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
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
· 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
· 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
3. What role could or should the EU play in global governance
· 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
· Is the EU the most suitable actor to engage in capacity-building
activities or should other, international or non-governmental organisations,
take the lead?
Brief on Global Governance | Join
ACP-EU Trade Negotiations - Ensuring
EPAs are an Effective Tool for Development (Discussion closed since
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 (email@example.com)
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.
| Join the Discussion