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The year 2013 brought many challenges, for the Centre as well as for our sector as a whole. More than ever, the rapidly changing international cooperation landscape called for new tools, different types of partnerships, institutional innovation and joint learning. More than ever, it required ECDPM to be vigilant and creative.

The Centre’s new five-year strategy (2012-2016) underlines these changing dynamics. Following the kick-start of our strategic framework in 2012, deployment of our ambitious agenda was the hallmark of 2013. But as this required investments, against the backdrop of an economic crisis and declining budgets for development, ECDPM braced itself for a financially demanding year.

Yet, the Centre again attracted increased interest from old and new partners in Europe, in the African, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) Group of States, and beyond. By virtue of their continuous support, we were able to consolidate our financial resources. This bears witness to the strong trust in the Centre and recognition of the importance of its work as an independent foundation. Quite encouraging to the Board is the fact that beyond EU donors, increasing interest is being shown in ECDPM by others, including Japan, the USA, Canada, South Korea, India, China and Norway.

Last year was also characterised by reinforcement of the five Centre programmes, some of which started from scratch under the new strategy. In line with the ongoing consultations on a new post-2015 framework for development, the programmes broadened the scope of their work, paying more attention to areas of global interest, such as climate change, private sector development and the link between security and development.

The programmes also played a notable role in international discussions on the future of ACP-EU and Africa-EU relations, which gained renewed momentum in 2013. ECDPM was also regularly called upon for independent analysis and facilitation work by key institutions in Europe, Africa, the ACP and beyond.

In Africa, we worked more intensively with the private sector and with farmers’ organisations in West, East and Southern Africa. Officials in CAADP (the Comprehensive Africa Agriculture Development Programme) and NPCA (the Planning and Coordinating Agency of NEPAD, the New Partnership for Africa's Development) remained close allies. Perhaps the most valuable contribution of our work with Africa was in influencing the preparations and ‘quiet diplomacy’ in the lead-up to the Fourth EU-Africa Summit held in Brussels in April 2014.

To underline the Centre’s role as a strategic knowledge broker for well-informed policy dialogue, we laid foundations for a more dedicated approach towards knowledge management and communications. We invested in improved communications tools and information management platforms. These allowed us to streamline organisational processes, but also to give greater visibility to the Centre, our staff and our work. With this visibility comes the need to be attentive to quality assurance in all of our services and products.

The Board is pleased to conclude that the Centre has again demonstrated its ability to adapt to the changing global context and has reaffirmed its status as a recognised leader in brokering effective partnerships between the EU and the Global South. 

Signature P I Gomez
P.I. Gomes
Ambassador of Guyana to the ACP Group of States and the European Union

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