Theme 1: Reconciling values and interests in the external action of the EU
In this thematic area, the Centre played major roles in 2012 in stimulating reflection on development policy ‘beyond aid’, on policy coherence for development and on the design of a new framework for the post-2015 development agenda, that looks beyond the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). Specific contributions by ECDPM programmes included providing analysis and training support to the EU and its member states with a view to enhancing the institutional and political capacity to deal effectively with conflict and fragility; exploring the linkages between trade reform and regional integration; contributing to a better understanding of social dynamics in democratisation processes in North and sub-Saharan Africa; and understanding the impact of EU agricultural and trade policies on food security. In performing these roles, we systematically linked up with a large number of relevant institutions in both the EU and the South, including the European External Action Service (EEAS) as the central player in Europe’s external action. In addition we also established new relationships with global players such as Japan, the USA, China, India and important foundations such as the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation (BMGF). Our work on reconciling values and interests was picked up by several influential players and the international media during the year.
Theme 2: Promoting economic governance and trade for inclusive growth
A second ECDPM theme examines how improved economic governance can promote structural transformation and enhance inclusive growth. In 2012, we helped improve understanding on key issues such as domestic resource mobilisation, development finance, the roles of the private sector in development, business facilitation, and measures for enhanced transparency in the sector of natural resources and extractive industries. ECDPM also continued to explore how EU trade policies affect growth and development opportunities in an ACP context. We facilitated dialogue on regional integration in Southern Africa in the context of the EU-South Africa Strategic Partnership through applied political economy analysis. Where relevant, the impact of emerging players such as China on the relations between Africa and its traditional partners was factored into our research and networking.
Theme 3: Supporting societal dynamics of change related to democracy and governance in developing countries, particularly in Africa
Across the Centre’s different programmes, staff systematically engage in strengthening local dynamics of change in the ACP and Africa, focusing on two levels in particular: official institutions and civil society. At the institutional level, ECDPM contributed, among others, to the launch of the African Governance Platform of the African Union (AU) and to the proposed new Pan-African Programme (PAP) in the framework of the Joint Africa-EU Strategy. At the level of civil society, we built partnerships and strengthened cooperation with regional farmers’ organisations in East, Central and West Africa under the Comprehensive Africa Agriculture Development Programme (CAADP); with the Food, Agriculture and Natural Resources Policy Analysis Network (FANRPAN), a network of 16 national nodes representing Eastern and Southern African researchers; as well as with private sector, government and media representatives. In 2012, the Centre also carried out its first activities in Northern Africa with the launch of a new research stream on the political and socio-economic dynamics of political reforms. We also published a well-received study of societal dynamics in fragile and conflict prone situations.
Theme 4: Food security as a global public good
Insecurity over food is not a technological or economic problem. It is a societal problem of all times. The 2008 food riots in several developing countries have again underlined this. Since, the looming threat of another global food price crisis, with potentially devastating consequences for food-insecure countries and regions, especially in Africa, has captured the attention of the international community. ECDPM plays an active role in stimulating debate and international cooperation to boost sustainable agricultural development and food security in Africa. Particularly, we look at the potential of African regional cooperation, actions carried out by the EU and other Northern countries and public-private partnerships. Staff focuses on enhancing political dialogue, process facilitation and synergies between different policy domains for the implementation of the regional dimensions of the CAADP, publishing regular policy briefs in this area. Furthermore, the Centre facilitated frank CAADP-related dialogues on issues such as the importance of regional food markets and coordination between trade and agriculture policies and programmes in Africa. This led to the first-ever Joint Conference of AU Ministers of Agriculture and Trade.
Read more about our partnerships and institutional relations in 2012 in the Partnership and institutional relations report.