The EU, Africa and China: opportunities and challenges of a trilateral cooperation

October 7, 2008 at 3:07 pm | Posted in EU External Relations, Parliamentarians | Leave a comment
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EDC 2020 Briefing for Parliamentarians and Policy Makers – Report

29 October 2008, Brussels/Belgium

Within the EDC 2020 project SID European Programme organised the above briefing. Together with our panelists we have discussed the European Commission Communication on “The EU, Africa and China: Towards a trilateral dialogue and cooperation on peace, stability and sustainable development”, which was issued on 15 October 2009 as well as what further opportunities and challenges may occur and what they imply for political decision-making, policy-making and research.

Opening: Jos van Gennip, President Society for International Development Netherlands (SID)
Panel Chair: Sven Grimm, Researcher, German Development Institute / Deutsches Institut für Entwicklungspolitik (DIE)
Speakers:
Uwe Wissenbach, Coordinator for Africa-China relations, European Commission, DG Development
Helmut Reisen, Research Director, OECD Development Centre
Prof. Dr. Xuewu Gu, Director, Institute of East Asian Studies, Ruhr-Universität Bochum
Senator Rene van der Linden
, Chair of the Committee for European Cooperation, Dutch Senate The briefing is particularly intended to facilitate interaction between parliamentarians, researchers and policy-makers.

The report and more background information is to be found on the website of EDC 2020.

The Role of New EU Member States in EU-Africa Development Policy

March 3, 2008 at 12:07 pm | Posted in Aid Effectivness, Parliamentarians | 1 Comment

Slovenian EU Presidency Seminar on Africa

European Parliament, Brussels, 28 February 2008

The relationship between the New Member States of the European Union (EU) and Africa were discussed at a seminar in Brussels aimed to prepare and equip the new donors to play a full part in African development. The seminar, organised by AWEPA (Association of European Parliamentarians for Africa), in co-operation with the European Parliament, the International AIDS Vaccine Initiative (IAVI) and the Society for International Development (SID) European Programme, was held to mark the occasion of the EU Presidency of Slovenia. Participants addopted Recommendations for Parliamentary Action and Resolution on Parliamentary Monitoring of ODA.

Speaking at the seminar, Anton Kokalj, a Member of the Slovenian Parliament and Chair of the Committee on EU Affairs, confirmed that Slovenia, as the first “post-Lisbon EU Presidency,” would take forward the Africa-EU Joint Strategy and its Action Plan, adopted at the EU-Africa Summit in Lisbon. “We are serious about the new strategic partnership with Africa,” he said.

A Member of the European Parliament for Lithuania, Danute Budreikate, noted that the New Member States had no historical and geographical ties with Africa, and target neighbouring countries as they see co-operation benefits. “However, the New EU Member States have faced similar problems to African countries and could exchange transition experiences”, she added. She further noted that most new EU states “are not even close to meeting the development contribution targets”. Drawing on their recent development co-operation experiences, policies and future plans, the participants were focusing on three key areas of parliamentary responsibility: the Joint-EU Strategy, parliamentary oversight of Official Development Assistance (ODA) and the eradication of HIV and AIDS.

Hadj Diao El Kanté, Chair of the International Relations Committee of the Pan-African Parliament (PAP), described relations between the EU and Africa as “at a crossroads after 50 years of African independence and 50 years of EU co-operation”. He said that the EP and the PAP identify shared priorities for development and should work together to ensure that their parliaments take part actively in the implementation of the Africa-EU strategy.

Johan van Hecke, Head of the AWEPA Section in the European Parliament, stressed that national parliaments had a crucial role to play in monitoring the implementation. He emphasised that because parliaments played a major role in the budget, a greater role had to be played by them in improving aid effectiveness.

“Aid is also a matter from people to people, not from government to government” said Professor Ben Turok, Member of Parliament in South Africa and Chair of the NEPAD Contact Group of African Parliamentarians. Professor Turok emphasised that aid must be a public vehicle for public discourse. Otherwise aid becomes a political manipulation or a partnership between two ministers of finance.

In relation to the fight against HIV/AIDS, the participants spoke about ways to scale up national responses to eradicate AIDS with a special focus on vulnerable children. UNICEF Brussels Senior Policy Advisor, Margaret Wachenfeld, stressed the need to strengthen the health sector response to ensure adequate health care for children affected by AIDS. Prince N. Bahati, Senior Programme Manager of IAVI added that parliaments had to “encourage their governments to support financing mechanisms and incentives that stimulate the private sector to contribute to access to new health technologies, like AIDS vaccines and microbicide’s, through which women and girls in particular can protect themselves better”.

Implementation of the European Consensus on Development: 2007 Policy Coherence for Development Rhetoric or Reality?

November 29, 2007 at 2:14 pm | Posted in Coherence, Parliamentarians | Leave a comment
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On 26th November 2007 SID European Programme, EU Coherence Programme and EDC 2010 Programme organised the above briefing session, in Hotel Leopold in Brussels. See the programme for additional information.

The briefing session dealt with the issue of Policy Coherence for Development within the larger context of implementation of European Consensus for Development. The first ever European Report on Policy Coherence for Development, which was prepared by the European Commission and which will be voted in the EP plenary early next year, was chosen as a departing point for the briefing session. The purpose of the session was two-folded: on one side to provide parliamentarians, policy makers and representatives of development administrations with the latest information regarding the above topic, and at the same time to provide the participants with an opportunities to discuss the subject with an expert panel of multi-stakeholder representatives (the European Commission, researcher, parliamentarians and civil society), and with their colleagues parliamentarians from other MS and EP.

President of SID Jos van Gennip open the session by a short welcome address to the participants and invitation to the Commissioner Louis Michel to deliver his keynote speech. Apart from from coherence the Commissioner touched also upon nummber of other very topical issues of the EU development policy debate such as EPAs, Code of Conduct on Division of Labour and EU-Africa Summitt. The commissioner was followed by a panel of experts including: presentation by Louka T. Katseli, MP Greek Parliament, Professor of Economics at the University of Athens, former Director OECD Development Centre presenting critical analysis from a perspective of MSs parliamentarians; very relevant concrete points by Thijs Berman , Vice-chair of the European Parliament Development Committee assessing the report from the EP perspective; presentation by Francoise Moreau, Head of unit Forward Looking Studies and Policy Coherence, DG Development & Relations with ACP States, the European Commission, who tried to give background to the report as well as the summary of the most important findings; and last but not least in a few very relevant brief points and practical examples Peter Heintze, Director EVS/EU Coherence Programme tried to give civil society perspective on the matter and role of parlaimetnarians in encuring coherence of the policies.

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