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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Louis Michel: “Europe is moving forward on the coherence agenda”

November 27, 2007 at 11:17 pm | Posted in Coherence | Leave a comment

In his keynote speech given at the briefing session on Policy Coherence for Development, Louis Michel, Commissioner for Development Cooperation and Humanitarian Aid, not only offered the Commission’s perspective on the issue, but he also touched upon a broader range of matters that form the ‘conceptual matrix’ of European development policy.

For Commissioner Michel, Policy Coherence for Development is at the very center of aid effectiveness, but it is also a clear moral principle: it is not acceptable that the impact in the area of European development policy is reduced by the performance of other EC policies. Therefore, each and every European policy has to take in consideration its possible effect on development goals. Again, the MDGs have to serve as a guide to define this analytic framework.

Looking at the EC report it is clear how much potential in other policies there is for development results. Agriculture is a clear example of this. Nevertheless, for Mr. Michel the recognition of PCD as a central element for development is today a reality in the European Union. The objective is now to put this concept into practice, “reinforcing the positive effects that European policies have on developing countries, so to support our partners’ efforts to reach the MDGs.”

In order to do this, Commissioner Michel, suggested to work along three action lines:

1. preventing incoherence through systematic impact analysis before any policy is formulated;
2. correcting policies when a case of incoherence clearly emerges;
3. creating synergies between policies and development objectives.

In this perspective, Mr. Michel described the “conceptual matrix” that defines the guiding principle of EU development. The increase of financial resources; the integrated development strategy embedded in the European Consensus and in regional strategies; and key issues such as trade relations, good governance, climate change and the EU-Africa partnership, being the pillars of EU development policy.

The recently agreed code of conduct on the division of labour represents another important element, and according to Commissioner Michel this is key for addressing Policy Coherence for Development, as it will ensure better coordination among donors and among policies.

But also within the Commission there is a need for a better division of labour, in order to divide responsibilities in a more coherent way. The example of AIDCO and DGDEV, falling under the responsibilities of different Commissioners, clearly calls for a reform of the current structure and for more coherence.

By the same token, more and better action is required at the national level, with member states that need to put in place institutional mechanisms to ensure Policy Coherence for Development. Some member states such as Finland, Sweden and the Netherlands are leading the way, but many more should follow along the same lines.

In conclusion, for Commissioner Michel the results are there: PCD is tangible and Europe is advancing on the agenda of coherence, the debate is open and some dynamics are already in place. Yet, a lot still needs to be done, and member states in particular have to play a bigger role in dealing with the issue.

Rilli Lappalainen, coordinator of KEHYS, the Finnish NGO platform, reacts on some elements emerging from Commissioner Michel’s intervention.

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Assessing Policy Coherence for Development in EU cooperation

November 27, 2007 at 10:28 pm | Posted in Coherence | Leave a comment

Referring to the results of the report on EU coherence, a diverse panel of speakers shared with the audience interesting presentations and reflections on the issue of Policy Coherence for Development.

Louka T. Katseli, member of the Greek Parliament and former director of the OECD Development Centre, offered a critical analysis from the perspective of a member state parliamentarian. To measure coherence, she emphasized that in particular we first need to define what this term means: “PCD is the pursuit of development objectives through the systematic promotion of mutually reinforcing policy actions, on the part of both OECD and developing countries”. From this definition, we can look at promoting PCD at different levels, so we can talk about intra-country coherence; internal coherence; inter-donor coherence; and donor-recipient coherence.

The EC report refers to coherence in its first and last forms. In other words, the “coherence agenda” seeks to assess where incoherence is and to address it. Unfortunately, PCD is at the moment not institutionalized enough, suffering from the lack of capacities and opportunities to make it more operational.

The EU report looks at 12 vectors, or policy areas, and their impact on development. How to go further from the results of this assessment? Mrs. Katseli presented a matrix of interdependences among these policy areas; it is by looking at the impacts and complementarities among the different vectors that policy coherence for development can be promoted. In Katseli’s words, “policy coherence is a tool that focuses on the interdependence across policies and the net gains that can be achieved form joint actions and synergies across these different policies.”

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According to MEP Thijs Berman the EC report is a good starting point to address the issue of PCD, but there is a clear need to deepen it, for example by offering the possibility to people to submit cases of incoherence. For Mr. Berman clear examples of incoherent EU policies are the high tariffs for processed goods that prevent partner countries to develop their own industries; the phyto-sanitarian standards which should be more flexible; the goals on bio-fuels that are not possible unless incoherence actions are put in place.

More specifically, Mr. Berman reflected extensively on the issue of the EPA negotiations, where “DG Trade has been disastrous”, both in terms of procedures and content. The “real negotiations” started only in 2005, far too late according to Mr. Berman. Moreover, they have been based on clear inequalities among the partners, with DG Trade not demonstrating any kind of the flexibility than the stronger party needs to show.

Representing the European Commission, Françoise Moreau explained the ratio, methodology and results of the EU report on Policy Coherence for Development. PCD is anchored in the EU Consensus for Development, and by consequence it is endorsed by all EU actors. The Commission has therefore decided to produce this PCD report as a biannual exercise to assess and monitor progress made by the Union and its member states.

The results of this first report present some interesting elements, according to Mrs. Moreau. First and foremost, PCD is widely recognised among the different actors, but it progresses better at the EU level than at the national level, were the lack of capacities is more evident. More important, it is clear how conflicting priorities within and between developing countries and donors affect Policy Coherence for Development.

In particular she presented the results of the report in some critical policy areas such as trade, fisheries, migration and climate change. In spite of several positive elements, like the Aid for Trade agenda, the new fisheries partnership agreements that are much more supportive of partner countries fisheries policy, a more comprehensive approach to migration, and other outstanding issues still deserve more attention, debate and research.

Peter Heintze, director of EVS, presented a civil society perspective on the matter. In particular, EVS is active in lobbying in favour of Policy Coherence for Development, both in the Netherlands and, as of 2006, also at the EU level through the EU Coherence Programme.

For Mr. Heintze, the report is in general interesting and quite detailed in its coverage and results. Nevertheless, it presents a too optimistic picture. The progress on PCD is in fact there, clearly recognizable, but the report is somehow not complete, as not all member states contributed their self-assessment evaluation on PCD.

According to Mr. Heintze, there is a clear need for political leadership and will to make decisive progress at all levels, because implementation is the biggest challenge. For this reason, the EVS will continue carrying out its lobby actions, and in this sense it has recently published a short manual that showcases examples of incoherent EU policies and offers suggestions on how to work better.

Commitment to Development 2007- Netherlands still First

November 5, 2007 at 1:33 pm | Posted in Aid Effectivness, Coherence | Leave a comment
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The launch of the CDI 2007 Report was organised by SID NL/European Programme and Euforic and was hosted by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs on November 2, 2007 from 12.00-14.00.

Each year the Commitment to Development Index (CDI) ranks 21 high-income industrialized countries on how well their policies and actions support poor countries’ efforts to build prosperity, good government, and security. In 2007, for the second year running, the Netherlands comes in first on the strength of ample aid-giving, falling greenhouse gas emissions, and support for investment in developing countries.

This year the focus is on the environment component, which includes scores for policies and practices related to climate change. Find out how the countries stack up – and how they compare to Brazil, Russia, India and China (the so-called BRICs) in their global environmental policies.

Chief architect of the Commitment to Development Index, David Roodman gave a review the CDI’s construction and present results for 2007. A panel chaired by Ruud Treffers Director General of the Directorate International Development at the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs gave brief reactions, followed by general questions and discussion. In his presentation Prof Paul Hoebink was rather critical of the way the report is complied.

See also: How good is Dutch development? [Source: euforic blog] 

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