The European Think Tanks Group hosts a high-level conference in Berlin on 1 and 2 March 2016 to debate the EU Global Strategy and related strategy processes against the background of the 2030 Agenda and to identify a concrete course of action, combining perspectives from foreign and security, development, climate, environment, migration and trade policies.


Image credit: DfID (Flickr)

Image credit: DfID (Flickr)

The high-level event on women’s empowerment and sustainable development took place in Riga, Latvia, on 2 March. The event was jointly hosted by the European Commission and the Latvian Ministry of Foreign Affairs as part of the European Year for Development.  It aimed to identify possible solutions for ensuring women’s equal rights and access to the market and economic resources and for unlocking women’s economic potential.

We produced the conference background note, in which gender expert Helen O’Connell considered the following key issues:

  • why gender equality and women and girls’ rights matter in development;
  • where gender equality and women’s empowerment stand in development goals and frameworks;
  • the challenges for women’s economic empowerment;
  • four strategic interventions to empower women economically; and
  • the EU’s role in promoting gender equality and women’s empowerment in global development.

Read the post on the European Year for Development website and watch videos of the conference.

EU parliament electionOn 20 November 2014, we met to explore, review and establish expectations of the new EU leadership team and debate the priorities for EU development cooperation in 2015 and beyond. The discussion, chaired by Baroness Kinnock of Holyhead in the House of Lords, was based on our report with the European Think Tanks Group: “Our Collective Interest”, which makes a strong case for a new development agenda, broader in its outlook and with strong links to internal EU policy. See more information here. Speakers debated such topics as the EU’s comparative advantage; future prospects for EU external action; and what initiatives the EU should take in 2015. Jeremy Lefroy MP was unable to join us, but prepared this commentary.

Read the event report here.

Credit: Friends of Europe

Credit: Friends of Europe

In a rapidly changing and interdependent world, Europe’s new leaders need to adopt a global perspective in European policy-making, a new understanding of the EU’s global role, and in particular, a new approach to international development. In this event hosted by Friends of Europe in Brussels on 10 September 2014, we asked whether the European Think Tanks Group’s 2014 report ‘Our Collective Interest: Why Europe’s problems need global solutions and global problems need European action’ offer the sort of answers needed.

See the programme here and watch a recording of the event here.

This year’s European Development Days, A decent life for all by 2030 – building a consensus for a new development agenda, took place on 26 & A new development agenda: The way forward27 November. Simon Maxwell moderated the closing panel, A new development agenda: the way forward. The panellists were: Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, President of Liberia; Jan Eliasson, Deputy Secretary General of the UN; Andris Piebalgs, EU Commissionner; Winnie Biyanyima, Chief Executive of Oxfam International; Depapriya Bhattacharya; and Paul Collier.

In this blog, Simon highlights the main challenges raised during the discussion, and identifies some lessons that could help bring the post-2015 agenda safely into harbour.

hi res logo_AFRI-EU (1)Ahead of the 2014 Africa-EU Summit, and at a time of shifting and complex internal and external dynamics in Europe and Africa, the European Think-Tanks Group is holding a High-Level Conference, Looking beyond 2013: Are Africa-EU relations still fit for purpose? in Brussels on Monday, 28 October 2013.

The objective of the conference is to:

  •  assess how Europe-Africa relations can remain fit for purpose,
  • provide an opportunity to take stock of the successes, challenges and failures of the efforts to launch a strategic partnership,
  • revisit strategic questions on the nature and objective of the partnership, and
  • have an open debate on what both partners expect from one another in order to inform the future relationship.

Join the debate on Africa-EU relations in the run-up to the conference on ECDPM’s blogsite Africa-Europe relations – looking beyond 2014.

(Attendance at the conference is by invitation only)

Rogerson and Jackson in conversationWe hosted the EU Change-makers at the ODI on 24 and 25 June 2013 for a conference on EU development cooperation.

The purpose of the conference was to take stock of progress on EU development cooperation, on paper and on the ground; but also, to look forward strategically to the future. We had participants from a dozen countries, from the public and private sectors, and from think-tanks and NGOs, as well as official aid agencies. The debate focused on how the  EU needs to adapt itself to the changing political, economic and social landscape and the ringing of the changes in 2014 which will be important staging posts in delivering new development cooperation in the second half of the decade.

Read the conference report and see the programme, panellists’ presentations and Simon Maxwell’s first reflections on the conference here. Further thoughts and takeaways from other participants will be added.

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