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Reposicionar al UNDS, ¿pero dónde? – Propuestas para estar a la altura de los Países de Renta Media

20. Juni 2018 - 14:47

Después de intensas negociaciones, la Asamblea General ha respaldado la reforma del Sistema de las Naciones Unidas para el Desarrollo (UNDS por su sigla en inglés). La mayoría de los actores en Nueva York, incluidos el Secretario General António Guterres y los Embajadores ante las Naciones Unidas, se muestran optimistas de que el UNDS cumplirá con los múltiples atributos que le reclamó la Asamblea General en previas ocasiones (“más estratégico, responsable, transparente, colaborativo, eficiente, eficaz y orientado hacia los resultados”).

Sin embargo, la verdadera prueba de fuego para la reforma tendrá lugar en los países. Los gobiernos instan al UNDS a apoyar la implementación nacional de la Agenda 2030 para el Desarrollo Sostenible. En particular, el grupo cada vez diverso de Países de Renta Media (PRM) demanda una colaboración más eficaz por parte de las agencias, comisiones, fondos y programas de la ONU en torno al desarrollo sostenible. De hecho, la Agenda 2030 y el papel de las Naciones Unidas en el éxito de la misma dependen, en gran medida, de los avances en los PRM de ambos sub-rangos: renta media baja y alta.

En efecto, todos los elementos esenciales de la Agenda 2030 están bajo presión en los PRM:

Sus economías se encuentran en plena transición desde la supervivencia hacia la prosperidad. Sus sociedades enfrentan una gran desigualdad al tiempo que modernización acelerada, y sus ecosistemas están bajo una presión demográfica y económica extrema. Los PRM también están luchando con desafíos transversales cada vez más urgentes, como la resiliencia climática, la migración, la seguridad y el estado de derecho.

A pesar de las demandas específicas de los PRM y su relevancia para el desarrollo sostenible, el UNDS sigue siendo en gran medida incapaz de atender sus prioridades estratégicas y operacionales. El UNDS no es el único actor de desarrollo que apoya a los PRM, pero necesita convertirse en un socio valioso para los gobiernos, especial­mente con vistas a asesorar y apoyar la implementación de la Agenda 2030 bajo el liderazgo de los gobiernos. Para aprovechar el momento actual del desarrollo global, la reforma en curso debe impulsar al UNDS para que esté a la altura de los PRM, comenzando con las siguientes áreas de acción:

1.       Un sistema totalmente alineado con las prioridades de los PRM: El UNDS debe estar al día con las iniciativas de los países en términos de gobernanza, planificación, estadísticas, y asociaciones.

2.       Proporcionar apoyo relevante de alta calidad: Más allá del enfoque de pobreza, el UNDS debe mejorar sus capacidades para prestar apoyo relevante a las prioridades nacionales cada vez más complejas de los PRM.

3.       Convertir la financiación en máxima prioridad: El UNDS tiene un papel clave que desempeñar para apoyar a los PRM expuestos a múltiples desafíos financieros, desde la decreciente Ayuda Oficial para el Desarrollo (AOD) a la deuda insostenible.

Kategorien: english

Repositioning but where – Is the UNDS fit for middle-income countries?

18. Juni 2018 - 15:57
After intense negotiations, the United Nations General Assembly has endorsed the reform of the United Nations Development System (UNDS). Most players in New York, including Secretary-General António Guterres and ambassadors to the United Nations, are optimistic that the UNDS will now take the multi-adjective route requested by the General Assembly (“more strategic, accountable, effective, transparent, collaborative, efficient, effective and result-oriented”). However, the reform’s actual litmus test will take place at the country level. Governments are expecting the UNDS to support the domestic implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. The ever-expanding and diverse family of middle-income countries (MICs), in particular are demanding increased and better engagement with the UN agencies, commissions, funds and programmes working on sustainable development challenges and opportunities. Indeed, the 2030 Agenda and the UN’s role in the agreement’s success are to a large degree dependent on progress in both lower and upper MICs. All essential elements of the 2030 Agenda are under stress in MICs: The MICs economies are transitioning from survival to prosperity; their societies are facing stark inequality and accelerated modernisation, and their ecosystems are under extreme demographic and economic pressure. MICs also are struggling with increasingly urgent cross-sector challenges, such as climate resilience, migration, security and rule of law. Despite the relevance and specific demands of MICs, the UNDS remains largely incapable of catering to their priorities at strategic and operational levels. The UNDS is not the only development actor that supports MICs in their efforts, but it needs to become a valuable partner for governments, especially in advising and supporting government-led implementation of the 2030 Agenda. To seize the momentum of global development, the ongoing reform must make the system “fit for MICs,” starting with the following fields of action: 1.     Fully align with MICs priorities: the UNDS needs to be up to speed with country initiatives in terms of governance, planning, statistics and partnerships. 2.     Provide relevant high-quality support: Beyond the poverty lens, UNDS should increase its capacities to deliver support that is relevant to complex national priorities of MICS. 3.     Make financing a top priority: the UNDS has a key role to play in supporting MICs exposed to manifold financing challenges, from decreasing Official Develop¬ment Assistance (ODA) to unsustainable debt.
Kategorien: english

Unfinished business: an appraisal of the latest UNDS reform resolution

30. Mai 2018 - 9:07
Can the United Nations Development System (UNDS) become a resourceful, well-organised partner for member states in implementing the 2030 Agenda? The UNDS is the biggest multilateral development actor, accounting for $18.4 billion, or 33 per cent, of multilateral aid in 2015. Its functions range from providing a forum for dialogue, decision-making and norm-setting, to research, advocacy, technical assistance and humanitarian aid. Numerous governments, including those of high-income countries, are counting on the UN’s assistance for advancing their development in a sustainable way. More than any other development organisation, the UNDS needs to adjust in order to fulfil these expectations.
In May 2018, UN member states set the course for reforming the UNDS by agreeing on a draft resolution. The resolution contains five potentially transformative decisions that will bring the UNDS a step closer to being “fit for purpose”, the term under which the reform process was initiated more than three years ago. The global structures of the UNDS are to be strengthened, making the system more strategic and accountable; Resident Coordinators are to coordinate more effectively and objectively; their funding will be guaranteed by a new 1 per cent levy on tightly earmarked contributions; common business operations are to be advanced, with potential efficiency gains of $380 million per year; and the UN’s vast network of country offices is to be consolidated for more efficiency and effectiveness.
In the context of a resurgence of nationalist agendas and mistrust of multilateral approaches in many corners of the world, agreement on the draft resolution is a significant achievement.
However, the resolution falls short of the reform proposals suggested by the Secretary-General and others. Member states chose, yet again, an incremental approach. Key novelties of the 2030 Agenda, such as universality and policy integration, have not been translated into meaningful organisational adjustments. There is still a long way to go if the UNDS is to become the UN’s universal branch, facilitating the implementation of the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in and by all countries of the world.
Nevertheless, the resolution is a viable starting point. Member states must play their part in making the reform a success. They need to push for reform in the respective governing boards across the system – this should be the most obvious and effective way of advancing the reform. They could ask the heads of all UNDS entities to subscribe to the reforms and to initiate all necessary adjustments. Furthermore, they should ensure coherence within their own governments and speak with one voice – for the implementation of the reforms, as well as for the acceleration of the implementation of Agenda 2030.
A more reliable funding for the UNDS as a whole, and specifically for the strengthened country coordination, will also be decisive for the changes to be effective. Member states across all income groups should show their support for the reforms and engage in the Funding Compact. They should be prepared to bolster multilateralism in uncertain times by stepping up core contributions and reducing tight earmarking. Specifically, they could link an increase in core-funding to advances in the area of common business operations, which would improve efficiency and enable smoother collaboration among UN agencies.


Kategorien: english

Data for development: an agenda for German development cooperation

23. Mai 2018 - 11:09
Data is a central but underestimated prerequisite for the realisation of the 2030 Agenda. Although technical innovations such as smartphones or the internet of things have led to a data explosion in recent years, there are still considerable gaps in the availability and use of data in developing countries and development cooperation (DC) in particular. So far it is not possible to report regularly on the majority of the 230 indicators of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
Already in 2014 an independent panel of experts, called for nothing less than a data revolution to support the implementation of the SDGs in their 2014 report to the UN Secretary-General, A World that Counts. Data is one of the key requirements for planning, managing and evaluating development projects and strategies. The aim of the data revolution for sustainable development is 1) to close data gaps with the aid of new technologies and additional resources, 2) to strengthen global data literacy, promote data use and enable equality of access, 3) to create a “data ecosystem” that follows global standards in order to improve data quality, enable data aggregation and prevent abuse.
The data revolution for sustainable development is a challenge for all countries. There is a lot of room for improvement in both partner countries and all areas of German policy making. This paper focuses on German DC.
Overall, the subject of data has to date received little attention in the organisations of German DC and their projects. The demand for evidence- and data-based work is often limited to evaluation.
A results framework to support portfolio management in German DC does not exist. Monitoring at project level is often not sufficient, as data quality is frequently poor and capacity is lacking. In the partner countries the implementing organisations (IOs) often introduce parallel structures for monitoring and evaluation (M&E) in order to keep track of the measures implemented, instead of using and strengthening national statistical systems as much as possible. Collected data and project progress reports are usually not published.
The following recommendations can be derived from the analysis:
  • German DC should agree on common data standards and principles for data use, such as Open Data by Default. At the same time, personal rights should also be ensured.
  • The Federal Ministry of Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) should work with all German DC actors (other ministries, IOs, non-state actors) to develop a data strategy that takes into account the different data sources and types, builds upon common standards and principles and aims to promote a data culture in all areas of German DC.
  • At international level the German government should take an active role in the realisation and further development of the Cape Town Global Action Plan for Sustainable Development Data.
  • Germany should increase its financial contribution to the development of data and statistics in partner countries, stop the use of parallel M&E systems in the medium term and promote the support of national statistical systems in all DC measures.


Kategorien: english

L’accès à l’information environnementale: vecteur d’une gouvernance responsable au Maroc et en Tunisie?

23. Mai 2018 - 8:59
En Afrique du Nord, les problèmes environnementaux sont une source croissante de contestation politique. La pollution et la rareté des ressources se répercutent négativement sur les conditions de vie et les revenus de groupes déjà vulnérables, et causent des protestations. La gouvernance environnementale est un processus souvent très centralisé qui ne tient pas compte des besoins des citoyen(ne)s. Dans un contexte politique plus fragile depuis 2011, le double défi posé par l’aggravation des problèmes environnementaux et l’agitation sociale qui en résulte exige de nouvelles approches. Face à ces défis, une gouvernance environnementale responsable aiderait non seulement à traiter les problèmes environnementaux et les besoins des populations, mais contribuerait aussi à la transformation des relations sociétales vers une gouvernance plus démocratique (c.-à-d. transparente, responsable et participative).
L’accès à l’information environnementale joue un rôle crucial à cet égard : seuls des citoyen(ne)s au fait de la disponibilité, de la qualité et de l’utilisation des ressources naturelles, peuvent débattre, prendre des décisions éclairées et revendiquer leurs droits. Les institutions chargées de renforcer la transparence peuvent contribuer à ce que les acteurs publics et privés rendent compte de leurs décisions. Les normes internationales connexes peuvent informer ces réformes (Déclaration universelle des droits humains, Déclaration de Rio et Convention d’Aarhus). À l’échelon national, les chartes et lois environnementales et les nouvelles constitutions du Maroc et de la Tunisie promeuvent une gouvernance participative et responsable.
De récentes évaluations menées dans ces deux pays indiquent que les gouvernements et les partenaires de développement devraient :
Renforcer la gouvernance environnementale responsable à travers la promotion de l’accès à l’information environnementale. Cela inclut la participation des institutions démocratiques aux questions environnementales et le renforcement des capacités connexes, l’appui aux organisations chargées de la redevabilité, et une meilleure compréhension des nouveaux droits par les citoyen(ne)s et les administrations. Par ailleurs, les communautés doivent avoir les moyens d’agir et d’établir de nouvelles coalitions intersectorielles, en plus d’intégrer ces pays dans des initiatives internationales pour une gouvernance responsable.
Appuyer l’obligation de rendre compte dans le secteur de l’environnement. Des initiatives internationales telles que les Objectifs de Développement Durable (ODD) et les politiques d’atténuation et d’adaptation aux effets des changements climatiques peuvent ici insuffler un nouvel élan. En outre, les décideurs doivent avoir davantage conscience des liens entre la gouvernance de l’environnement et son incidence potentielle sur les droits humains et la stabilité politique. L’accès à l’information environnementale, les cadres juridiques y relatifs et les capacités institutionnelles requièrent eux aussi un soutien accru. Enfin, des études transparentes d’impacts environnementaux et sociaux de projets ainsi que l’intégration des mouvements de contestation, de l’administration et du secteur privé dans des dialogues constructifs peuvent contribuer à prévenir et traiter les contestations.


Kategorien: english

Access to environmental information: a driver of accountable governance in Morocco and Tunisia?

7. Mai 2018 - 10:14
In Tunisia, Morocco and other North African countries, en¬vironmental problems increasingly lead to political protest. Industrial pollution and a lack of clean drinking water adversely impact the living conditions and income op¬portunities of already marginalised groups and trigger unrest. Environmental governance in the region is often highly centralised, and takes no consideration of the needs of the citizens in the use of natural resources. In a political context that remains unstable following the 2011 uprisings, the double challenge of mounting environmental problems and related social unrest calls for new approaches. Reinforcing accountable environmental governance could help, not only by addressing environmental problems and needs, but by contributing to the overall transformation of societal relationships towards more democratic (i.e. transparent, accountable and participative) governance in the longer term.
Access to environmental information plays a crucial role in this regard: only if citizens know about availability, quality and use of natural resources, can they make informed choices and claim their rights. When public institutions address these rights, they can increase sustainable wealth for present and future generations. Institutions charged with strengthening accountability can also include citizens in their monitoring exercises, and help to hold public and private actors legally responsible for their decisions and behaviour. Related international standards can inform such reforms: the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the Rio Declaration and the Aarhus Convention confirm the importance of access to environmental information. At national levels, environmental charters and Morocco’s and Tunisia’s new constitutions stress the need for participatory and accountable governance.
As recent assessments in Morocco and Tunisia reveal, governments and development partners can support access to environmental information and thereby accountable governance.
First, they can do this by strengthening accountable environmental governance and access to environmental information across sectors. This includes engaging democratic institutions in environmental issues and building up related capacities and know-how, supporting accountability organisations and rules, and improving citizens’ and the administrations’ understanding of new rights. It also entails empowering communities and forging new cross-sectoral coalitions, besides integrating the countries into international initiatives for accountable governance.
Second, governments and development cooperation can support accountability in the environmental sector, including by taking advantage of international initiatives, such as the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Climate mitigation and adaptation policies also provide opportunities for strengthening accountable environmental governance. Moreover, policy-makers need to be more aware of the links between environmental governance and its potential impact on human rights and political stability. Access to environmental information, related legal frameworks and institutional capacities also need further backing, including support to articulate related claims. Finally, comprehensive and transparent environmental and social impact assessments of public and private projects, and engaging protest movements in constructive dialogues with the administration and the private sector can help in preventing and addressing related social unrest.


Kategorien: english

EU engagement with Africa on migration: a change of approach required

7. Mai 2018 - 8:42
Migration was an important issue at the November African Union (AU)-European Union (EU) summit. While the tone of discussion was somewhat improved on that of recent years, divisions between the two continents remain great. Europe and Africa still have fundamentally different positions in relation to migration, with the EU and many European member states prioritising prevention and return, while African governments focus more on remittances and legal migration opportunities. However, Europe’s current approach does not acknowledge these differing interests and instead seeks to impose its own agenda in ways that threaten to undermine important African ambitions.
In recent years, the EU has launched initiatives aimed at curbing migration from Africa that have caused significant controversy, notably the EU Emergency Trust Fund for Africa (EUTF) and the Migration Partnership Framework (MPF). These initiatives suffer from a number of weaknesses. The EUTF is based on the flawed premise that development assistance can prevent migration. It diverts aid to migration goals, and its projects often do not comply with development principles such as transparency, ownership and alignment. Meanwhile, the MPF seeks to use positive and negative incentives across a range of external action areas to encourage partners to cooperate with the EU’s migration goals – primarily on prevention and return. So far, results have been limited and it has soured relations with some partner countries.
The case of Ethiopia illustrates the limitations of the EU’s current approach. The country is an important regional player on migration and refugee issues and has been largely constructive in multilateral migration processes, such as Khartoum and Valetta. While Ethiopia is an MPF priority country and a recipient of large amounts of EUTF funding, the goals of the EU and Ethiopia on migration have not been aligned. The EU is frustrated that Ethiopia has not cooperated on returns, while Ethiopia is disappointed that the EU has offered little in terms of legal migration and that EUTF funding has led to multiple, uncoordinated projects that are disconnected from local priorities and are implemented by outsiders.
It is clear that the EU needs to change its approach to migration in Africa, beginning with the recognition that Europe will need African migration in years to come. The EU should explore how Africa and Europe can work together to foster intra-African movement that supports Africa’s economic growth, to ensure protection for refugees and vulnerable migrants, and to allow both continents to benefit from safe and orderly African labour migration to Europe. It should also move from attempting to address “root causes” of migration with short-term development funds, to examining how Europe could readjust its trade and investment policy in Africa to create more decent jobs and opportunities. Importantly, the EU must continue to press African governments to live up to their responsibilities to provide a decent life for citizens so they do not have to migrate in such large numbers and insecure circumstances.
Critically, the EU must be honest about conflicting interests and positions among its own member states and work towards effective common migration and asylum systems. However, such a change in approach requires European leaders to shift the current political discourse around migration to a more constructive one.

Kategorien: english

EU engagement with Africa on migration: a change of approach required

7. Mai 2018 - 8:42
Migration was an important issue at the November African Union (AU)-European Union (EU) summit. While the tone of discussion was somewhat improved on that of recent years, divisions between the two continents remain great. Europe and Africa still have fundamentally different positions in relation to migration, with the EU and many European member states prioritising prevention and return, while African governments focus more on remittances and legal migration opportunities. However, Europe’s current approach does not acknowledge these differing interests and instead seeks to impose its own agenda in ways that threaten to undermine important African ambitions.
In recent years, the EU has launched initiatives aimed at curbing migration from Africa that have caused significant controversy, notably the EU Emergency Trust Fund for Africa (EUTF) and the Migration Partnership Framework (MPF). These initiatives suffer from a number of weaknesses. The EUTF is based on the flawed premise that development assistance can prevent migration. It diverts aid to migration goals, and its projects often do not comply with development principles such as transparency, ownership and alignment. Meanwhile, the MPF seeks to use positive and negative incentives across a range of external action areas to encourage partners to cooperate with the EU’s migration goals – primarily on prevention and return. So far, results have been limited and it has soured relations with some partner countries.
The case of Ethiopia illustrates the limitations of the EU’s current approach. The country is an important regional player on migration and refugee issues and has been largely constructive in multilateral migration processes, such as Khartoum and Valetta. While Ethiopia is an MPF priority country and a recipient of large amounts of EUTF funding, the goals of the EU and Ethiopia on migration have not been aligned. The EU is frustrated that Ethiopia has not cooperated on returns, while Ethiopia is disappointed that the EU has offered little in terms of legal migration and that EUTF funding has led to multiple, uncoordinated projects that are disconnected from local priorities and are implemented by outsiders.
It is clear that the EU needs to change its approach to migration in Africa, beginning with the recognition that Europe will need African migration in years to come. The EU should explore how Africa and Europe can work together to foster intra-African movement that supports Africa’s economic growth, to ensure protection for refugees and vulnerable migrants, and to allow both continents to benefit from safe and orderly African labour migration to Europe. It should also move from attempting to address “root causes” of migration with short-term development funds, to examining how Europe could readjust its trade and investment policy in Africa to create more decent jobs and opportunities. Importantly, the EU must continue to press African governments to live up to their responsibilities to provide a decent life for citizens so they do not have to migrate in such large numbers and insecure circumstances.
Critically, the EU must be honest about conflicting interests and positions among its own member states and work towards effective common migration and asylum systems. However, such a change in approach requires European leaders to shift the current political discourse around migration to a more constructive one.

Kategorien: english

Do trade deals encourage environmental cooperation?

10. April 2018 - 15:51
Trade agreements have mixed effects on the environment. On the one hand, trade generates additional pollution by raising production levels. Trade rules can also restrict the capacity of governments to adopt environmental regulations. On the other hand, trade agreements can favour the diffusion of green technologies, make production more efficient and foster environmental cooperation. Whether the overall effect is positive or negative partly depends on the content of the trade agreement itself. Recent studies have found that trade agreements with detailed environmental provisions, in contrast to agreements without such provisions, are associated with reduced levels of CO2 emission and suspended particulate matter (Baghdadi et al., 2013; Zhou, 2017). It remains unclear, however, which specific provisions have a positive environmental impact and how they are actually implemented. This briefing paper discusses how provisions on environmental cooperation in trade agreements can contribute to better environmental outcomes. It is frequently assumed that the more enforceable environmental commitments are, the more likely governments are to take action to protect the environment (Jinnah & Lindsay, 2016). This assumption leads several experts to argue in favour of strong sanction-based mechanisms of dispute settlement in order to ensure the implementation of trade agreements’ environmental provisions. Nevertheless, there is evidence to suggest that softer provisions can result in increased environmental cooperation, which can in turn favour domestic environmental protection (Yoo & Kim, 2016; Bastiaens & Postnikov, 2017). The European Union privileges this more cooperative approach in its trade agreements, and a recent European non-paper (2018) stresses that a sanction-based approach is a disincentive for ambitious environmental commitments and can result in a political backlash. To shed light on this debate, this paper examines the design and the implementation of cooperative environmental provisions of trade agreements. Our analysis is based on three main data sources. First, we make use of the TRade & ENvironment Dataset (TREND) which provides information on 285 types of environmental provisions included in 688 trade agreements signed since 1947 (Morin et al., 2018; see also www.TRENDanalytics.info for an online visualisation tool for the data). Second, we draw on official documents to better understand how these provisions are implemented domestically. Third, we fill the gaps using information provided by 12 interviewees who work for 7 different governments. This briefing paper is organised in four parts. We first provide an overview of some general trends in treaty design. In sections 2 to 4, we then take a closer look at selected types of provisions that prove particularly relevant due to their prevalence: (a) general commitments to cooperate on environmental issues; (b) clauses creating international environmental institutions; (c) provisions on technical and financial assistance from one party to another. We find that both the implementation of these provisions and their contribution to environmental protection vary depending on the degree of legal precision, the budgeting of financial resources and governments’ political commitment. Based on these findings, we suggest that trade negotiators should i) lay out precise clauses with specific targets and clear time frames, (ii) specify in the trade agreement where the funding for cooperation activities will be sourced and (iii) create forums where civil society actors can engage in a dialogue with policy-makers on the implementation of trade agreements.
Kategorien: english

From damage control to sustainable development: European development policy under the next EU budget

27. März 2018 - 8:24
The EU is one of the leading global players in international development, trade, peace and security. Therefore, a key part of the EU’s Multiannual Financial Framework (MFF) is the one reserved for action beyond EU’s borders. This budget heading is called ‘Global Europe’ (also referred to as Heading IV). Under the current budget for the period of 2014 to 2020, including the inter-governmental European Development Fund (EDF), over 90 billion euros are available for the EU’s external action. The lion’s share of this is reserved for development cooperation. In previous years, the EU has dealt with new challenges in external action mostly by creating specific initiatives and new financial instruments. At the start of the negotiations on the next MFF, Heading IV thus appears to be rather complex and fragmented compared to other headings.
In addition to the fragmentation of the instruments, the EU has also failed to make clear strategy level choices. Recent EU strategies create an impression that nearly everything is a priority, overstretching the EU’s financial as well as implementation capacity. This lack of a clear direction has allowed member states’ governments to put forward their own strategic interests (mostly related to migration and sec¬urity). Given the tight budget situation of the EU, a clear direction for Heading IV needs to be developed that helps to address a number of bottlenecks and trade-offs. These relate to (i) the overall volume, (ii) the thematic choices, (iii) the re¬cipients of EU funding and (iv) the architecture of Heading IV.
Concerning volume, it is important to acknowledge that the other, larger budget headings will determine the budgetary space for EU development policy. Despite discussions on increasing member state contributions, Brexit is likely to result in a smaller overall budget. New political priorities (such as migration and security) are expected to further squeeze funding for sustainable development. Choices thus need to be made in terms of issues and geographic focus.
As for the thematic choices, the short-term involvement in crisis response needs to be combined with a clear strategy for engaging with partners on the 2030 Agenda and SDGs through geographic and thematic programmes. The partners’ SDG strategies and the EU’s added value should guide this engagement.
Geographically, the EU needs to strike a balance between the cooperation with middle-income countries (MICs) and a focus on the poorest countries. This can only be achieved by focusing geographic allocations to LDCs, neighbouring countries and sub-Saharan Africa, while engaging with MICs in other regions through thematic programmes.
In addition, Heading IV needs to be strongly rationalised, both in terms of the number of instruments and initiatives and of the rules for managing these. A key prerequisite in this regard – also for the proposal of a single instrument in Heading IV – would be the ‘budgetisation’ of the inter¬governmental EDF, which would allow for a truly European development policy.


Kategorien: english

A European peace facility could make a pragmatic contribution to peacebuilding around the world

26. März 2018 - 9:58
The question of how the EU should finance peacebuilding in developing countries has challenged policy-makers and pundits for many years. At one level this is a technical and legal issue of budget lines and financing rules. It nevertheless touches on the much deeper political and even moral issues of whether the EU should use development aid to finance security provision, how best the EU can respond to the legitimate needs of partners in conflict-affected countries and what kind of civil and/or military engagements the EU can support as part of its external relations. The question has come to resemble the proverbial can being kicked along the road by successive European Commissioners, Council working groups and parliamentary committees. It has come to a head again because intra-EU negotiations for the next Multiannual Financial Framework for 2021-2027 are starting in earnest. This time, a sensible proposal is on the table which can potentially provide a pragmatic and workable solution, at least for a while.
In December 2017, the European Council requested the Foreign Affairs Council to adopt a recommendation on a dedicated instrument for Capacity Building in Support of Security and Development (CBSD) for the post-2020 EU budget by the spring of 2018. In this context, the High Representative (HR) of the EU for Foreign and Security Affairs, Federica Mogherini, proposed that the EU create a European Peace Facility (EPF). While she did not provide any details, the general idea is that the EPF would be an ‘off-budget’ fund to finance peace support operations and the capacity building of partner countries’ security sectors.
The fact that HR Mogherini’s proposal sounds similar to another EU peacebuilding instrument – the African Peace Facility (APF) – is no accident. It is precisely due to problems experienced by the APF that the EPF is needed. Chief among these is the need to be able to provide stable, predictable funding to the African Union’s peacebuilding activities and peacekeeping missions. This has proved more difficult than it should have been because of a second problem: the legal restrictions on financing military activities from the EU’s budget. Overcoming this dilemma is only possible through an off-budget instrument which can meet the legitimate requirement of financing peace support operations while respecting one of the EU’s core principles.
The design of such an instrument presents political, legal and technical challenges for the EU’s decision-makers. The most promising model for the EPF is to set it up as a multi-donor trust fund, open for direct contributions from member states. This model has the advantages of flexibility regarding EU budget rules, additionality (it could finance a mixture of Official Development Assistance (ODA) and non-ODA eligible expenses, rather than diverting aid to security activities) and visibility, since the EPF can be a global instrument based on the proven logic of the APF.
The model has disadvantages as well, particularly that in the current crisis-driven climate there is strong pressure to use this kind of instrument for protecting Europe against real or perceived threats, such as terrorism or irregular migration. Some member states, and even parts of the Commission and EEAS, are highly likely to try to exempt the EPF from oversight by the European Parliament. The governance of the instrument is crucial, if it is to fulfil its mission of supporting developing countries’ efforts to provide a secure basis for development.


Kategorien: english

How to identify national dimensions of poverty? The constitutional approach

12. März 2018 - 9:42
With the signing of the 2030 Agenda, the international community has committed to ending poverty in all its forms. This first Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) recognises poverty as a multidimensional phenomenon that goes beyond the simple lack of a sufficient amount of income. However, the way the SDG 1 and, in particular, Target 1.2 – “reduce … poverty in all its dimensions according to national definitions” – are formulated poses challenges for its operationalisation.
Which specific dimensions of poverty should a country focus on? How can we identify them? Is it possible to agree on a universal set of dimensions with which to compare poverty across several countries?
Recently, significant advancements have been made in the measurement of multidimensional poverty; however, how dimensions of poverty are selected is often overlooked. Empirical studies have employed different approaches, ranging from a data-driven approach to the use of participatory methods or surveys to detect context-based dimensions. This Briefing Paper discusses the pros and cons of the existing approaches and argues in favour of a new one, called the Constitutional Approach. The central idea is that the constitution of a democratic country, together with its official interpretations, can be a valid source of ethically sound poverty dimensions.
What is the value added of the Constitutional Approach? And what are the policy implications of adopting it?
  • The approach is grounded on a clear understanding of what poverty is, rather than an ad hoc approximation of it based on data availability. Only with a clear definition can poverty be measured, and anti-poverty strategies adequately designed and implemented.
  • By drawing on norm-governed national institutions that have shaped societal attitudes, the resulting list of dimensions is more legitimate and likely to be accepted and used by national policy-makers and endorsed by the public. The selecting of valuable societal dimensions is not just a technocratic issue but must be grounded in shared ethical values.
  • The approach does not require the collection of additional information to understand which poverty dimension should be prioritised. However, one must consider that this approach is only suitable for democratic countries, whose constitutions: are the result of a broad-based participatory process, still enjoy wide consensus and recognise at least the principle of equality among all citizens.
  • To compare multidimensional poverty at the global level, the approach could be extended by examining a core list of overlapping dimensions across several countries.
Given the above strengths, the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ), which has a vital role in the Multidimensional Poverty Peer Network, could recommend this approach to governments to track country progress in SDG 1.

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