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The European Commission approves proposals to increase the volume and effectiveness of development aid

Commission Européenne - IP/05/423   12/04/2005

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IP/05/423

Brussels, 12 April 2005

The European Commission approves proposals to increase the volume and effectiveness of development aid

The European Commission today adopted proposals aimed at speeding up progress towards the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) by increasing the volume and effectiveness of the development aid provided by the Commission and the Member States. The pillars of the three communications adopted today are a significant increase in official development assistance (ODA) (with a new intermediate target of 0.56% of GNI in 2005, the ultimate goal being 0.7% by 2015), greater coherence between Community policies, better coordination between Member States and the EU and more ownership of aid by the recipients.

Five years ago the international community agreed the MDGs, which include halving the number of people living on less than a dollar a day by 2015. In September a UN summit in New York will review progress towards the MDGs. As the developing countries’ leading donor and trading partner, the European Union has a particular responsibility.

The President of the European Commission, José Manuel Durao Barroso, declared that “2005 is a crucial year for development. As the biggest development aid donor, the EU and its Member States must show ambition and make a united demand for greater, better coordinated investment, striving to ensure that our policies are coherent and serve our development goals”.

“As things stand, it would take 100 years to achieve the MDGs in Africa. We must do more and we must do it better. We must honour our commitments for reasons of humanity and solidarity, but also of stability. The challenges of poverty and unfettered globalisation, which sidelines whole swathes of the population, demand a change of attitude,” underlined Louis Michel, the member of the Commission responsible for development and humanitarian aid.

The proposals presented by the Commission today concern (1) the volume and effectiveness of aid; (2) the coherence of the Union’s development policies; and (3) the priority to be given to Africa.

The Commission proposes that the Member States continue increasing their ODA budgets beyond the commitments they made at Monterrey (0.39% of GNP in 2006). It proposes a new minimum objective for each Member State of 0.51% for 2010 (0.17% for the new Member States), which would take the Union's collective effort to 0.56%.

This commitment would mean an additional €20 billion by 2010 and the achievement of the 0.7% target fixed by the UN in 2015. In 2005 the 25 Member States’ ODA totalled €43 billion (OECD figures).

An increase in the volume and effectiveness of aid is vital, but it will not be enough to achieve the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). Other Community policies can contribute substantially to development, hence the concept of “policy coherence for development”. The Commission is proposing to draw up a coherence report halfway between the September 2005 summit and the next international assessment of the MDGs.

The Commission wishes to focus its efforts on Africa and help its countries become the main players in their own development. The EU should focus on areas where it can also catalyse action by other donors:

  • governance, in particular through support for the African Union and partnership with its institutions and the refinancing of the Peace Facility
  • the networks necessary for regional integration between African countries and fostering South-South trade
  • social cohesion and sustainable

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