EDC2020 Panel at the EADI General Conference 2008

From 24-28 June 2008 the EADI General Conference "Global Governance for Sustainable Development. The need for policy coherence and new partnerships" took place in Geneva, Switzerland. 500 researchers and practitioners came together to discuss and exchange ideas in lectures, plenary and parallel sessions as well as workshops. The EDC2020 project organised a parallel session on Friday 27 June to present the project and discuss its issues and workplan.

Chair: Nadarajah Shanmugaratnam, Norwegian University of Life Sciences, Norway
Speakers: Sven Grimm, German Development Institute, Germany
John Humphrey, Institute of Development Studies, UK
Garth le Pere, Institute for Global Dialogue, South Africa

Report on the Conference

The full report of the EADI General Conference 2008 is now available. To download it click here (1,5 MB).

European Development Co-operation to 2020: Emerging Issues for Europe’s Development Policy-Making

Nadarajah Shanmugaratnam

Nadarajah Shanmugaratnam opened the parallel session by commenting on the background of the EDC2020 project. He highlighted challenges posed by the European structure such as the growing number of new member states to the European Union which bring in a diversity of member state policies. On the other hand, the global South is also highly differentiated and is facing dynamic processes in many countries. Emerging powers such as China, India and Brazil implement their own South-South co-operation; in many states national governance failure can be observed and underdevelopment is not overcome yet. Therefore, the questions “How to address development issues in the new complex environment” and “Which issues have to be addresses in development co-operation or international relations” remain crucial.
EDC2020 project has identified three main emerging issues which European development co-operation is facing:

  1. New actors in international co-operation
  2. Energy security, democracy and development
  3. Climate change and development
Sven Grimm

Sven Grimm, Research Fellow at the German Development Institute (DIE), gave a short overview of issues and aims of the project “European Development Co-operation to 2020“. In three topical work packages on emerging issues - namely New Actors in International Co-operation; Energy Security, Democracy and Development as well as Climate Change and Development - the three-year project aims at identifying different trends on the agenda for the next decade which impact on development co-operation. He referred to Charles Gore's presentation in the plenary session II “Can Economic Growth Be Reconciled with Sustainable Development? On Knife-Edge between Climate Change and Millenium Development Goals” who had identified the same topics in his presentation. Sven stressed that various dates in the next years (e.g. 2015 for the MDGs) will force us to assess our work and to see whether we failed or were successful. The project is intending to provide input for those different scenarios. Issues, chances and risks of development co-operation  will be analysed and policy advise will be given in a time when a number of reforms are pending on the European level and the future of the Lisbon Treaty is uncertain. The aid architecture is facing challenges with regard to the division of labour when new actors emerge on the international scene.

John Humphrey

John Humphrey, Senior Researcher at the Institute of Development Studies (IDS), presented some thoughts about the issue of new actors in international co-operation which is one of the work packages. Within the range of new actors (new EU members, countries in the Middle East, Latin America and parts of Asia) he focused on China and India and stressed the point that they are not new in a literal sense, but that the interest towards their politics is growing. China, who is widely criticized for not being pledged to DAC criteria and governance, only accounts for 10% of trade with Africa. If taking the EU member states together the Union and the United States are still by far the biggest partners of Africa. Moreover, with regard to the exploitation of resources, China exports far less than the US. Hence, John stressed that China's commitment in Africa is less outstanding than widely assumed. Two particular issues are of interest to development co-operation:

  1. There may be lessons we Europeans want to learn from Chinese projects and their poverty reduction policies
  2. Chinese politics are most relevant to the production of public goods like climate protection, equity or security.

The challenge which Europeans will have to address is the way in which China and India structure their development co-operation. They raise questions for EU policies as they do not split aid from trade, investments and other policy areas. For Europe this poses the question: How do European development ministries link to ministries for international relations or trade?

Garth le Pere

Garth Le Pere, Director of the South African Institute for Global Dialogue, depicted some important trends on the global scene that according to him should be taken into account by the EDC2020 project:

  1. The global increase in population
  2. Global food scarcity
  3. Global economy and globalisation
  4. Tension between national and global governance

He stressed that little if any progress has been made on the framework for global warming, in reaching MDGs and the threat of a nuclear catastrophe. The systemic order is in a weak state after the end of the cold war where

  1. Values of the UN system have been contested
  2. The future of the EU is unclear
  3. WTO faces the divide in the DOHA round.
Grimm, Humphrey, le Pere

During the discussion various questions were raised and constructive feedback on the project was given.

Aid should not be separated from international relations and thus development co-operation should form part of a broader agenda. The sole focus on aid might well have contributed to the poisoning of relationships between many countries. Hence, the EU-Africa strategy also states that the EU envisages a broader partnership that goes beyond the mere aid relationship.

However, this complexity of issues – the whole of international co-operation set together by many different issues - is one of the main challenges of the project which tries to address some of the issues. Due to budgetary restrictions, a choice of which issues to focus on had to be made by the consortium and other important issues like security or global governance can not be addressed in detail.

The project seeks to build scenarios on project issues to give input for policymaking. Therefore, its focus is on the question: How will a global Europe look like in 2020?.

The remark was made that so far comparative research is lacking. Therefore, it could be of interest to compare China and India to the EU and the US, as policy-makers are under the impression that China and India have a very big influence. Comparative data could give us a framework to estimate their impact and importance.

It was stated that a problem today might be, that until recently Europe did not see the two countries, China and India, as competitive actors to European policies. Now, the EU is in need of defining a new global strategy to meet the recent developments.

On the other hand, it was emphasized that the threat perception of China as an international actor is widely exaggerated. One should note that besides its own interests which China follows they have made some valuable input for Africa among others in the area of telecommunication and infrastructure. Chinese engagement allows African leaders to choose more freely what fits into their own national policies. However, it was stated that an important aspect for Chinese policies remains: China has to rethink their policy of non-interference.

An interesting comment was given saying that the EU is no monolithic actor as often being assumed, but composed of many different member states. Therefore, it is less monolithic than for example China or the US and is also less threatening to partner countries.

Report and photos (©) by Charlotta Heck

John Humphrey on the role of China in development co-operation

Sven Grimm on the new aid architecture.