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Brussels, 21 September 2007

Coherence between EU policies and Development objectives has improved but further progress can be achieved

The European Commission has adopted today the European Union's first Report on Policy Coherence for Development (PCD). The Report highlights the interactions and complementarities between development policy and twelve other internal and external EU policies that have an impact on developing countries. PCD plays a central role in reinforcing the EU's contribution to developing countries' progress towards the Millennium Development Goals. The aim is to maximise the positive impact of these policies on partner countries and to avoid incoherencies. The overall conclusion is that the coherence between EU policies and the Development objectives has improved but more can be achieved. In 2005, the EU agreed to PCD commitments in 12 policy areas: trade; environment; climate change; security; agriculture; fisheries; social dimension of globalisation, employment and decent work; migration; research and innovation; information society; transport; and energy. The importance of PCD is reflected in the European Consensus on Development.

"In parallel to European aid effort, this landmark document shows how Europe is serious about the Millennium Development Goals," said Louis Michel, the European Commissioner for Development and Humanitarian aid. "We will now discuss the report's findings with all stakeholders, including the Member States, developing countries, civil society and the European Parliament. The aim is to raise awareness on the huge potential of measures which can accelerate progress in reducing poverty worldwide. Because it's not only about doing more, increasing aid, but also doing the task better".

A key finding of the report is that all 12 PCD areas are important, depending on both the global context and the situation of each developing country. For instance:

  • Fisheries policy can make a huge contribution to the MDGs in many developing countries. Through the Fisheries Partnership Agreement a country like Mauritania receives five times the amount of development funding that it gets from the EC.
  • In the area of migration, measures aiming at turning brain drain into brain circulation are key. Migrants' remittances to developing countries in 2005 were higher than Official Development Assistance. When used effectively remittances can reduce the incidence of poverty.
  • Climate change will hit developing countries and the poorest populations hardest and earliest. The EU climate policy aimed as a long term goal to limit climate change to an average of 2°C as compared to pre-industrial levels, will directly and indirectly benefit these countries.
  • EU research policy supports programmes in areas of interest for developing countries and contributes to creating context-specific knowledge and building capacity in the South.

Many other examples can be found in the EU report, which also found that there remains a number of missing links. Dialogue with developing countries on the effects of EU policies other than aid must be enhanced at country and regional levels as well as globally. The relevance of the PCD approach to developing countries' own policies should also be considered, since in most policy areas the positive impact of EU policies depends on parallel efforts being undertaken by partner countries.

"PCD is a dimension of EU development policy that will continue to gain considerable momentum in the years to come" stressed Commissioner Michel. "It will greatly contribute to increasing the impact of our aid at a time where the EU is making tremendous efforts to increase its Official Development Assistance both in volume - to 0.7% of its GNI by 2015 – and in effectiveness".

The importance of PCD is now recognised by the Commission and EU Member States, as is reflected by the many mechanisms put in place to promote PCD. Yet the EU is still at an early stage of PCD. Policies coherence will be at the heart of the debates of the EU Development Ministers meeting today and tomorrow in Madeira (Portugal) in an Informal Council under Portuguese Presidency.

Link to the report:

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