IIED at European Development Days 2015


IIED and partners will be running sessions on economic incentives for fisheries management and universal energy access at this year's European Development Days (EDD15) in Brussels in early June.

Fishermen from Mayadip Island, Bangladesh. IIED will be discussing Bangladesh's work on payments for sustainable fisheries at the EDD15 forum (Photo: Matthew Becker, the Advocacy Project, Creative Commons via Flickr)

European Development Days is Europe's largest development forum, organised annually by the European Commission to share ideas on how to achieve a sustainable, poverty-free world.

EDD15 was held in Brussels on 3 and 4 June. The forum brought together more than 5,000 delegates from 140 countries. Participants  included leading politicians, donors, researchers and academics, as well as development practitioners, private sector representatives, international media and European Union staff.

EDD15's theme was 'Our world, our dignity, our future'. Dr Essam Mohammed, senior researcher in IIED's fisheries team, moderated a high-level presentation on economic incentives for fisheries management in Bangladesh, and IIED co-hostrf a session focused on the role of public and private finance in providing access to energy services in poor communities.

The EDD15 programme included over 130 sessions, from debates and brainstorming sessions to project presentations. EDD15 also featured a 'Practice Village', with more than 50 stands showcasing development initiatives.

IIED sessions

IIED participated in the following sessions:

Balancing carrots and sticks for fisheries management

Date: Thursday, 4 June

A high-level Bangladeshi delegation led by the director general of the Department of Fisheries discussed the use of economic incentives for fisheries management. The session gave delegates a unique opportunity to listen to first-hand information on the use of economic incentives for fisheries management in Bangladesh. Find out more about the session on the EDD website.

Speakers included:

  • Dr Syed Arif Azad, director general, Department of Fisheries, Ministry of Fisheries and Livestock of Bangladesh
  • Mr Zahid Habib, project director, Hilsa Conservation Project, Bangladesh
  • Mr Kaisir Hasan, assistant director, Department of Fisheries, Bangladesh, and
  • Ms Annabelle Bladon, Imperial College London.

Participants asked questions to the individuals behind an innovative scheme offering payments for the conservation of hilsa fish in Bangladesh. 

Hilsa is one of the most important single-species fisheries in the Bay of Bengal. More than half a million people depend on it for their livelihood, and 250 million Bengali people depend on it for nutrition. The payments scheme offers a rare example of a direct economic incentive mechanism being used for sustainable fisheries management.

Among the questions discussed during the session were:

  1. What does it take to complement regulatory fisheries regimes with economic incentives?
  2. How to ensure effective targeting so that the poor do not lose out?, and
  3. Getting the science right: why is it important to understand the complex biophysical and human systems of the fishery?

Debate: Sharing the load: public and private sector roles in addressing poor people's energy needs

Date: Thursday, 4 June
Venue: Official EDD15 venue
Organisers: CAFOD, CIDSE and IIED

IIED co-hosted a session with CAFOD and CIDSE focused on the role of public and private finance in providing access to energy services in poor communities.    

This debate brought together investors, energy enterprises from countries with high energy poverty, civil society practitioners and government officials to discuss opportunities and barriers to financing pro-poor energy access. It focused in particular on the roles of public and private sectors in developing solutions. 

The debate was structured around specific questions. It drew on the experience of the panellists and practical examples to make recommendations for different actors on how to improve channelling financing for energy services for poor groups, including through innovative public-private partnerships. Find out more about the session on the EDD website

Panellists included:

Background: It is often more feasible, sustainable and cost-effective to provide energy for poor communities through off-grid sources, rather than by extending the grid, at the very least in the shorter term and for remote areas.

While this argument is gaining ground among decision-makers, including in the energy Sustainable Development Goal discussions, key questions remain around how to finance such interventions. How can large-scale investment be channelled into many small-scale and decentralised initiatives? What are the respective roles of the public and private sector in both financing and enabling energy access, particularly for the poorest? 

Research, including by CAFOD and IIED, shows that a 'one-size-fits-all' replication of energy services is not the answer. In addition, understanding end users' needs in designing services and also the socio-cultural aspects of the enabling environment is critical.  

This event built on a financing sustainable energy for all workshop held by IIED, the Overseas Development Institute and the Institute of Development Studies in November 2014. You can read the event report and discussion paper.


Essam Mohammed ([email protected]), senior researcher in IIED's environmental economics team

Ben Garside ([email protected]), researcher in IIED's Sustainable Markets Group; Tel: +44 (0)2072034637399 or +44 (0)1157 070069. Dr Sarah Wykes ([email protected]), CAFOD; Tel: +44 (0)207 095 5432 or +44 (0)7500 075598.