EU-LDC Home
News Headlines
Themes
Regions
EU-LDC Brief
Conferences
Discussion Fora
EU Institutions
Glossary
Agenda of Events
Links
About the EU-LDC Network
Subscribers Info
Contact Us
Site Search  




Welcome to the EU-LDC Network Discussion Fora

Discussion 1: Global governance and poverty reduction

Discussion 2: ACP-EU Trade Negotiations - Ensuring EPAs are an Effective Tool for Development (Discussion closed since July 2002)


Global governance and poverty reduction -
Topics to be addressed at the next EU-LDC Conference

As a result of the growing interdependence between countries, international treaties and international organisations have come to play an important role in many areas over the last decades. These international institutions may have an important effect on poverty and development policies. For example, the WTO's TRIPS agreement has led to intense discussions about the impact of multilateral trade rules on the health of the poor. At the same time as the international institutions have become more important players in the globalised world, their functioning and legitimacy have come under increasing criticism from various sources. Critical NGOs for instance have pointed to the power of multinational companies, and have protested against organisations like the World Bank and the WTO, asking for greater transparency and checks on globalisation.

Since the topic of Global Governance will be a crucial and pertinent issue in trade and development policies for the coming years, it will be the overriding theme of the second annual conference of the EU-LDC Network which will be held in December 2002 in Thailand. As an appetiser for the upcoming conference and for this Internet discussion, the EU-LDC Network has published its EU-LDC Brief on global governance and poverty reduction, which contains contributions of policymakers, academics and consultants.

The Brief focuses on three questions:

1. Which poverty and development issues should be dealt with at the global level?
2. How can existing global institutions be reformed in order to contribute to development and poverty reduction?
3. What role could or should the EU play in these issues?

The aim of the discussion is simple, to provide information and to identify and exchange views on the questions put forward on Global Governance. The Internet discussion will serve as an input for the annual conference in December. You are invited to contribute to the discussion by sharing your information and views on Global Governance, or by raising questions that you think need to be addressed. These will be posted in the discussion forum, though the Discussion Group Moderator retains the right to post only those items that contribute constructively to the discussion. At the end of the debate a summary of the discussion will be published on the EU-LDC website.

For each of the questions, we have identified some of the issues that could be discussed in the Internet discussion. We hope to get your views on these topics and determine priorities for the issues that should be discussed at the conference. The questions and issues are presented below.

1. Which poverty and development issues should be dealt with at the global level?

· How to define a Global Public Good and consequently, what issues are encompassed by the definition?
· What is the added value of applying the concept of global public goods?
· If poverty reduction and development are considered to be global public goods, should they also be dealt with at the global level and by which institutions?
· More specifically, what global goods should the WTO deal with?
· What does the debate of global public goods imply about the most appropriate policies to reduce poverty?

2. How can existing global institutions be reformed in order to contribute to development and poverty reduction?

· Should we strive for comprehensive or rather incremental reform of international institutions?
· How should the balance between international organisations concerned with trade and those dealing with other areas be defined? Should the UN play a greater role or should the WTO incorporate more other issues areas?
· How should the relation between national states and international organisations be defined in various policy areas? Should international organisation assume greater roles and powers or should the focus be more on regional organisations and states?
· How do decision-making arrangements in international organisations affect poverty reduction and development efforts?
· Will increased transparency and democracy, and a greater involvement of (western) NGOs, lead to more pro-development outcomes or will it work against the interests of developing countries?
· How should decision-making in international organisations be reformed?

3. What role could or should the EU play in global governance issues?

· Does EU integration present useful models for international co-operation at the global level?
· Should the EU assume a greater role in international organisations and the role of its Member States be reduced?
· What would this imply for the EU's effectiveness internationally and what would it mean for the position of developing countries in international negotiations?
· Should the EU mainly focus on reforming international institutions or on building capacity in developing countries?
· What role can capacity building play in strengthening the position of developing countries in international organisations and negotiations?
· Is the EU the most suitable actor to engage in capacity-building activities or should other, international or non-governmental organisations, take the lead?

EU-LDC Brief on Global Governance  |  Join the Discussion


ACP-EU Trade Negotiations - Ensuring EPAs are an Effective Tool for Development (Discussion closed since July 2002)

A radical change to the ACP-EU (African, Caribbean and Pacific-European Union) relationship is underway. For over 25 years, the EU has granted practically totally free market access to ACP countries' products. These preferences are not reciprocal. ACP countries have not been obliged to grant the same preferential treatment to European products in their own markets and have restricted their entry by taxing them. In the framework of the ACP-EU Partnership Agreement (commonly referred to as the Cotonou Agreement), the parties agree to begin negotiations in September 2002 on new development-friendly, World Trade Organisation (WTO)-compatible trading arrangements. To this end, Economic Partnership Agreements (EPAs) will be negotiated. These new trade arrangements should be agreed by January 2008. The likely result will be that the current preferential trade regime will be split into several trade and economic cooperation agreements, where different ACP countries and regions receive different treatment from the EU and where the ACP countries progressively open their markets to European products. Financial aid is intended to help compensate the costs of trade liberalisation and of the economic restructuring implied in this.

The impact of the new trading arrangements on the development of ACP countries is a key debate for the upcoming negotiations.

Trade negotiations will likely be launched at an all-ACP-EU level with a view to agreeing the basic structure, principles and content of EPAs. ACP countries would also like, in this first phase of negotiations, to identify and agree issues of common interest to negotiate at an all-ACP-EU level with a view to ensuring that EPAs fulfill their stated development objectives.

The aim of the discussion is simple, to provide information and to identify and exchange views on possible issues of common interest for the all-ACP-EU negotiations which would ensure that EPAs are an effective tool to deliver the Cotonou Agreement's development objectives. You are invited to contribute to the discussion by sharing your information and views on this, or by raising questions that you think need to be addressed. These will be posted in the discussion forum, though the Discussion Group Moderator retains the right to post only those items that contribute constructively to the discussion. At the end of the debate a summary of the discussion will be published.

The three key questions to stimulate the debate are:

1. What provisions must EPAs include to be an effective development tool and why?

2. What flanking measures are necessary to ensure EPAs fulfil their stated development objectives and why?

3. Which issues should be discussed in the first all-ACP-EU phase of negotiations and why? And what should be the duration of this first phase of negotiations?

Participation should take only a few minutes and one easy step (click here to contribute to the discussion).

Contributions can also be relayed anonymously (the EU-LDC network has a policy of respecting confidentiality and can be a trusted facilitator) by e-mailing (melissa.julian@pandora.be) or telephoning me in Brussels (on tel. 32 (0)2 380 3155) to request that I contact you to relay your message over the telephone.

The intention is that the results of this internet discussion will be transferred to the soon to be launched joint EU-LDC Network/ECDPM/ODI website on ACP-EU Trade Relations (www.acp-eu-trade.org) which will aim at establishing an ongoing process of networking and discussion on these issues.

A summary of the issue and some of questions raised, as well as supporting documents and links to other information sources, is provided under further information below.

Further information  |  Join the Discussion