Improving European Coordination in Fragile States - Study presentation at the infopoint

On 15 November, the Practitioners’ Network for European Development Cooperation presented its recently published study ‘Improving European Coordination in Fragile States’ during a lunchtime conference at the European Commission´s DG DEVCO Infopoint in Brussels.

Laurent Sarazin, Head of Unit of DG DEVCO A2, Development Financing and Effectiveness, Relations with Member States and Reiner Forster, Deputy Director of the GIZ Representation Brussels opened the well-attended event with around 80 participants and introduced the subject of the study as well as the work of the Practitioners’ Network. The Practitioners’ Network is composed of 15 European implementing organisations of development cooperation and the European Commission with GIZ currently holding the presidency. The study is a major output of one of the Network’s working groups on crisis, fragility and migration.

Jan Orbie, Director of the Centre for EU Studies (CEUS) at Ghent University and Lies Steurs, PhD fellow at the CEUS presented the main findings of the qualitative study, which had been conducted by CEUS. It examines specific coordination practices in fragile states, their success factors as well as constraints by focussing on ten case examples. One of the positive case examples is a project implemented by GIZ and further partners in the Palestinian territories.

The findings are a good basis for further discussion on how to improve the coordination among implementing organisations in fragile contexts. Orbie emphasized that the EU is seen in a facilitator role and, in this function, provides the most added value for practitioners. However, the EU could improve this role by better addressing the demand for joint analysis and trainings.

After the presentation, all speakers including also Pascal Pacaut, Head of the liaison office to the EU of Agence Française de Développement and Maria Manuela Cabral, Head of Unit of DEVCO B2, Resilience and Fragility, engaged in a discussion round with the participants. Regarding EU coordination efforts, notably representatives from the EEAS and Commission objected that both the EU Global Strategy and the European Consensus on Development put strong emphasis on the need for coordination at ground level with many existing examples of ongoing joint implementation efforts.