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. ...

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

  • Damien Helly

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!

  • Francesco Rampa

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

  • Damien Helly

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

  • Annabelle Laferrère
  • Damien Helly

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

  • Alfonso Medinilla
  • Sahra El Fassi (Alumna)

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

  • Karim Karaki

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

  • Sebastian Große-Puppendahl

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

  • Isabelle Ramdoo

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

  • Damien Helly

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

  • Matthias Deneckere

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

  • Damien Helly

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

  • Alisa Herrero Cangas
  • Hanne Knaepen

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

  • Nina Thijssen

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

  • Greta Galeazzi

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

  • Carmen Torres
  • Jeske van Seters

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?

  • Bruce Byiers
  • Karim Karaki

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 ...

#VallettaSummit Part 2

The EU’s new Trust Fund for Africa

  • Anna Knoll

Looking a gift-horse in the mouth? Valletta was a historic moment – the biggest ever summit hosted by Malta to discuss at the highest-level EU-Africa cooperation on migration as a sole agenda ...

The development politics of the Sahel

The slow delivery of a promised integrated approach

  • Damien Helly

Finding solutions to the complex security and development challenges facing the Sahel region is not about the money or continuously multiplying the number of platforms that coordinate action. It is about political ...

#VallettaSummit Part 1

A bond or a knot between Europe and Africa?

  • Anna Knoll

This is part one of a two-part blog on ECDPM’s reaction to the EU-Africa Valletta Summit. Part two will focus on the EU’s new Trust Fund for African states that aims to ...

Le riz : grande star de la conférence de Dakar

  • Carmen Torres

La révision de la politique agricole de l’Afrique de l’Ouest  (ECOWAP/PDDAA) en cours est un exercice fascinant avec des enjeux majeurs.  J’ai fait partie des plus de 60 personnes qui se sont ...

Words into deeds on governance for peace and prosperity

African leaders at the 70th UN General Assembly

  • Sahra El Fassi (Alumna)

An edited, modified and shortened version of this article was originally published on the blog of the United Nations ‘Africa Renewal’ programme.  At the 70th United Nations General Assembly (UNGA), dubbed the “greatest ...

#EUGlobalStrategy 2016

A wider scope beyond security and closer to citizens?

  • Damien Helly

The new EU global strategy will guide European external action for the best part of a decade. It is clear what is needed in Federica Mogherini’s public consultation is a holistic multi-disciplinary ...

Bringing us back to the larger questions

Why do we need a revised model for assessing fragility and what would it need to look like?

  • Frauke de Weijer

This article originally appeared in the OECD’s Institutions and Stability blog in October 2015  In an earlier blog I wrote about my discomfort around the indicators used in the proposed new model for ...

The new EU trade and investment strategy: The proof of the pudding is in the eating

  • San Bilal
  • Clara Brandi
  • Max Mendez-Parra

Maastricht, Bonn, London, 16 October 2015. On 14 October 2015 the European Commission released the new EU trade and investment strategy. Its catchy title – Trade for All – is very auspicious ...

Multi-stakeholder partnerships in the post-2015 development agenda: Time to get down to earth?

  • Karim Karaki

The extremely ambitious 2030 Agenda requires the development community to act collectively, and commit adequate resources to tackle substantial and increasingly interrelated challenges: climate change, poverty, gender inequalities, and more. Acknowledging the complexity ...

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 in ...

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 (Alumna)

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

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 ...

Five key facts on Financing for Development

  • James Mackie
  • Rhys Williams (Alumnus)

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 ...

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

  • Rhys Williams (Alumnus)

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 ...

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 ...