Linking policy and practice in international cooperation

Talking Points blog overview

About the Talking Points blog


The Talking Points blog, produced by our people and partners, aims to deepen the dialogue on policy issues, and get to the heart of the matter in an honest and concise way. ...

What is the new European Consensus on Development for?


The EU institutions are now discussing a new European Consensus on Development to replace the one they agreed in 2005. However, it would seem that there is one issue they need to ...

Tunisia’s new law: another step towards local democracy


This week, Tunisia’s national assembly has passed the long-awaited law on elections and referenda, a step that has elicited mixed reactions. The new law, which completes and amends the basic law on ...

Did the 28th African Union summit meet its hype and hope?


In our annual Challenges paper, ECDPM authors stated that “strong and visible leadership within the AU Commission is an asset for shaping continental agendas”. In this blog, Philomena Apiko, Luckystar Miyandazi and ...

Taking steps ahead: Towards a new vision for migration in 2017


The issue of migration will continue to be pivotal in 2017. ECDPM’s Anna Knoll explains why the European Union should adopt a long-term thinking towards the issue of migration and wishes 2017 ...

Eight notable moments for Europe and Africa: Looking back at 2016 and ahead to 2017


As we’ve entered a new year, we look back at some notable moments from 2016 – a turbulent time for international cooperation and global development. What were some of the highlights, particularly ...

Hopes for a global approach to Tax Avoidance in 2017

  • Uzo Madu

The third and last contribution to our series of blogs ahead of the 2017 Challenges Paper is by Uzo Madu, founder of What’s in it for Africa, an online platform dedicated to EU-Africa ...

Should Europe pay to enhance military capabilities in Africa?

  • Mr. Lars-Erik Lundin

The second contribution to our series of blogs ahead of the 2017 Challenges Paper is by Mr. Lars-Erik Lundin, Distinguished Associate Fellow at the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI). Looking ahead ...

Donor coordination and transport in West Africa - towards people, partnership and prosperity?


Trade facilitation can seem a somewhat mundane topic – it’s mostly about procedures and logistics after all. But once you grasp the importance of transport costs and bottlenecks in a region like ...

Development for Policy Coherence? How migration took over EU-Africa relations

  • Ms. Judith Sargentini

In the first of our series of blogs ahead of ECDPM’s 2017 Challenges Paper, MEP Judith Sargentini shares her perspectives on the challenges of migration in 2017 and beyond. Traditionally, the US ...

Stronger together: Amplifying partnerships to finance the SDGs in Africa


  This week, the government of Kenya is hosting the Second High-Level Meeting (HLM2) of the Global Partnership for Effective Development Co-operation (GPEDC), which takes place in Nairobi from 28 November to ...

Don’t throw the baby out with the bathwater: Why Policy Coherence for Development still has a role to play


If you work in development, in environment or anywhere near the United Nation’s 2030 Agenda, you probably came across the acronyms PCD and/or PCSD at some point. For most practitioners, they stand ...

Stuck in the middle: Agriculture and climate change at COP22


Keeping up the momentum for the global climate movement despite the American elections is a good result in itself. However, despite the good mood, many side events and new important initiatives launched ...

I say yes, you say no: Interpreting international cooperation


With this blog, I would like to remind readers of the importance of language and interpreting within international cooperation, and what it means for a European integrated external action agenda, in line ...

Sustainable Development Goals and the Paris agreement: One year on

Why a joined-up approach to achieve environment and development goals is crucial


The year 2015 saw the adoption of two universal agendas for sustainable development: the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and the Paris Climate Agreement. The climate agreement entered into force two weeks ago ...

COP22: Spotlight on agriculture, Africa and action


On Monday, the UN climate change conference COP22 kicked off in Marrakech. Last year’s COP21, held in Paris, was lauded as a historic success, resulting in all nations, including the largest polluters ...

Jemna: The challenge of local empowerment in the Tunisian hinterland


  While the new Tunisian constitution emphasises the role of local authorities in boosting regional development, translating constitutional provisions into concrete laws has proven to be challenging. The process is being delayed ...

Managing European talent in EU external action: Hasn’t Brexit already served as a wake-up call?


In the third of a series of three blog posts (see the first blog and the second blog) ahead of the publication of the implementation plan of the EU’s Global Strategy on ...

There is more to the African Union than meets the eye


Members of the African Union (AU) have a long history of decolonisation and liberation struggles. For many Africans and global actors, there is still some misperception surrounding the role and value the ...

EU Global Strategy blog series: Towards a European external human resources management system


In the second of a series of three blog posts (see the first blog) ahead of the publication of the implementation plan of the EU’s Global Strategy on Foreign and Security Policy, ...

Who will implement the EU Global Strategy for Foreign and Security Policy?


In the first of a series of three blog posts ahead of the publication of the implementation plan of the EU’s Global Strategy for Foreign and Security Policy, ECDPM’s Damien Helly argues ...

Sharing is caring? Making public-private partnerships more sustainable


There is growing recognition that global challenges are interconnected and complex, requiring multi-stakeholder alliances between all sectors of society. Increasing pressure on public budgets for development cooperation calls for using scarce public ...

Empowering women in Africa: The only way to achieve food security


Girls and young women represent a crucial invisible labour force in the developing world, as Carmen Torres explains in her recent article for the Girls Rights Gazette. They play a key role ...

Is the African Union’s financial independence a possibility?


As a continental organisation, the African Union (AU) is in a constant struggle to cope with the multifaceted social, economic and political problems that have become particularly worrisome over the last two ...

European Development Days 2016: Focus on implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals


Last month, over 6,000 international development experts, including UN Secretary General Ban Ki Moon, attended the European Development Days (EDDs), Europe’s leading forum on development and international cooperation. Their discussions focussed on ...

A glass half full: East African dairy farmers see potential in regional cooperation


Lucy Njiru runs a small dairy farm in Kirinyaga County, in central Kenya’s highlands, where coffee and milk are among the main agricultural products. With two cows and one bull, she produces ...

Brexit: First post-referendum thoughts

  • Andrew Sherriff
  • Geert Laporte
  • San Bilal

In what has been regarded as one of the most significant events in European history in the last 40 years, the UK has voted in referendum to leave the EU. This result ...

Global Alliance for Climate Smart Agriculture: A renewed research and dialogue agenda is needed


One of the most pressing global challenges is making our food systems more sustainable. As part of that, there is no other option than making agriculture “climate-smart”. This requires combining sustainable increases ...

Development diplomacy in the #EUGlobalStrategy: No slip of the tongue


Unless heads of State decide otherwise, the EU will have a new Global Strategy for foreign and security policy by the end of June. One of the building blocks of the EU ...

CAADP's future? Focus on informal private sector and politics!


Two weeks ago, in Accra, I attended the CAADP Partnership Platform, the annual event where all stakeholders get together to discuss progress with CAADP implementation. Unfortunately, like in my assessment last year, ...

Intercultural integration and communication: An agenda for Europe


As the EU is about to adopt a strategy on culture in external relations and a Global strategy on foreign and security policy, we argue that both documents would be stronger with ...

Four ideas to give Africa its place in the EU Global Strategy


In less than three months, Europe will release its first-ever Global Strategy on Foreign and Security Policy (EUGS). The EUGS aims at creating “a stronger and more effective EU foreign policy,” in words ...

The Arab Spring, an 'unfinished revolution' in Tunisia’s regions


Imagine a country divided into 24 regions, each with very different capabilities and prospects to succeed. How would you treat them in a fair and equitable way? This is the challenge that ...

Partnerships for institutional development - Think big, start small


Though the role of institutions in fostering economic transformation and development is widely acknowledged, an increasing focus has been on the politics behind institutional change. In Dani Rodrik’s words, “issues of governance, politics, ...

Using the right word: The case for positive wording in development

  • Danièle Kintz

A negative wording seems to be increasingly used in narratives on individuals and human societies as well as economic, social and cultural development. Words such as undocumented, jobless, homeless, illiterate, informal sector ...

Le mot juste : pour une terminologie positive dans le développement

  • Danièle Kintz

Les terminologies négatives ont une présence importante, apparemment grandissante, dans les discours concernant les individus,  les sociétés humaines en général et le développement économique, social et culturel. Des expressions telles que « ...

A balancing act: EU's development and commercial goals in North Africa


Everybody is talking about it, from the European Commission and its EU member states to the Agenda 2030 for Sustainable Development: business needs to be better engaged in development. At the same ...

Thinking beyond the resource boom: African countries must avoid procrastination


The resource sector has entered into a new phase. Prolonged downswings in commodity prices, fuelled by (i) the double effect of slower demand from emerging markets like China and excess supply resulting ...

Les Européens, l’UE : une longue adolescence stratégique


Dans notre série de blogs sur les grands défis à venir en 2016, Damien Helly passe en revue les obstacles à une renaissance stratégique de l’action mondiale de l’Europe. Aux prises avec ...

Dealing with protracted crises: No time for short-term thinking

Challenges series 2016


Conflict and security will continue to dominate the EU’s foreign policy agenda in 2016. The continued flow of refugees seeking asylum in Europe is a sharp reminder of how the devastating impact ...

Mobilising African resources for Agenda 2063: A question of capacity

Challenges series 2016 - Africa Capacity Building Foundation

  • African Capacity Building Foundation

Discussions for the UN Agenda 2030 have set high expectations for domestic resource mobilisation as a self-sustaining development finance strategy. Agenda 2063 is a roadmap for structurally transforming Africa over 50 years, ...

Growing pains? The long teenage years of European strategy


As part of our Challenges series, Damien Helly asks if 2016 could be the year we witness the beginning of a renaissance in European strategic global action. From the pain of teenage ...

COP21: A historic, but still fragile milestone for climate change


Some hope on global collective action to end 2015 The Paris climate deal is a clear step in the right direction, and gives hope on the ability of the world leaders to ...

What you shouldn’t have missed in 2015 - A chance to catch up


The year 2015 was a big year for international development and ACP-EU and Africa-EU relations. What were the key highlights of the year? And what did we have to say about them? ...

A pragmatic review of the European Neighbourhood Policy that leaves some key dilemmas untackled


After a year-long review of the European Neighbourhood Policy (ENP), the results were presented by the High Representative, Federica Mogherini, and the Commissioner for Enlargement and Neighbourhood, Johannes Hahn, to the European ...

Partnerships to deliver food security in Africa

Challenges series 2016 - Richard Munang and Robert Mgendi

  • Dr. Richard Munang
  • Mr. Robert Mgendi

In the third of our series of blogs ahead of the 2016 Challenges Paper – released on January 4th 2016 – Richard Munang and Robert Mgendi from the Africa Regional Climate Change ...

Migration and development

Challenges series 2016 - Commissioner Neven Mimica

  • Commissioner Neven Mimica

In the second of our series of blogs ahead of the 2016 Challenges Paper – released on January 4th 2016 – Commissioner Neven Mimica shares his perspectives on the challenges for sustainable development ...

Can cities pave the way towards a sustainable future?

Challenges series 2016 - Kitty van der Heijden

  • Kitty van der Heijden

With rapid urbanisation, cities are at a critical juncture. They have always been a major driver of economic growth, yet urbanisation brings major challenges. In 2016 we have an opportunity to promote ...

Le secteur privé, un groupe hétéroclite aux intérêts divergents : Le cas de la filière riz au Sénégal et en Côte d’Ivoire


Avec l’avènement des Objectifs de développement durable (ODD), le secteur privé est mis au cœur du développement. Le rôle clé du secteur privé en tant que créateur de richesse, d’emplois et de ...

CSO-business partnerships - bringing mozzarella to the masses?


The Italian milk connection The Africa Milk Project (AMP), which partners the Italian civil society organisation CEFA with the largest Italian milk cooperative Granarolo, just won the first prize at Expo 2015 ...