November 29, 2013

European Development Days: Feeding the 5000 (delegates)

Posted: 15:12 PM CET

by ECDPM Editorial Team

in EU and the global development agendas, Strengthening European External Action

‘The [EU] institutions need to change’, said the Centre for Global Development’s Owen Barder in an interview with ECDPM at the European Development Days this week.

There is a feeling that Europe has so much to offer, due to being in a ‘remarkable position’, as Barder puts it, of States that have come together voluntarily, to share that experience to shape policy in developing countries. This is the so-called added-value of the EU.  He said that despite this strong position, Europe must be respectful of other nations’ different starting points. It should change its own institutions to make sure that they are equipped to bring this experience and expertise to the wider world.

For more than 5,000 people, the European Development Days were an opportunity for the development community to come together in Brussels and talk about some of the big global issues.

ECDPM was there to participate in the panels, attend many of the sessions, and speak to those involved.

Click here to listen to the podcast of the CSR debate and awards launch

Bruce Byiers was on the panel for the launch of the corporate responsibility (CSR) awards, which aimed to help focus the fuzzy concept of CSR. It recommended that developing CSR policies require –unsurprisingly - dialogue between all those involved – the government, the private sector and civil society. This dialogue is ‘needed to ensure that the principles are acceptable all and adapted to local conditions’. What is really important, according to Byiers, is that for donors engaging with their own private sector, there is a ‘risk of working with firms that don’t appear to be development-oriented’.  This goes beyond CSR which has shown in studies to have had very little impact.

Perhaps it reflects the nature of squeezed budgets, as big business was on the agenda for a number of discussions such as in relation to food security, sustainable growth and the role it has in the transformative agenda.

Byiers moderated another session on “The private sector and development: What role does private sector have in transformative agenda?” where participants focused on experiences and lessons learned from public-private development initiatives, drawing from the experiences of Central and Eastern European countries, the Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit’s (GIZ) experience in implementing public-private development initiatives, and a case study focusing on Sierra Leone.

Byiers also moderated the session on how to “Improve livelihoods by sustainable trade”. It was standing room only as people packed this session presented by IDH The Sustainable Trade Initiative. When asked to vote on whether donors should work with multinationals, the audience voted unanimously in approval – but were less sure about whether companies should profit, or if donors should engage in countries with fragile institutions.

The private sector continues to be one of the subjects that also had a particular focus for ECDPM, particularly the notion of blending. Florian Krätke participated in a discussion on how EU grants and investment funds (loans or equity) from public and private financiers can be ‘blended’ together in order to make certain types of projects more viable and ‘bankable’. Bruno Wenn, Chairman of the European Development Finance Institute, told Florian in an interview with ECDPM that blending was an opportunity to get more private finance into developing countries, simply by helping governments create an enabling environment.

Other ECDPM colleagues attending various sessions on the post-2015 development agenda, food security, conflict, climate change, human rights-based approaches to development and Europe beyond aid.

Post-2015: a consensus forming?

Of course, one of the major themes over the two days was the post-2015 debate. The European Commission’s Capacity4Dev asks in this video: “What do you think the priorities are for the post-2015 development agenda”.

ECDPM’s Jean Bossuyt replied saying that “inequality is the major global risk of the 21st century. If we don’t tackle the inequality issue we will lose social cohesion, we will have conflicts. And we already saw it in the Arab spring. It was all about dignity, about social inclusion. So inequality, inequality, inequality”. James Mackie, ECDPM’s Senior Adviser on EU Development Policy, said that his “main preoccupation with the post 2015 framework is that we need to get agreement between the EU, the Chinese, the Indians and the Brazilians on how we are going to sort this framework out, and without that we won’t be going anywhere,”

Watch the closing ceremony. Do you think that the main messages add anything new to debate? Are the arguments on what needs to be done well worn, and does there now need to be more focus on the how? Add comments to the bottom of the blog.

Closing cermony:

ECDPM conducted nineteen video interviews during the European Development Day which we will be posting soon on our website:

Coming soon:

  • Jean-Pierre Bibombe - Business Project Manager at Nissan Europe SAS on with Bruce Byiers on CSR

  • Owen Barder - Centre for Global Development on the EU and global development challenges

  • Joost Oorthuizen, CEO of IDH on a sustainable trade initiative with Bruce Byiers

  • Maarten van Aalst, Director of Red Cross Climate Centre, with Hanne Knaepen

  • Guillaume Meyssonnier, French Development Agency with Hanne Knaepen on climate financing

  • El Khidir Daloum from Saferworld with Anna Knoll on conflict

  • Dr Marc Nolting, GIZ, Senior Policy Advisor for Rural Developmnet and Agriculture on small farmers, big business with Jeske van Seters

  • Christophe Yvetot, Director of UNIDO (UN Industrial Development Organisation)

  • Bruno Wenn, Chairman of the European Development Finance Institute with Florian Krätke on blending

  • Prof Maurizio Carbone Professor of International Relations and Development;

  • Marc Noël - Development Manager, Cooperatives Europe, with Bruce Byiers

  • Imme Scholz, Deputy Director of DIE

  • Erik Solheim, DAC, with James Mackie on ending poverty

  • Matthew Martin, Director of  Development Finance International on the Government Spending Watch Institute with James Mackie

  • Adolf Kloke-Lesch, DIE

  • Gaspar Frontini Cattivello, Head of the policy coherence unit DevCo with Brecht Lein

  • Tim Strawson, Development  Initiatives, with Rhys Williams

  • Debapriya Bhattacharya, Centre for Policy Dialogue and Southern Voice with Anna Knoll


Created with flickr slideshow.

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