Country or Region: EU and EU member states

Sector: Public Sector Expertise

Client: DEVCO, European Commission

Date: January 2020 – June 2020

VJW international is pleased to announce the completion of the ‘Study on the EU and its Member States mobilizing Public Sector Expertise (PSE) for Development’. Public sector expertise (PSE) is a form of technical cooperation that mobilizes public institutions and experts from EU MS on the basis of strong institutional partnerships with partner countries. While it is widely used by EU MS and explicitly recognized within the Commission proposal for a regulation establishing the Neighborhood, Development and International Cooperation Instrument (NDICI), its potential for EU development cooperation is yet to be fully leveraged.

This study, commissioned by the European Commission (DEVCO) and the Practitioners’ Network for European Development Cooperation, was carried out between January – December 2020 in order to provide an empirical base for the Commissions’ work on the strategic potential of PSE as an innovative development cooperation modality. Phase I of a broader project, it focused on a mapping of the structures and policies that EU MS have put in place in order to carry out PSE related activities.

The study was primarily carried out through an online survey and interviews with relevant EU MS representatives which gathered a wide range of quantitative and qualitative data. It further included a capacity and needs’ assessment based on which the team of experts identified a number of strategic recommendations for future programming and operational choices. The active participation of 20 EU MS allowed to gather substantive information on the existing structures, tools and bilateral initiatives and is a testimony of the broad interest of EU MS to further explore the role and create exchanges around their PSE actions.

Among the main findings of this mapping study is the variety of experiences and definition among EU MS which points to the need to promote a common understanding of  PSE and its added value within European development cooperation. To drive this ambition forward the experts also identified the key elements of a common definition of PSE and a conceptual framework that organizes the different modalities and delivery tools used by EU MS.