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Monthly Highlights from ECDPM’s Weekly Compass Update (Volume 1, Issue 3 – May 2012)

01-05-2012

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Member States’ positions on the proposed 2014-2020 EU Budget Weekly Compass, No. 107, 20 April 2012
The EU institutions and Member States are currently negotiating the EU’s budget for the period 2014-2020. On 26 March, the European Commission’s proposal for the budget was discussed for the first time at the level of the Council of the European Union. Each Member State had 3 minutes to convey its priorities. ECDPM’s most recent Briefing Note reports back and analyses these statementsparticularly those with a focus on EU External Action and the European Development Fund. Questions whether there will be cuts in development spending or if the European Development Fund will loose its special status outside the regular budget can’t be answered at this stage, but the Council will resume discussions on 24 April.

Spotlight on new blending mechanism
 Weekly Compass, No. 107, 20 April 2012
Blending, the complementary use of grants and loans, could increase the available volume of development finance. To improve the quality and efficiency of EU external cooperation blending mechanisms and financial instruments, the European Commission proposed to establish an “EU Platform for External Cooperation and Development”. A 
public consultation is currently taking place on this. ECDPM, as part of the European Think-Tanks Group, published a report on blending, which points out that there is only a limited evidence-base on its effects. The European Parliament’s Development Committee will discuss EU regional blending facilities with the European Commission and the European Investment Bank next week.

Reprogramming EU development cooperation: who will do what? Weekly Compass, No. 107, 20 April 2012
Two years until the new financial regulations for external action will enter into force, the EU has launched the programming process setting how and where the 57.57 billion EUR budget proposed for development cooperation will be used. In preparation for the first step of the planning and budget cycle, detailed responsibilities have now been agreed amongst EU stakeholders. This process is of strong importance to developing countries as it will determine what the development assistance resources will be spent on from 2014 to 2020. A new
ECDPM Discussion Paper analyses the process of programming the EU’s development assistance by looking at the roles that the different EU institutions, partner countries, as well as EU member states may play. The authors, Simone Gortz and Niels Keijzer, point to key moments and analyses the changes foreseen. 

Getting ready for take off: boosting agriculture and food security initiatives Weekly Compass, No. 107, 20 April 2012
It is almost a decade since the launch of the Comprehensive Africa Agriculture Development Programme (CAADP) in 2003. Since then, this initiative has recorded both successes and challenges at national and regional levels. However, while all African Regional Economic Communities recognize the need to increase efforts around agricultural development and food security, the manner in which action is taken, and degree of progress differs from region to
 region. Building a series of mapping studieswhich assessed CAADP progress by region, a new ECDPM Briefing Note entitled “Getting ready for take off: Lessons for regional CAADP” provides a synthesis of crosscutting messages and challenges from all regions. It provides ideas on how to make regional CAADP more effective and helps to identify concrete actions for faster progress, which could be useful for stakeholder discussions during the 8th CAADP Partnership Platform meeting on 3-4 May.

ACP-EU relations at a critical juncture Weekly Compass, No. 106, 30 March 2012
The Cotonou Agreement, the largest North-South partnership between the EU and the ACP countries, will expire in 2020. “In political terms, this seems an eternity” Geert Laporte writes in a new ECDPM Briefing Note, but in view of economic and political changes world wide 
“it is not too early to open the debate on the future of the partnership”. Obviously, the EU will remain interested in Africa and to a lesser extent also in the Caribbean and the Pacific, but does it want to continue working with the ACP as a group of about 80 countries with increasingly differing ambitions and levels of development? How committed are the ACP to keeping their group and the ACP-EU Partnership alive? What new common interests, beyond aid can be identified between the two groups of countries? Laporte’s Briefing Note gives an updated overview of the state of this debate, points to major challenges on the way ahead and proposes a number of concrete steps for a constructive and well-informed process.

Impact assessments a weak link in policy coherence Weekly Compass, No. 106, 30 March 2012
Donors should better take into account the views of developing countries in order for Policy Coherence for Development (PCD) to have a positive impact, according to the report of a recent meeting of OECD Focal Points on PCD published this week. Participants called for more concrete targets and evidence to measure 
the impact of policy incoherence and to provide the basis for decision-making. Niels Keijzer presented ECDPM’s work on potential indicators for measuring PCD impact. Findings show that better defining objectives for PCD can improve political accountability and provide a basis for clear result-oriented action plans. But this requires research to explore the actual effects of OECD members’ policies on developing countries, Keijzer said.

Billions less for development? Weekly Compass, No. 106, 30 March 2012
In a response to the economic crisis in the EU, the current overarching trend is a decrease in, or freeze of, development budgets despite commitments to the contrary. In addition to this, there is a trend where Member States wish to repatriate spending to the national level, particularly those who are net contributors to the EU budget. Although the European Commission has proposed an increase in the total amount for the 11
th European Development Fund (EDF), some EU Member States are advocating for no real growth in any area of EU expenditure which would include the EDF. How would efforts to impose “austerity” on overall EU expenditure possibly affect the amounts available for EU’s largest development financing instrument? ECDPM’s Ulrika Kilnes explores the impact of different of “zero growth” scenarios in a new Briefing Note and finds that they could in practice mean billions less aid to ACP countries.

This article was published in GREAT Insights Volume 1, Issue 3 (May 2012)

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