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Governance in the consensus on development

The Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) cannot be achieved without good governance. This Communication proposes stronger European Union (EU) support for good governance in developing countries and invites the Commission and Member States to harmonise their efforts in this field.

ACT

Communication from the Commission to the Council, the European Parliament, the European Economic and Social Committee and the Committee of the Regions of 30 August 2006 – Governance in the European consensus on development – Towards a harmonised approach within the European Union [COM(2006) 421 final – Not published in the Official Journal].

SUMMARY

Within the framework of the European consensus on development, which stressed the importance of integrating the concept of democratic governance into every sectoral programme, the Commission is proposing to the European Union (EU) a common approach to governance.

New approach

The Commission underlines the importance of approaching governance from a wider angle, taking into account all its dimensions (political, economic, environmental and social). Good governance means more than tackling corruption; it includes such things as access to health, education and justice, pluralism in the media, the functioning of parliament and the management of public accounts and natural resources.

In order to encourage developing countries to step up their efforts to reform, the approach proposed by the Commission is based on political dialogue, respect for the undertaking of reform by governments and the citizens of partner countries, and incentives. The identification of reforms and support measures that are suitable for each country requires an evaluation of governance in the country concerned. This evaluation is carried out using a participatory approach that encourages local players (such as the government and civil society) to develop their own analytical tools and skills.

Assuming that conditions for suitable democratic control, financial management and institutional development have been created, budgetary assistance helps to strengthen governance and institutions at central and local level. The Commission underlines its increased use and the fact that this makes it possible to tackle the problems of lack of political legitimacy and the capacities which characterise several developing countries, fragile States in particular.

The effectiveness of this new approach is dependent on the capacity of donors to act in a coordinated and harmonised manner, with respect to governance analysis tools and response strategies in particular. Within this context, Member States and the Commission have made progress towards common programming and have drawn up a code of conduct on complementarity and the division of labour.

African, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) countries

Governance is already included in the regular political dialogue with ACP countries, and support for this will be stepped up. When the 9th European Development Fund (EDF) was being programmed, the sum of €870 million (or 10% of all programmable funding) was granted for projects in this field. In addition, under the 10th EDF €3 billion will be set aside for incentives, divided between national funding (2.7 billion) and a regional fund (300 million). Country access to this reserve is dependent on the outcome of a dialogue with the Commission concerning its own governance plan. In this context, a governance profile will be created for each country.

Moreover, governance will be integrated as a cross-cutting theme in all sectors of cooperation. This will be accompanied by the creation of new ways of taking into account the new provisions of the Cotonou agreement and the regional strategies adopted for Africa, the Caribbean and the Pacific.

In Africa, governance has also been mainstreamed in dialogue and cooperation between the Pan-African institutions and the EU. The Commission is proposing increased support for the institutions of the African Union and the African Peer Review Mechanism (APRM) of the New Partnership for Africa’s Development (NEPAD).

Other developing countries

The EU supports the promotion of democracy, human rights and good governance in all other developing countries, according to strategies based on the specific features of each region.

In cooperation with countries covered by the neighbourhood policy, priority areas for financial assistance from the EU are selected on the basis of action plans focused on governance and adopted jointly with the countries concerned. Progress made in the various areas of governance is regularly monitored. Moreover, governance is supported by cooperation mechanisms such as twinning, TAIEX and the SIGMA initiative, which were originally developed for the purposes of enlargement. Additional support for the promotion of political and economic reforms in these countries is now offered by the new “Governance” facility.

In a 2005 Communication, the Commission undertook to support governance in Latin America. It therefore intends to continue to support the modernisation of government in the region, using an approach tailored to the needs of individual countries, which vary according to their stability. The Commission will continue, moreover, to support regional integration which, since it involves establishing and complying with common rules, is a powerful vector for good governance in economic and trade matters.

In Asia, the EU will continue its dialogue with China and India. Political dialogue at regional and bilateral levels with the countries of in central Asia is bolstered by the presence of a special rapporteur on democratic governance. Moreover, governance features in the cooperation with the Association of South-East Asian Nations (ASEAN) and in the informal dialogues of the Asia-Europe meetings (ASEM). In the programming for the period 2007-2013, governance is a cross-cutting issue in all cooperation activities in the countries of the region and also a focal sector in the cooperation with several of them.

ASSOCIATED ACTS

Communication from the Commission to the Council, the European Parliament and the European Economic and Social Committee of 20 October 2003: Governance and development [COM(2003) 615 final- Not published in the Official Journal].

Last updated: 11.10.2007
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