Credit: Breezy Baldwin, Flickr

Credit: Breezy Baldwin, Flickr

The EU’s Plan of Action on Gender Equality and Women’s Empowerment in Development (GAP) runs to December 2015 and discussions on what its successor should comprise are underway. Our latest paper, More of the same, or radical change? Options for the successor to the EU’s Gender Action Plan 2010-2015, makes the case for why the EU needs to accelerate action on gender equality and women’s and girls’ rights. It examines shortcomings in the current EU approach and draws on examples of best practice to develop proposals for a future framework and plan. It proposes three options:

  1.  A Gender Action Plan II that builds on the GAP, retains the focus on process alone, but aims to sharpen its focus.
  2. A Gender Action Plan Plus that emphasises accelerated and increased support focused on two priority gender equality, rights and empowerment areas to deliver tangible results relatively quickly.
  3. A new comprehensive framework and action plan comprising a more ambitious approach, that tackles the structural bases of gender inequality, its intersection with other inequalities and its impact on rights, and concentrates accelerated and increased investment in three to four essential programme areas (primarily in political and economic development) and on three key processes.

Regardless of the form the successor takes, the paper explains why it can no longer be regarded as a development aid matter, solely under the responsibility of the Development Commissioner. It concludes that a radical shift is needed in the EU’s approach to achieving gender equality and ensuring all women and girls have the right to participate fully in all spheres, which, in turn, will contribute to achieving sustainable development.

Download the paper here, or refer to our 2013 review on the implementation of the GAP here.

EU parliament electionOn 20 November 2014, we met to explore, review and establish expectations of the new EU leadership team and debate the priorities for EU development cooperation in 2015 and beyond. The discussion, chaired by Baroness Kinnock of Holyhead in the House of Lords, was based on our report with the European Think Tanks Group: “Our Collective Interest”, which makes a strong case for a new development agenda, broader in its outlook and with strong links to internal EU policy. Speakers debated such topics as the EU’s comparative advantage; future prospects for EU external action; and what initiatives the EU should take in 2015. Find more information here. Jeremy Lefroy MP was unable to join us, but prepared this commentary.

Credit: Friends of Europe

Credit: Friends of Europe

In a rapidly changing and interdependent world, Europe’s new leaders need to adopt a global perspective in European policy-making, a new understanding of the EU’s global role, and in particular, a new approach to international development. In this event hosted by Friends of Europe in Brussels on 10 September 2014, we asked whether the European Think Tanks Group’s 2014 report ‘Our Collective Interest: Why Europe’s problems need global solutions and global problems need European action’ offer the sort of answers needed.

See the programme here and watch a recording of the event here.

Chad food programme DG ECHO

Image: Rein Skullerud, Flickr

As the new EU leadership team prepares to take office in Brussels, we’ve joined forces with our partners in the European Think Tanks Group (ETTG) with our latest publication: ‘Our Collective Interest: Why Europe’s problems need global solutions and global problems need European action’.

In this report, 28 authors from the four think tanks argue 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 collective effort is in our shared interest.

We identified five global problems which will shape the future of the EU and the world, and where the EU has a comparative advantage to act:

  • The world economy
  • Environmental sustainability
  • Peace and security
  • Democracy and human rights
  • Poverty and inequality.

Read the full report here and see this infographic for a summary of our recommendations. The executive summary is available in French, German and Spanish.

EU flag_destroyed schoolThe European Commission published its Communication on post-2015, ‘A decent life for all: from vision to collective action’, in June 2014. The EU Council is expected to agree ‘Conclusions’ in December. When the previous Communication was published in February 2013, our advice to the Council was to limit their Conclusions to six words: ‘thank you very much, we agree’. Read Simon Maxwell’s opinion on the June Communication and advice for the Italian presidency here.

In a major forthcoming report for the new EU leadership, the European Think Tanks Group (ETTG) makes the case for joined-up thinking across the institutions and policies of the EU to address five global challenges: climate change; poverty and inequality; trade and financial policy; conflict and security and democracy and human rights.

Read more here.

With elections for the European Parliament looming, we collected some key facts on the EU’s aid programme. Here are 10 things to know about EU aidLargest aid donor! Use these graphics to find out about its size, importance and spending priorities.

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