Webinar: Lessons for Global Development Finance from the EU Funds

The fifteenth EPRC webinar of 2021, and the second of this Autumn/Winter semester, was held November 17th (15:00 – 16:00 UK) over Zoom. Gail Hurley and Jonathan Glennie, both researchers and consultants on sustainable finance and international development, presented on the topic “Lessons for Global Development Finance from EU Funds”.

Hurley and Glennie highlighted that the range of global challenges (e.g., COVID, climate change) that international aid and finance needs to address is expanding. Simultaneously, the EU funds have evolved over decades as a critical part of the European Union’s operating system. At their core, EU funds suggest a coordinated and coherent approach to development. The speakers asked what the international cooperation system can learn from EU funds and whether lessons could be proposed for a renewed international system of public finance for sustainable development.

The speakers suggested nine lessons from EU funds for global development finance, including:

  • Going from a prescription of aid only to poorest countries to a goal of convergence with differentiated sub-national approaches;
  • Emphasising grants over loans;
  • Including mutual benefits in the pursuit of a coherent approach;
  • Promote shared accountability and a joint decision-making membership model with democratic oversight.

A series of questions were proposed for discussion:

  1. What are the existing views on the general idea that there are mutual lessons from EU funds for Official Development Assistance (ODA) and international public finance?
  2. What aspects of the EU “aid” model are applicable at the international scale?

Hurley and Glennie also emphasize that other lessons may exist, and that future research will continue to address the combination of these fields of literature and the mutual lessons that could be learned.

Gail Hurley is a senior researcher and advisor on development finance. She works with various United Nations agencies, philanthropic foundations and NGOs to develop high quality analytical work and data analysis on financial flows, and how they are supporting international development efforts. She is currently a Fellow with Development Initiatives and also serves on the expert working group on Global Public Investment (GPI) as well as the Global Steering Committee of the Global Ethical Finance Initiative (GEFI). Prior to this, Gail worked for 10 years with the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) in New York where she was a senior advisor on innovative finance, and also worked in Brussels for the European Network on Debt and Development (EURODAD). She has worked in several Latin American and African countries, and is also a specialist in the development challenges of small island states. She is based in Edinburgh.

Jonathan Glennie is a writer, researcher, campaigner and consultant on sustainable development, inequality and poverty. His work looks in particular at the changing nature of international cooperation as dominant paradigms and global economic relationships evolve. He has held senior positions in several international organisations, including Ipsos, Save the Children, ODI and Christian Aid and helped set up The Guardian‘s Global Development website, for which he was a regular columnist. As a consultant, he has worked with governments, international agencies and civil society organisations as they renew their strategies for a new era. His latest book, The Future of Aid: Global Public Investment, was published by Routledge in November 2020. He lives with his family in Colombia. 

Hurley and Glennie’s presentation can be accessed here.

You can watch the recording of the webinar on EPRC’s YouTube channel here.

Our next webinar will take place Wednesday November 24th, when Sébastien Bourdin, Professor at EM Normandy Business School, will present on the “EU Cohesion Policy in France”.

Future EPRC webinars will delve on topics of sustainability, regional policy and development.

If you would like to attend, watch out for updates and registrations by following @eprc_eu on Twitter, or register for our webinar mailing list through marie.c.devine@strath.ac.uk.

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