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Friday, 16 November 2018
The Deutsche Gesellschaft für Technische Zusammenarbeit(GTZ), the German Development Agency, in conjunction with the Parliamentary Centre have produced a new report -PRSPS in Africa: Parliaments and Economic Policy Performance- (2005). The report reviews four countries Poverty Reduction Strategy Papers (Ghana, Niger, Tanzania and Malawi) and assessing the emerging strengths and weaknesses in the implementation of national PRSPs, with a special focus on the possible roles that parliament can play to improve PRSP performance.
The findings suggest that there are common emerging challenges:
- PRSP pro-poor spending is generally not performing as projected because of budgetary implementation weaknesses. The goal of moving toward operational Mid Term Expenditure Framework (MTEF) budgets has also not yet been achieved.
- there is also a failure in budget management to integrate HIPC resources into pro-poor spending frameworks consistent with PRSP plans
- a concern that it has taken much time to develop effective monitoring systems for PRSP activity.
- gender equality considerations seem to be massively under-emphasized in these PRSP processes so far.

Further points include:
- Connecting to the poor and relating to civil society: there was some indication that direct parliamentary outreach to and interaction with the poor could have been more vibrant. However, it also found that parliamentary relations with community-based civil society groups were solidly positive in most of the countries, even though such groups themselves were not always that strong.
- PRSP policy measures and parliaments: it was found, that so far PRSP oversight committees had not focused much on macroeconomics, but there was evidence to suggest that policy concerns can become important elements in parliamentary committee work. Tanzania demonstrated this through the successful expansion of basic primary education in which MP's played a significant role by making education a priority and by mobilising efforts in their constituencies.
- Gender equality and PRSPs:the assessment revealed the poor performance in practice of the national PRSPs with respect to gender equality concerns. However, in Ghana, Malawi and Tanzania women-led committees were most successful in strongly focusing on achieving PRSP gains for women
- monitoring and evaluation of PRSPs:The review identified this as an emerging element of strength for parliaments as evidenced by an improvement in the results of PRSP's through community-based hearings, establishing an independent observatoire as well as working closely with ministries and developing a detailed PRSP monitoring framework for the country.
Overall, the findings suggest that what is needed in the present context is leadership by women MPs on key committees that can insert themselves effectively in the PRSP oversight framework; as well as building closer linkages between Parliaments and the poor.
See full report attached.
In order to boost the EU's development aid spending, some member states agreed with a French proposal for a voluntary tax on airline tickets. However, other member states such as Austria opposed the idea as a distortion of global competition.

The Commission was asked to present a workable proposal before the next EcoFin meeting on 7 June. The EU committed itself to raise its development aid to 0.7% of GNI by 2015, but current aid stands only at half that amount.
The informal finance ministers' meeting made hardly any progress on the difficult discussion concerning the EU's long-term financial perspective. The UK took a hard line on its rebate, linking a possible abolishment of the annual "cheque from Brussels" to further cuts in agriculture and regional spending.
The EU’s Publications Office (OPOCE) recently unveiled its nifty new on-line repository of publications. With a range of search and order options, the new EU Bookshop offers a faster, more streamlined service to an ever-widening readership.
Tuesday, 17 May 2005
The CEC ANIMAL SCIENCE EU funded project cataloguing animal science research capacities and activities in the Central and Eastern European Countries (CEECs) has published an initial report on its findings, and calls for feedback from the scientific community.
The report aims at presenting the main players of animal science research in the New Member States and the Candidate Countries. The countries addressed by the survey are: Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, Hungary, Lithuania, Poland, Romania, Slovakia and Turkey.

Cattle Network website
Another interesting initiative is the Cattle Network, part of the European Association for Animal Production (www.eaap.org) which is the scientific association in the field of animal production and zootechnics in Europe since 1949.
It offers a complete range of both market and consumer- oriented information as well as modern communication tools, aiming to be an online meeting point for researchers, professionals, producers and consumers in the cattle sector. All areas of the food supply chain - breeding, production, processing, marketing, services, research, consumption - will come together on this integrated virtual network in order to promote, through interaction and collaboration, every aspect of the cattle sector in Europe and beyond.
This is certainly of interest for the African countries which have cattle as an important sector. They will find very useful data on the European market.

For further information on livestock, ILRI, the International livestock Research Institute (http://www.ilri.org)is one of 15 Future Harvest Centres, which conduct food and environmental research to help alleviate poverty and increase food security while protecting the natural resource base. The Centres are funded by government agencies, development banks, private foundations and regional and international organisations and are supported by the Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research (CGIAR).
The Cotonou Partnership Agreement emphasises the need to strengthen the Joint Parliamentary Assembly (JPA) as the democratic foundation of ACP-EU partnership. Yet it says little about the role played by ACP national parliaments as an expression of 'elective democracy' in the overall cooperation process. This contrasts sharply with the importance attached to non-state actors, who are said to embody the concept of 'participatory democracy'.

There is no shortage of 'push factors' for associating national parliaments more closely with ACP-EU cooperation. Several ACP countries have a long-standing parliamentary tradition whilst parliaments in many other countries are struggling to become credible institutions. The growing interest in participatory approaches to the formulation of development strategies (e.g. the PRSP) and in the promotion of governance through cooperation programmes is creating new opportunities for parliaments. Changing aid modalities - particularly the shift towards budget support - provide an additional incentive for donors to make sure that parliaments can exercise effective supervision of budget implementation.
ACP-EU cooperation therefore faces four major challenges:

- to mainstream the participation of national parliaments in the formulation, implementation and evaluation of cooperation strategies and policies;
- to extend and refine capacity support provided under National Indicative Programmes;
- to recognise the important contributions that regional parliaments and the recently established Pan-African Parliament of the African Union are capable of making;
- to strengthen linkages between the Joint Parliamentary Assembly and parliaments at other levels.