The Pelican House and ECDPM

On the occasion of ECDPM's 25th anniversary, Geert Laporte and Jac van den Boogard explore the history of ECDPM and its head office, the Pelican House.

This page is also available in Dutch.

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    In 1986, the European Centre for Development Policy Management (ECDPM) was established in Maastricht by the Dutch government together with representatives of the ACP Group of States, consisting of the poorest and most vulnerable countries of sub-Saharan Africa, the Caribbean and Pacific.

    Setting up such an institute showed foresight. It recognised that development would be impossible if partner countries did not have a well functioning public administration that was capable of putting in place the conditions necessary for all layers of society to take an active part in their own development. Autonomous development was thus foremost from the start – development for and by the people and according to their own vision and conscience.

    But this implied an enormous challenge as well. The new institute had to be capable of offering robust support to – then 66, now 79 – partner countries and able to keep step with a rapidly developing European Union with then 12 and now 27 members. Where and how to begin? And how could it succeed in making a difference?
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