Potsdam Spring Dialogues 2014

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Natural Resource Governance in Africa.
How to Benefit from Regional Integration

07-08 May 2014, Potsdam

Conference language: English

- Participation on personal invitation only - 

Nowadays, many African countries are described as “resource-rich”. In the past, however, resource wealth has often had a negative impact on national development. This is partly due to macroeconomic challenges and price volatility in the world commodity markets, but some of the causes are home-grown. Inadequate legislative and regulatory frameworks, particularly in relation to the award of mining contracts, a lack of accountability in respect of revenues and expenditure, and inadequate tax systems are obstacles to development and to propoor growth. The situation is exacerbated by widespread corruption, an absence of transparency, and failure to implement social and environmental standards. Instead of promoting development , resource abundance has, in the past, often had the opposite effect, with the desire to control these resources sometimes triggering brutal conflicts that have lasted for years.

Many resource-rich African countries have already begun to address these challenges. Guidance for these countries comes in the shape of the Africa Mining Vision (AMV) adopted by the African Union in 2009. It aims to achieve good resource government and thus improve African countries’ position in the international resource markets. The African Minerals Development Centre (AMDC), launched by the African Union in 2013, will provide strategic and operational support for the Vision and for its Action Plan, adopted two years ago. Various initiatives to improve and harmonise resource governance exist within the individual economic communities as well.

In 2000 – long before the AMV came into being – the Southern African Development Community (SADC) launched a programme on harmonisation of mining policies, whose aims include improving convergence between country policies and monitoring compliance with international environmental and social standards. The Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) set out its objectives for this policy area in the ECOWAS Directive on the Harmonization of Guiding Principles and Policies in the Mining Sector, adopted in summer 2009. It defines principles for policy harmonisation, as well as sustainability and transparency criteria. To support implementation, the ECOWAS Mineral Development Policy (EMDP) was adopted in 2011. And in East Africa, the issue of harmonised mineral resource governance is enshrined in the founding treaty of the East African Community (EAC), although the 3rd EAC Development Strategy, which contains a similar commitment, is now regarded as more significant. 

At the Potsdam Spring Dialogues 2014, the sef and its partners will be turning the spotlight on some of the challenges facing development-oriented resource governance, with a focus on solutions. We will discuss questions for licenses and mining contracts, transparency and good financial governance and have a comparative view on different initiatives of RECs and other transnational regional groupings. The final panel will finally open its focus on the international level and thus also ask for German and European opportunities and responsibilities.


sef: Policy Lunch

The EU in Global Food Governance


Enough food is produced worldwide to feed humanity, yet more than 815 million people in the world are undernourished. What is the global vision for food and nutrition governance? What initiatives and reforms are being implemented? What role can the EU play?

sef: and CIDSE – International Alliance of Catholic Development Agencies will debate these questions during a Policy Lunch in Brussels on 12 July 2018. Register now!

:further info here

Strengthening Social Security in Africa


Social protection is a human right. However, it is only a reality for about one fifth of the people living in Africa. What initiatives have been established at continental, regional and national level in recent years? How successful are they and what are the associated challenges? Around 80 experts discussed these questions during the Potsdam Spring Dialogues on 19/20 April 2018. Read the conference report now!

:further info here

sef: insights 3-4|2018


During the Potsdam Spring Dialogues we spoke to two experts about innovative measures of social protection. Nkateko Chauke elaborates in the interview how a Basic Income Grant for the SADC region might work. Raquel Tebaldi gives recommendations how social protection might cover women better.

Read the interviews as sef: insights or watch them as videos!

:further info here

How to defend digital rights?


Internet freedom is threatened in many states by restrictions to net neutrality or by governments shutting down internet applications. But there are rays of hope. In different world regions, civil society is mobilizing to protect net neutrality or to fight digital rights abuses in the courts. What do activists’ experiences from Europe and Africa have in common? What can journalists and the media contribute?

sef: will discuss these questions with experts from around the globe at a roundtable talk during the Deutsche Welle Global Media Forum. Register now!

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Strengthening Local Peacebuilding


The Berlin Summer Dialogue on 29 and 30 May 2018 will discuss the chances and challenges of local peacebuilding as the basis for sustaining peace., with a particular focus on the participation of women and youth. In addition, we will look at useful support for local peace initiatives from outside. Further information and the programme can be found here. Participation by invitation only.

:further info here