Think-tanks call for new European approach to global development

Press Release of 16 September 2010

The European Think-Tanks Group, meeting in Königswinter near Bonn, call today for a new Europe-wide approach to global development. Gathering for a debate with Andris Piebalgs, European Commissioner for Development, and Christiana Figueres, the Executive Secretary of the UN’s climate body, the UNFCC, among others, they argue that global problems like climate change should now be the focus of development efforts – rather than programmes which directly target poverty or health in developing countries. They also argue that the European Union has a bigger role than individual Member States in tackling issues which require collective action by the nations of the world.

Speaking in advance of the meeting, the Director of the German Development Institute / Deutsches Institut für Entwicklungspolitik (DIE), Dirk Messner, said ‘The Millennium Development Goals have provided a good focus for the last decade, but we can now see that global problems have been neglected. Either we tackle climate change, food insecurity, the spread of terror and the threat of pandemics, or we all suffer, rich and poor alike.’

The Director of the European Centre for Development Policy Management (ECDPM), Paul Engel, said ‘Aid is only one part of the development puzzle. To complete the picture, aid must work in a coherent way with trade, migration and other policies. Why give aid with one hand and take money away with the other, through unfair trade policies? The same threatens to happen in the area of climate change’.

The Director of the Fundación para las Relaciones Internationales y el Diálogo Exterior (FRIDE), Richard Youngs, said, ‘The EU is in danger of losing its leadership potential in climate change as it fails fully to meet its commitments. It must act quickly and fashion a common strategic vision on how climate change relates to security and development challenges’.

From the Overseas Development Institute (ODI), Simon Maxwell said: ‘The recession has dealt a blow to Europe’s commitment to global poverty reduction – and enthusiasm for European solutions is on the wane. The new global agenda can rekindle enthusiasm and provide a new mission for European institutions.’

About 60 high-ranking decision makers from several member states, the European Commission, experts from international think tanks and representatives from civil society meet today for the strategy workshop “Tackling Global Issues Together: Climate Change and New Drivers of a European Policy for Global Development“ to discuss options for better linking development policy with the provision of global public goods. The coherence between climate and development policy is the specific example chosen for the workshop. Coordination across policy fields will be the determining challenge for development policy in the next years in order to avoid that progress in poverty reduction is undermined or reversed by the negative impact of global trends such as climate change, desertification, and the instability of financial markets.

The EU is an attractive partner for many developing countries: she is the largest donor, the largest consumer market worldwide, and she disposes of innovative firms and research institutions. But there are gaps in coordination between the EU and the member states as well as within the Commission which impede the full use of Europe’s cooperation potential.

The pivotal questions are:

  • How can fragile states be supported in addressing global threats such as climate change?
  • How can coherent finance be delivered for climate and development?
  • How can partnerships be promoted and improved with new actors such as China, India and private foundations?
  • How can different institutional cultures be bridged in order to promote joined-up strategies and action, across the Commission, between Commission and member states, and among implementing agencies?

About the “European Think Tanks Group“:
The “European Think-Tanks Group“ – comprising the German Development Institute / Deutsches Institut für Entwicklungspolitik (DIE), the Overseas Development Institute (ODI), the Fundación para las Relaciones Internacionales y el Diálogo Exterior (FRIDE), and the European Centre for Development Policy Management (ECDPM) –in early 2010 has presented the EU-Memorandum entitled “New Challenges, New Beginnings – Next Steps in European Development Cooperation”. The Memorandum analysed current European policy and emerging challenges and formulated a number of recommendations for national and European decision-makers.

About the German Development Institute / Deutsches Institut für Entwicklungspolitik (DIE):

The German Development Institute / Deutsches Institut für Entwicklungspolitik (DIE) is one of the leading Think Tanks for development policy world-wide. It is based in the UN City of Bonn. DIE builds bridges between theory and practice and works within international research networks. The key to DIE’s success is its institutional independence, which is guaranteed by the Institute’s founding statute. Since its founding in 1964, DIE has based its work on the interplay between Research, Consulting and Training. These three areas complement each other and are the factors responsible for the Institute’s distinctive profile.
Every Monday, the German Development Institute / Deutsches Institut für Entwicklungspolitik (DIE) comments the latest news and trends of development policy in The Current Column.
The German Development Institute / Deutsches Institut für Entwicklungspolitik (DIE) is headed by Director Anna-Katharina Hornidge. DIE is member of the Johannes-Rau-Forschungsgemeinschaft.