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Wednesday, May 09, 2007

EPA development benchmarks and monitoring

A workshop on EPA Development Benchmarks and Monitoring took place on 23-24 April in Nairobi and was organised by CUTS, ECDPM and FES in cooperation with APRODEV. The multi-sectoral workshop envisioned a cross-sectoral fertilization of ideas to enable Kenya and the ESA region to propose indicators used in monitoring the EPA process. A development benchmarks approach to assess the conduct and outcome of EPAs could provide an important tool for the development-focused monitoring of the EPA
implementation and thus link the two processes. Moreover, ECDPM and DIE (German Development Institute) have launched a joint activity that aims to elaborate options for monitoring the implementation and impacts of EPAs (see www.ecdpm.org/trade/epamonitoring).

An important contribution was provided by the advisor to the Ethiopian government Mr Ahmed Hashim outlining preliminary set of benchmarks and provisions for the ESA EPA text. This was complemented with a contribution by Mr Werner Corrales-Leal from ICTSD describing the conceptual and strategical implications in linking development goals, policy actions and trade disciplines. Development benchmarks would need to be defined according to identified supply side impediments and the set of actions or measures needed to attain increased production, value addition and diversification for specific crops or sectors. Development benchmarks would be a tool to describe development strategies that aim at building supply capacity by means of flexibilities (policy space), active policies (social, economic, political and environmental)and development finance (additional resources). This way, benchmarks are process outcomes that allow measuring the level of achievement of set development objectives by use of specific instruments (policies, rules, resources) as defined in trade supported development strategies. Principles for such a monitoring mechanism would be mutual accountability on commitments taken by EU and ACP countries and ownership of development strategies. Necessarily, a monitoring mechanism of process outcomes (benchmarks) set to achieve specific development goals should allow and lead to possible revisiting of (EPA) trade provisions. The results of the workshops are twofold: On the one side, there was support that any EPA text would need to recognise the principle of trade liberalisation that is supported by development strategies and flexibilities to achieve sustainable development goals, and that any EPA text would need to introduce the concept and need for monitoring and benchmarking along with clear recommendations for further implementation and elaboration of indicators. On the other side, the workshop revealed the challenges ahead to clarify the understanding and to build capacity of NSA to engage in defining trade related development strategies that are supported by a benchmarking approach.

Source: EU News - Issue 3, May 2007 (APRODEV, CIDSE, Caritas Europa).

See also Euforic dossier on ACP trade.

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