Research Handbooks on Impact Assessment series
Edited by Claire A. Dunlop and Claudio M. Radaelli
Chapter 17: International development
Over the last decade there has been a growing interest in Policy Coherence for Development (PCD) – that is, taking into account the needs of developing countries in ‘non’-development policies. Impact assessment (IA) provides an important mechanism for implementing PCD. The careful assessment of the potential impacts on developing countries of specific non-aid policies proposals can help identify trade-offs, as well as potential synergies, between development and other objectives before policies are adopted. However, significant questions remain about the contribution IA makes to PCD in practice. This chapter sets out the emerging debates from both the academic and more applied literature to examine the potential, first in principle and then in practice, of the European Commission’s IA system for pursuing PCD. It finds that while the mandatory and cross-sectoral nature of IA makes it an ideal instrument for pursuing PCD, numerous studies have shown that IAs only rarely adequately assess impacts on developing countries. A number of explanatory factors are offered, including the dearth of existing data and information on these types of impacts, the lack of proper consultation with relevant stakeholders and a fundamental power asymmetry between development actors and those representing other important policy objectives, such as trade or agriculture. The chapter ends with an outlook of the future of IA as a PCD mechanism for the European Union as well as some specific suggestions on how the European Union’s IA system might be further strengthen in this regard.
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