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. ...

Nutritious regional value chains: the final step is what matters

  • Carmen Torres

It’s been a while now since we’re hearing “food security” and “scaling up nutrition” as top priority mantras from governments and the global development community. Unfortunately, concrete achievements are highly disappointing so ...

After Addis, the road to New York lies ahead

The post-2015 development agenda and the EU’s role in shaping it

  • Anna Knoll
  • Sebastian Große-Puppendahl

An edited, modified and shortened version of this article was originally published in Europe Magazine by the European Union Delegation to Japan The Third International Conference on Financing for Development (FFD3) in Addis ...

Africa beyond 2015: The Africa Forum's 3 main takeaways

  • Sebastian Große-Puppendahl

  For the first time in history, the International Economic Forum on Africa did not take place at the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development’s headquarters in Paris but in Germany. The event was held ...

The to-do list: how developing countries can benefit from their resources

  • Isabelle Ramdoo

This blog is based upon a longer paper entitled “Unpacking Local Content Requirements in the Extractive Sector: What Implications for the Global Trade and Investment Framework?” written for the E15Initiative. Implemented jointly ...

Last, but not least: Culture in the spotlight of development agencies

  • Damien Helly
  • Greta Galeazzi

Our panel ‘Culture in the Spotlight: Innovative Approaches to Sustainable Development’ at the 2015 European Development Days in June was a truly exciting moment. After years of dismissal from too many development and foreign ...

Ask the right questions, get the right answers

The EU’s response to migration and its focus on root causes

  • Anna Knoll
  • Asmita Parshotam

The EU aims to make concerted efforts to address the situation of migrants arriving at its borders. While it has ambitions for ‘comprehensive’ action and pursues various policy avenues, the comprehensiveness of ...

From Universality to European reality?

Is the EU up to the job of sustainable consumption and production?

  • Sebastian Große-Puppendahl

The principle of ‘Universality’ in the post-2015 development agenda implies that all countries need to contribute to and achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The goals to be agreed this September at ...

From one grain to another: the rise of rice in West Africa

  • Carmen Torres

Last month I flew from Europe to green Abidjan via arid Ouagadougou for the Borderless Alliance annual Conference 2015. Through the plane window I could see the most real and convincing evidence ...

FFD3 – a steady start to a rocky road ahead?

  • James Mackie

If the degree of consensus achieved in the Third Financing for Development Conference (FFD3) process is anything to go by, the omens look good for the post-2015 agenda and the agreements that ...

The ACP and WTO: Ambitions in trade and development

  • Alfonso Medinilla Aldana

By now the discussions on the future of the African, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) group beyond 2020 are picking up speed. One area in which the ACP leadership sees a clear added ...

Improving the business climate in developing countries: a realistic goal or another holy grail?

  • Bruce Byiers
  • Paul Engel

This blog was originally posted by Platform OiO (Ondernemen in Ontwikkelingslanden), a digital platform that provides information about doing business in new markets to Dutch entrepreneurs. This article by Paul Engel and Bruce Byiers is the ...

Aid for Trade – not just about aid, nor trade...

  • Bruce Byiers

The fifth Global Aid for Trade review last week was good on people but not so great on content. Three things were missing from discussions at this jamboree: the setup of industrial ...

5 key facts on Financing for Development

  • James Mackie
  • Rhys Williams

For positive development outcomes, both developed and developing countries need to ensure the right policy environment to make the best and most effective use of the resources available to them. For developing ...

Does resilience enrich peacebuilding?

  • Anupah Makoond

Peacebuilding is complex, multi-layered and political and the success of resilient individuals and communities has impact on the resilience of the entire society or state. Identifying leaders or institutions that can connect ...

The Role of Aid for Trade in Trade Agreements

Looking beyond reducing costs

  • San Bilal

As the international community gathers for the 5th Global Review of Aid for Trade (AfT) at the WTO in Geneva from 30 June to 2 July 2015, the merits of the 10-year ...

The future of African farming? Regionally integrated, climate-smart, public-private and properly-financed

  • Francesco Rampa

On Monday June 22nd, a team from ECDPM will attend the conference Future of farming and food security in Africa organised by FoodFIRST in Utrecht (The Netherlands). It’s an important meeting, with both ...

Temptations of protectionism, too hard to resist: The cost for poor countries

  • San Bilal

Remember the G20 commitment in November 2008, at the height of the financial crisis, to resist protectionist pressures? Well, according to a newly released report by Global Trade Alert – the brilliant ...

European Development Days 2015: A paradigm shift or bursting the Brussels ‘bubble’?

  • Rhys Williams

Two weeks ago, over 5,000 delegates descended upon Tour & Taxis in Brussels for the 2015 European Development Days. Under the theme ‘Our world, Our dignity, Our future’ the event marks the ...

OECD’s ‘States of Fragility’ report: Some discomfort around the indicators

  • Frauke de Weijer (Alumna)

The OECD report on States of Fragility – Meeting post-2015 Ambitions proposed framework for assessing fragility misses out on a number of key risks and key building blocks for resilience in fragile states.  I warmly ...

Taking fragility seriously in financing the SDGs

  • Frauke de Weijer (Alumna)

The recently published OECD report ‘States of Fragility 2015 – Meeting post-2015 ambitions’ presents very interesting facts and figures on the likelihood of fragile states meeting the post-2015 development goals. Until recently, ...

More on Financing for African Development from the Special Advisor on the Post-2015 Development Agenda at UNECA

  • Aida Opoku-Mensah

Policy-makers need to address the African technology gap with home-grown solutions that support innovation – building strong human and institutional capacities at the same time.  The African debate on sustainable development, as ...

Financing for Development: The state of the debate in Africa

  • Sahra El Fassi

Against the backdrop of intensive global negotiations on the post-2015 sustainable development agenda, it seems opportune to look at the state of the debate on Financing for Development (FfD) in Africa. The ...

The 11th CAADP Partnership Platform: much positive talk, but little walk

  • Francesco Rampa

The 11th CAADP PP was marked by much positive “talk”, with proactive participation of over 400 stakeholders from Africa and beyond. However, argues ECDPM’s Francesco Rampa, it was somehow a lost opportunity.  ...

Can ‘Responsible Investment Principles’ de-polarise the debate on agricultural PPPs in Africa?

  • Sean Woolfrey

The use of public-private partnerships (PPPs) to promote agricultural development is becoming increasingly prominent in Africa, but has provoked fierce criticism due to concerns about their impact on local communities. There is a clear ...

L’agenda universel post-2015 – Le partenariat ACP-UE répond-il encore à ses objectifs ?

  • Jean Bossuyt
  • Niels Keijzer (Alumnus)

L’universalité est l’un des aspects clés de l’agenda global post-2015, mais que  signifie-t-il pour les relations ACP-UE ? Jean Bossuyt et Niels Keijzer se penchent sur cette question dans ce blog ECDPM. « L’universalité ...

Vers une action extérieure de l’UE plus cohérente : quelle place pour les ACP ?


L’Europe à la recherche d’une stratégie mondiale : une quête du graal ? Discuter des relations ACP-UE isolément est un choix risqué ; Jean Bossuyt et Andrew Sherriff expliquent pourquoi.  L’environnement mondial et ...

Public-private partnerships for development: From principles to practice?

  • Sebastian Große-Puppendahl

There is a need to readily embrace the complexity and diversity of public-private partnerships and focus on how to translate broad principles into operational tools, reflects ECDPM’s Sebastian Große-Puppendahl. Recently ECDPM was invited ...

11th CAADP Partnership Platform: “Walking the Talk" on regional cooperation?

  • Francesco Rampa

Ahead of the 11th CAADP PP, ECDPM’s Francesco Rampa argues that Regional Economic Communities should have a stronger role in CAADP implementation. The Partnership Platform (PP) is the key annual moment for ...

The Tipping Point for African Regional Integration

  • Donald Kaberuka

Regional integration in Africa is not just about politics, but economics. The President of the African Development Bank, Donald Kaberuka, summarises the key points from their recent Development Report 2014 in this ...

Is Education a Hidden Shortcut from Crisis to Stability?

  • Fernanda Faria
  • Matthias Deneckere

The post-2015 education agenda must fully integrate itself into the humanitarian and peacebuilding agendas if it is to fully harness the potential of education for long-term stability and development. 2015 marks the ...

The universal post-2015 agenda – how fit for purpose is the ACP-EU partnership?

  • Jean Bossuyt
  • Niels Keijzer (Alumnus)

Universality is one of the key aspects of the global post-2015 agenda, but what does this mean for ACP-EU? Jean Bossuyt and Niels Keijzer explore in this ECDPM blog. “Universality is fundamental: we ...

Blending or still just mixing?

Blending can be a useful tool in unlocking additional project funds and increase innovative development financing.

  • Sander Winckel

Although several Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) have been reached, there is still a huge financing gap (approximately US$ 2,500bn per year), which is needed to meet the new Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) ...

Towards a more coherent EU external action: where does the ACP fit?

Europe’s quest for the holy grail of a global strategy


Discussing ACP-EU relations in a silo is a risky choice, Jean Bossuyt and Andrew Sherriff explain why.  Europe’s global environment is evolving rapidly, as is Europe itself. The million dollar question is ...

Is Mimica Holding all the Aces?

A Paradigm Shift in International Cooperation Will Need Much More Than This

  • Alisa Herrero Cangas

Mimica’s first 100 days have shown us how he may play the game of international development cooperation during his tenure. Here’s hoping he has not shown all his cards…. “This year can ...

Civil Registration and Vital Statistics in Conflict and Emergencies

Will the Momentum be Used to Address the Right Challenges?

  • Matthias Deneckere
  • Tony Land
  • Volker Hauck

In fragile regions affected by conflict, civil registration and vital statistics (CRVS) is increasingly being seen as an essential tool for statebuilding and good governance. But to make it work, decision-makers need ...

Tackling the Threat of Terrorism and Election Violence

A Challenging Year Ahead for Africa in 2015

  • Sahra El Fassi

2015 Global Development Challenges Series - Part 6  The combination of high-risk elections and the burgeoning violence of terrorist groups could make 2015 a particularly turbulent year for African countries. But these threats to ...

A Universal Global Partnership - Wishful Thinking?

First Thoughts on the New EU Commission Communication

  • Sebastian Große-Puppendahl

2015 Global Development Challenges Series - Part 7  2015, the European Year for Development, is a pivotal year for global sustainable development and poverty eradication. It is a response to the fundamental challenges facing ...

Is EU External Action up to the Challenge of Boko Haram?

  • Sophie Desmidt
  • Volker Hauck

2015 Global Development Challenges Series - Part 5   In 2015, the EU needs to face up to the mounting challenges coming from the heartlands of Africa. It needs to work with its African partners ...

Doing More with Less - Where EU Ambition Meets Sobering Reality

  • Alisa Herrero Cangas
  • Greta Galeazzi

2015 Global Development Challenges Series - Part 4  Federica Mogherini’s appointment as the new EU High Representative has been received with reasonable enthusiasm in Africa. However, the extent to which Mogherini will be able ...

Do EU Evaluations Lead to Better Results? The Importance of Uptake

  • Alfonso Medinilla Aldana
  • Jean Bossuyt

Development cooperation is probably one of the most intensively evaluated policy domains. The EU alone produces an impressive stream of evaluations every year. These include 10-12 “strategic” evaluations, which seek to understand ...

2014 in Review: 20 Blogs and Publications to Read Again


This year was a landmark year for the EU and Africa partnership, with the 4th EU-Africa Summit that took place in Brussels. The exhaustive 12-year negotiations on the Economic Partnership Agreements, the ...

Infrastructure in Africa: on Technical Fixes and Politics

Lessons from the annual meeting of the Infrastructure Consortium for Africa

  • Bert Jacobs

By Bert Jacobs, University of Antwerp (part of the ECDPM-theIDLGroup project on the Political Economy of Regional Integration in Africa) With interest in African infrastructure investment at an all-time high, Africa’s regional ...

What Europe Can and Should do for Global Development

  • Linda McAvan MEP

2015 Global Development Challenges Series - Part 3 In the third of our blogs ahead of the 2015 Challenges Paper, Linda McAvan MEP Chair of the European Parliament’s Committee on Development, shares her perspectives on the ...

Innovation and Development: Going to Mars, and More

  • Francesca Guadagno (Alumna)

Last week, NASA tested the resistance of Orion, a spacecraft with habitats for potential Mars trips. The operation cost $370m. This flight test brings the USA closer to the target of sending ...

3 Priorities for a Successful 2015 Financing for Development Conference

  • Sebastian Große-Puppendahl

The intergovernmentally negotiated and agreed outcome of the Third International Conference on Financing for Development (FFD) from 13 to 16 July 2015 in Addis is expected to provide an important contribution to ...

Dutch Priorities for its Contribution to Global Food Security Taking Shape

  • Jeske van Seters

This week, the Dutch Parliament debated the Dutch approach to contribute to global food security. The discussion was based on a letter sent to Parliament by the Minister of Foreign Trade and ...

Public-Private Cooperation for Development: A Working-Together-Apart Relationship

View From the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs

  • Marcel Vernooij

Focus on economics The policy for international cooperation of The Netherlands combines aid, trade and investment. In a coherent agenda we embrace three ambitions: eradicate extreme poverty; promote sustainable and inclusive economic ...

Leaving No One Behind

  • Tony German

2015 Global Development Challenges Series - Part 2 In the second of our blogs ahead of the 2015 Challenges Paper (released in January) Tony German, Executive Director of Development Initiatives shares his perspectives on the challenges ...

Square Pegs in Round Holes

Creating More Synergies Between CSDP Missions and EU Development Programmes

  • Ville Suutarinen
  • Álvaro Benlloch Miranda

Beyond strategies and action plans, there is a need for EU institutions and instruments to work together in a more structured manner. If ever there were a time when the EU needs ...