January 24, 2014
Elections to the European Parliament will take place in May this year. Yet, an oddity of the European elections is that they are out of synch with the main policy and budgetary processes of the EU. Does this suggest that the role of the new Parliament is limited; that all that is left is the job of holding the executive to account for the implementation of decisions taken by others? Have the Parliament’s guns been spiked?
In this blog, Simon Maxwell and Mikaela Gavas argue that rather than being powerless, the new MEPs have an opportunity to exert influence in various subtle ways. They also set out a series of questions on international development that can be asked of all political party manifestos.
Most parties have not published their manifestos yet, but we have created a summary of the 2009 manifestos, highlighting the areas of consensus and points of contention.
January 20, 2014
Most developing countries face a chronic deficit of infrastructure constraining economic growth rates, leaving the world’s most vulnerable communities without access to basic services and hampering attempts to achieve broad-based poverty reduction. While over £500 billion is currently invested in infrastructure every year, it has been suggested that annual infrastructure spending will need to more than double by 2020 to meet the development requirements for infrastructure. However, public finance is insufficient and private finance too volatile to bring financing up to the level required. Blended finance enables infrastructure projects to be financed that would otherwise be too costly for a single donor.
In this unique guide to ‘Blended Finance for Infrastructure and Low-Carbon Development’ written for the UK Department for International Development (DFID), Mikaela Gavas, Annalisa Prizzon and Shakira Mustaphawe provide an overview of both the theory and practice of blended finance. It examines the types of financial instruments used in blending, the rationale for the use of blending and how the European Union and the International Finance Corporation, two of the biggest players in infrastructure, have defined, structured and operationalized blending. It also assesses six challenges associated with blended finance. The guide concludes by identifying critical questions donors and Development Finance Institutions could consider when assessing the opportunity of a blended finance package.
November 29, 2013
This year’s European Development Days, A decent life for all by 2030 – building a consensus for a new development agenda, took place on 26 & 27 November. Simon Maxwell moderated the closing panel, A new development agenda: the way forward. The panellists were: Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, President of Liberia; Jan Eliasson, Deputy Secretary General of the UN; Andris Piebalgs, EU Commissionner; Winnie Biyanyima, Chief Executive of Oxfam International; Depapriya Bhattacharya; and Paul Collier.
In this blog, Simon highlights the main challenges raised during the discussion, and identifies some lessons that could help bring the post-2015 agenda safely into harbour.
October 25, 2013
ODI recently commissioned an independent evaluation of the current phase of EDCSP.
The evaluation concluded that the project:
- contributed to a better informed, more creative policy making process.
- added weight to the United Kingdom’s engagement on EU development cooperation and amplified the British voice.
- increased decision-makers’ access to analysis and evidence, which they used to better substantiate and communicate policy positions.
The evaluator also recommended that going forward, the project would benefit from greater focus, an explicit rationale for engagement on certain issues, and strengthened monitoring and evaluation systems.
Read the evaluation report here.
October 21, 2013
Regent’s University has commissioned independent practitioners to provide accessible, informed, evidence-based analysis, outlining the costs and benefits for each policy area of a changed status in the relationship between the UK and the EU. This is the first of its kind and seeks to answer scientifically the question of what the UK stands to gain or lose from withdrawing from the EU. Mikaela Gavas contributed a chapter on EU development cooperation. In a related blog, she notes that there are genuine benefits to working together over the long term and that severing its ties to the EU on development cooperation could cost the UK considerable international influence. Read the blog here.
October 18, 2013
Disagreement over the rules on aid spending between the European Parliament, on the one hand, and the European Commission and the Member States, on the other, is threatening to derail EU aid disbursements. As a result, there is a real risk that, in 2014, spending by the EU institutions may crash. Simon Maxwell and Mikaela Gavas warns that, if its own aid has stalled, the EU will lose credibility in pursuing its agenda on Financing for Development, and in engaging in the negotiations on the post-2015 sustainable development agenda. Most importantly, aid recipients have planned for this money, and should not have their poverty-reduction programmes put at risk. Read the blog here.