report, which is due to be presented at the Summit of ACP Heads of State and Government on 6-7 November, will outline the findings of the regional consultations along with key recommendations on the future orientation of the ACP Group. The Report will also include an implementation strategy for the Group in the lead up to the conclusion of its partnership with the EU, the Cotonou Agreement, which comes to an end in 2020.

The United Nations General Assembly received an expert report setting out options that can be weighed by Member States on ways to finance the United Nations-driven sustainable development agenda. The report, forwarded to the Assembly by the Intergovernmental Committee of Experts on Sustainable Development Financing, established that, with appropriate reallocation, a robust $22 trillion in annual global savings could meet the financing needs for sustainable development in the future. This ICESDF report identifies options to strengthen the four main categories of finance for sustainable development: domestic public, domestic private, international public and international private finance, emphasising interplay between types of finance.

The President of the UN General Assembly (UNGA), John Ashe, will convene a stock-taking exercise next week to pull together events on the post-2015 development agenda. Ashe will hold a series of High-level events and thematic dialogues during the 68th session of the UNGA, which is taking place under the theme 'The Post-2015 Development Agenda: Setting the Stage'. Ashe said the exercise aims to provide inputs for the UN Secretary-General's report on the post-2015 agenda, which will serve as the basis for intergovernmental negotiations during the 69th session of the UNGA.

The East African Community Secretary General’s Forum will be held next week. The forum aims to provide a platform for regular dialogue between the EAC Secretary General and the private sector, civil society and other interest groups on how to improve the EAC integration process.

ODI will host a meeting, also livestreamed, on tackling trade-offs in the food-water-energy nexus: lessons for the Sustainable Development Goals.

ECDPM’s Geert Laporte and Rebecca Ramsamy will attend the Friedrich Ebert Foundation symposium on BRICS in Africa: Challenges & Opportunities – African and European/German perspectives. The meeting will include discussion on the complementarity or exclusivity of the new BRICS instruments (BRICS Development Bank, BRICS Monetary Fund) and the role of South Africa as a legitimate representative of pan-African interests within the BRICS.

San Bilal is attending the European Investment Bank transparency policy meeting on 10 September. The EIB Transparency Policy sets out the principles and procedures of the Bank concerning information requests from the public, its approach to stakeholder engagement, and it defines the information that the EIB makes routinely available to the public.

Volker Hauck is attending a Wageningen UR meeting on Facing Fragilities: People, Aid and Institutions in Socio-Economic Recovery. The conference will take stock of current knowledge on socio-economic recovery in fragile states: what do we know, and what does this mean for policy and practice.


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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Melissa Julian

Head of Communications,

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