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How can ownership be understood in the context of the European Development Fund (EDF)? How should development policies in the ACP region accommodate the highly complex issue of politics? What are practical steps for improving domestic accountability, ownership and aid effectiveness in ACP countries? These were some of the questions that were addressed at EPD’s panel discussion on political realities and domestic accountability under the EDF that took place on 25 January 2017 in Brussels. More than 60 participants, including civil society representatives, local and international development practitioners, researchers and EU officials attended the event.

The first panel of the discussion, moderated by Anna Knoll, Head of Programme – Migration at the European Centre for Development Policy Management (ECDPM), consisted of:

Domenico Rosa, Head of Unit D3 ACP Coordination at DG DEVCO
Fabien Nsengimana, Executive Director of the Burundi Leadership Training Program (BLTP)
Judith Sargentini, Member of the European Parliament (EP) for the Group of the Greens/European Free Alliance
Kizito Tenthani, Executive Director Uganda at the Netherlands Institute for Multiparty Democracy (NIMD).

The second panel, moderated by EPD’s Executive Director Ken Godfrey included:

Isaac Maposa, Executive Director of the Zimbabwe Institute (ZI)
Karine Sohet, Senior Policy Officer on EU Development Policy and Practice at ACT Alliance EU
Andreia Oliveira, EU Advocacy Officer at Deutsche Stiftung Weltbevölkerung (DSW)
Hermenegildo Mulhovo, Executive Director Mozambique at the Netherlands Institute for Multiparty Democracy (NIMD)

Participants of both panels agreed on the importance of the engaging with domestic accountability actors, but identified several shortcomings with regard to the EDF (also due to its particularities as a funding instrument). Panellists highlighted specifically the need to increase the in-country awareness of EU funding instruments, to broaden the range of actors with which the EU engages, and to follow long-term approaches rather than ad-hoc support to domestic accountability actors.

The event was also a chance for EPD to present key findings of its recent input paper, which looks at the extent that domestic accountability is addressed under the EDF and gives specific recommendations, designed to be practical steps for improving domestic accountability, ownership and aid effectiveness in ACP countries.

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