Monthly Highlights from ECDPM's Weekly Compass Update, GREAT Insights, Volume 1, Issue 4 (June 2013)

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    Conflict prevention and peacebuilding in the EU’s new budget. Weekly Compass, No 110, 11 May 2012  Current negotiations on how the EU will spend its future external aid budget offer an opportunity to improve the bloc’s contribution to conflict prevention and peacebuilding. A new ECDPM Briefing Note provides recommendations for a comprehensive approach ensuring that long-term objectives of conflict prevention and peacebuilding, as well as means to achieve them, will be enshrined in all future EU external relations financial instruments. The paper, of which key elements were presented to the European Parliament’s Foreign Affairs Committee earlier this week, focuses particularly on the Instrument for Stability. It calls for swifter procedures and for evaluating the impact of the Instrument to ensure accountability and learning. Away from aid as financial transfer, towards recognition of power and institutions. Weekly Compass, No 110, 11 May 2012  “Development outcomes in poor countries depend on the political incentives facing political leaders” is the opening line of a new publication entitled “The Political Economy of development in Africa”, which was published jointly by 5 international research programmes last month. They find that although clientelism usually undermines economic transformation, there are exceptions to this, both at the macro level and in particular productive and social sectors. This insight can inform new thinking on how to use aid better in generally difficult circumstances, helping actors in development cooperation to overcome the collective-action problems that prevent them moving ahead, according to the authors. COMESA’s approach to Aid for Trade reviewed. Weekly Compass, No 109, 4 May 2012  In recognition of the growing attention to Aid for Trade (AfT) and of the potential usefulness of regional initiatives, countries of the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA) adopted a regional AfT strategy in 2009. The COMESA Secretariat commissioned ECDPM to undertake a review of this strategy to examine the region’s efforts and the challenges it faces. A new joint COMESA – ECDPM publication presents the review’s findings and provides recommendations for steps to improve the AfT strategy. It notes progress on developing holistic support packages covering investments in infrastructure and trade facilitation instruments along trade corridors, and on creating programmes assisting countries in adjustment to trade liberalization. Stepping up implementation of AfT programmes is identified as a main challenge that COMESA needs to address, the study finds. Level of EU aid to low-income countries “unacceptable”. Weekly Compass, No 108, 27 April 2012 The UK Parliament’s International Development Committee today issued a report on EU Development Assistance. It finds that, overall, the European Commission has improved its performance over the last decade and notes that it has recently proposed further improvements to development policy in the “Agenda for Change”. But the report also points out that only 46% of aid goes to low income countries, an amount the UK Committee Chair says is “unacceptable”. Parliamentarians urge the UK Government to press other EU Member States - Germany, France and Italy in particular - to meet the obligations they made on the 0.7% ODA target. The report also notes that the UK’s Department for International Development should become a champion for policy coherence for development. It further argues that incorporating the European Development Fund into the EU budget in 2014 is premature and should be postponed until 2020. This article was published in GREAT Insights Volume 1, Issue 4 (June 2012).  
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