Our latest study, undertaken for the European Parliament’s Committee on Development, analyses the strengths and weaknesses of currentAfghan%20men,%20guns%20and%20tank_jpg EU engagement in fragile states, in particular its support to conflict prevention and periods of transition, within the broader international context. It examines the limitations of the instruments and methods implemented by the EU to address the problems of fragile states, and makes a number of recommendations to improve them.

Key weaknesses of the EU’s programmes in fragile and conflict-affected states include insufficient analysis of the root causes of fragility, ineffective early warning systems, and insufficient coordination with other international actors engaged in fragile and conflict affected states.

Although these challenges are not dissimilar to those experienced by other international actors, the EU’s performance is exacerbated by a number of factors that are specific to its organisational and resourcing arrangements: internal fragmentation of policy responsibility, inadequate translation of policy into programming at country level, and insufficient instrumental coherence. Investing in expertise in fragility and conflict-prevention has not, to date, been a priority, particularly at the operational level.

Read the report by Mikaela Gavas, Fiona Davies and Alastair McKechnie here.

The European Commission proposed policy of ‘differentiation’ aims to recalibrate aid and development cooperation in middle-incoUrbanisation%20in%20Asia_jpgme countries. The policy responds directly to recent changes in global poverty and wealth patterns, economic flows and geopolitical realities. In an increasingly heterogeneous development landscape, the EU has initiated a multifaceted approach in an effort to ‘differentiate’ between the diverging needs and capacities of developing countries.

Differentiation is a key feature of the EU’s new development strategy, An Agenda for Change, and will shape the future of EU development cooperation over its multi-year budget period that will run from 2014 to 2020 (European Commission, 2011a). The policy will determine the allocation of EU development aid to developing countries, shape decisions on the type of modalities used and the sector focus in middle-income countries, and will ultimately change the EU’s relations with these countries.

In a recent background note , Sian Herbert provides an overview of the state of play of negotiations on differentiation, with a focus on the Development Cooperation Instrument and the European Development Fund.

Read the paper here.

The EU first aLifting women out of povertyrticulated its policy commitment to gender equality in development cooperation in 1995, following the Beijing UN Women’s Conference, and has redefined it several times since.

A growing awareness of the gap between EU policy and practice on gender equality on the part of several Member States led the European Commission to draft an operational framework to strengthen implementation: the EU Plan of Action on Gender Equality and Women’s Empowerment in Development (Gender Action Plan). The EU recognised that, despite progress over recent decades, women and girls continue to make up the large majority of the world’s poorest, and women are underrepresented in governments and decision-making bodies, have fewer opportunities and receive lower pay than men in labour and financial markets. There was also concern that the financial and economic crisis could hamper progress already achieved towards gender equality. The Gender Action Plan was included as an Annex to the 2010 Council Conclusions on the MDGs, raising its profile and linking gender equality firmly, if narrowly, to achievement of the MDGs.

In a recent EDCSP research report, Helen O’Connell focuses on the implementation of the Gender Action Plan. The paper explores what has been achieved, identifies challenges and proposes a series of actions to accelerate progress. It also assesses the extent to which the Action Plan remains up to date and, in particular, the extent to which it includes a central economic perspective.

Read the paper here.

Over the last decaGlobe%20-%20Europede, development cooperation has evolved to such an extent that we are now entering ‘a new age of global development’, characterised by an emphasis on global public goods (GPGs). The increasingly global nature of development challenges clearly indicates that global problems require global solutions and new forms of international cooperation with the involvement of emerging and developing countries. The EU has the potential to play a leading role in the provision of GPGs. Although the EU has played a key role in the provision of GPGs, notably on climate policy and food security, it lacks a common strategy for addressing GPG challenges.

In her latest report, Mikaela Gavas argues that the EU needs to adapt to the changing global landscape, improve its internal coherence and promote a global vision and development approach with common narratives on the challenges that need to be tackled.

Read the report here.

cash transferThe EU is in the process of concluding the negotiation about its future seven-year budget, the Multi-Annual Financial Framework (MFF) for 2014-2020. In parallel, the EU is negotiating the budget for the European Development Fund (EDF), which covers the same period. The EDF is the EU’s main instrument for delivering development aid under the ACP–EU Cotonou Partnership Agreement. The Agreement is the world’s largest and most advanced financial and political contractual framework for North–South cooperation. Although the EDF is not part of the EU budget itself, the negotiations around the level of funding it receives are an important part of the broader debate and the outcome will be decided in conjunction with the MFF.

In this Discussion Paper, Mikaela Gavas reviews the EDF’s performance in recent evaluations and reviews the existing evidence against three critiques made by some Member States. She concludes that these critiques overlook important considerations and thus do not present an accurate picture of the performance of the EDF.

The EU is negotiating its budget for 2014 to 2020. Although not part of the EU budget itself, the negotiations on the EDF, the financial arm of the Cotonou Agreement between the EU and 78 countries of Africa, the Caribbean and the Pacific (ACP) and the Overseas Countries and Territories (OCTs) form an important part of the broader budget debate.

In this Background Note, Mikaela Gavas analyses the proposals by the European Commission  for the 11th EDF (2014-2020) and reviews the current state of play on the design of future funding to the ACP.

A new Working Paper by Louise van Schaik for ODI and the Climate and Development Knowledge Network (CDKN) examines the behaviour of the EU in international climate talks and explores how the EU could act as a positive force for creating consensus around collective action in the future.

The paper uses international relations theory to analyse the EU’s alliance with groups of developing countries in December 2011. This alliance facilitated a significant breakthrough in the talks: agreement on the Durban Platform for Enhanced Action, which commits Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) to agreeing an inclusive global climate deal by 2015.

Read the paper here.

In January, the European Commission launched proposals for a new EU trade strategy. EDCSP has today published a report bringing together 18 essays from the world’s leading trade and development experts to discuss the main issues covered.

The report warns that the EU’s increasingly protectionist stance over trade policy will damage the economies of a range of developing countries. Read the report here.

This ECDPM Briefing Note written by EDCSP’s Mikaela Gavas and ECDPM researchers Jeske van Seters, Niels Keijzer, Ulrika Kilnes and Geert Laporte, provides insights into the context and key challenges for EU development cooperation under the Cypriot Presidency. The note, produced at the request of the Cyprus NGO Support Centre, provides a general overview of opportunities to engage on EU development cooperation in the context of the Cypriot Presidency.

This new ODI Working Paper analyses the vulnerability of developing countries to the euro zone crisis, looking at differences across countries and groups of countries. In addition to this, it simulates the potential effects of trade shocks due to the crisis on lower-income economies, and establishes a set of stylised facts on the actual impacts of the European debt crisis on poor countries. Policy responses at the country and international level are also discussed.

At the end of 2011 the European Commission published a Communication on the future of EU budget support. It recommended that budget support be tied to the political conditions in recipient countries, particularly those related to human rights and democratic values.

The European Think-Tanks Group, in collaboration with the Institute of Development and Policy Management, look at the implications of this new approach on EU development assistance in this report

The International Development Committee has published a report on EU development assistance.

In the report, the Committee calls on the UK Government to press for funding to be diverted, away from higher middle income countries bordering Europe, and reallocated to poorer developing countries. In order to make this happen, the MPs say Ministers must challenge and change the definition of Official Development Assistance.

Read the IDC’s report and press release, and a submission to the inquiry from ODI’s Sian Herbert and Romilly Greenhill here.

EDCSP has relaunched its report looking at “EU Blending Facilities: Implications for Future Governance Options”, following the launch of the European Commission’s public consultations into a ‘Proposed EU Platform for External Cooperation and Development’ to oversee blending of loans and grants.

The report offers an independent contribution to the EU’s internal discussions on its future mechanisms for the complementary use of grants and loans (blending). It reviews the existing EU blending mechanisms, comparing their different governance arrangements, drawing lessons from each, and considers the pros and cons of possible future governance options for blending operations.

Read the report here.

Those arguing for better coordination of aid and for a greater multilateral share have long based their arguments on claims about savings in transactions costs or greater efficiency in allocation. For example, the big EU push on Division of Labour, back in 2007, was based on this argument. A calculation by consultants HTSPE suggested that the EU could save €3-6bn  a year by reducing donor and sector proliferation.

A study in 2011 by Bigsten, Platteau and Bengstam, again for the EU, deepened and updated the analysis. EDCSP has commissioned a review of the new study, by Annalisa Prizzon and Romilly Greenhill from ODI.

Click here to read Annalisa and Romilly’s commentary.

In December, the European Commission unveiled its package of legislative proposals on the EU’s external action instruments for the period 2014-20 as part of the negotiations on the Multi-Annual Financial Framework (MFF), the EU’s spending review. Mikaela Gavas has written an ODI Background Note analysing the changes introduced by the instruments of direct relevance to international development.

The UK’s International Development Committee (IDC) has launched an inquiry into EC development assistance. The inquiry comes at a momentous time considering the new poverty landscape, changing economic and geopolitical dynamics in the world, the economic crisis, and the potential ramifications of a possible EU treaty change. As the global development scene changes, the UK and the EC’s approaches to development must also change.

The terms of reference established for the inquiry call for evidence regarding: the EC’s comparative advantage as a channel for UK development assistance, ‘An Agenda for Change’, future funding of EC development cooperation and progress towards policy coherence for development (PCD). These areas of inquiry ultimately lead to four key questions:

  • What development objectives can the UK better pursue through the EC than through bilateral means?
  • How much funding should be allocated to EC development assistance?
  • What countries and sectors should the EC concentrate its funds on?
  • How should these funds be managed?

ODI’s Siân Herbert and Romilly Greenhill set out to answer these questions in this submission of written evidence.

Submissions from other organisations are available here.

The EU is reviewing the Generalised System of Preferences (GSP), its broadest-based trade policy to support developing country exports. The European Commission has proposed the most radical changes in the scheme’s three-decade history, arguing that this will ‘focus the GSP preferences on the countries most in need’. But will it?

This Project Briefing summarises ODI research, and finds that only a very small part of any gains will accrue to poor countries and that workers in the graduates may be just as poor and vulnerable as those in beneficiary states.

Just as the world was recovering from the 2008-9 recession, the global economy looks once again close to boiling point.

But what does this actually mean for developing countries, and in particular for low-income countries (LICs)? What makes the eurozone sovereign debt crisis different from the recent global financial crisis? Through what channels could the European debt crisis spread to the developing world? Are LICs prepared to weather a new global downturn? What policy options may be adopted by developing country policy-makers?

This ODI Background Note explores these key questions, and offers advice for policy makers.

This ODI briefing paper analyses CAP reform options against development goals and finds that research is urgently needed to analyse the coherence between the reforms and European development policy.

Research areas, including the various effects of CAP reform on developing countries, the EU internal policy process, the new global environment of high price levels and volatility, and the links between economic and environmental sustainability, set an agenda for ODI and other researchers in the coming months.

ODI Research Fellow,  Jonathan Glennie, analyses current evidence, thinking and practice on international support to Middle Income Countries (MICs) in his paper on “The role of aid to middle-income countries: a contribution to evolving EU development policy.”  He concludes that financial aid to MICs continues to play an important role in global development.

The European Think-Tanks Group, four of Europe’s leading think-tanks have published a joint briefing paper:

The EU’s Multi-Annual Financial Framework post-2013: Options for EU development cooperation

 As negotiations around Europe’s post-2013 multi-annual financial framework (MFF) begin, there are major questions around the comparative advantage of a Europe-wide approach to development assistance, and the role of the EU in the future global aid architecture. What should this aid be for? How should it be managed? How can European aid adapt to a development landscape that is going through such rapid change, and address current and emerging global challenges?
The paper reviews this landscape and proposes and analyses a set of options on:

    1. Rethinking priorities and assistance towards MICs and emerging economies;
    2. Ensuring enough flexibility to respond to unforeseen needs;
    3. Dealing with climate finance;
    4. Ensuring adequate long-term funding to strengthen security and development linkages;
    5. Budgetising or maintaining a separate European Development Fund.

The Global Climate Change Alliance (GCCA) was created by the European Commission in 2007 to support poor developing countries most vulnerable to climate change through dialogue and financial and technical cooperation. In this new study, Elizabeth Colebourn, examines the history and activities of the GCCA and reflects on some of the key challenges facing the alliance.

To read the full study click here

ODI have submitted their opinion to the European Commission’s consultation on the future of EU budget support to third countries.

Given the growing interest in the results-based aid agenda, this consultation comes at an opportune time. In the current economic climate, tough decisions will be required about aid and it is likely that those decisions will be guided by performance. A better understanding of the complex relationship between aid modalities and their effects on outcomes is needed now to inform such decisions.

To read ODI’s submission click here


The European Think-Tanks Group have published a new paper on EU Blending Facilities: Implications for Future Governance Options

The paper offers an independent contribution to the European Union’s (EU) internal discussions on its future mechanisms for the complementary use of grants and loans (blending).  It reviews the existing EU blending mechanisms, comparing their different governance arrangements, drawing lessons from each, and considers the pros and cons of possible future governance options for blending operations.  To read the full paper, click here

The European Think-Tanks Group is made up of DIE, ECDPM, FRIDE and ODI

ODI today submitted their response to the European Commission’s Green Paper on ‘EU Development Policy in Support of Inclusive and Sustainable Growth’

There is much to welcome in the EU’s Green Paper on EU development policy.  The emphasis on the relative importance of growth in promoting development is particularly important.  ODI’s submission focuses on the growth section of the Green Paper, with contributions from Dirk Willem te Velde, the Head of the ‘Investment and Growth Programme’ together with Jodie Keane, Research Officer, Karen Ellis, the Head of the ‘Private Sector and Markets Programme’ and Claire Melamed, the Head of the ‘Growth and Equity Programme’. In addition,   Simon Maxwell, ODI’s Senior Research Associate and Project Leader of the European Development Cooperation Strengthening Programme (EDCSP) sets out the challenges for the European Commission in designing the EU’s development policy as set out in the Green Paper.

To read the submission, click here

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