Making policies work

Blog overview

Germany and South Africa together can protect and advance the women, peace and security agenda

12-10-2020
  • Sophie Desmidt

While the world ‘celebrates’ the 20th anniversary of UN security resolution 1325 on women, peace and security, Sophie Desmidt is less impressed with progress made. In her latest commentary, she calls on ...

The AU-EU Summit didn’t prove immune to COVID-19 – but that may be a blessing in disguise

14-09-2020
  • Geert Laporte

This year was supposed to be crucial for Africa-Europe relations, culminating in the sixth AU-EU Summit, scheduled for 28 and 29 October in Brussels. But then COVID-19 happened. After a long palaver, ...

A summer like no other – What’s at stake in critical EU external policy processes

06-07-2020
  • Alexei Jones
  • Alfonso Medinilla
  • Andrew Sherriff

Unusually worried you may miss some big policy developments over the summer? July and August are traditionally quiet months for the European Union (EU), but this will be a summer like no ...

Following the money: Why a COVID-19 marker might not help

29-06-2020
  • Mariella Di Ciommo
  • San Bilal

The EU is putting forward the idea of a COVID-19 marker on aid data to track the unprecedented mobilisation of resources to tackle the crisis globally. Rather than such a marker, the ...

Is meaningful inclusion the next frontier in women in mediation in Africa?

22-06-2020
  • Lidet Tadesse Shiferaw
  • Sophie Desmidt

Last week, ECDPM organised a panel during a three-day online consultation on the next European Union (EU) guidelines for mediation and mediation support. With over 700 participants, we virtually put our heads ...

The China-Africa summit on COVID-19: Geopolitical and economic considerations

22-06-2020
  • Lidet Tadesse Shiferaw
  • San Bilal

While the EU weeps over the slow progress in the preparation of the EU-Africa Summit in October – partly slowed down by the COVID-19 pandemic – China and African leaders held an ...

How to avoid the aid trap in the AU-EU strategic relationship

15-06-2020
  • Fernando Jorge Cardoso

COVID-19 has had far-reaching effects all over the world, the most visible of which on the world economy and public health. Could it also have an impact on Europe-Africa relations? With an ...

EU development cooperation in sub-Saharan Africa: What did we learn?

08-06-2020
  • Alexei Jones
  • Katja Sergejeff
  • Pauline Veron

Together with our colleagues from DIE, we recently completed an ambitious study for the evaluation department (IOB) of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Netherlands on EU development cooperation with sub-Saharan ...

Eight ways the European Investment Bank can help tackle climate change in Africa

11-05-2020
  • Pamella Ahairwe
  • San Bilal

The European Investment Bank (EIB) has set off to become the EU climate bank, after having pioneered the green bonds market over a decade ago. Now, in this new leading role, the ...

Testing the relationship: China’s ‘Corona diplomacy’ in Africa

11-05-2020
  • Lidet Tadesse Shiferaw

As the coronavirus pandemic puts an accent on the geopolitical dynamics among powerful states, China has stepped up its support to Africa’s fight against the virus – arguably not only out of ...

To circularity and beyond: A comprehensive EU strategy for textiles

27-04-2020
  • Jeske van Seters
  • Nadia Ashraf

In March this year, the European Commission launched its new circular economy action plan for a more sustainable and greener Europe. The plan prioritises seven sectors, including – to no one’s surprise ...

Now more than ever: European businesses and due diligence in times of Corona

20-04-2020
  • Jeske van Seters
  • Nadia Ashraf

Because of COVID-19, many European companies are understandably focusing on their financial figures and the safety and wellbeing of their direct employees. Given the gravity of the crisis, the larger supply chain ...

The new EU visa code and what it means for African countries

06-04-2020
  • Amanda Bisong

With global restrictions on mobility being imposed by governments in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the European Union (EU) also banned non-essential travel from third countries into the EU area. However, prior ...

Can COVID-19 create momentum for sustainable and resilient food systems?

06-04-2020
  • Cecilia D’Alessandro
  • Koen Dekeyser
  • Paulina Bizzotto Molina

COVID-19 can be a turning point towards building more resilient and sustainable societies. At this moment, global and national economies have come to an abrupt standstill. Suddenly, economic growth is not sacred ...

Migration, mobility and COVID-19 – A tale of many tales

30-03-2020
  • Amanda Bisong
  • Anna Knoll

The crisis sparked by the COVID-19 pandemic has overshadowed existing migration debates in Europe, yet is inextricably linked with mobility and movement and its governance within the EU and globally. The current ...

Will European public opinion on international cooperation change in the face of COVID-19?

23-03-2020
  • Katja Sergejeff

European public opinion seems to react quickly to perceived crises of the day, but past opinion polls show that support to international cooperation remains stable even in times of crises. Will this ...

Turning the tables: African and European narratives in the time of Corona

23-03-2020
  • Lidet Tadesse Shiferaw
  • Virginia Mucchi

Most of Europe is in lockdown, trying to cope with the huge implications of the battle against the novel coronavirus. Africans are following what is happening on the other side of the ...

The EU and Africa: Should, would, could… but how?

16-03-2020
  • Bruce Byiers

An EU communication is always a strange beast. It tries to lay down new directions while building on existing commitments and instruments; to set a united, common agenda that complements but doesn’t ...

What was there to celebrate for Africa and Europe on International Women’s Day this year?

09-03-2020
  • Sophie Desmidt

On Sunday, the world celebrated International Women’s Day. But the 8 March celebrations are not the only ones marking the importance of women’s empowerment. The year 2020 also marks the 25th anniversary ...

The African Union’s search for homegrown solutions

25-02-2020
  • Philomena Apiko

With the sixth AU-EU summit taking place this year, and with European Union (EU) leaders busy discussing how their budget should be spent over the next period, the AU had its own ...

The state of the negotiations on the long-term EU budget after summit ends with black smoke

24-02-2020
  • Alexei Jones
  • Pamella Ahairwe

After 30 hours of negotiations with the 27 leaders convened for a special EU budget summit in Brussels, Charles Michel, the new President of the European Council, was eventually forced to concede ...

First Kenya, now Malawi: The challenge-annul-rerun pattern in African elections

17-02-2020
  • Martin Ronceray

Hardly any election takes place anywhere without some form of challenge to the results and fairness of the process. Following major elections on the African continent, frustrated voters and political parties often ...

Friends and money for a peaceful and secure Africa

03-02-2020
  • Lidet Tadesse Shiferaw
  • Sophie Desmidt

This weekend, African Union (AU) leaders will be flocking to Addis Ababa for their annual AU summit. In 2020, South Africa’s president, Cyril Ramaphosa, takes over as AU chairperson from Egypt’s Abdel ...

Promoting West African rice: The crucial role of coherent trade policies

31-01-2020
  • Cecilia D’Alessandro
  • Fabien Tondel

Representatives of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) and actors from the private sector will convene in Abuja on 4 and 5 February to discuss national and regional strategies to ...

Brexit day is here – What’s next for EU-UK development cooperation?

27-01-2020
  • Andrew Sherriff

On 31 January, the United Kingdom will leave the European Union. After three-and-a-half years, some of the uncertainty around Brexit has finally ended. What we don’t know yet, however, is what future ...

New year, new aspirations for Europe-Africa relations?

13-01-2020
  • Luckystar Miyandazi

Ursula von der Leyen, president of the new European Commission, chose to visit the African Union (AU) headquarters for her first official trip outside of Europe – this has been described as ...

COP25: The eternal challenge of competing interests

16-12-2019
  • Hanne Knaepen

The United Nations’ 25th Conference of the Parties, more widely known as COP25, ended last Sunday, nearly two days later than it was supposed to. “I am disappointed with the results of ...

Geopolitics for dummies: Big challenges await the new European Commission

02-12-2019
  • Chloe Teevan

“Countries from East to West, from South to North, need Europe to be a true partner. We can be the shapers of a better global order. This is Europe’s vocation. And it’s ...

Botswana: One of Africa’s most stable democracies, but where are the women?

02-12-2019
  • Philomena Apiko

Botswana held its first genuinely competitive elections on 23 October 2019. Unlike previous elections, the 2019 elections saw a major challenge to the ruling Botswana Democratic Party (BDP), which has dominated the ...

Friends, partners or rivals? The UK election manifestos and the space for foreign policy cooperation with the EU

29-11-2019
  • Andrew Sherriff
  • Chloe Teevan

Predicting the future in the twists and turns of UK politics and Brexit is for the brave or the foolish. Taking political party manifestos as a reliable guide to future international policy ...

Can the new European Commission be truly geopolitical, innovative and flexible without the right amount of money?

25-11-2019
  • Andrew Sherriff
  • Mariella Di Ciommo

The next Multiannual Financial Framework (MFF), the EU’s long-term budget for 2021-2027, will not be agreed any time soon. What we can expect shortly is more concrete numbers to negotiate against. Any ...

The potential of the new mining code and partnerships for sustainable mining in the DRC

18-11-2019
  • Gerson Brandao

Its vast mineral resources make the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) one of the richest countries on earth. Paradoxically, the country is in the bottom 15 of the Human Development Index. ...

The African Continental Free Trade Area and the politics of industrialisation

18-11-2019
  • Bruce Byiers
  • Sean Woolfrey

November 20 is Africa industrialisation day. To mark the occasion, the African Union has planned a series of activities on the theme ‘positioning African industry to supply the African Continental Free Trade ...

Limburg’s black gold, the move away from it and lessons for other countries

28-10-2019
  • Nadia Ashraf
  • Poorva Karkare

We recently attended an event organised by ActionAid Netherlands to discuss a ‘just transition’ away from coal mining. Everything about this meeting was different from the usual (dull) meetings in large conference ...

Spirited away: The fading importance of resettlement in the emergency transit mechanism in Rwanda

28-10-2019
  • Leonie Jegen
  • Franzisca Zanker

On 10 October, 123 refugees were evacuated from Libya to Rwanda. This is the second evacuation under the new emergency transit mechanism (ETM) set up in September by the government of Rwanda, ...

The European development financing system: A call for urgent action

18-10-2019
  • San Bilal

As the international development community gathers in Washington, DC for the World Bank Group and International Monetary Fund annual meetings, reality is hitting everyone hard. We are far from reaching the promises ...

The paradox of climate change: How Africa can step up climate action to lighten its vulnerability

14-10-2019
  • Pamella Ahairwe

Africa is the most vulnerable continent to global warming. About 70% of Africans depend on agriculture as a source of livelihood, and in turn on rainfall to guarantee agricultural productivity. Unfortunately, climate ...

Connecting the dots for sustainable food systems in Kenya

04-10-2019
  • Francesco Rampa
  • Koen Dekeyser

Last month, we organised a workshop in Nairobi to discuss the first report of our Sustainable Agrifood Systems Strategies (SASS) project that analyses Kenya’s southern Nakuru County food system, and identify what ...

Crafting the African response to European external migration policies

30-09-2019
  • Amanda Bisong

Migration is a sensitive topic that leads to heated debates and political divisions in almost all countries. While several regional and continental migration agreements exist, states take final decisions on which and ...

Team von der Leyen: Time to speed up the delivery of the 2030 Agenda

23-09-2019
  • Geert Laporte

On 24 and 25 September, heads of state and government will discuss progress on implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development at a summit in New York – for the first ...

Implementing the global migration compact in EU member states: A long and winding road?

12-09-2019

In 2018, the UN Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration (GCM), the first inter-governmentally negotiated agreement on a common and holistic approach to international migration, was endorsed. While not legally ...

Transforming food systems to combat climate change

15-08-2019
  • Cecilia D’Alessandro
  • Koen Dekeyser
  • Paulina Bizzotto Molina

Last week, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) launched a report summary on the contribution of food systems and land use to climate change, which was approved by the world’s governments. ...

Implementing policy coherence: A challenge inherent to the 2030 Agenda

19-07-2019
  • Fabien Tondel
  • James Mackie
  • Martin Ronceray

This week, we were in New York for events organised alongside the 2019 UN High-Level Political Forum, dedicated to implementation of the 2030 Agenda. There was a lot of talk about policy ...

Engage with Africa

18-07-2019
  • Mariella Di Ciommo

Europe’s research policy towards the continent needs to be more tailored, and Africans need a stronger voice in it, says Mariella di Ciommo. Jean-Claude Juncker, outgoing Commission president, has called Africa Europe’s ...

Where aid for trade meets responsible business conduct

15-07-2019
  • Poorva Karkare

I recently attended the 7th Aid for Trade Global Review, which took place in Geneva on 3-5 July. The theme was ʻsupporting economic diversification and empowerment through inclusive, sustainable development’. Naturally, the ...

Making sense of regional integration in Africa

07-07-2019
  • Bruce Byiers
  • Poorva Karkare

The problem of African countries’ memberships to multiple regional bodies? There’s no problem. A highly anticipated coordination meeting between the African Union (AU) and the Regional Economic Communities (RECs) will take place ...

Path to Zero Hunger: Cash-based programming, human-centred development and localisation

24-06-2019
  • Dominique De Bonis

In this blog for ECDPM, Dominique De Bonis, Senior Policy and Programme Officer at the UN World Food Programme, argues that cash transfers can empower people and nations to tackle the root ...

Domestic ripples, regional waves? The future of Ethiopian reforms and their regional implications

03-06-2019
  • Rodrigo Vaz

The recent visit to Ethiopia by EU High Representative Mogherini – the second in 2019 – has in Europe put the spotlight back on Ethiopia’s reforms since Abiy Ahmed became Prime Minister ...

First thoughts on the European elections and development policy

27-05-2019
  • Alexei Jones
  • Andrew Sherriff
  • Mariella Di Ciommo

The European elections present a new, more fragmented, although not revolutionary Parliament. The future European Parliament will deal with critical issues such as the negotiations of the future EU budget and who ...

An AU-EU alliance to defend multilateralism

08-04-2019
  • James Mackie

A decade ago, the European Union (EU) and the African Union (AU) committed to ‘jointly promote and sustain a system of effective multilateralism’ as one of the four objectives of their 2007 ...