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.


Editor's Pick

What does 2013 hold for Africa-EU relations?
At first sight, 2013 may appear to be a quiet year for relations between the two continents. And yet it will be a busy one as Africa and the EU will be preparing for the next joint summit, set for early 2014. ECDPM gives an overview of what is likely to be on the agenda in its annual ‘Challenges Paper’, which provides an outlook on key issues set to shape development debates in the future. The paper points out that a thorough and honest preparatory process addressing the underlying issues in EU-Africa relations, including contentious topics, such as trade, is essential to revitalize and renew the relationship between the two sides. “The Summit should deal with the issues that really matter in EU-Africa relations” and “policymakers need to seriously assess what they want from the relationship and what they can commit to” the authors say. 

Policy News

Latest issue of GREAT Insights turns spotlight on Mozambique
The December issue of GREAT Insights takes Mozambique as an illustration of the challenges many African countries face: what will it take to transform high economic growth, impressive natural resources discoveries, a relatively stable political environment into broad inclusive and sustainable growth? In an exclusive interview ECDPM’s San Bilal asked Mozambican president Guebuza how the country, which is at a turning point in history, will tackle the challenge of structural transformation. Other feature articles look into EU support to Mozambique, the reality behind the resource boom, and successful regional trade corridors. This issue of GREAT Insights also includes the regular EPA update.

Sources of development finance beyond the “aid business”
Africa requires substantially more resources for its development than current aid budgets are able to provide. The continent, therefore, needs an ambitious financial strategy that looks beyond the traditional “aid business” into other types of development funding, ECDPM’s Geert Laporte argues in a commentary published by Friends of Europe. Some 50 African countries have very promising potential in the natural resource sectors. This could generate impressive revenues, surpassing at least 10 times the current aid levels says Laporte. If the EU starts tackling the negative effects of incoherence between its development policies and those in other areas such as trade and migration, it could also generate major gains for the developing world.

EC proposes to set up special body for blending development finance
Blending  - the complementary use of grants and loans in external assistance to increase the volume of development finance - has emerged rapidly and is now common practice. This week, an expert group coordinated by the European Commission published its conclusions on the potential benefits of establishing an EU Platform for External Cooperation and Development as a way to improve the quality and efficiency of EU development finance. The report proposes the platform focus on reviewing and guiding existing blending mechanisms, streamlining cooperation, and developing new financial instruments. A European Think-Tanks Group study has shown that there is limited evidence base on positive effects of blending.

Budget support effective, but not suitable for pursuing major reform
For the past decade, donors have been channeling development assistance directly into the budgets of developing countries in an attempt to better support the priorities of partner governments. This can also give donors the opportunity to encourage reform through the accompanying policy dialogue. The Netherlands, a supporter of this aid form, ended most of its budget support due to irregularities in recipient countries and a decreasing national aid budget. An evaluation from the Dutch Foreign Affairs Ministry concludes that the budget support instrument contributed to economic growth and the extension of public services. Public finance management and democratic control improved as well. Budget support is not suitable for pursuing major reform, however, unless the recipient government takes ownership of it the report finds.

What the EU diplomatic body needs to improve
In mid-2013 the European External Action Service (EEAS), the EU’s new diplomatic body, will undergo its first formal review assessing how well it has performed in the past 2 years. It will offer an opportunity to improve its organization and functioning. In a commentary, the Centre for European Policy Studies, a think-tank, puts forward recommendations on which areas action should focus to reinforce the EEAS’ performance. CEPS also suggests that next year’s review process needs to involve all EU member states, which should be able to voice their ideas and opinions during a “listening period”. In a forthcoming commentary, the think tank will analyze the legal framework underlying the review.

Four scenarios for the world in 2030
The health of the global economy increasingly will be linked to how the developing world is performing, according to the US National Intelligence Council’s Global Trends 2030 report. The study set outs the factors that will likely occur over the next 15-20 years – huge growth of the global middle class and the increasing demand for natural resources – and critical variables influencing these trends, such as the impact of new technologies on democracy and international governance. One of the four scenarios for the world in 2030 is that non-state actors, including NGOs and multinational businesses, which are used to cooperating across borders and as part of networks, will take the lead in tackling global challenges.

Vacancy: three Policy Officers (full time)
ECDPM is hiring a Policy Officer for Development Policy  (with the possibility of becoming deputy programme manager) for its EU External Action Programme, a Policy Officer for Innovative Finance for Development for its Economic Governance Programme and a Policy Officer for Food Security. The deadline for application is 6 January 2013. Please share this with your networks and pass it on to potential candidates. 

Additional Articles in the Weekly Compass-Extended Version

More recently uploaded resources are available in the Weekly Compass-Extended Version.

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No 132, 14 December 2012

Dear *|FNAME|*,
     Corrigendum: Last week’s Weekly Compass included ECDPM’s Briefing Note “EU budget consensus at the expense of development: State of play and options in front of negotiators”. We have since noticed that due to the complex budget negotiations, there were errors in the figures presented. Our apologies. We are working hard to correct this. A new and revised version of the briefing note should be ready next week and will be posted on the page mentioned above.  
     The Summit of ACP Heads of State and Government is finishing up today. Discussions are focussing on the future of the Group. In his speech to the meeting, the European Development Commissioner said we should be asking ourselves two basic questions. First, have we reaped the full potential of the ACP-EU Agreement? And second, will it still be relevant as such in 2020? Conclusions from the meeting will be posted on the meeting’s website.
     The European Parliament adopted a resolution on the review of the EU human rights strategy. It also gave 11 EU countries the all clear for a financial transaction tax.
     The European Commission recommended measures intended to encourage third countries to apply minimum standards of good governance in tax matters. While Eurodad provided an analysis of the EU Action plan to strengthen the fight against tax fraud and tax evasion.
     Representatives from governments, parliaments, the private sector and civil society from the Central, West and North Africa regions gathered this week in Dakar to discuss top priorities to be included in the African Union’s position on the global development agenda beyond 2015.
     The Civil Society Organisations Partnership for Development Effectiveness was launched this week. The CPDE will act as the collective successor of BetterAid and Open Forum for CSO Development Effectiveness, and will unite CSOs from around the world on the issue of development effectiveness, particularly in the context of the Busan Partnership for Effective Development Cooperation and the Global Partnership for Effective Development Co-operation.
     For more on the latest policy issues concerning international cooperation, with a focus on the EU and its relations with the developing world, see the Weekly Compass-Extended Version.
     This is the last issue of the Weekly Compass as we head off for our annual winter break. The next issue will be produced on 11 January. As always, any feedback on this e-alert is greatly received.

All the best,

Melissa Julian   

Off The Track   

New US bill will modernize foreign assistance
The Global Partnerships Act of 2012 published this week is a major rewrite of the Foreign Assistance Act passed in 1961 according to Publish What You Fund. It seeks to reduce global poverty by building and reinforcing strategic partnerships, countering transnational threats, sustaining the global environment, and expanding prosperity through trade and investment.


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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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