Monthly Highlights from ECDPM's Weekly Compass Update, GREAT Insights, Volume 2, Issue 2 (February March 2013)

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    Is food security about producing more or eating well? Weekly Compass, No. 137, 8 February 2013.Ensuring food security is about much more than increasing agricultural production and trade, argues ECDPM’s Francesco Rampa in a blog reporting from last week’s Global Donor Platform for Rural Development Assembly. Global food production already suffices to feed the world’s population and the latest figures show that more people are overweight than hungry. As economic growth brings about unhealthy diets, Africa is also facing a dramatic increase in obesity. Rampa emphasises that policymakers should be asking questions such as whether “linking farmers to markets” promotes food systems that are healthy, sustainable and help create jobs.

    Building bridges between trade and agriculture: who needs to lay which brick, Weekly Compass, Issue 136, 1 February 2013 Weak coordination between agriculture and trade policymakers and the private sector poses a challenge to boosting intra-African trade and the development of regional agricultural markets. Continuous policy dialogue at the continental, regional and national levels could ensure consistent planning and more integrated action, a new joint Briefing Note by the Global Mechanism (UNCCD) and ECDPM recommends. It points to priority areas to leverage synergies and pool public and private resources channeled through the Aid for Trade initiative, the Comprehensive Africa Agriculture Development Programme and related private sector initiatives. ECDPM’s Francesco Rampa, a co-author, presented the paper at the Global Donor Platform for Rural Development’s general assembly earlier this week.

    Bilateral donor approaches to engaging the private sector, Weekly Compass, Issue 136, 1 February 2013 Donor policies do not promote space for developing countries to establish strong national ownership over the growth and private sector agenda according to a new paper from the North-South Institute and the Canadian Council for International Co-operation. The paper identifies emerging themes in donor policies around growth and the private sector by comparing and contrasting different elements of donors’ strategies such as visions and assumptions, areas of focus, and budget sizes. The research also examines how donors see the role of the state, private sector actors, and other development actors.

    2013 a crucial year to renew EU foreign policy, Weekly Compass, Issue 135, 25 January 2013 The European External Action Service (EEAS) needs to take charge of strategic planning and be bolder in taking the initiative to achieve common EU external policies according to a new paper by The Finnish Institute of International Affairs. The paper calls on European players to use the upcoming review of the EEAS to increase coordination within, between and across EU institutions and policy areas to develop a policy that more than just the sum of national and EU foreign policies. It should build on national strengths, compensate for national weaknesses, and draw together inputs from the whole system. Another paper by FRIDE agrees, arguing that the added-value of EU foreign policy depends on what the Union stands for in global politics, and whether it is prepared to take action in a more pragmatic and effective fashion, adapting to a changing world.

    More conditionality on the road ahead, Weekly Compass, Issue 134, 18 January 2013 Roads are essential for regional integration, economic growth and social development in Sub-Saharan Africa. They can support food security, for example, by connecting rural farmers to markets. Yet, nearly every third road financed by EC support in the region is in poor condition, according to a special report released by the European Court of Auditors this week. The European Development Fund needs to be more focused and the EC should attach more conditions to its support, encouraging partner countries to ensure appropriate road maintenance. In its reply, the Commission says it’s leverage depends on the commitment and capacity of its partners, the amounts invested and the policies pursued by other donors in the same sector. 

    This article was published in Great Insights Volume 2, Issue 2 (February-March 2013)

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