Launch Event Stockholm, 22/24 October 2009

Launch of the ERD 2009

The first-ever European Report on Development which was officially launched in Stockholm in the context of the European Development Days , Stockholm, 22 October 2009, in the presence of high level development figures, both from the research and policy spheres.

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Stefano Manservisi, Director General for Development of the European Commission, introduced the event by highlighting that the ERD is a new initiative which seeks, in close co-operation with the research community, policy makers and developing country partners, to elaborate a European perspective on development issues. In connection with the theme of the report, he recalled the specific challenges posed by situations of fragility for policy makers as well as the reasons why we have to stay engaged. He also presented the current EU initiatives in that field, including the forthcoming Action Plan on situations of fragility and conflicts as well as the work on budget support in fragile situations undertaken in collaboration with the World Bank, the African Development Bank and the IMF.

In their allocution, Joakim Stymne, State Secretary to the Minister for International Development Cooperation of Sweden, and Martin Dinham, Director General International of DFID, welcomed the useful analytical insights and policy recommendations put forward by the ERD 2009 on the complex topic of fragility, including on the issues of state building, the beyond-economic approach to regional integration and the specific added value and responsibility of the EU in that regard. Independent academic analyses are needed to back, enrich and/or criticize – when needed – our policy approaches and actions. Besides, the involvement of African scholars in the ERD process was also emphasized as a positive feature of the initiative.

Giorgia Giovannetti, Professor of Economics and ERD Research Team Leader, presented the main findings and recommendations of the Report. She explained the characteristics of fragility (common features and differences) as well as the costs it entails, both from a human, economic and security perspective. She then described how fragile African countries have been hit by the succession of crises (food, fuel and financial/economic) and the link between fragility and resilience. At last, she exposed the main policy recommendations of the Report, in particular the five policy priorities suggested by he ERD 2009 to inform EU’s long term engagement in African fragile countries: supporting state-building and social cohesion; overcoming the divide between short-term needs and long term resilience; enhancing human and social capital; supporting better regional governance, including regional integration processes and; promoting development and security in the region.

François Bourguignon, Director of the Paris School of Economics and Scientific Advisor for the ERD initiative, concluded the event, indicating that the Report, beyond providing policy recommendations, also aimed at stimulating the debate. He invited the participants to liaise with himself, the ERD team and the Commission for further conversations.

“Overcoming fragility is above all an imperious moral necessity which must be addressed in order to make progress on development. But it is also in our interest, with the aim to ensure global stability and prosperity in a more and more interdependent world”, Stefano Manservisi, Director General for Development of the European Commission.

“I am also pleased that the regional dimension in the report is not merely an economic one but also touches on regional institutions in general. And it challenges us to think politically about our common history in Africa and the impact, both positive and negative, that we have. This is not a paper written by bureaucrats!” Martin Dinham, Director General International, Department for International Development (DFID), UK.

“What is innovative with the report is that it encapsulates experience based and theoretical viewpoints on state fragility and link these in a coherent way to implementation and policymaking in the EU. It has provided the EU and its member states with a useful tool for policy making. Its now the hands of the EU member states to take the result and recommendations of this report forward and feed it in to the policy making process”, Joakim Stymne, State Secretary to the Minister for International Development Cooperation of Sweden.