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Publikationen des Deutschen Institut für Entwicklungspolitik (DIE)
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The 2030 Agenda as agenda setting event for water governance? Evidence from the Cuautla River Basin in Morelos, Mexico. Water 2020

Wed, 22/01/2020 - 10:36

Policy science has developed various approaches, such as agenda-setting and goal-setting theory, aimed at explaining the emergence of policy shifts and behavioural changes. The 2030 Agenda sets an ambitious vision for human development in times of global environmental change and makes for an interesting subject to study the explanatory power of these approaches. While the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) enshrined in the 2030 Agenda resulted from a process of intergovernmental negotiations, they will ultimately have to be implemented by national governments. Using the case of Mexico, we take the governance of water as a starting point to investigate whether the 2030 Agenda has indeed become a focusing event for sustainability transformation. Building on data from 33 expert interviews and findings of a Social Network Analysis of communications between water stakeholders from different sectors in the Cuautla River Basin, we conclude that major paradigm shifts in water governance in Mexico are thus far rather attributable to domestic focusing events and windows of opportunity than to the motivating impact of globally set goals. The Mexican case also illustrates that the implementation of the 2030 Agenda is strongly dependent on political will at the highest level. Ensuring the continuity of its implementation across administrations will, therefore, require mainstreaming and anchoring the SDGs into the sectorial strategies that determine activities at the lower working level of government.

EU budget negotiations: the ‘frugal five’ and development policy

Wed, 22/01/2020 - 10:19

The negotiations for the next EU budget are in full swing. Between now and the end of 2020 the EU must come to a conclusion on how much money it seeks to spend over the next seven years. Yet, Member States, the Commission, and Parliament are still divided both on the overall spending ceilings and the funds' distribution. In this blog post we outline the biggest challenges standing in the way of a successful outcome to the ongoing negotiations.

Conclusion:policy implications of ESG–agency research and reflections on the road ahead

Tue, 21/01/2020 - 18:19

The role of the state as an agent of earth system governance has become more complex, contingent, and interdependent. − Although participatory and collaborative processes have contributed to more effective, equitable, and legitimate environmental governance outcomes in some instances, analyses of these processes should be situated within a broader governance perspective, which recasts questions of policy change around questions of power and justice. −The complexity and normative aspects of agency in earth system governance requires new forms of policy evaluation that account for social impacts and the ability of governance systems to adapt. − Many of the core analytical concepts in ESG–Agency scholarship, such as agency, power, authority, and accountability, remain under-theorized. In addition, some types of actors, including women, labor, non-human agents, those who work against earth system governance, and many voices from the Global South, remain largely hidden. − ESG–Agency scholars need to develop research projects and collaborations in understudied regions while also recruiting and supporting scholars in those regions to engage with this research agenda.

How to evaluate agents and agency

Tue, 21/01/2020 - 18:14

SG–Agency scholars have embraced the notion that agent influence is complex, contingent, and context dependent, with the success of environmental governance depending considerably on propitious environmental and social conditions. − Scholars have shifted from an earlier focus on how agents influence behaviours and environmental quality in earth system governance to how they influence governance processes, with increasing focus on democracy, participation, legitimacy, transparency, and accountability. − ESG–Agency scholars employ increasingly diverse methods to integrate insights from case studies, interviews, surveys, statistical analyses, and other approaches leading to deeper and more nuanced understanding of agency in earth system governance. − Adopting more interdisciplinary, multidisciplinary, and transdisciplinary approaches to evaluating agency can foster future understandings of and contributions to earth system governance.

Introduction: Agency in earth system governance

Tue, 21/01/2020 - 18:11

Agency is one of five core analytical problems in the Earth System Governance (ESG) Project’s research framework, which offers a unique approach to the study of environmental governance. − Agency in Earth System Governance draws lessons from ESG–Agency research through a systematic review of 322 peer-reviewed journal articles published between 2008 and 2016 and contained in the ESG–Agency Harvesting Database.− ESG–Agency research draws on diverse disciplinary perspectives with distinct clusters of scholars rooted in the fields of global environmental politics, policy studies, and socio-ecological systems. − Collectively, the chapters in Agency in Earth System Governance provide an accessible synthesis of some of the field’s major questions and debates and a state-of-the-art understanding of how diverse actors engage with and exercise authority in environmental governance.

Der Vertrag von Aachen 2019: Ansätze zur Stärkung der deutsch-französischen Zusammenarbeit für eine nachhaltige Entwicklung

Tue, 21/01/2020 - 16:38

Am 22. Januar 2019 unterzeichneten Frankreich und Deutschland den Vertrag von Aachen. 56 Jahre nach dem Elysée-Vertrag bekräftigten die beiden Länder darin ihre Unterstützung für Multilateralismus, nachhaltige Entwicklung und Entwicklungszusammenarbeit.
Trotz der zum Ausdruck gebrachten Ambitionen bietet die Unterzeichnung des Vertrags auch einen Denkanstoß: inwieweit führen derartige Abkommen tatsächlich zu gemeinsamen operativen Ansätzen und wie wirken sie sich auf die deutsch-französische Zusammenarbeit aus?
Um diese Frage zu beantworten, analysiert dieses Papier die Hindernisse für eine engere deutsch-französische Zusammenarbeit für eine nachhaltige internationale Entwicklung. Im Mittelpunkt steht die Frage, wie auf höchster Ebene Vereinbartes in der politischen Koordination und Projektdurchführung umgesetzt wird. Die Analyse basiert auf rund 20 Interviews mit Vertretern deutscher und französischer Ministerien, Durchführungsorganisationen und Think Tanks. Sie kommt zu dem Schluss, dass die politische Koordinierung die größte Herausforderung darstellt.
Das Papier benennt drei wesentliche Hindernisse: leicht abweichende strategische Visionen; eine mangelnde Kompatibilität der institutionellen Strukturen hinsichtlich des Spezialisierungsgrades und der Mandate der für Entwicklungszusammenarbeit zuständigen Ministerien sowie der Beteiligung der Durchführungsorganisationen an der strategischen Entscheidungsfindung; und kulturelle Besonderheiten wie Kommunikationsformen und Zeitmanagement.
Das Papier formuliert fünf Empfehlungen:

  1. Das Erreichte bewahren: Die Intensität der Abstimmung zwischen Frankreich und Deutschland auf der politischen und Projektebene ist einzigartig in einem internationalen Kontext, in dem sich Akteure mehr und mehr auf nationa-le Interessen konzentrieren. Eine solche Zusammenarbeit sollte daher weiter unterstützt und verstärkt werden.
  2. Die politische Dynamik auf die Arbeitsebene übertra-gen: um die bilaterale Koordinierung zu intensivieren, könnten die beiden Länder einen regelmäßigen Follow-up-Mechanismus zu jeder Vereinbarung einrichten, der gemeinsame Aktionen, Ziele und Meilensteine enthält.
  3. Gegenseitiges Wissen und Vertrauen fördern: Ein Per-sonalaustausch zwischen den Ministerien sowie intensive Austauschformate (deep dive) zu den Aktivitäten und Strategien beider Länder würden es ermöglichen, das gegenseitige Verständnis zu verbessern.
  4. Austausch über bewährte Praktiken: Eine ausgewogene und respektvolle deutsch-französische Zusammenarbeit würde von einem Austausch von Best Practices in Berei-chen profitieren, in denen ein Land weiter fortgeschritten oder besser positioniert ist als das andere (wie die franzö-sische interministerielle Koordination oder deutsche Pro-jektmonitoring- und -evaluierungsverfahren).
  5. Gemeinsam handeln oder die Arbeit aufteilen: Im Vorfeld jedes gemeinsamen deutsch-französischen Engage-ments sollte abgewogen werden, ob die beiden Länder ein Interesse haben, gemeinsam zu handeln oder arbeitsteilig vorzugehen. Mittels Spezialisierung oder Zusammenarbeit würde somit die Wirkung maximiert.

Le traité d’Aix-la-Chapelle de 2019: des opportunités pour renforcer la coopération franco-allemande en matière de développement durable

Tue, 21/01/2020 - 16:28

Le 22 janvier 2019, la France et l'Allemagne ont signé le traité d'Aix-la-Chapelle. Cinquante-six ans après le traité de l’Elysée, les deux pays y rappellent leur soutien au multilatéralisme, au développement durable et aux politiques de coopération et de développement.
Malgré les ambitions exprimées dans ce document, la signature du traité appelle à la réflexion : dans quelle mesure ce type d’accord se traduit-il par des approches opérationnelles communes et des impacts réels sur la coopération franco-allemande ? Pour répondre à cette question, ce Briefing Paper analyse les obstacles au renforcement de la coopération franco-allemande dans le domaine du développement durable international. L’étude se concentre sur la manière dont ces engagements sont déclinés au niveau de la coordination politique et de la mise en œuvre des projets. L’analyse se fonde sur une vingtaine d’entretiens avec des représentants de ministères, d’agences de développement et de think tanks allemands et français. L’étude conclut que c’est au niveau de la coordination politique que les choses se compliquent le plus.
Trois principaux facteurs de blocage y sont identifiés : des visions stratégiques légèrement divergentes ; une incongruence entre structures institutionnelles liée aux degrés de spécialisation et mandats des ministères en charge du pilotage de l’aide, ainsi qu’au niveau d’implication des agences dans la prise de décisions stratégiques ; et des particularités culturelles, liées aux habitudes de communication et à la gestion du temps.
Cinq recommandations sont proposées :

  1. Préserver les acquis : l’alignement entre la France et l’Allemagne au niveau politique et au niveau de la mise en œuvre des projets sont des atouts dans un contexte international d’intérêts nationaux croissants. Ce type de collaboration devrait continuer à être défendu et renforcé.
  2. Traduire la dynamique politique à un niveau opérationnel : pour renforcer leur coordination, les deux pays pourraient établir un mécanisme de suivi solide et régulier de chaque engagement pris, détaillant les actions conjointes, les objectifs partagés et les étapes qui en découlent.
  3. Promouvoir la connaissance et la confiance mutuelle : des échanges de personnel entre administrations ainsi que des séances « approfondies » (deep dive) portant sur les activités et les stratégies des deux pays permettraient d’augmenter la connaissance de l’Autre.
  4. Partager les bonnes pratiques : une collaboration franco-allemande équilibrée passerait par l’échange de pratiques pour lesquelles un pays est plus avancé ou mieux positionné que l’autre (comme la coordination interministérielle française ou le suivi des résultats des projets allemand).
  5. Agir conjointement ou se répartir le travail : décider consciemment et de manière délibérée en amont de chaque engagement franco-allemand si les deux pays ont intérêt à unir leurs efforts ou à se répartir le travail. Ce choix permettrait d’optimiser l’impact, soit en se spécialisant, soit en travaillant ensemble.

The Treaty of Aachen of 2019: opportunities to strengthen Franco-German cooperation on sustainable development

Tue, 21/01/2020 - 16:16

On 22 January 2019, France and Germany signed the Aachen Treaty. Therein, 56 years after the Elysée Treaty, re-emphasising their support for multilateralism, sustainable development and development cooperation.
Despite the ambitions expressed in this document, the signing of the Treaty calls for reflection: to what extent does this type of agreement indeed lead to joint operational approaches and have a real impact on French–German cooperation?
To answer this question, this Briefing Paper analyses the obstacles to a closer French–German cooperation in the field of sustainable international development. It focuses on how these commitments are put into practice at the level of political coordination and project implementation. The analysis is based on about 20 interviews with representatives of French and German ministries, development agencies and think tanks. It finds that things get most complicated at the level of political coordination.
Three main obstacles are identified: slightly diverging strategic visions; an incompatibility between institutional structures concerning the degree of specialisation and the mandates of the ministries responsible for steering aid, as well as the degree to which development agencies are involved in strategic decision-making; and cultural particularities regarding communication and time management. Five recommendations are proposed:

  1. Protect what has been achieved: the alignment between France and Germany at the political and project implementation levels is an asset in an international context where the focus on national interests is increasing. Such cooperation should thus continue to be supported and reinforced.
  2. Channel the political momentum to the working level: in order to reinforce their coordination, the two countries could establish a solid and regular follow-up mechanism for each commitment, detailing joint actions, shared objectives and milestones.
  3. Promote mutual knowledge and trust: personnel exchange between the departments, as well as deep dive sessions on the two countries’ activities and strategies would allow increased understanding of each other.
  4. Share best practices: a balanced and respectful French–German collaboration could be encouraged by the sharing of practices for which one country is more advanced or better positioned than the other (such as the French interministerial coordination or the German project evaluation and monitoring procedures).
  5. Act jointly or divide the work: in the run-up to each joint Franco-German action, make a deliberate and conscious decision whether the two countries have an interest to act jointly or to divide the work. This decision would allow maximisation of the impact, either by specialising or by working together.

Le contrat social : un outil d’analyse pour les pays de la région Moyen-Orient et Afrique du Nord (MENA), et au-delà

Mon, 20/01/2020 - 11:10

Le contrat social est un concept clé des sciences sociales por¬tant sur les relations entre l’État et la société. Il renvoie à l’en-semble des accords explicites ou implicites intervenant entre tous les groupes sociaux concernés et le souverain (c.-à-d. le gouvernement ou tout autre acteur au pouvoir), définissant leurs droits et obligations mutuels (Loewe & Zintl, à paraître).
L’analyse des contrats sociaux permet de mieux comprendre : (i) pourquoi certains groupes sociaux sont mieux positionnés que d’autres sur les plans social, politique ou économique, (ii) pourquoi certains se révoltent et revendiquent un nouveau contrat social et, par conséquent, (iii) ce qui peut amener un pays à sombrer dans un conflit violent. En outre, le concept montre en quoi les interventions étrangères peuvent influer sur les relations entre l’État et la société en renforçant la position du souverain ou celle de groupes sociaux donnés. Il montre que l’inclusion insuffisante de certains groupes peut provoquer une fragilité de l’État, des déplacements et des migrations.
Cependant, jusqu’à présent, aucune définition convenable ni aucune expression concrète n’ont encore été données au terme « contrat social » – au détriment de la recherche et de la coopération internationale. Ce type d’approche analytique structurée des relations entre l’État et la société est impératif, tant dans la recherche que dans la politique, dans la région MENA et au-delà. Le présent document d’information définit un cadre, suggérant une analyse de (i) la portée des contrats sociaux, (ii) leur substance et (iii) leur dimension temporelle.
Après l’indépendance, les gouvernements de la région MENA ont établi un type de contrat social spécifique avec les citoyens, essentiellement basé sur la redistribution des ren¬tes. Ils ont permis aux citoyens d’accéder à l’énergie et aux denrées alimentaires à prix subventionnés, à une éducation
publique gratuite et à des emplois dans la fonction publique, en contrepartie de la reconnaissance tacite de la légitimité des régimes politiques, et ce malgré un manque de participation politique. Mais face à la croissance démographique et à la baisse des recettes publiques, certains gouvernements n’ont plus pu s’acquitter de leurs obligations et ont concentré leurs dépenses sur des groupes d’importance stratégique, subordonnant l’octroi de ressources à l’assentiment politique.
Les soulèvements de 2011 dans de nombreux pays arabes expriment alors une insatisfaction profonde vis-à-vis des contrats sociaux qui n’assuraient plus ni la participation à la vie politique, ni l’octroi d’avantages sociaux substantiels (au moins pour une grande partie de la population).
À la suite, les pays de la région MENA ont pris des directions différentes. La Tunisie a déjà avancé vers un dé-veloppement plus inclusif et une participation politique accrue. Le Maroc et la Jordanie essaient de rétablir certains volets de leur ancien contrat social, sur la base d’un modèle paternaliste, sans participation substantielle. Dans le contrat social émergeant en Égypte, le gouvernement ne promet pas plus que la sécurité individuelle et collective, et uniquement en contrepartie d’un assentiment politique total. La Libye, le Yémen et la Syrie sont tombés dans la guerre civile sans qu’aucun nouveau contrat ne se dessine au niveau national, et l’Irak se bat pour en établir un. Et les mouvements de fuite et de migration affectent également les contrats sociaux de pays voisins comme la Jordanie, la Turquie et le Liban.
Tous les pays de la région MENA devront œuvrer à la mise en place de nouveaux contrats sociaux aux fins de réduire l’instabilité actuelle et favoriser leur reconstruction physique. Le présent document propose un point sur la dimension conceptuelle de la renégociation de ces contrats et leur importance pour la coopération internationale avec ces pays.
 

Wissen Sie, auf welche Steuereinnahmen Ihre Regierung verzichtet?

Mon, 20/01/2020 - 09:00

Überall auf der Welt suchen Regierungen verzweifelt nach Mitteln zur Finanzierung von Sozialpolitik, öffentlicher Infrastruktur und Entwicklungsprojekten. Doch dieselben Regierungen verzichten regelmäßig auf bedeutende Steuereinnahmen, indem sie Investoren Steuervergünstigungen gewähren, für den Konsum bestimmter Güter und Dienstleistungen niedrigere Umsatzsteuersätze festsetzen, bestimmte Gruppen von Energiesteuern befreien etc. Es handelt sich um Ausnahmen von der normalen Besteuerung (sogenannte Steuerausgaben, englisch „tax expenditures“), die eine bestimmte Branche, Aktivität oder Personengruppe begünstigen.

Diese Ausnahmen sind keine Kleinigkeiten. Allein für die Vereinigten Staaten wird geschätzt, dass die dortige Bundesregierung im Jahr 2019 auf mehr als 1,3 Billionen USD verzichtet hat. Das entspricht nach Angaben des US-Finanzministeriums circa 29 Prozent der direkten Bundesausgaben und etwa sechs Prozent des Bruttoinlandsprodukts (BIP). Auch wenn vorliegende Schätzungen in ihrer Reichweite begrenzt sind, zeigen sie, dass die Steuerausgaben in Lateinamerika zwischen 0,7 und 6,6 Prozent des BIP und in Afrika zwischen 0,6 und 7,8 Prozent des BIP liegen.

Die tatsächlichen Zahlen können deutlich höher liegen, denn kaum eine Regierung gibt ein umfassendes Bild über die gewährten Vergünstigungen und die damit verbundenen Einnahmenausfälle. Häufig berufen sich Regierungen auf gute Gründe, um Steuerausgaben zu rechtfertigen. Dazu gehört, Investitionskapital aus dem Ausland anzuwerben, Innovation und Beschäftigung zu fördern oder den Zugang zu Grundbedarfsgütern zu erleichtern. In den meisten Fällen wissen die Regierungen jedoch nicht, ob die Steuerausgaben die erklärten Ziele erreichen und, noch wichtiger, ob ihr Nutzen tatsächlich größer ist als die Kosten, die sie verursachen.

Eine aktuelle Analyse der 43 Volkswirtschaften der G20 und der OECD zeigt, dass acht Länder in den vergangenen zehn Jahren keine Steuerausgaben offengelegt haben. 26 haben einfache Berichte veröffentlicht, und nur neun Regierungen haben regelmäßig detaillierte und umfassende Berichte publiziert. Noch trüber ist das Bild in Afrika, der Region mit der höchsten Anzahl von Ländern mit niedrigem oder niedrigem mittleren Einkommen. Von den 53 afrikanischen Ländern, die vom Team der Global Tax Expenditures Database (GTED) untersucht wurden, haben zwischen 2000 und 2019 nur 19 mindestens einmal einen Bericht veröffentlicht. Die übrigen 34 Länder haben in diesem Zeitraum keine Berichte öffentlich gemacht. Die GTED ist ein Gemeinschaftsprojekt von Think Tanks und Forschungseinrichtungen aus Europa, Asien, Afrika und Lateinamerika unter der Leitung des Council on Economic Policies (CEP) und des Deutschen Instituts für Entwicklungspolitik (DIE). Das Hauptziel des Projekts ist es, die Transparenz zu erhöhen, vertrauenswürdige Informationen zu generieren und die Forschung im Bereich der Steuerausgaben auszubauen. Die GTED wird mit offiziellen Daten der Regierungen weltweit in einem einheitlichen Format erstellt, um die internationale Vergleichbarkeit zu erhöhen.

Die von den 19 afrikanischen Ländern vorgelegten Berichte sind in Qualität und Umfang sehr unterschiedlich. Marokko und Côte d'Ivoire ragen durch die Breite der Informationen heraus, die ihre Berichte bieten. Die meisten anderen Länder liefern dagegen nur aggregierte Schätzungen der Einnahmeausfälle, entweder auf der Ebene der Bemessungsgrundlage oder auf der Ebene der Haushaltskategorie. Es fehlen genaue Informationen zu einzelnen Vergünstigungen, die für Kosten-Nutzen-Analysen und die Bewertung der Wirksamkeit und Effizienz dieser Maßnahmen erforderlich wären. Diese Art von Informationen ist nicht nur für die politischen Entscheidungsträger von Bedeutung. Sie ist auch wichtig, um Transparenz und Rechenschaftslegung gegenüber der Gesellschaft zu erhöhen.

Aus Gründen der Transparenz und politischen Debatte müssen Berichte über Steuerausgaben öffentlich sein. Im Idealfall sind sie mit dem Haushalt verknüpft oder auf offenen und leicht zugänglichen Websites oder Repositorien der Regierung zu finden. Verweise auf solche Berichte in amtlichen Mitteilungen sollten Informationen darüber enthalten, wo sie zu finden sind. Da aber die überwiegende Mehrheit der Regierungen ihre Steuerausgaben nicht vollständig ausweist, kann die Öffentlichkeit nicht diskutieren, ob diese Vergünstigungen sinnvoll sind. Wissenschaftliche Forschung kann ihre Wirkung im Hinblick auf Verteilung, Investitionen oder Marktverzerrungen nicht beurteilen, und Parlamente können nicht beschließen, jene Steuerausgaben zu streichen, die eindeutig nicht die gewünschte Wirkung erzielen. Es ist daher von großer Bedeutung, dass in der internationalen Steuerzusammenarbeit gemeinsame Standards bei der Berichterstattung über Steuerausgaben diskutiert und die Regierungen weltweit ermutigt werden, diese anzuwenden, wie es beispielsweise die Think20-Task Force für Handel, Investitionen und Steuern vorschlägt.

Christian von Haldenwang ist Senior Researcher im Forschungsprogramm Transformation politischer (Un-)Ordnung am Deutsches Institut für Entwicklungspolitik (DIE). Agustín Redonda ist Fellow des Council on Economic Policies (CEP).

Exporting out of China or out of Africa? Automation versus relocation in the global clothing industry

Thu, 16/01/2020 - 11:38

The Discussion Paper examines the opportunities that the rising industrial wages in China will bring for Africa. China has been the industrial workbench of the global economy for decades. However, its competitive advantages are waning, particularly for labour-intensive assembly activities in the clothing, shoe, electronics and toy industries. The Chinese government estimates that up to 81 million low-cost industrial jobs are at risk of relocation to other countries - unless China can keep the companies in the country through automation. Against this background, three complementary studies were carried out. The first examines where the automation technology for clothing and footwear production stands today; the second, how clothing companies in China deal with the cost pressure: to what extent they automate, relocate within China or abroad and how great is the interest in Africa as a production location. The third part is devoted to Africa’s competitiveness in clothing assemly, with empirical findings from Ethiopia and Madagascar. The Discussion Paper shows that the manufacture of clothing can already be robotized today, but that for sewing, robotization will probably remain more expensive than manual labor in the next 15-20 years. China’s companies are investing heavily in the automation of all other production processes and at the same time shifting production to neighbouring Asian countries. In Africa, only Ethiopia is currently competitive in the manufacture of clothing, and here too there are significant institutional difficulties in absorbing large amounts of direct investment.

 

Investment facilitation for development: a new route to global investment governance

Wed, 10/04/2019 - 14:50
While global investment needs are enormous in order to bolster the implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, developing countries are often excluded from global foreign direct investment (FDI) flows. Beyond economic fundamentals like market size, infra¬structure and labour, the impediments to FDI in developing countries relate to the predictability, transparency and ease of the regulatory environment. In contrast, tax incentives and international investment agreements (IIAs) have been found to be less important (World Bank, 2018). To harness the advantages of FDI, it is critical that governments have policies and regulations in place that help to attract and retain FDI and enhance its contribution to sustainable development. The 2030 Agenda and the Addis Ababa Action Agenda, thus, call for appropriate international frameworks to support investments in developing countries.
In this context, the Joint Ministerial Statement on Investment Facilitation for Development adopted at the 11th Ministerial Conference of the World Trade Organization (WTO) in December 2017 called for the start of “structured discussions with the aim of developing a multilateral framework on investment facilitation”. Investment facilitation refers to a set of practical measures concerned with improving the transparency and predict¬ability of investment frameworks, streamlining procedures related to foreign investors, and enhancing coordination and cooperation between stakeholders, such as host and home country government, foreign investors and domestic corporations, as well as societal actors.
Despite the deadlock in the WTO’s 17-year-old Doha Round negotiations, the structured discussions on investment facilitation, which have been under way since March 2018, show that the members of the WTO take a strong interest in using the WTO as a platform to negotiate new international rules at the interface of trade and investment. In contrast to previous attempts by developed countries to establish multilateral rules for investment, the structured discussions are mainly driven by emerging and developing countries. Most of them have evolved over the past years into FDI host and home countries reflecting the changing geography of economic power in the world. Their increased role has led to a shift of policy agendas, focusing on practical measures to promote FDI in developing countries while excluding contentious issues such as investment liberali¬sation and protection, and investor–state dispute settlement (ISDS).
This policy brief provides an overview of the emerging policy debate about investment facilitation. We highlight that four key challenges need to be tackled in order to negotiate an investment facilitation framework (IFF) in the WTO that supports sustainable development:
  1. There is a need to properly conceptualise the scope of investment facilitation as a basis for empirical analyses of the potential impact of a multilateral IFF.
  2. Many less- and least-developed countries do not yet participate in the structured discussions. It is necessary to enhance their capacity to participate in the structured discussions and address their specific concerns.
  3. In order to enhance the contribution of FDI to sustainable development it is necessary to support the development of governance mechanisms at the domestic level.
  4. It is key to ensure transparency towards countries not yet participating in the discussions, the business sector and societal actors to support a successful policy process.


Potential of blockchain technology for trade integration of developing countries

Wed, 03/04/2019 - 08:36
Blockchain technology (BT), famous due to its use in digital currencies, also offers new opportunities in other fields, one of which is trade integration. Developing countries especially could benefit from greater trade integration with BT, as the technology can, for example, remedy deficiencies with regard to financial system access, intellectual property protection and tax administration. BT allows virtually tamper-proof storage of transactions and other data on decentralised computer networks. In fact, it is possible to store not only data, but also entire programmes this securely: Smart contracts enable the automation of private transactions and administrative processes. This article summarises the latest research on the use of BT in trade integration by examining in more detail five key and, in some cases, linked fields of application.
The first is trade finance, where BT could deliver direct cost savings for exporters and importers by removing the need for credit-lending intermediaries. Second, tamper-proof storage of information on the origin and composition of goods could enhance supply chain documentation. This makes it possible to more reliably verify compliance with sustainability standards, particularly for globally produced goods. However, for the information in blockchains to be truthful, it must be entered correctly (it is then tamperproof), a process that therefore requires monitoring.
Third, BT could deliver improvements in the field of trade facilitation by making it easier for border authorities to access information on goods and thus easing reporting requirements for exporting firms. By reducing dependence on central database operators, BT could help bring about a breakthrough with existing digital technology in the area of trade. Fourth, facilitating access to information on goods could also simplify customs and taxation procedures and make them less vulnerable to corruption and fraud. This goes hand in hand with cost reductions for exporters and better mobilisation of domestic resources for public budgets. Fifth, in the field of digital trade, BT also facilitates management of digital file rights in environments where, for institutional reasons, there is little intellectual property protection. This could help to promote digital industries in developing countries.
However, when it comes to using BT in border and customs systems in particular, it is essential to involve the relevant authorities at an early stage. At the same time, it is necessary to promote uniform technical standards for supply chain documentation in order to safeguard interoperability between the different systems across actors and national borders and thus fully leverage the cost advantages. If these guidelines are taken into account, then BT could effectively support sustainable trade integration of developing countries.

What do we know about post-conflict transitional justice from academic research: key insights for practitioners

Tue, 12/03/2019 - 10:40
Societies that have experienced violent conflict face considerable challenges in building sustainable peace. One crucial question they need to address is how to deal with their violent past and atrocities that were committed – for example, whether perpetrators should be held accountable by judicial means, or whether the focus should be laid on truth telling and the compensation of victims. Transitional justice (TJ) offers a range of instruments that aim to help societies come to terms with their history of violent conflict. Systematic, empirical analyses of TJ instruments have been emerging over the last years. This Briefing Paper summarises the policy-relevant insights they provide regarding the main TJ instruments: trials; truth commissions; reparations for victims; and amnesties. Reviewing academic literature on the effects of transitional justice in post-conflict contexts, three main messages emerge:
  • Initial evidence suggests that transitional justice can help to foster peace. Contrary to concerns that actively dealing with the past may deepen societal divisions and cause renewed conflict, most statistical studies find either positive effects or no effects of the various instruments on peace.
  • Research indicates that amnesties can help to build peace, though not as a response to severe war crimes. Contrary to strong reservations against amnesties at the international level (especially on normative grounds), several academic studies find that amnesties can statistically significantly reduce the risk of conflict recurrence. However, the most extensive and recent study also shows that this effect varies depending on the context: amnesties can contribute to peace when they are included in peace agreements, but have no effect after episodes of very severe violence.
  • To effectively foster peace, trials should target all perpetrators involved in the conflict, not only the defeated party. A likely explanation for this finding from a recent study is that otherwise domestic trials can be used by the victorious party to punish and repress the defeated side. More generally, donors should be aware that if a political regime is able to instrumentalise a transitional justice process, for instance after a one-sided victory or in an undemocratic environment, the process is often not conducive to peace.
Reviewing the literature also makes clear that important, open questions remain:
  • Can transitional justice contribute to a deeper quality of peace that goes beyond the absence of violence? TJ should be able to foster reconciliation and mend broken societal relationships. However, if and how TJ can affect social cohesion after conflict needs to be better understood.
  • How do various transitional justice instruments need to be combined? Both the academic literature and policy documents suggest that it is important to find the right mix of instruments, but more systematic analyses of successful combinations of TJ instruments are necessary.
  • What role does donor support play in processes of transitional justice? Although transitional justice can be strongly domestically driven, such as in Colombia, donor funding often facilitates these processes. However, we still know too little about the effectiveness of such support.

How Brexit affects Least Developed Countries

Mon, 14/01/2019 - 09:45
Following the decision of the British referendum on 23 June 2016, the United Kingdom (UK) plans to exit the European Union (EU). Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty was invoked at the end of March 2017 and the UK will officially leave the single market and customs union in March 2019. Brexit negotiations have proven difficult due to diverging positions of the two partners on many issues, such as freedom of movement, financial contributions and the potential re-emergence of a tough border between the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland. Despite the successfully negotiated Withdrawal Agreement and Political Declaration, there is still con¬siderable political uncertainty about the final EU-UK deal.
Regardless of the final outcome of the negotiations, Brexit implies fundamental changes in the British trade regime concerning third countries. This starts with a negotiation of national terms of access for World Trade Organization (WTO) membership and extends to renegotiation of the numerous EU free trade agreements. Moreover, the UK will no longer be part of the European Generalised Scheme of Preferences (GSP) or the Everything But Arms (EBA) treaty, which allow vulnerable developing countries to pay fewer or no duties on their exports to the EU. The Economic Partnership Agree-ments (EPAs) between the EU and African, Caribbean and Pacific countries will not apply to the UK either.
While the negative effects of Brexit on the UK and EU are in the limelight, the implications for third countries receive less attention. This paper puts the spotlight on these often-overlooked issues by presenting new findings on Brexit implications for Least Developed Countries (LDCs) and discussing policy recommendations.
Developing countries with close ties to the UK will suffer from Brexit as import duties are once again imposed.
In particular, 49 of the world’s poorest countries presently benefit from preferential treatment that covers 99% of all products under the EBA agreement. Although these countries account for only 1.15% of the UK’s imports, the share of their exports to the UK exceeds 35% in apparel, 21% in textiles and 9% in sugar (calculations based on the UN Comtrade data for 2013-2015). Our findings show that losing these preferences together with the UK’s withdrawal from the EU may cause EBA countries’ GDPs to fall by -0.01% to -1.08%. Our simulations also indicate that the highest losses will occur in Cambodia and Malawi, where dependence on the UK market is strong. Moreover, Brexit may cause the number of those living in extreme poverty (PPP $1.90 a day) to rise by nearly 1.7 million in all EBA countries. These are conservative estimates of Brexit’s negative impacts; they do not take into account the addi¬tional implications of uncertainty, depreciation of the pound sterling, reduced aid spending, remittances and investments.
The UK must act to mitigate the adverse effects on economically vulnerable countries. Such action may include replicating existing EU treaties that grant preferential access to goods from LDCs, creating a more development-friendly UK trade policy with preferential access to services imports and cumulative rules of origin, as well as offering better-targeted aid for trade initiatives. The EU could also support LDCs by implementing liberal cumulative rules of origin and applying its preferential treatment partly to goods with a low value-added content from considered countries.
In addition, developing countries should diversify their export destinations and industries as well as engage in economic transformation that makes them less dependent on UK trade, aid and foreign direct investment (FDI).



Towards a borderless Africa? Regional organisations and free movement of persons in West and North-East Africa

Wed, 09/01/2019 - 13:39
The vision of a united Africa and the rejection of the arbitrary borders created by European colonial powers have for decades been at the heart of pan-African endeavours. Achieving the free movement of persons on the continent was a key aim of the 1991 Abuja Treaty, which established the African Economic Community (AEC). And in the ensuing decades, this goal was under¬scored in agreements on African economic integration and in the African Union (AU)’s Agenda 2063. In January 2018, the member states of the AU finally agreed on the Protocol to the Treaty Establishing the African Economic Community Relating to Free Movement of Persons, Right of Residence and Right of Establishment.
The continental agendas state that the process of implementing free movement must begin with Africa’s sub-regions. This is not least due to historical reasons. The Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) was a pioneer in this regard, with its Free Movement Protocol dating back to 1979. The years that followed saw the free movement of persons integrated into other African regionalisation processes as well. The East African Community (EAC), for instance, has agreed, at least in part, on far-reaching steps; other sub-regions (such as the North African Intergovernmental Authority on Develop¬ment (IGAD)) are currently working towards relevant accords.
The present analysis of ECOWAS (West Africa) and IGAD (North-East Africa) shows that both regional organisa¬tions face difficulties with their free movement policies, though the respective challenges emerge in different phases of the political process. In the IGAD region, member states have so far been unable to agree on any free movement treaty, while the ECOWAS region is experiencing delays in the national and subnational implementation of established legislation. These differences can primarily be explained by historic path dependencies, divergent degrees of legalisa¬tion, and differing interests on the part of subregional powers. Finally, regional free movement is being hampered in both regions by internal capacity issues and growing external influences on intra-African migration management and border control.
From the perspective of development policy, it is expedient to support free movement at subregional level in Africa. The following recommendations arose from the analysis:
  • Promote regional capacities: Personnel and financial support should be provided to regional organisations to assist them with formulating free movement standards and implementing them at national and subnational level.
  • Harmonise security and free-movement policies: European initiatives on border control and migration management must provide greater support for free movement rather than inhibit intraregional migration and free movement policies.
  • Offer cross-sectoral incentives: The German Government and the European Union should encourage progress with the regionalisation of free movement regimes in related areas of cooperation.
In order to effectively implement the recommendations, it is also important to recognise and flesh out the role of regional organisations at global level as well.

Supporting peace after civil war: what kind of international engagement can make a difference?

Thu, 13/12/2018 - 14:53
peacekeeping can be an effective instrument in maintaining peace, but little systematic knowledge exists on the roles that other types of peace support can play. International peacebuilding encompasses a broad range of activities beyond peacekeeping. It includes non-military support to increase security through disarmament, demobilisation, the reintegration (DDR) of former combatants, as well as security sector reform (SSR) and demining; support for governance to strengthen political institutions and state capacity; support for socioeconomic development to create a peace dividend through reconstruction, basic services, jobs and macroeconomic stability; and support for societal conflict transformation, including reconciliation, dialogue and transitional justice programmes.
This briefing paper presents the results of a comprehensive analysis of disaggregated external support in post-conflict situations, undertaken recently within the DIE research project “Supporting Sustainable Peace”. Analysing combinations of peace support provided during the first five years of 36 post-civil war episodes since 1990, we find that international peacebuilding can clearly make a difference. More specifically, our findings show that
  • international peacekeeping is one, but not the only, means of support associated with sustained peace;
  • contrary to concerns regarding the destabilising effects of democratisation, the majority of successful cases are in fact characterised by substantial international support in the field of politics and governance in democratising contexts;
  • only combined international efforts across all types of support can help prevent renewed conflict in contexts of a high risk of recurrence; and
  • countries that did not receive any substantial peace support experienced conflict recurrence within five years.
In light of these findings, we recommend the following to the international community when faced with post-civil war situations:
  • Engage substantially in post-conflict countries. Our results show that international peacebuilding can be effective, even where there is a high structural risk of conflict recurrence. While success will never be guaranteed, countries that receive substantial international support often remain peaceful, whereas all countries that were neglected by the international community experienced conflict recurrence.
  • Pay particular attention, and provide substantial support, to the field of politics and governance in post-conflict countries that begin to democratise. While it is well known that democratisation processes are conflict prone, our analyses demonstrate that donor engagement geared towards supporting such processes can help mitigate conflict and contribute to peace. When a post-conflict country has decided to embark on political reforms donors should offer governance support to help overcome potential destabilising effects of democratisation processes.
  • Invest in an international approach that encompasses all areas of peacebuilding early on after the end of a civil war. Especially in contexts with a high structural risk of renewed violent conflict, the chances of sustained peace are increased by simultaneous support for security, institutions, livelihoods and societal conflict transformation.


How addressing divisions on African migration inside the EU can strengthen transnational development

Tue, 13/11/2018 - 11:50
Intense negotiations about migration management policies are taking place inside the European Union (EU), and between the EU and African states. Although these two negotiation processes are often analysed separately, they are actually interlinked. Drawing on interviews with representatives of European and African states and regional organisations as well as on policy analysis, this Briefing Paper argues that negotia¬tions inside the EU restrict EU-Africa cooperation on migration in two ways: first, by transmitting a strengthened focus on border control from the internal to the external dimension of EU migration management policies; second, by framing migration in a narrow way, which has hindered progress with regard to transnational development.
Intra-EU policy negotiations on migration are essential for the evolvement of EU-Africa cooperation on migration. Their increasing focus on border controls in Europe and Africa hinders the adoption of policies that support the potential of migration to contribute towards transnational resilience and development. Therefore, addressing the divisions on the internal dimension of EU migration management policy is a prerequisite for identifying sustainable EU-Africa cooperation pathways and supporting African migrants as actors of transnational development.
There are two important lessons that the Commission and the member states can learn from their difficulties in reaching an internal agreement on how to manage migration inside and outside the EU. The first lesson is that they need to address the challenge of balancing European national and transnational competencies and approaches. This challenge is inherent to the EU being a transnational union of nation states. The second lesson is that they need to take into greater consideration the needs of vulnerable citizens of both European and African countries.
In particular, the EU and its member states should:
  • Focus on the internal dimension of migration management and rebalance the current distribution of national and EU transnational competencies on migration. This is needed to address the conflicts of competencies that are currently hindering the nego¬tiations on common policies. In particular, they should explore the feasibility of transferring some national competencies to the EU, including through the creation of a pilot EU Agency on Labour Migration.
  • Introduce effective mechanisms of transnational responsibility-sharing in the EU in order to safeguard free movement within the Schengen Area. In particular, they should foresee an EU relocation system based on incentives and sanctions as part of a reform of the Dublin Regulation.
  • Take the needs of young and low-skilled workers as well as migrant European workers into greater consideration by promoting employment, job security and labour rights, with funding through the European Social Fund.
Reintroduce policy and development cooperation measures supporting the potential of African migration to contribute towards transnational resilience and development and provide adequate funding through the Multiannual Financial Framework 2021-2027. In particular, such measures should support self-determined strategies of African migrants, for example by facilitating circular mobility and the transfer of remittances.


Boosting non-state climate action in the European Union

Tue, 09/10/2018 - 11:46
The 2015 Paris Agreement and the accompanying Paris Decision recognise the importance of climate actions by non-state actors, such as businesses, civil society organisa¬tions, cities, regions and cooperative initiatives, to reduce greenhouse gases (GHG) and to adapt to climate change as necessary complements to governmental commitments. Prominent international platforms, such as the Non-State Actor Zone for Climate Action (NAZCA) by the Secretariat of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) and the Climate Initiatives Platform ad¬min-istered by the United Nations Environmental Pro¬gramme/Technical University of Denmark (UNEP/DTU) Part¬ner¬ship, have greatly improved the visibility of such actions.
Within this dynamic field of non-state climate action, non-state actors based in the European Union (EU) can be considered global leaders. Actions led by EU-based actors represent most initiatives registered with UNFCCC’s NAZCA platform. Moreover, individual member states have played leading roles in the Global Climate Action Agenda (also known as the Marrakech Partnership for Global Climate Action). A recent study by the European Economic and Social Committee (EESC) and the German Develop¬ment Institute / Deutsches Institut für Entwick¬lungs¬politk (DIE) moreover finds that actions led by EU-based non-state actors are performing well compared with the global average (EESC, 2018).
However, the implementation of non-state actions is not evenly distributed. In absolute terms, existing initiatives in Central and Eastern Europe (CEE) are underrepresented. Moreover, few actions led by EU-based non-state actors are recorded in international platforms in areas such as forestry, transport and construction (EESC, 2018).
The need for more, and more effective, non-state actions is evident given the fact that current EU climate policies are inconsistent with the goals of the Paris Agreement. According to the Climate Action Tracker, the EU’s Nationally Determined Contribution (NDC) is insufficient; if all govern¬ments had targets similar to the EU, global warming could exceed 2°C and possibly even 3°C.
Non-state actors could make important additional mitiga¬tion and adaptation contributions, both directly, for example, through new installations, as well as indirectly, for example, by encouraging behavioural change. Moreover, they could inspire governments and the EU to be more ambi¬tious. However, currently non-state actions are not easy to track. Despite a strong focus on climate mitigation, most actions led by EU-based actors do not set clear GHG reduction targets. In addition, many relevant actions remain unrecorded.
This paper explores what is necessary to accelerate non-state actions and enhance their effectiveness in the EU and as a solution suggests that a light-touch framework be implemented to stimulate bottom-up climate actions. This framework should respond to the needs and challenges experienced by a range of stakeholders while building on existing efforts. Moreover, a well-designed framework could help address the imbalances identified in this study.

A mountain worth climbing: reforming the UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs

Thu, 04/10/2018 - 13:26
The United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs (UN DESA) is a key multilateral organisation for development. Since 2015, DESA has had the unique mandate of facilitating the efforts of all UN member states towards achieving the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development by supporting the High-level Political Forum. It is tasked to provide intellectual leadership through research and analysis, support norm-setting by the main UN bodies on development – the General Assembly (GA), the Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) – and coord¬inate with the broader UN development system.
However, DESA has yet to unlock its full potential in playing a politically relevant and analytically authoritative role in sustainable development beyond the conference rooms of New York. DESA’s organisational structures have become increasingly outdated and inefficient. Since the founding of DESA in 1997, the department has been curiously exempt from the ongoing reforms of the world organisation. In addition, there is little transparency and analysis of actual reform needs and options.
Our reform vision is that DESA should become a more prominent voice of the UN in sustainable development and help to credibly raise ambitions for the implementation of the 2030 Agenda globally. Tasked with economic and social affairs, DESA could serve as the multilateral hub for advancing universality, assisting all countries (including high-income countries) in striving for sustainable devel¬op¬ment and coordinating global policies towards advancing the global common good. This vision calls for a department that is intellectually brilliant, politically capable and impartial in bringing together the whole UN system.
As a basic condition, DESA reform requires vigorous and consistent support from member states. The power of the Secretary-General (SG) and his heads of department to reorganise the structures are limited by member states’ oversight, which is mainly executed in the UN’s budgetary bodies. Moreover, DESA’s substructures have expanded organically around mandated tasks, creating a highly decentralised entity with various overlapping activities, thereby raising the stakes of reform.
The most recent reform attempts of DESA have stag¬nated in a geopolitical climate of mistrust and opposing priorities along the divisions between countries from the political North and South. DESA has been the home base of developing countries – organised as the Group of 77 and China (G77) – at the UN Secretariat, making it an advocate of developing-country interests. Since 2015, several countries from the political North (e.g. United States and EU countries) have called for DESA reform in terms of increasing effectiveness and efficiency, while the G77 has pushed back, suspecting attempts to diminish their power by cutting funding and staff. The situation has become increasingly complex, with growing speculation on the intentions of China, whose diplomats have been leading the department for the last decade.
In order to prepare the ground for a comprehensive DESA reform that is beneficial to all stakeholders, we suggest three steps to the SG and his reform team that build upon each other:
  1. create greater transparency, substantive knowledge and participation on DESA reform
  2. interlink DESA reform with ongoing UN reform processes
  3. generate political support from member states and long-term payoffs from DESA reform.


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