Final EDC 2020 Event: Shaping Europe's Global Role

The final conference of the European Development Cooperation to 2020 project (EDC 2020) took place in Brussels on 10 February 2011. The conference examined challenges for European development cooperation.

In this context, lead researchers from the EDC 2020 project presented the results of three years of research on three game changers for European Development Cooperation: (i) New actors, (ii) Energy security, democracy and development and (iii) Climate change

  1. What are the key challenges for European development cooperation? 
  2. How does the Lisbon Treaty reshape European development cooperation?  
  3. How can European Development Cooperation help shape Europe’s role on the global stage?

Read the full programme

Thomas Lawo, Executive Secretary, EADI, gave a few words to introduce the EDC 2020 project and thanked DG Research for supporting this project before speaking of the necessity to bridge policy and research.

Merylyn Hedger, Francoise Moreau

Françoise Moreau, Director, DG EuropeAid Development and Cooperation, European Commission, discussed the recent Green Paper after a few remarks on institutional changes at DG DevCo. With regard to EU commitment to poverty reduction and the MDGs: a lot of progress has been made but much remains to be done. The objective of the Green Paper was to build on that progress while looking at how to improve impact of EU development work.  Ms. Moreau spoke of four major points for future EU development policy: (i) Attract other funds, e.g. from private sources , (ii) look beyond GDP and to inclusive and sustainable growth (iii) use new climate & energy policies as drivers for development and (iv) strengthen food security.

In this context Ms Moreau pointed to the importance of topics investigated under the EDC 2020 project. She pointed out that “there is no dilution of European ambition, to the contrary what we are trying to do is to better adapt to the new challenges you have highlighted in the EDC 2020 project”.

New Actors are relevant not just in terms of their increasing presence in development cooperation but also because of their more practical approach to development. The Green Paper sends a strong signal on energy, as was discussed during the EDC 2020 Briefing for Parliamentarians on coherence between energy security and development. Finally on climate change, DG DevCo will aim at addressing the current fragmentation of climate initiatives.

Erik Lundsgaarde

Sven Grimm, Director of the Centre for Chinese Studies at Stellenbosch University and chair of this session, gave the floor to the team of EDC 2020 lead researchers. Erik Lundsgaarde, Researcher at German Development Institute / Deutsches Institut für Entwicklungspolitik (DIE), presented results on New Actors in international development cooperation. After stressing the heterogeneity of these actors and their interests, he underlined certain main features: one key commonality is that development cooperation is closely tied to foreign policy; another is that South-South cooperation focuses on mutual benefits and the principle of non-interference, however questionable this may be in terms of success.
Mr Lundsgaarde pointed out that in Angola and Ethiopia, for example, the limited effectiveness of European policies to promote good governance may be linked more to problems internal to European development cooperation than to China’s presence as an alternative development cooperation partner. In the face of this new context, the EU would need to focus on a better division of labour: (i) by improving coherence and (ii) forging new partnerships.

Natalia Shapovalova, FRIDE

Natalia Shapovalova, Researcher, FRIDE, followed with a presentation on energy security, democracy and development. Research undertaken under EDC 2020 aimed at understanding the link between energy policies, questions of democracy promotion and development policies. Ms. Shapovalova underlined some of the most prominent results: (i) energy and development policy are more interlinked in Africa, (ii) democratic governance is not the driving force in producer countries marred by authoritarian rule and deep internal poverty.

Natalia Shapovalova pointed out several recommendations to remedy this situation. First, by pushing for a tight linkage of development and energy policies in the Middle East, North Africa and Central Asia. Second by shifting from the hardware (pipelines) of energy to the software (good governance) of energy policy. Third by promoting greater transparency, for example in committing further to the Extractive Industry Transparency Inititive (EITI).

Merylyn Hedger, Researcher, ODI, presented the EDC 2020 results concerning Climate Change and European development cooperation. She put forward key results of the work undertaken during the last three years. Climate finance, she stressed, means new challenges for development cooperation at all scales: there is a need for scaling up funding as well as a need to reassess the overlap in competing initiatives as Climate change initiatives increase in numbers.

After taking stock of case studies in Indonesia and Bangladesh, Ms Hedger pointed out the need for clearer monitoring and learning from new investments in climate change initiatives so there can be learning by doing phase.

Following the presentation of the main scientific results coming out of the EDC 2020 project, Paul Engel, Director, European Centre for Development Policy Management, chaired a debate between Sven Grimm and Inge Kaul on Europe’s global role in development cooperation and the EDC 2020 project’s contribution to a better understanding of EU development cooperation policy.

Inge Kaul

Inge Kaul, professor at the Hertie School of Governance, Berlin, highlighted several issues that she felt showed inconsistency. Ms Kaul criticized the use of the terms ‘inclusive growth’ and  ‘leveraging’ which she thought were used to conceal bigger problems facing European Development cooperation, such as the failure to reach the Millennium Development Goals by 2015, and to tackle global common good. She pointed out that “global common goods are not all common concerns, they are highly contested, Germany might think differently than China or South Africa” because these common goods have an “uneven distribution of net benefits”.

Ms. Kaul argued that we should think more systematically about our own self interest, and to what extent our development policy might be constrained by self interest. We are, she continued, at a threshold of fierce competition between developing countries and OECD countries with the risk of a surging protectionism. In that light a priority is to restore trust between donors and recipients.

Sven Grimm, Paul Engel

Sven Grimm reacted by acknowledging the daunting external challenges faced by the EU. However he rejected the idea that self interest would necessarily play against development goals. Mr. Grimm argued for a shift from short term self interest thinking, on the part of development actors including, but not exclusively, China. Instead, he argued, thinking in terms of long term self interest would give us room to better address Climate Change and energy issues that the EDC 2020 project has found are key to development cooperation.

Mr. Engel then opened the debate to participants. A key reaction amongst the participants was the need for greater transparency, a key word throughout two days of debate. Mr. Engel asked the panelists and participants to think of key priorities they would like to communicate to EU policy makers in Brussels. Inge Kaul suggested creating another G20 type summit dedicated solely to development issues and highly contested common public goods. Sven Grimm mentioned the possibility of selecting two countries as a high-level exercise for policy coherence for development and come up with a tailor made agenda supported by development and non-development actors (including from member states).

Daniel Deybe, project officer at DG Research concluded by thanking the panelists and asking for long term perspective to be further explored and stated again the support DG Research will provide to innovative research on these issues.

Session report by Ludmila Ceban and Aurélien Lafon

EDC 2020: Key Messages

The EDC2020 project  found that:


Presentation of the New Actors results by Erik Lundsgaarde

Presentation of the Energy Security, Democracy and Development results by Natalia Shapovalova

Presentation of the Climate Change results by Merylyn Hedger

EDC 2020 Publications