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European development and external assistance policy: 2009 Report

The Commission presents a report on action carried out by the EU in 2009 concerning development aid for third countries. In the context of food and economic crises, the European Union took concrete and rapid measures to support its partners. It is to continue its efforts to increase the effectiveness of its aid and the coherency of its policies in order to meet global development goals with its partners.

ACT

Report from the Commission to the Council and the European Parliament - Annual Report 2010 on the European Union's development and external assistance policies and their implementation in 2009 [COM(2010) 335 final – Not published in the Official Journal].

SUMMARY

In 2009, European Union (EU) cooperation activities with third countries took place in a difficult context. Developing countries had to face the economic and financial crisis and rising food prices.

The EU reacted quickly, creating a financial facility to improve production of and access to food. It also created an instrument to combat vulnerability – FLEX – to support public expenditure in the most vulnerable countries. Furthermore, the EU has established an instrument to finance the adaptation of these countries to climate change.

International relations

Existing relationships with several global regions were strengthened in 2009, particularly in the course of:

  • strategic summits on development, held with India, China and Russia;
  • the adoption of a new strategic framework for Latin America and an Investment Facility;
  • the launch of negotiations to revise the Cotonou Agreement with ACP countries, and the mid-term review of the European Development Fund (EDF);
  • the strengthening of dialogue with South Africa on peace and security;
  • the holding of the EU-Pakistan summit;
  • the conclusion of the first partnership agreement with Iraq;
  • the implementation of the European Neighbourhood Policy (ENP) and its investment facility.

Millennium Development Goals (MDGs)

Some progress has been made since the adoption of the MDGs in 2000, but some countries are significantly behind, particularly due to the international context in 2008 and 2009. The EU intends to adopt a global approach to accelerate progress with a view to meeting the MDGs before 2015. It will present a joint position at the UN summit in September 2010 for the international assessment of the MDGs.

Coherence of policies with development goals

The Commission and EU countries should apply the principles of the European Consensus on Development and improve the coordination of their actions. The impact of European policies on development must be taken into account. The Council has identified a number of priority areas: trade and finance, climate change, food security, migration, and peace and security.

Partner countries must also improve the effectiveness of their policies, good governance and the protection of human rights.

Increased and more effective aid

The Commission and Member States should increase the quantity but also the quality of their aid. Together they supply more than half of global Official Development Assistance (ODA).

In order to increase the effectiveness of aid, the EU implements measures planned at the Accra summit in 2008:

  • division of labour and coordination of donors;
  • the use of national development systems;
  • quality of technical cooperation.

The EU must also work more closely with international organisations, local authorities and civil society. The next summit on the effectiveness of aid is to take place in Seoul in 2011.

Budget support for developing countries

The Commission promotes the deployment of aid through budget support strategies, i.e. the transfer of aid to the national treasury of its partners. Budget support guarantees that their national priorities are met. It also reduces the costs of financial transfers.

In 2009, EUR 2.4 billion were allocated to:

  • general budget support (GPS) – 35% of operations – for national development policies;
  • sector-specific budget support (SPS) – 65% of operations.

Public finance management (PFM) systems in developing countries should be efficient enough to receive this type of aid. However, the Commission proposes that certain fragile States might benefit from it under certain conditions.

Evaluation of results

The Commission has adopted stricter standards to control the quality of its actions and ensure that results are monitored. Assessments made in 2009 showed that the effectiveness and sustainability of cooperation actions are still to be improved. It is also essential to foster ownership of projects by partner countries.

Last updated: 27.08.2010
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