Navigation path

Left navigation

Additional tools

Other available languages: none

MEMO/10/147

Brussels, 21 April 2010

Getting the Millennium Development Goals back on track: a twelve points EU action plan

Why do we need this Communication?

Ten years ago, world leaders agreed to take decisive action to combat world poverty in its different dimensions. Using time-bound and measurable targets, they agreed that by 2015:

  • Poverty and hunger should be reduced by one half,

  • Full primary education for all should be ensured,

  • Gender disparity should be eliminated,

  • Maternal and child mortality should be reduced by two thirds and three quarters respectively,

  • The spread of HIV/AIDS and incidence of malaria and other major diseases should be halted,

  • Environmental sustainability should be ensured,

  • A Global Partnership for Development should be developed.

With only five years remaining before the agreed 2015 deadline, world leaders will gather in New York on 20-22 September 2010 for the UN MDG Review High Level Plenary Meeting (HLPM). Their aim is to ensure a comprehensive review of successes and gaps, and agree on concrete action to speed up progress.

Where is EU standing in 2010?

Since 2000, the EU doubled its aid already and a lot has been done. Today the EU is the first donor providing more than half of development aid worldwide and € 49 billion in 2009.

Despite all our efforts in Europe and beyond to reach our Development Goals we need to do more and to do it soon. In 2009, EU ODA corresponded to 0.42% EU GNI. Despite more encouraging trends expected in 2010, the EU is behind the schedule to reach the collective EU intermediate target of 0.56% of GNI by 2010, as a step towards devoting, by 2015, 0.7% of GNI to ODA.

The Commission commends the countries that have continued to increase their aid, and notes that OECD statistics on the preliminary ODA spending in 2009 show that the EU institutions are the second largest single donor and that three out of the five largest donor countries worldwide are EU members – France, Germany and the United Kingdom. The Commission also welcomes the fact that four of the five countries exceeding the UN target of 0.7% of GNI being devoted to development aid - Denmark, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Norway and Sweden - are EU members, and that Belgium is set to join this group in 2010.

Also Finland, Ireland, Malta, Cyprus and the UK have already achieved or exceeded the intermediate individual ODA targets that had been agreed for 2010, i.e. to spend at least 0.51% of GNI as ODA in the EU15 and 0.17% in the 12 Member States, which have joined the EU since 2004.

While Belgium has so far been the only Member State that made the 0.7% ODA/ GNI target legally binding, similar efforts are now also under discussion in the UK.

What is the objective of this Communication?

The aim of this action plan is to prepare an agreed and strong EU position ahead of the MDG Summit in September and define a set of actions to be implemented at national, regional and international scales.

Our Communication is taking the form of an action plan involving EU Member States and EU Institutions, but this is also a clear call to all the donors (old and emerging ones) and to developing countries to act for development since we can just succeed acting all together.

Why is it so important right now?

First the EU has to go to the UN MDG Summit, the major international development event, with a clear agenda and objectives. In order to be prepared we need our debate to take place right now. This is the basic aim of this communication.

Second this communication / action plan could be the EU vision for the next 10 years aiming not only to define a method to reach our targets for 2015 but also to act beyond in Europe and in the world for the next decade. This decade 2010-2020 should be a decade for development as stated in the EU 2020 strategy1. Since all the crisis we face are development related: food crisis, climate change, economic crisis, energy crisis and poverty our external strategy is now clear toward a sustainable development worldwide, leading by example.

Third this year 2010 is key in the international agenda with climate negotiations, MDG summit, G20 on economic crisis, energy crisis and the food crisis threatening again Sahel countries. We have to act and get our positions and strategies ready to tackle all these challenges the sooner the better.

Fourth 1,4 billion people are still living in extreme poverty, they can not wait and that is why we need to implement our action plan as soon as possible with the whole development community.

Fifthly, the Lisbon Treaty provides the opportunity for the European Commission to take initiatives to promote coordination on development cooperation. With this Communication the Commission uses that right of initiative to propose a framework of action on development for the EU and the Member States.

Why the EU?

Tackling poverty in general and issues affecting poverty is something no one country can achieve alone. These are global challenges, and need a global response.

The EU is by far the largest aid donor in the world, accounting for around 60% of all official development assistance worldwide. The EU is also the world's largest trading partner. The EU model is respected, and is based on solidarity and partnership.

That is why it makes sense for the EU to act as a whole to be more efficient and to get better results making a synthesis between Aid and Trade to reach results for the poorest.

What are the 12 areas of action of the communication?

The action plan consists of 12 points.

  • To ensure EU keep its promises of 0,7% GNI for Aid by 2015, Member States will be asked to establish realistic, verifiable annual action plans for reaching individual targets2 and publish the first plans before September 2010. The implementation of such action plans will be submitted to an EU accountability mechanism: based on Member States’ annual action plans and the Commission’s monitoring report, the Council should hold an EU-internal ‘ODA Peer Review’ and report the results to the European Council.

  • Working all together coordinated (aid efficiency) at the EU scale (saving estimates around 3 to 6 billion a year) and even beyond

  • Doing more and better for the poorest (reallocate fundings to off track and fragile countries, starting with Haïti)

  • Improving results and targeting the key sectors for gender, education, health and food security

  • Working in partnerships (EU Africa partnership, Millennium Development Goals Targets in national strategies…)

  • Acting in coherence: use other EU policies for Development from Trade to migration to food and climate change

  • Help better national fundings to work (tax for development, promote good governance…)

  • Strengthen regional integration and trade for growth and jobs (Aid for Trade, EU Africa Infrastructure Trust Fund…)

  • Support initiatives on innovative financing with high revenue potential that can benefit the poorest

  • Use the EU's €2.4bn a year "fast-start" funding commitment for climate change as a test for aid effectiveness and coherence.

  • Launch a new plan to address conflicts situation and make development and security work better. No development without and not security with out development.

  • Support a stronger weight of developing countries in the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund, and the UN reform for more effective agencies

Which are the countries which are most off track for the realisation of MDGS ?

Overall, fragile countries display poor human development records. Recent analyses show that fragile countries have significantly lower yardsticks for the broad set of MDG targets and indicators in relation to other developing countries. The first European Report on Development (ERD 2009 http://erd.eui.eu/)) indicates a strong negative correlation between fragility and MDG performance. Using the CPIA (Country Policy and Institutional Assessment) classification, the last World Bank Global Monitoring Report (2009) also shows clearly that MDG performance has so far been much lower in fragile and conflict-affected countries (see figure below) .

Figures and graphics available in PDF and WORD PROCESSED




What can be done to make Aid more effective?

It is important to note that the Treaty of Lisbon marks a new era in European development policy. Article 210 of the Treaty states:

"In order to promote the complementarity and efficiency of their action, the Union and the Member States shall coordinate their policies on development cooperation and shall consult each other on their aid programmes, including in international organisations and during international conferences. They may undertake joint action. Member States shall contribute if necessary to the implementation of Union aid programmes."

This represents a brand new opportunity to make development aid from EU donors more effective, efficient, and potent in terms of actual impact on the ground. It should also make a real difference in terms of EU political impact and visibility.

For the EU, implementation of aid effectiveness commitments requires action at three complimentary and frequently overlapping levels. Firstly, at the bilateral level, each Member State and the Commission have the obligation to fulfil their aid effectiveness commitments as donors in their own right. Secondly, at the EU level, Member States and the Commission use established EU coordination mechanisms and channels to move further ahead in areas where this makes practical sense. Thirdly, the EU has played a leading role at the international level in moving the aid effectiveness agenda forward.

What is being done to ensure Policy Coherence for Development ?

The European Consensus for Development states: "It is important that non-development policies assist developing countries' efforts in achieving the MDGs."

The Policy Coherence for Development (PCD) work programme translates this political principle into an operational framework involving concrete steps to enhance the coherence of EU policies with development objectives. Building on the PCD Council Conclusions of November 2009, this work programme outlines how the EU will address, through relevant policies, processes and financial means, five global challenges in a development-friendly manner:

  • trade and finance,

  • climate change,

  • global food security,

  • migration and

  • security.

The work programme does not provide a comprehensive list of all the initiatives that might be relevant for development but rather focuses on those initiatives and processes planned that stand out for their catalytic potential to promote PCD. In setting concrete targets and indicators it establishes a scoreboard to track progress towards the identified PCD objectives.

The PCD work programme is conceived as a tool for all EU institutions and Member States, to guide their reflection and decision-making across the broad range of decisions that affect developing countries' opportunities, including development cooperation but going beyond it. The Commission, for its part, will focus its PCD work on the initiatives identified in the work programme. Through upstream consultations between different departments and impact assessments (including trade sustainability assessments) it will ensure that development objectives are taken into account and reconciled with other EU objectives.

What are the existing innovative sources of funding for development?

Depending on the definition, about a third of all EU Member States raised funds via innovative mechanisms in 2009, but they are piloting most of the existing mechanisms.

  • Air ticket levy: France was one of the first countries (in July 2006) to introduce an air ticket levy with a sliding scale based on destination and class. Most of the proceeds are earmarked for development finance, notably an International Drug Purchase Facility (UNITAID) aimed at combating the major pandemic diseases affecting the developing world. The French air ticket levy collected EUR 165 million in 2007, EUR 173 million in 2008 and EUR 162 million in 2009. Following this example, which was subsequently promoted by the Leading Group on Innovative Financing for Development , several other countries around the world introduced similar air ticket levies, including Chile, the Ivory Coast, the Republic of Korea, Madagascar, Mauritius and Niger, which allocate all or a share of the revenues to UNITAID. Furthermore, Luxembourg and Spain collect voluntary contributions from air passengers. Cyprus (EUR 0.4 million), Luxembourg (EUR 0.5 million) and the UK (£25 million) are supporting UNITAID from their general budgets.

  • International Financing Facility (IFF): The general concept of the IFF was first put forward by the UK Government in 2003. It is designed to frontload aid by issuing bonds in international capital markets, backed by binding long-term commitments from donors to provide regular payments to the facility. The first concrete implementation of the IFF concept is the International Finance Facility for Immunisation (IFFIm) begun in November 2006. The IFFIm' total anticipated disbursement of USD 4 billion is expected to protect more than 500 million children through immunisation in more than 71 developing countries. So far, IFFIm bonds have raised more than USD 2 billion for immunisation programmes run by a charity called the GAVI Alliance. IFFIm's financial base consists of legally binding grants from its sovereign sponsors, which are France, Italy, Norway, Spain, Sweden, the United Kingdom and South Africa.

  • Advance Market Commitment (AMC): The idea of an AMC was strongly promoted by the governments of Italy and the UK from the end of 2005. The idea is that donors guarantee a set envelope of funding to purchase at a given price a new product that meets specified requirements, thus creating the potential for a viable future market. In June 2009, the governments of Italy, the UK, Canada, the Russian Federation, Norway and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation launched the pilot AMC against pneumococcal disease with a collective USD 1.5 billion commitment. The supporters of this pilot AMC estimate that the introduction of a pneumococcal vaccine through the AMC could save approximately 900,000 lives by 2015 and over 7 million lives by 2030. In October 2009, four suppliers made offers to supply vaccines under the Pneumococcal Advance Market Commitment.

  • Debt-for-development swaps: for instance Germany introduced the conversion of debt into grants for health financing in the "Debt2Health initiative". It reduces partner countries’ debt as the corresponding amounts are invested in additional financial resources for health systems through the Global Fund. In this way, Germany disbursed EUR 40 million in 2008 and EUR 10 million in 2009. Similarly, the government of Australia is implementing an arrangement worth some EUR50 million with the Indonesian Government.

  • Tax discounts: Many Member States provide tax exemptions or write-offs for private funding of development, for example through civil society organisation, foundations or charities. Such tax reductions exist in Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Germany, Greece, Ireland, Italy, the Netherlands, Portugal, Spain and the UK.

  • Belgium has earmarked nearly EUR 90 million of lottery proceeds for development-related purposes

Beyond these existing mechanisms, the Commission will also call Member States to support proposals for innovative financing mechanisms with significant revenue generation potential with a view to ensuring predictable financing for sustainable development.

EU ODA levels 2006-2009, estimates and gaps for 2010 (ODA in EUR million and % of GNI) - Baseline Case

Figures and graphics available in PDF and WORD PROCESSED

Where is the EU in terms of financing for development and where should the EU go ?

ODA indicator for the EU-15 – preparedness to meet the individual commitments of 0.51% and 0.7% ODA/GNI by 2010 and 2015

Figures and graphics available in PDF and WORD PROCESSED
Source: European Commission 2010

ODA indicator for the EU-12 – preparedness to meet the individual commitments of 0.17% and 0.33% ODA/GNI by 2010 and 2015

Figures and graphics available in PDF and WORD PROCESSED

Source: European Commission 2010

ODA trajectories of all EU Member States 1995 – 2015

Figures and graphics available in PDF and WORD PROCESSED

Where are each Member States of the EU in terms of financing for development and where should each go?

Figures and graphics available in PDF and WORD PROCESSED

Figures and graphics available in PDF and WORD PROCESSED

Figures and graphics available in PDF and WORD PROCESSED

Figures and graphics available in PDF and WORD PROCESSED

Figures and graphics available in PDF and WORD PROCESSED

Figures and graphics available in PDF and WORD PROCESSED

Figures and graphics available in PDF and WORD PROCESSED

Figures and graphics available in PDF and WORD PROCESSED

Figures and graphics available in PDF and WORD PROCESSED

Figures and graphics available in PDF and WORD PROCESSED

Figures and graphics available in PDF and WORD PROCESSED

Figures and graphics available in PDF and WORD PROCESSED

Figures and graphics available in PDF and WORD PROCESSED

Figures and graphics available in PDF and WORD PROCESSED

Figures and graphics available in PDF and WORD PROCESSED

Figures and graphics available in PDF and WORD PROCESSED

Figures and graphics available in PDF and WORD PROCESSED

Figures and graphics available in PDF and WORD PROCESSED

Figures and graphics available in PDF and WORD PROCESSED

Figures and graphics available in PDF and WORD PROCESSED

Figures and graphics available in PDF and WORD PROCESSED

Figures and graphics available in PDF and WORD PROCESSED

Figures and graphics available in PDF and WORD PROCESSED

Figures and graphics available in PDF and WORD PROCESSED

Figures and graphics available in PDF and WORD PROCESSED

Figures and graphics available in PDF and WORD PROCESSED

Figures and graphics available in PDF and WORD PROCESSED

What are the next steps?

The Development configuration of the Foreign Affairs Council of 10-11 May should discuss and endorse the proposal.

The paper should guide the EU position on how to speed up progress on the MDGs at the UN Summit on the same topic to be held in New York from 22-24 September 2010.

1 :

As stated in the EUROPE 2020 Communication COM(2010) 2020 of March 3, 2010: "The EU is a global player and takes its international responsibilities seriously. It has been developing a real partnership with developing countries to eradicate poverty, to promote growth and to fulfil the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). We have a particularly close relationship with Africa and will need to invest further in the future in developing that close partnership. This will take place in the broader ongoing efforts to increase development aid, improve the efficiency of our aid programmes notably through the efficient division of labour with Member States and by better reflecting development aims in other policies of the European Union."

2 :

0.33% of GNI for the Member States that joined the EU since 2004; 0.7% of GNI for the other EU countries, while Member States which have achieved that target commit themselves to remain above that level.


Side Bar

My account

Manage your searches and email notifications


Help us improve our website