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Brussels, 16 October 2009

New website to help improve development co-operation

Today the European Commission is launching, an interactive website aimed at improving Europe's development co-operation. It will allow the development community at large to meet andexchange best practices on the European Commission's reform of how it provides know-how through training, research, consultancy or technical support. The goal of the reform is to ensure our aid for developing countries happens faster and better. The launch coincides with the International Day for the Eradication of Poverty on Saturday 17 th October.

"If we want to have a real impact on the eradication of poverty in the world, we have to go beyond 'business as usual'. The European Commission engaged last year in an ambitious reform on how it works with technical cooperation making it more partner-led, more results-oriented, and more in line with international agreements on aid effectiveness. But the European Commission cannot make this change happen alone. We need to open up, listen and engage with the development community at large and explore innovative ways to work together and the website will help us to achieve that goal", stated Karel De Gucht, European Commissioner for Development and Humanitarian Aid.

Built in cooperation with the Joint Research Centre, is an exchange forum where all stakeholders, such as Commission staff (at country level and in headquarters), development practitioners, partner countries, donors, academics, NGO and civil society representatives, can share ideas and knowledge on how to make technical cooperation more effective. is more than just another website on development. Thanks to a wide range of new generation knowledge management applications, it is above all a tool to help the development community at large gain time, money and efficiency.

Background information

The EU is the world's most important donor of development aid, accounting for nearly 60% of global aid. The Commission alone engaged more than a fifth of the total European aid effort in 2008 (€12 billion) and granted a significant part of its aid as technical cooperation (defined as "the provision to recipient countries of know-how in the form of personnel, training, research and associated costs". It includes activities that increase the level of knowledge and skills as well as services such as consultancy or technical support).

In 2007, the European Court of Auditors released a special report on the effectiveness of Technical Assistance in the context of Capacity Development, flagging a number of weaknesses in the way the EC provides technical cooperation. In response to this, the Commission launched a Backbone Strategy on Technical Cooperation and Project Implementation Units in July 2008 . This ambitious and comprehensive reform includes “hardware” changes to the EC's systems and tools, and “software” changes to the practices and behaviour of all EC cooperation stakeholders.

The Backbone Strategy sets the vision that improved effectiveness and sustainability of EC development assistance should be based on:

  • The provision of quality technical cooperation that supports country-led programmes, based on partner demand and focused on sustainable results;

  • The provision of support through partner-owned project implementation arrangements.

Responding to a strong demand for exchange and cross fertilisation, has been set up to support the EC's effort to reform the way it works with technical cooperation and facilitate communication on the issue.


Further information:

EU and Aid Effectiveness:

Backbone Strategy on Technical Cooperation and Project Implementation Units:

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