Organised by CTA, the European Commission (EC), the ACP Group of States and Concord, the Brussels Development Policy Briefings have been a flagship initiative providing an inclusive policy dialogue forum on discussing critical issues for ACP agriculture and rural development for more than a decade.
Some of the world’s leading experts have been involved in 60 high-level policy dialogue meetings on ACP agricultural and rural development issues since the Brussels Development Policy Briefings were launched in 2007. Popular and influential “in providing the cutting-edge latest information on topical issues, the policy debates are embedded in the highest echelons of the ACP constituency and go well beyond the event,” as recognised by Leonard Mizzi, Head of Unit at the EC, Directorate-General for International Cooperation and Development.
The landmark Briefings were initially established to inform policymakers in Brussels about the importance of agriculture for ACP countries, and push it higher up the policy agenda. “In 2007, very few ACP countries had identified agriculture and rural development as their main priority for receiving EC support in their National Indicative Programmes and there was an urgent need to inform the Brussels-based ACP community of the importance of agriculture,” states Isolina Boto, Manager of CTA’s Brussels office and Briefings Coordinator. Policy briefs, readers, and multimedia packs based on the Briefings have been widely appreciated. According to the ACP Secretariat’s Secretary-General, Patrick Gomes, the Briefings are extensively used for the preparation of various technical meetings. “The Briefings always made the links between policies, governance mechanisms, technical capacity and the lives of people,” he explains.
“The debate around the South might still continue, but it won’t have the focus, depth and the sustaining power that the Briefings have brought to it.” Ousmane Badiane, Director for Africa, IFPRI
Fostering networking and dialogue
Each Briefing has been attended by up to 240 people and, in total, more than 8,000 people and 350 organisations have participated. As a platform for information and experience sharing, these valuable events have also fostered networking and dialogue between policymakers and high-level participants on a wide range of topics, including food security, trade, climate change, women and youth in agribusiness, and smart farming. As a result, at the request of ACP farmers’ organisations, the effective format was replicated for national and regional briefings, which attracted additional funding from ACP, European Union, bilateral donors and other partners, and led to the launch of continental briefings with the Pan African Farmers Organisation. “The first time ever I heard about big data, drones and blockchain applications with regards to African agriculture was at various Brussels Briefings,” states Theo de Jager, President of the World Farmers’ Organisation.
The Briefings have also promoted strategic partnerships with organisations involved in rural development, and have attracted the interest and collaboration of new partners, such as bilateral and multilateral partners, agribusiness companies, research organisations and civil society networks. “CTA has been a very valuable partner to us, helping us build a bridge through the Brussels Briefings not just to Europe, but also globally, particularly in Africa,” says Ousmane Badiane, Director for Africa at the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI), which has partnered with CTA for a number of Briefings.