EADI Prize for Development Studies 2009

EADI is very delighted to award the 2009 EADI Prize for Excellence in development Studies to two young researchers who have each submitted a paper which both raise questions at the heart of the research process.

EADI has created the prize to encourage creative, interdisciplinary, multifaceted research on development issues. It was created in 2005 with the objective to reward and bring recognition “to encourage creative, interdisciplinary, multifaceted research on development issues” from the upcoming generation of development specialists.

Among the entries of this year’s competition, the jury has identified two winners.

Jean-Louis van Gelder with his outstanding paper on “Urban tenure security in developing countries: On perception, property rights, and slum development”

and Claudie Fioroni with her outstanding paper entitled La cohérence des politiques pour le développement de l’UE comme instrument de promotion d’une « approche positive » des migrations”.

In the paper by Jean-Louis van Gelder, the general insistence on narrow definitions of tenure security, and the dominant tendency to equate tenure security with property rights in particular, is identified as a central problem in current policymaking and theorizing. He argues that only under specific conditions, the allocation of property rights holds promise as an effective strategy for slum development and that where these conditions are absent, alternatives should be sought. In doing so, he has contributed to both the academic study of tenure security and provided input for future development policy with respect to informal habitat.

The paper addresses two prominent points of controversy. The first point regards the question as to what makes people invest in their housing. A second point of controversy addressed regards how people in informal settlements secure tenure by themselves when the state falls short in its provision or attempts to undermine it. Van Gelders’ analysis is well thought through and his arguments are solid and intelligent.

His conclusion is that “aside from thinking about the legalization of informal tenure, we need to address the factors that actually contribute(d) to urban illegality in the first place”.

It is a thought provoking, clear, accessible paper containing well knit arguments, usage of appropriate words, good logical sequencing and is very relevant to the current context. In fact, the World Bank is pushing this idea of land tenure in many developing countries and this is the most appropriate time for policy planners to read this paper.

Jean-Louis van Gelder studied Psychology at the University of Amsterdam, where he also received his LLM Law degree. He is currently working on his PhD in Law. The title of his thesis is: The Law and Psychology of Land Tenure Security: Evidence from Buenos Aires.

Claudie Fioroni's thought provoking paper entitled “La coherence des politiques pour le developpement de l’UE comme instrument d’une approche positive des migrations” displays an impressive knowledge of the empirical situation and the issues.

In her paper, Ms. Fioroni addresses the role of the EU in pioneering on the emerging development-migration nexus. While she underlines the role of the EU in leading Policy Coherence for Development (PCD) efforts, she also examines critically its shortcomings in respect to migration policies. She aims to show that a lack of political will, rather than institutional mechanisms, are to blame for a very security oriented European policy on migration.

She writes in her conclusion that the Commission is facing difficulties in promoting its positive approach of migration within the context of European migration policies. This she argues is due to the fact that the PCD instrument does not allow for constraints stringent enough to overcome conflicts of interest between migration and development policies on the European level. Security, in this context, remains the touchstone of European migration policies.

Claudie Fioroni studied political sciences at Science Po Paris before joining the Graduate Institute in Geneva to pursue a Masters in Development Studies. She has also been involved in the Global Detention project, a research programme on global migration, at the Graduate Institute since January 2009.

We congratulate Claudie Fiorini and Jean-Louis van Gelder and express our best wishes for their future career!