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.

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.

The 2012 DAC’s Peer Review of the European Union, published today, notes that, since the last review 5 years ago, the EU has taken important steps to make its aid more effective and give it more impact, which included organisational restructuring, streamlining the financial process, improving co-ordination, and working more with civil society.

However, the Review also notes that more progress is needed in a number of areas. It says the EU must: clarify the responsibilities of the EU institutions working on development; lower the administrative burden on EU staff and developing countries; monitor and communicate development results; and draw-up a coherent approach to working with developing countries emerging from conflict situations.

Read the full Review here.

Click here to read the EDCSP team’s monthly update for April

Click here to read the EDCSP team’s monthly update for March

The EU is the most open trading bloc in the world, around three quarters of EU imports from developing countries are duty free – this is a much larger share than imports to the US and China. However, Least Developed Countries (LDCs) continue to account for a low share of global trade, experiencing an increase in their share of global trade of just 0.4% (from 0.8% to 1.2%) over the last decade. In the view of recent trends, the European Commission has decided to review its traditional trade and development tools, in a bid to tailor them to those countries that are getting left behind.

On 7 February 2012, the European Commission held a public consultation meeting on its latest trade strategy – ‘Trade, Growth & Development: tailoring trade and investment policy for those countries most in need’, which was released at the end of January.

ODI’s Jodie Keane reports back in this meeting report.

Click here to read the EDCSP team’s monthly update for February

Over on his website, Simon Maxwell looks at the outcome of the climate talks in Durban, focusing  on the central role played by the EU. Simon notes:

“The most interesting aspect for me is the role of the EU in brokering this deal, first by developing the idea of a ‘road-map’ to a post-Kyoto framework, and second by stitching together an alliance across the traditional dividing lines of Annex 1, Annex 2 and non-Annex 1 countries, as well as large and small emitters. I can’t say that I have studied the internal EU processes in any detail, nor been able to disentangle the role of European institutions versus Member States, but at first sight Connie Hedegaard, the EU Climate Commissioner, deserves a great deal of credit. There are a couple of implications.

First, Durban may well provide a case study of why it is sensible for Member States to work together through the EU, and of how to do it. At a time of political crisis in Europe, there are valuable lessons about the benefits of developing an EU-wide vision and set of targets, as well as specific instruments like the European Emissions Trading Scheme, however flawed (but NB worth celebrating and defending, especially given the current row with the Chinese, Americans and others about bringing airline emissions into the Scheme). Are there implications for development ministers working on climate change, but also more widely?

Second, it is interesting to speculate whether and how EU momentum will be sustained. Is it sensible to think, for example, that the global public good would be served if EU Member States concentrated more of their climate change energy through Brussels institutions rather than bilaterally – giving Connie Hedegaard more bargaining power in the negotiations over a new treaty? From a development angle, there might be implications for the funding of the EU’s Global Climate Change Alliance, so far very poorly funded, and for the allocation of bilateral funds, like the UK’s International Climate Fund.”

To read more, click here.

Click here to read the EDCSP team’s monthly update for December


The EDCSP team is now all set for next week’s European Development Days.


On 16 December from 14.15 until 16.00, we will jointly host a panel debate, with our European Think-Tank Group partners and with French research institute FERDI. Our debate will look at ‘Modernising European Development Policy’ and boasts a high-level panel including:

  • Andris Piebalgs (European Commissioner for Development),
  •  Baroness Lindsay Northover (UK Government Spokesperson on International Development, House of Lords),
  •  Tertius Zongo (Former Prime Minister of Burkina Faso),
  •  Alain Henry (Head of the Cabinet of Mr. Henri de Raincourt),
  •  Paul Engel (Director of ECDPM),
  •  Patrick Guillaumont (President of FERDI), and
  •  Simon Maxwell (ODI) (chair).

If you are attending the EDDs too, please come along!

Ahead of the Fourth High Level Forum on Aid Effectiveness at Busan, read the EU’s common position here.

Eurobarometer have just released an opinion poll on development aid, based on interviews with 26,856 people across the EU in September 2011.

The key findings reveal that 85% of Europeans find development aid very important or fairly important. The countries that are most supportive of development aid are Sweden (97%), Cyprus (95%), Poland (92%), Luxembourg (92%), Germany (92%) and Finland (91%). Overall support is the weakest in Hungary (75%), Bulgaria (75%), Estonia (74%) and Slovenia (71%).

A large majority of Europeans (70%) see sub-Saharan Africa as a part of the world that is most in need of aid in the fight against poverty. In a question that allowed respondents a maximum of three answers, North Africa and the Middle-East came second at 33%, followed by the Indian sub-continent (25%), the Caribbean (17%), South East Asia (16), Eastern Europe (outside the EU), Caucasus and Central Asia (15%), Latin America (15%). and the Pacific and Oceania (6%).

Read the report to learn more interesting stats.

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.

Click here to read the EDCSP team’s monthly update for November

In this ODI blog, Heidi Tavakoli analyses the European Commission’s new strategy for budget support.

As one of the biggest providers of budget support, any policy changes by the EC will not only affect the budget support landscape, but may also drive changes in many of its member states. Heidi notes that the new proposal introduces two significant changes: firstly, the EC proposes that budget support becomes a political instrument; and secondly, as with DFID, the EC will change the name of its budget support instruments to better reflect its objectives. Read more here to see how this could be both a ‘name changer’ and a ‘game changer’.

On 19 October, the EDCSP’s Simon Maxwell was invited to speak on the panel at Commissioner Andris Piebalgs’ launch event for the European Commission’s new development strategy – An Agenda for Change. Simon welcomed the document and the new directions it signals, noting that it is still work in progress, with seven more months of negotiations ahead. He also identified some key points of unfinished business that the strategy uncovers.

To watch the panel discussion, click here.

To watch Simon’s speech, click here.

To watch Simon’s interview by Capacity4dev, click here.

From 19 to 22 September, the EADI and DSA hosted a conference in York looking at “Rethinking Development in an Age of Scarcity and Uncertainty”. The EDCSP team held a panel discussion, jointly with its partner think tanks, as part of the European Think Tanks Group (ETTG), which explored the subject of “Modernising European Development Policy in a Changing World”, and posed the question, “What can Researchers bring to the Table?”

Click here to read our reflections on the conference, and for some insights from our panel discussion.

Click here to read the EDCSP team’s monthly update for October

For everything you want to know about EU aid, have a look at this handy factsheet

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.

If you have ever found yourself questioning what EU development aid should be for, then you should have been at our recent event hosted by the EDCSP team and Open Europe in London on 13 September 2011.

Around 120 government officials, academics, consultants, journalists and NGOs representatives turned up to grill our panel of experts, which included Baroness Glenys Kinnock (opposition spokesperson for the Department for International Development (DFID) in the House of Lords), the EDCSP’s Simon Maxwell (Senior Research Associate at ODI), Chris Heaton-Harris MP (Member of Parliament for Daventry), Stephen Booth (Open Europe’s Research Director), and Liz Ford as chair (Deputy Editor of the Guardian’s Global Development website).

To catch up on the event, read a summary here, or watch it on video here.

Andris Piebalgs is playing poker with development policy – but, do you know what, there’s a mirror behind him, and we can see his hand. Furthermore, it’s not such a bad hand. Why doesn’t he just put his cards on the table and scoop the pot? (more…)

Please contribute to the debate on the future of  EU Development Cooperation, by telling us where you would place the  EU swingometer, on a spectrum from consolidation to cooperation. Perhaps first read the paper, “Consolidation or cooperation: the future of EU development cooperation“, and then click on the swingometer to submit your preference, and see how it compares to others. There is a comment box in case you’d like to explain your choice or leave a comment.

Click here to read the EDCSP team’s monthly update for July.


Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 48 other followers