Finance and Human Resources
A new strategy and new programmes create new opportunities and challenges in 2012. ECDPM’s programme staff first had to reposition themselves and establish a solid base from which to develop their activities. The Centre’s management team decided to give promising young professionals a chance to conduct and manage the new programmes with the support of more experienced senior staff. Having received training in project formulation and fundraising in the first months of 2012, along with all other staff members, the new managers did remarkably well in setting up their programmes and, when necessary, tapping into financial resources from diverse donors. Two programmes were particularly successful in attracting funding from external sources: the European External Action programme and the Food Security programme. A new donor, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation (BMGF) pledged to fund a joint ECDPM and ODI evaluation of the Think Tank Initiative (TTI) by contributing US $499,324 from June 2012 to July 2013. As a result, important steps were made in 2012 in terms of broadening ECDPM funding relationships.
Furthermore, in the course of 2012, several multiple-year institutional funding contracts expired and needed to be renewed. In line with fiscal austerity measures, the Netherlands reduced the level of its institutional funding for 2012 by 12.5 per cent. However, increases in funding from renewed agreements with Belgium and Luxembourg bridged the ensuing gap almost entirely. In addition, the Irish Aid renewed its agreement with ECDPM in 2012. As a result, the 2:1 balance between unrestricted (core and institutional) and more restricted (programme and project) funding was preserved. We consider this balance to be of crucial importance to ECDPM in performing its tasks as an independent, non-partisan broker. In times of fiscal constraint, the support we received reflects the importance that member states attach to the Centre’s role as an independent research and knowledge broker linking policy and practice to strengthen Europe’s external action and development policy. This underscores the widespread appreciation of the quality of ECDPM’s services and achievements. However, it is also a challenge and a responsibility that ECDPM will have to live up to in the years to come: to continue to meet the high standards set.
During the fall of 2012, the Board and Management presented ECDPM’s new strategy 2012-2016 to the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs, along with a request for a renewal of Dutch financial support. A recent communication confirms the Minister’s decision to extend Dutch financial support to ECDPM for another four years until 31 of December 2016.
As in previous years, we remained very conscious of costs. The efficiency of our publication process was further improved, the result of which was a 31 per cent increase in the number of publications accompanied by a 24 per cent decrease in costs. We also made progress in improving the efficiency of our communications operations, significantly reducing traditional costs by gradually increasing the systematic use of internet communication tools, such as Google hangouts/chats, Skype and video conferencing. In addition, the new IMAKE project continues to enhance internal collaboration, efficient storing and easy access to our data, as well as sharing information and learning. The system builds on the Google platform and has switched to cloud storage, which enables ECDPM staff members to access the Centre’s data from wherever they happen to be working. It also reduces the need for internal infrastructure (servers and security systems). In 2012, ECDPM’s e-mail, calendar and chat software was replaced and the introduction of Google Drive and Google Docs was finalised. Google Sites will be launched at the beginning of 2013, creating additional project information and management opportunities. Further savings were realised in the category personnel costs, as it was possible to decrease ECDPM’s liability for accrued leave days as per the end of the year.
ECDPM’s 2012 operational costs were lower than budgeted, remaining at the 2010 level, mainly due to the fact that certain expenditures which had been expected in 2012 did not occur until 2013, particularly with regard to external expertise contracted under the Food Security programme and the TTI evaluation funded by BMGF.
In summary, as it was the first year of the new strategy period, 2012 was an important year in setting the tone for the years to come. From this point of view, the Centre made a good start renewing its strategy in the light of the EU’s rapidly changing relations with the developing world, while it built on the results of successful work in the past. Management innovations have contributed to creating a new dynamism within the Centre in order to address the challenges of the new European and global context. Last, but certainly not least, ECDPM received strong support from its institutional funders so now it’s ‘all hands on deck’ to ensure that the Centre will continue to deliver services and products that match the high quality standards everyone has grown used to.
Click here to download our balance sheet, income and expenditure account and auditors report (pdf).
Board of Governors
The ECDPM Board of Governors is composed of highly respected policymakers, practitioners and specialists from ACP countries and EU member states. The full Board convenes twice a year. From among its members, the Board chooses the Executive Committee and Programme Committee. The Executive Committee meets at least three additional times each year. Among other things, it reviews the mid-year and annual balance sheets and income and expenditure statements. The Programme Committee meets twice a year to review the ECDPM annual work plan and annual report. For an introduction to our current board members, please visit www.ecdpm.org/board.
At the end of 2012, ECDPM had 47 core staff members, of which 26 were women. Three programme staff members left the organisation at the end of the year; the ensuing vacancies were to be filled early in 2013.Thirty-nine staff members are based at the head office in Maastricht, and 8 operate from ECDPM’s Brussels office.
The Centre employed 18 programme staff members and 11 junior programme staff and research assistants. It had a support staff of 18, or 16.6 full-time equivalents, working in administration, IT, communications, publications and human resources management.
Staff represented 20 nationalities: Algerian, American, Austrian, Belgian, British, Canadian, Dutch, Ethiopian, French, German, Hungarian, Italian, Mauritian, Mauritanian, Polish, Portuguese, South African, Spanish, Swedish and Swiss. In addition to the regular staff, 8 programme associates and 1 research fellow collaborated closely with the Centre in 2012 but were not on the payroll. ECDPM further worked closely with a broad network of consultants.
The Centre strives to provide opportunities for young professionals, especially those from the ACP. In 2012, we awarded 4 internships, 7 research assistantships and 4 programme assistantships to university graduates to work in a highly stimulating environment and gain international exposure. The Centre selects postgraduates of outstanding intellectual quality and personal strength holding a master’s degree in development, social studies, international affairs/relations, communications, law or economics, and with specialisations relevant to ECDPM’s work.