Research


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A man gazes towards Kawergosk refugee camp, Erbil governorate, Kurdistan region of Iraq. Photo credit: EU/ECHO/Caroline Gluck

Labelled as Europe’s biggest challenge, the Syrian refugee crisis has revealed severe gaps in Europe’s response to collective problems. The ODI research report Challenges to a comprehensive EU migration and asylum policy (in partnership with ECDPM) we trace the evolution of the policy, the complex system of competences that underpin decision-making, conflicting interests and approaches, and the financial arrangements that obstruct the EU’s ability to offer a coherent response to the current migration crisis.

 

We recommend a number of incremental steps to overcome these obstructions, including the appointment of a senior political advisor to build bridges between the external and internal dimension of migration and asylum policies across the EU system and between the EU institutions and the Member States.

To be effective, however, the proposed measures would require far greater political recognition of the fact that a joint response is in the interests of EU Member States and the EU as a whole.

COP21 podium at press room 3

COP21 podium. Photo credit: Mark Dixon

Developing countries need a robust deal at the 21st Conference of the Parties (COP21) in Paris, as well as an ambitious action plan to ramp up action afterwards. The EU can help finalise the deal by offering more in the key negotiating fora, especially on adaptation support and finance.

This briefing note from the European Think Tanks Group (ODI, DIE, ECDPM, FRIDE and IDDRI) looks at the challenges and opportunities for EU climate action. Climate change and energy have become central issues in foreign and security policy, and the EU needs to look beyond 2030 and focus on sustainability issues up to 2050, both within Europe and beyond its borders.

Image credit: DfID (Flickr)

Image credit: DfID (Flickr)

The high-level event on women’s empowerment and sustainable development took place in Riga, Latvia, on 2 March. The event was jointly hosted by the European Commission and the Latvian Ministry of Foreign Affairs as part of the European Year for Development.  It aimed to identify possible solutions for ensuring women’s equal rights and access to the market and economic resources and for unlocking women’s economic potential.

We produced the conference background note, in which gender expert Helen O’Connell considered the following key issues:

  • why gender equality and women and girls’ rights matter in development;
  • where gender equality and women’s empowerment stand in development goals and frameworks;
  • the challenges for women’s economic empowerment;
  • four strategic interventions to empower women economically; and
  • the EU’s role in promoting gender equality and women’s empowerment in global development.

Read the post on the European Year for Development website and watch videos of the conference.


Image: United Nations

Image: United Nations

The EU’s early experience with implementing State Building Contracts (SBCs) could provide a useful resource for donor agencies to inform their thinking on providing budget support in fragile states. A study by Myra Bernardi, Tom Hart and Gideon Rabinowitz draws preliminary lessons from case studies on the two largest SBCs adopted by the EU in sub-Saharan Africa: Mali, a country in transition after a period of crisis; and South Sudan, a chronically fragile country.

Read more and download the report here.

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.

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.

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.

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