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Brussels, 3 September 2008

Aid Conference: Commission urges donors to make aid more effective to reach Millennium Development Goals

The Commission calls on donor and developing countries to use development aid more effectively. At the eve of the High Level Ministerial Meeting in Accra/Ghana (2 – 4 September), the Commission urges governments to commit themselves to concrete and ambitious actions. Three years after the Paris Declaration on Aid Effectiveness, some progress have been made. Yet much more needs to be done to reach the UN Millennium Development Goals in 2015.

Louis Michel, Commissioner responsible for Development and Humanitarian Aid, said: "It is now or never. The Accra meeting must provide the necessary wakeup call to both donors and developing countries. Since Paris, in way, the most easier parts of the Paris Agenda have been implemented. Yet, much more is still ahead of us. Now the challenge is to ensure this rhetoric is translated into practice on a wide scale."

The aim of making development aid more effective is twofold:

  • to ensure that aid really has an impact on lives of billions of people in poverty.
  • to show to European taxpayers that their money is worth spending and is delivering the results it should.

At the international aid conference, the EU proposes that action should focus on four different areas:

  • Division of Labour: Donors should work together, coordinate their programmes, set a joint agenda and decide together. In this way, we will avoid that a multitude of donors are active in one sector or country, while others are neglected. Similarly, the situation of aid "orphans" where countries are forgotten about in favour of aid "darlings" where donors are queuing up must be rectified. Improved division of labour will also simplify administration for developing countries – as they normally have to comply to many different donor procedures.
  • Predictability of aid: To help developing countries planning their own development strategies, donors should also plan their aid flows for a period of at least three years. If they are to carry out important infrastructure projects or structural reform processes they need to be able to rely; to secure a big infrastructure or reform process.
  • Country systems: Rather than imposing on developing countries projects and development strategies, donors should help governments to develop their own priorities. This could be done e.g. by contributing financially to the national budget.
  • Going for results: Rather than imposing many different conditions before granting the aid, donors should focus on the results to be agreed with the partner countries.


The meeting in Accra is the third High Level Forum, following the 2005 Paris Declaration on Aid Effectiveness. The Commission is one of the 61 donors who signed the landmark agreement. 56 partner countries also signed.

The EU is the biggest donor in the world, with Official Development Assistance amounting to € 93 per citizen (Japan: €44, US: €53). Europe accounts for around 90% of worldwide commitments to scale up aid levels. Around 90% of the increase in aid to Africa comes from the EU.

High Level Forum in Accra:

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