10 years of EPA negotiations: a never ending story
NGOs campaigning against Economic Partnership Agreements call the 10th anniversary of the EU-ACP trade negotiations an “unhappy birthday”. Although talks have been dragging on for a decade, only 36 ACP countries concluded some type of agreement with the EU, their largest trading partner. The arbitrary deadline the EU now wants to set – 2014 or 2016 – is contested. In an article on the Talking Points blog ECDPM’s San Bilal argues that “deadlines or not, at this stage, all parties should have an interest in seeking a concrete way forward: either the successful conclusion of the EPA negotiations, or an end to it
.” Both sides should not to remain bogged down on technical matters, but keep their eyes on the broader strategic agenda. This will require political will, which unfortunately is still lacking, Bilal underlines.
Latest issue of GREAT Insights focuses on food security
Researchers, policymakers and farmers' organisations provide their views on the Comprehensive Africa Agriculture Development Programme (CAADP) and the challenges on the road to food security in the September issue of GREAT Insights. It underlines just how wide the divide amongst stakeholders is on what is needed for a food secure future in Africa, though striking points of agreement do emerge. In the editorial, ECDPM’s Francesco Rampa, makes a powerful plea for a more politically oriented understanding of agricultural reform in Africa and for regional solutions to food insecurity. This issue of GREAT Insights also includes the regular EPA update.
Social protection in EU aid: do the tools match the vision?
The European Commission recently published a policy proposal defining the value of and tools for promoting social protection in EU development cooperation. It presents social protection as a means for realising inclusive growth, and acknowledges its importance for European societies. ECDPM’s Florian Krätke analyses the motivations behind this proposal and whether the EU’s tools match its commitment. He argues that social protection can actively introduce European values and principles into the EU’s development cooperation. However “current tools do not yet suit the vision” as the Commission seems to employ a narrow view of social protection in its development programming, Krätke points out.
Clear leadership required on EU external action communication
A lack of clear direction and leadership on the key messages that the European Union wants to convey to the public has hampered its visibility in international affairs according to a recent evaluation carried out by ECDPM and the Development Researchers Network. ECDPM’s James Mackie, who led the research team, briefly summarises the study’s main findings in an article on the Talking Points blog. A central recommendation is that the EU should develop overall key messages that provide a foundation for its communication work on EU external action and enable it to enhance its international image. These could also provide a stronger basis for he EU to swiftly and clearly respond to fast moving news situations.
Smart EU support to decentralisation
The European Commission is embracing an increasingly political approach to development cooperation that recognises the crucial role of developing countries’ local authorities in ensuring domestic accountability. It is preparing a document to frame EU support to decentralisation. To ensure that policy-making responds to the realities on the ground, the EC organised a four-day seminar with EU delegations’ representatives, facilitated by ECDPM. The seminar report was published this week and provides important strategic and operational messages for the EU on how to provide smart support to decentralisation.
No simple “linear” representation of development levels
A new paper by Sergio Tezanos Vázquez and Andy Sumner of the Institute of Development Studies, identifies 5 types of developing countries using a set of indicators from four conceptual frames: development as structural transformation; development as human development; development as democratic participation and good governance; and development as sustainability. The study finds that there is no simple “linear” representation of development levels. For example, there is no group of countries with the best - or worst - indicators in all development dimensions. The paper offers a more nuanced image of the diversity of challenges and appropriate policy responses to different kinds of countries.
Europe has a “key role to play” in the Arab Spring
In a commentary ECFR’s Nick Witney argues that Europe needs do “whatever it can to help the Arab Spring succeed” as the outcome of the transitions in North Africa is still in balance. At a time of economic crisis in Europe, the EU’s engagement should be political, diplomatic and military, more than economic. It is well placed to help with institution-building and fostering intra-regional integration, he argues. Also, Europeans could assist in addressing the key challenge of security sector reform that new governments face, as well as in in combating instability in the Sahel.
Additional Articles in the Weekly Compass-Extended Version