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

Lessons learnt and recommendations in mediation and dialogue
The European Union has a long history and rich experience as an actor in mediation and dialogue from its recent high-level work regarding Kosovo-Serbia to supporting grassroots work in the Philippines. In two reports for the European External Action Service, ECDPM addresses lessons in EU mediation and dialogue and reviews the one-year pilot project by the EEAS Conflict Prevention, Peacebuilding and Mediation Instruments Division, to follow up on the Concept on Strengthening EU Mediation and Dialogue Capacities. The reports address the EU experience of a ‘glass half full’ and outline recommendations to take the work of EEAS Mediation further by making the most of partnerships and moving from ad hoc approaches to international best practice.

Policy News

Doing better on EU visibility - lessons for the EEAS Review 
The EU has continued to be criticised for low visibility on external action, and now the European Parliament is asking for the issue to be dealt with in the Review of the European External Action Service (EEAS). ECDPM’s Andrew Sherriff discusses findings from a recent evaluation of EU visibility that are relevant for the Review. The evaluation revealed a need: to lower expectations and communicate outcomes, have better leadership and direction, to share visibility with global partnerships and adapt to specific countries and policy communities. Resources were found to be adequate, but there instead needs to be a better deployment and more political direction for the ones that currently exist.

Mali donors’ conference: towards low cost solutions?
This week’s donors’ conference on Mali was both another donor-recipient show, and a new hope for an electoral renaissance. There are many reasons to be optimistic: over 3 billion euros were pledged and the internationalisation of crisis response may lead to the invention of a new French touch in Africa. Will the EU be coherent in its work if France remains in the driving seat? Will grievances be addressed if the elites become too busy absorbing the budget lines of international solidarity? In a Talking Points Blog post, ECDPM’s Damien Helly discusses the outcome of the 15 May donors’ conference and what it means for the role of European external action in Mali.
Africa, Europe and its rivals in love
The African Union will celebrate its’ golden jubilee anniversary next week in Addis Ababa. ECDPM’s Sahra El Fassi talks about the evolving relationship Africa has with the rest of the world, and the impact this has on EU-Africa relations. The Joint European Commission-African Union Commission meeting in April confirmed that other stakeholders’ efforts are vital in making the Africa-EU partnership a success. As preparations begin for the 2014 Africa-EU Summit, how can the two continents create a relationship of equals?
Interview with new Secretary General of the ACP Group on future ACP-EU relations
In this exclusive video interview, conducted in the margins of ECDPM’s recent Board of Directors meeting, Alhaji Muhammad Mumuni gives ECDPM his views on changing relations with Europe. The Cotonou Agreement governs relations between the African, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) group of states and the EU – and it will expire in 2020. It’s a framework concerning political dialogue, development cooperation and trade, but thanks to the success of these three ‘pillars’ and a changing international landscape, the relationship has cause for some readjustment. Mumuni underlines the existential self-reflection currently taking place within the ACP. He looks to reform of the relationship rather than a complete abandonment.
Overcoming challenges in resource management 
The future of the nations who produce 85% of the world’s oil, 90% of its diamonds and 80% of its cooper depend on how well they manage their resources. Too often secrecy, corruption and weak institutions obstruct the path for some of the poorest people to gain from the trillions of dollars of resources lying in their backyards. To help understand these challenges, the Revenue Watch Institute has produced the Resource Governance Index, a collection of research on the quality of governance in the oil, gas and mining sector of 58 countries.
“Africa, stop digging holes for the West”
Economic transformation comes from within. Africa must disregard outsiders' self-serving advice about managing its natural resources writes the Botswana Institute for Development Policy Analysis’ Roman Grynberg. He argues that "the future of Africa belongs to those who refuse to continue to dig holes in the ground to make others rich”. His position is in line with ECDPM current stream of work - see GREAT insights magazine, ECDPM discussion papers Some Like Them Rough: The Future of Diamond Beneficiation in Botswana”  and “Fixing Broken Links: Linking Extractive Sectors to Productive Value Chains”, and upcoming studies - on extractive sector for economic transformation in Africa. Real jobs and change occurs through adding value to raw materials, and needs to happen in order to break a 300 year old cycle whereby resources are shipped off the continent to be processed.
The future of EU development cooperation in middle income countries
“Differentiation” is a key feature of the EU’s new development strategy. The European Commission is seeking to recalibrate aid and development cooperation in middle-income countries. The main areas of contention include the criteria used for eligibility of grant-based bilateral aid and the different approach from the European Development Fund, explain Bond and ODI in their new study on the future of the proposed policy.
Better aid coordination
A new tool that facilitates better aid coordination has been released. The Aid Explorer helps users to understand what issues countries face and which aid organisations are able to address these issues. International development is complex and the difference between the rich and poor has expanded over the years from a four to one factor to a hundred to one. The Aid Explorer connects donor agencies, recipient countries and development challenges. By using the Network Maps, users can organise information via country, organisation, or issue space, and find out how they relate to each other. The Rankings also show the best alignments between all three. 
Are donors consistent in commitments to the Paris Declaration?
Previous studies on this topic have said no, but a new report from the World Bank contradicts this. The study investigates the degree to which donors' use of country systems is in fact positively related to their quality, using indicators explicitly endorsed for this purpose by the Paris Declaration on Aid Effectiveness. The interpretation of the data shows the use of country systems is more favorable, showing donors' behavior over the measurement period is largely consistent with their commitments in this area.
We’re still none the wiser after a heavy evaluation into the impact of EC support to PSD
The evaluation of European Support to private sector Development (PSD) has generated a lot of interest because it was expected to get to the heart of where PSD support has been channelled across countries, regions, via what types of instruments, and to what effect. The report estimates that the EC spent €2.4bn directly on PSD over the period 2004 to 2010, but there was little else to chew on. Perhaps having too much too evaluate, the conclusions were consequently vague and uninformative, blogs ECDPM’s Bruce Byiers in Talking Points. The clearest and most striking conclusion is the “very distant” linkage between PSD and job creation in EU support. Another recommendation is to “ensure the conditions are in place for an effective evaluation of all future programmes”. Then we might be a little wiser in five years’ time, Byiers concludes.

Additional Articles in the Weekly Compass-Extended Version

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No 147, 17 May 2013

Dear Jacques,

     This issue is particularly long due to the past 2 weeks of holidays.
     EU inter-institutional discussions agreed that work on both the EU Multilateral Financial Framework (2014-2020) and the draft amending budget for 2013 will be taken forward in parallel, with work on the draft amending budget continuing on the basis of a two phase approach. The Irish Presidency’s aim remains to reach agreement on both before the end of June. It was agreed that MFF negotiations will begin with a first trilogue discussion on 13 May.  As we go to press, we’ve seen no report of that meeting. The EU Presidency also aims to reach agreement on the around 70 pieces of sector-specific legislation underpinning the EU’s funding programmes. This would allow the new programmes to start on time in January 2014. The General Affairs Council will return to the MFF for a more substantial discussion on 21 May.
     The overall amount of financial assistance available to the ACP States within the EU’s multiannual
financial framework (2014-2020) shall be EUR 31,589 million according to the draft decision of the ACP-EU Council of Ministers published yesterday. The draft internal agreement was also approved.
     Reports published of the April meeting of ACP Finance Ministers say they regretted the 10% decrease of the EDF compared to the EC initial proposal and are deeply concerned about the amount of the EDF and the ownership of the projects.
The Council also adopted conclusions on tax evasion and tax fraud. Press reports say these don’t go very far. The European Commission set up a Platform for Tax Good Governance. The Platform will monitor Member States' progress in tackling aggressive tax planning and clamping down on tax havens. The first meeting of the Platform is provisionally planned for 10 June 2013.
     The second high-level meeting under the Interim Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) for Eastern and Southern Africa was held in Mauritius this week. The partners reviewed trade, development and customs aspects of the agreement, and adopted a Joint Communique on all issues involved. At the end of April, the Council adopted the EU position on the rules of procedure of the EPA committee, the customs cooperation committee and the joint development committee provided for by the interim economic partnership agreement with the Eastern and Southern African states. The EU-SADC EPA Committee also met recently and adopted a Joint Communique.
     The Council approved the European Parliament's amendments to the EU Regulation on the exclusion of a number of countries from the list of regions or states which have concluded ACP-EU Economic Partnership Agreement negotiations (see also the proposal for the resolution referred to). Ministers were also briefed on the state of play of inter-institutional trilogues on the reform of the common agricultural policy.
     The European Commission published its Communication on “Empowering Local Authorities in partner countries for enhanced governance and more effective development outcomes” this week saying it is fundamental to simultaneously empower local public authorities and citizens, to ensure both that the latter have the ability to demand transparency and accountability and that Local Authorities have the means and incentives to respond to citizen demands for effective, transparent and accountable governance, an equitable allocation of resources and access to services.
     The recent EU-AU College to College meeting launched the reflection on the future of Africa
– EU relations in view of preparing the 4th Africa-EU Summit to be held on 2-3 April 2014, Brussels. In this context, EU and AU consented to organise on 20-21 June 2013 a joint brainstorming session with
relevant stakeholders to pursue discussion on the future of Africa-EU partnership and render the post 2013 cooperation more focused.
     From May 19-27, the African Union will hold its summit in Addis Ababa. It will celebrate the 50th anniversary of the founding of the Organization of African Unity (OAU) under the theme of “Pan-Africanism and African Renaissance.” It will also be almost ten years since the creation of the AU. ECDPM’s Emily Barker (@ECDPM) and Sahra El Fassi (@SahraEF) will be listening in and tweeting on the live online debates. The hashtag for the event is: #Africa50
     The African Development Bank approved a Ten-Year Strategy for Africa’s Transformation at the end of April. The 2013-22 Strategy identifies the five main channels through which the Bank will deliver its work and improve the quality of growth in Africa. They are: infrastructure development, regional economic integration, private sector development, governance and accountability, skills and technology. The new strategy will also seek new and creative ways of mobilizing resources to support Africa’s transformation, especially by leveraging its own resources.
     This month, the UN High-level Panel on the Post-2015 Development Agenda moves in to the home straight, with its report due to be submitted to the Secretary-General on the 1st of June. A the session of the UN High Level Panel on aid in New York this week, the UK Prime Minister reportedly had to steps in to salvage report. The Prime Minister says he will ensure the report does not lose sight of its goals as aid groups fear it has turned into 'car crash'. At the same time, there are reports that he is fighting the UN plan to commit to reduced income inequality, saying the report should instead focus on “measurable, concrete'” goals in developing world.
     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.
All the best,
Melissa Julian   

Off The Track   

Five approaches for the Global Development Council

President Obama’s newly created Global Development Council needs to answer two questions: how can it inform US global development policy, and on what issues? Sarah Jane Staats, Director for Center for Global Development Rethinking US Foreign Assistance Initiative lays out five approaches they could focus on.

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