Making policies work

Talking Points blog overview

About the Talking Points blog

01-05-2020
  • ECDPM

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. ...

Time to strengthen strategic partnerships for peace and security in Africa

13-11-2017
  • Volker Hauck

The central theme of the upcoming AU-EU Summit will be ‘youth’. While a detailed agenda for this event has not yet been published, there is little doubt that the two organisations will ...

Finding the middle ground: Is the EU changing its engagement with middle-income countries?

06-11-2017
  • Mariella Di Ciommo

In one of his humorous talks, the Swedish statistician Hans Rosling shows us a beautifully designed data story on the emergence of ‘the middle’: people out of extreme poverty who however still ...

What the Dutch iron lady has in store for Europe and Africa

30-10-2017
  • Ewald Wermuth
  • Jeske van Seters

Sigrid Kaag has been appointed as Minister for Foreign Trade and Development Cooperation of the Netherlands. The media referred to her as the Dutch iron lady in her role as head of ...

Trade and food security in West Africa

30-10-2017
  • Bruce Byiers

The West African economy is an informal economy. So trade facilitation is about working with informal trade.” So stated Laurent Bossard, Director of the Sahel and West Africa Club (SWAC) at the ...

A message to African and European leaders: ‘More of the same is not good enough’

23-10-2017

In a few weeks’ time, African and European leaders will gather in Abidjan for the fifth AU-EU Summit. There are plenty of important issues for them to chew on and yet, the ...

‘Making Africa work’ - What not to do

16-10-2017
  • Bruce Byiers
  • San Bilal

‘Africa Works’ was the somewhat provocative title of a book published in 1999. With the subtitle “disorder as a political instrument”, the problem cited is that it often ‘works’ in a perverse ...

Negotiating the next EU budget: A unique opportunity for EU foreign and development policy

09-10-2017
  • Andrew Sherriff
  • Mariella Di Ciommo
  • Meritxell Sayós Monràs

The EU agreed to spend a total of €66.3 billion on external action, plus €30.5 billion under the 11th European Development Fund (EDF) for the period 2014-2020. Despite these amounts, external action ...

Sectoral multi-stakeholder initiatives at EU level: quo vadis?

29-09-2017
  • Jeske van Seters

Multi-stakeholder initiatives (MSIs) bring together actors such as businesses and business associations, trade unions, government and NGOs to define joint goals and measures to make global value chains more sustainable and inclusive. ...

Don’t expect perfection but progress! Multi-stakeholder initiatives to foster responsible business conduct

28-09-2017
  • Karim Karaki

Private sector engagement for sustainable development has become a key concept among development community practitioners and a cross-cutting issue, as underlined by the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The key focus is not ...

Policy Coherence in 2017: Lessons from the United Nations High Level Political Forum

18-09-2017
  • Martin Ronceray

The concept of ‘policy coherence’ has progressively gained prominence among the international development community. This year’s High Level Political Forum (HLPF) showed that thirteen years from the deadline of the 2030 Agenda, there ...

Hard Brexit proposed for EU development

18-09-2017
  • Andrew Sherriff
  • Hélène Vanvolsem

There has been much speculative analysis but little hard detail from the UK or EU official parties on the implications of Brexit on EU development policy and aid. Development is not a ...

Regional organisations in Africa - Mapping multiple memberships

15-09-2017
  • Bruce Byiers

ECDPM has developed an interactive map to help you navigate the complex landscape of Regional Organisations in Africa. The following blog introduces this new tool. Last week, Tunisia’s Prime Minister announced his ...

West African cement - Stuck between politics and economics?

11-09-2017
  • Bruce Byiers
  • Karim Karaki

Despite the hype around Aliko Dangote, the Nigerian billionaire who ostensibly shows that business CAN be done in Africa, little development policy thought or debate seem to focus on the sector that ...

The odyssey of elections in Africa: A new era of democracy and rule of law?

11-09-2017
  • Luckystar Miyandazi

After the Supreme Court of Kenya’s decision to nullify the results of the 8 August 2017 presidential polls, Kenya became the first country in Africa to have such a decision made at ...

Why is it so difficult to develop sustainable tourism in West and East Africa?

04-09-2017
  • Greta Galeazzi (Alumna)

The Annual World Tourism Conference took place in Kigali, Rwanda, at the end of last week, drawing attention to the potential that sustainable tourism holds for development. Yet this sector is still ...

G20 in Hamburg and the migration agenda: How changing US policies are affecting global discussions

06-07-2017
  • Anna Knoll
  • Noemi Cascone

Barely in power, President Trump has started his long-term plan to enforce stricter immigration laws delivering on his campaign promises. These include increasing the number of deportations of undocumented migrants, building his ...

Time to move to an interest-driven Africa-EU political partnership (part two)

26-06-2017
  • Geert Laporte

At the end of November, African and European Heads of State will meet in Abidjan, Cote d’Ivoire, for the 5th Africa-EU Summit. Every three years this high-level event provides a good opportunity ...

Time to move towards an interest-driven Africa-EU political partnership (part one)

19-06-2017
  • Geert Laporte

At the end of November African and European Heads of State will meet in Abidjan, Cote d’Ivoire, for the 5th Africa-EU Summit. Every three years this high-level event is a good opportunity ...

UK election and Brexit: No clarity in sight for development and trade

11-06-2017
  • Andrew Sherriff

The UK’s Prime Minister Theresa May’s gamble on increasing her parliamentary majority and – in her mind – getting a stronger mandate for Brexit negotiations from the UK electorate has backfired spectacularly. ...

Rethinking Germany’s peace policy: From crisis management to sustainable peace?

09-06-2017
  • Andrew Sherriff
  • Matthias Deneckere

Violent conflict at Europe’s doorsteps, record levels of forced displacement and a concentration of poverty in fragile states have shown the importance of building sustainable peace. At the same time, global power ...

Investing in culture and creativity: Reflections from the European Development Days

09-06-2017
  • Greta Galeazzi (Alumna)

Last year, as I was travelling for work in West Africa, I met many young creatives and artists that use their skills and creativity to make art and also, through their activities, ...

Tunisia’s decentralisation process at a crossroads

24-05-2017
  • Tasnim Abderrahim

Without a new decentralising framework, elections for new local councils in Tunisia will not make them more responsive to local concerns. In this blog, originally published by Carnegie, Tasnim Abderrahim explains why. ...

Europe's response to violent conflict: Shifting priorities in a changing world?

24-05-2017
  • Andrew Sherriff
  • Greta Galeazzi (Alumna)
  • Matthias Deneckere

There is an ominous sense of change going through Europe and the rest of the world. Brexit, the rise of Euroscepticism, the Trump presidency, high-profile terrorist incidents in Europe, violent conflicts coming ...

Sealing the leak: Addressing financing around the 2030 Agenda

19-04-2017
  • Luckystar Miyandazi

The theme of the High-level Political Forum on sustainable development this year will be “Eradicating poverty and promoting prosperity in a changing world”. In this blog, Luckystar Miyandazi explains why sealing the ...

Corruption: A complex method of tax dodging in Africa

31-03-2017
  • Luckystar Miyandazi

This week, the 2017 OECD Global Anti-Corruption and Integrity Forum is happening in Paris. In this blog, Luckystar Miyandazi looks at the link between corruption and tax dodging in Africa. For a ...

What does the European Parliament say about the EU’s international cultural relations?

23-03-2017
  • Greta Galeazzi (Alumna)

In a moment of existential crisis for the European Union, culture might seem irrelevant. Yet, for a meaningful refounding of the European project, culture and values need to be at the heart ...

Egypt under the spotlight: Can it be a safe third country?

Blog 3

17-03-2017
  • Anna Knoll
  • Tasnim Abderrahim

While the EU-Turkey deal, together with the closure of the Balkan route, succeeded in significantly cutting the number of refugees crossing the Balkans, the more perilous Central Mediterranean route is back in ...

Will the new Communication on resilience help to make EU external action more effective?

17-03-2017
  • Volker Hauck

The European Union is preparing a new Communication on resilience. This concept has played an important role in the EU’s approach to the development-humanitarian nexus but has evolved over the past years. ...

EU-Tunisia cooperation on migration: Conflicting agendas?

Blog 2

15-03-2017
  • Anna Knoll
  • Tasnim Abderrahim

Our previous blog outlined the EU’s vision of migration management together with partners in North Africa, with the aim to stem and ultimately reduce the flow of irregular migrants through the Mediterranean. ...

The EU's migration cooperation with North Africa: will the carrot and stick approach work?

10-03-2017
  • Anna Knoll
  • Tasnim Abderrahim

      On 2 March, the European Union published the third progress report on actions carried out under the Migration Partnership Framework to manage flows along the Central Mediterranean route. In ...

The European External Investment Plan and sustainable development - don't reinvent the wheel, just realign it

03-03-2017
  • Bruce Byiers
  • Karim Karaki
  • Sebastian Große-Puppendahl

Addressing Africa’s infrastructure gap has become a key priority for development practitioners and policy-makers, and a ‘sine qua non’ condition for sustainable development on the continent. Reliable and efficient energy and transport ...

Is the Nile Basin Initiative a ‘regional sailboat’ in choppy geopolitical waters?

03-03-2017
  • Bruce Byiers

With development practitioners increasingly invoking the importance of thinking and working politically in development processes, Rachel Kleinfeld has a very appropriate line that goes: “Plan for sailboats, not trains”. In other words, forget ...

Do values still matter in the Europe-Africa partnership?

24-02-2017
  • Geert Laporte

“The democracy, rule of law and human rights agenda is under pressure but it is more relevant than ever in the Europe-Africa dialogue”. This was the key conclusion of a seminar organised ...

Youth: a shared priority for Europe and Africa

23-02-2017
  • Greta Galeazzi (Alumna)

  Sixty years ago, the Treaty of Rome established the European Economic Community, paving the way for the abolition of custom duties and the creation of a single market for goods, workers, ...

Revisiting EU assistance in crisis situations: What place for humanitarian aid?

23-02-2017
  • Matthias Deneckere

Conflicts and protracted crises in the EU neighbourhood, alongside the resulting migration and refugee flows, have put serious pressure on the EU’s external action financing instruments. In our Challenges Paper 2017, we ...

What is the new European Consensus on Development for?

17-02-2017
  • James Mackie

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

03-02-2017
  • Tasnim Abderrahim

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?

03-02-2017
  • Luckystar Miyandazi
  • Philomena Apiko

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

20-01-2017
  • Anna Knoll

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

13-01-2017
  • Franz Ferdinand Rothe (Alumnus)
  • Nina Thijssen
  • Valeria Pintus

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

16-12-2016
  • 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?

09-12-2016
  • 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?

09-12-2016
  • Bruce Byiers

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

02-12-2016
  • 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

30-11-2016
  • Luckystar Miyandazi

  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

24-11-2016
  • Martin Ronceray

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

23-11-2016
  • Francesco Rampa

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

18-11-2016
  • Damien Helly (Alumnus)

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

17-11-2016
  • Annabelle Laferrère (Alumna)

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 ...