Linking policy and practice in international cooperation


ECDPM helps shape policy through enhancing the quality of the policy process and partnerships – that’s what makes ECDPM different.

We systematically draw upon and mobilise the expertise from a range of partners to effect positive change that ECDPM, as a small foundation, cannot do on its own. We build partnerships to square the circle and complete our contribution.

Only through working together can we facilitate the full range of support needed for effective EU-Africa and ACP dialogue and cooperation for positive change. Through our partnerships, we not only make ECDPM stronger as an independent institution, but we make the processes we support more sustainable.

ECDPM’s distinctive process and network approach combines three distinct strategies:

  • Facilitate dialogues and networks
  • Policy research and effective sharing of knowledge
  • Partnerships to support sustainable institutional development

To kick start the 2012-2016 Strategy, we expanded and deepened our relationships with multilateral organisations, partners from the global south and development foundations. A particular highlight was our work with the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation in which we partnered with the Overseas Development Institute (ODI) to conduct the evaluation study of the Think Tank Initiative (TTI) which provides core funding and capacity development to 49 think tanks in 22 countries across four regions of the world

There is no doubt that major transitions are underway in development cooperation as development issues become increasingly globalised. Not content to stand idly by, ECDPM increasingly widens the scope of its work to address new major global actors and thematic areas.


ECDPM Partnership strategy


> Read our Partnership Strategy

Key institutional partners in Europe and beyond

At the same time as taking a more global approach to development cooperation, ECDPM strengthened and consolidated our relationships with longstanding partners in Europe. By doing so, we maintained our position as a trusted partner of our European peers, contributing to a more dynamic exchange and cooperation on many issues. Working with such a range of partners means we are flexible and can increase the impact of our work on policy makers. Our key institutional partners in Europe include the following:

  • The Netherlands
  • Belgium
  • Luxembourg
  • Finland
  • Ireland
  • Sweden
  • Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation
  • Portugal
  • UK Department for International Development (DfID)
  • Denmark
  • Austria

Beyond Europe, ECDPM recently worked with the Japanese International Cooperation Agency (JICA) and the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID).

EU Presidencies

ECDPM has been supporting the rotating six-month EU Presidencies since 1993 when Belgium called on ECDPM to conduct a mid-term review of Lome IV and the implications of the Maastricht Treaty for development. EU presidencies still play a key role on a number of issues in ACP-EU matters, even after the institutional architecture of the Lisbon Treaty came into place which put the European External Action Service in the primary coordinating role. ECDPM recently supported the Danish, Irish, Cyprus and the Lithuanian Presidencies, facilitating workshops and informal debates in addition to briefings – all at the request of the presidencies themselves.

A partnership with the global south

ECDPM continues to support the ACP Group on ACP-EU relations Beyond 2020, the Cotonou Agreement and the Economic Partnership Agreements.  ECDPM also forged a partnership with the African Union Commission in 2008 and was recently present at the African Union Summit where it’s new leadership was confirmed. Our presence there enabled us to deepen current and establish new key contacts in the AU institutions, the African member states and international community in Addis Ababa. We will continue to work with our partners on a range of key issues including the Joint EU Africa Strategy (JAES).

Our work with other institutions

As a ‘knowledge broker’, we aim to share our knowledge, insights and methodologies with key stakeholders in an open and transparent way. To maximise our ability to shape both policy and practice as a ‘think and do tank’, we build strong relationships with other research institutes in Europe, the United States, Africa and the ACP countries. This can maintain momentum and institutional knowledge and learning to make our research more effective – improving policy, cooperation and practice. Our major partners include:

  • Overseas Development Institute (ODI)
  • European Think Tank Group (ETTG)
  • Europe-Africa Policy research network (EARN)
  • Centre for Strategic and International Studies of the Higher Institute for International Relations (CEEI/ISRI)
  • Institute for Strategic and International Studies (IEEI)
  • Instituto Marques de Valle Flor (IMVF)
  • NEPAD Planning and Coordinating Agency (NPCA)
  • South African Institute of International Affairs (SAIIA)
  • Mwanawasa Centre
  • Africa Governance Institute (AGI)
  • Institute for Peace and Security Studies (IPSS)