From the category archives:


June 22, 2012

Southern Mediterranean NGOs and the quest for a new social contract in the region

Posted: 12:11 PM UTC

by Nicola Tissi on June 22, 2012

Few would question the importance of civil society’s role in the events of the Arab Spring, especially in Tunisia and Egypt. Non-state actors were a catalyst for change, particularly as they were vocal in calling for more democratic participation, for government accountability and for a legal framework ensuring the respect of human rights. However, now that transitions away from authoritarian rule have been set in motion (to different degrees), in many instances Arab civil society faces the difficult task to put forward a new, enduring, development agenda. This is all but an easy quest, and ...


June 8, 2012

A new conflict-free standard can build confidence in gold

Posted: 14:56 PM UTC

by Terry Heymann on June 8, 2012

++ GUEST CONTRIBUTION ++ Mining is a driver of development but despite its capacity to create wealth and alleviate poverty, it can also be a potential source of finance for armed conflicts in certain high-risk and fragile areas. A number of multilateral initiatives are under way to address this issue and to reduce the risks. The World Gold Council is pioneering in developing a “conflict free gold standard”, and ECDPM will hold a consultation to gather inputs from various stakeholders before the World Gold Council finalises the standard. In a guest contribution Terry Heymann, Director, ...


June 8, 2012

SPRING programme 9 months on: time for much needed stock taking

Posted: 12:31 PM UTC

by Nicola Tissi on June 8, 2012

In response to the wave of change unfolding in its Southern Neighbourhood, the EU announced several initiatives reacting to the transitions in the region.  While my colleagues Faten Aggad and Alisa Herrero Cangas already gave a broad overview of EU’s initiatives in the region, I now focus on one of them, the SPRING programme (Support to Partnership, Reform and Inclusive Growth), adopted in September 2011. It earmarked € 350 Million to sustain the momentum building up in the Arab world, seizing the opportunity to support democracy and market-oriented economic reforms in the region. The EU’s ...

{ 1 comment }

Coming Wednesday, on the 16th of May, the new European Report on Development 2011-2012, authored by ODI, DIIE and ECDPM, will be launched. This report looks at increasing scarcity and how it is likely to affect the prospects of furthering inclusive and sustainable development. Increasing scarcity of land and water has already led to large changes in ownership and usage of these natural resources, and emerging evidence is clearly pointing to negative outcomes for the poor. In addition, the changes in land use patterns in developing countries are not contributing to a transition to a ...

{ 1 comment }

May 4, 2012

It’s governance, stupid!

Posted: 11:30 AM UTC

by Bruce Byiers on May 4, 2012

While “good governance” has been on donors’ agendas for some time now, development practitioners realise more and more that all reforms require an understanding of governance contexts. As a result, they increasingly consider governance as a cross-cutting element of all development policy with a subsequent rising interest and demand in political economy analyses. In this context - and with its mandate expiring in December this year -  the OECD-DAC’s Governance Network (GOVNET) , a donor platform, met last week to discuss a “new focus and strategy” with ECDPM in attendance as an observer. Participants discussed a wide ...


March 9, 2012

Power to the People? Reactions to EU response to the Arab Spring

Posted: 09:53 AM UTC

by Jamie Balfour-Paul on March 9, 2012

++ GUEST CONTRIBUTION ++ In response to the Arab Spring, the European Union (EU) promised to shift away from business as usual. It aims to put support for human rights and democracy at the centre of its co-operation policy with the Arab neighbourhood. In this regard, enabling civil society to function, to advocate for citizens’ priorities and rights and to hold governments and donors to account is pivotal. However, regional consultation on EU policies appears to have been either insufficient, without impact or unappealing. Furthermore, double standards in the past have undermined the EU’s credibility ...


March 8, 2012

“Wicked hard problems” and isomorphic what?

Posted: 13:05 PM UTC

by Bruce Byiers on March 8, 2012

Lant Pritchett, a Harvard University Professor, was the keynote speaker at the OECD Development Centre’s 50th anniversary conference in Paris last week. In his presentation he summarised a few simple insights that are helpful for understanding how and where policy reforms might have more impact. One idea he discussed was that of “isomorphic mimicry” - basically, in the natural world when something takes on the appearance of another thing on the outside, but without necessarily having any of the underlying characteristics. According to Prichett, donors and governments engage in this kind of camouflage too often: ...

{ 1 comment }

February 10, 2012

African mineral wealth: turning stones into bread…

Posted: 15:24 PM UTC

by Isabelle Ramdoo on February 10, 2012

Which policy maker, in particular at the time when many developed countries are struggling with budgetary constraints and have little left for development support, would not agree that it has become imperative to transform the rich African mineral resources into long-term sustainable development? African leaders have placed the bet to attain this objective by 2050. Traditional development partners got the message and are making efforts to strengthen their partnership with Africa. This is to some extent, in reaction to the increasing role of emerging players in Africa. The future looks promising In recent years, the ...


January 27, 2012

EU support to democracy: a new Endowment first, a strategy to follow?

Posted: 12:30 PM UTC

by Alisa Herrero Cangas on January 27, 2012

The EU has a longstanding tradition of engaging in democracy promotion, using a wide range of strategies and instruments to support processes of democratic consolidation, including in difficult contexts. While some successes have been achieved, the task of building genuine democratic systems that go beyond formal structures and help to deliver development has proven very challenging - for both local democracy promoters and international partners. The need for “deepening democracy” has become a rallying cry in the last years. Growing attention is paid to the role of both the “political society’” (i.e. parliaments, political parties) ...


January 27, 2012

How could taxation help to achieve the MDGs? – A reaction to OECD research

Posted: 10:53 AM UTC

by Bruce Byiers on January 27, 2012

Financing the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) remains a major challenge. It is becoming clear that Official Development Assistance from donor countries will not be sufficient to fill the existing finance gap. A new OECD Working Paper zooms into domestic resource mobilisation - savings generated from domestic resources - as potential source of finance, and gives an updated estimate of the cost of meeting the MDGs. This article takes a closer looks at some details of the report. OECD’s research plays a valuable role in re-focusing minds towards the costs involved in meeting six of the MDGs ...