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European Commission


Brussels, 10 December 2013

Background Foreign Affairs Council/Development

1. “Post-2015”

At the United Nations Millennium Summit in 2000, leaders of 189 countries committed to halving global poverty by 2015 and saving millions of lives. As a follow up, eight specific Millennium Development Goals to be achieved by 2015 were formulated. In preparation of the time after 2015 (“post-2015”), a process has started that works towards a follow-up agreement.

There are currently several processes linked to post-2015 on-going at the UN.

A review process of the MDGs and reflections on the post-2015 agenda which should succeed to the MDGs have been on-going since 2010. A High Level Panel created by the UN Secretary General, presented a report in May 2013. The UN Secretary General’s annual report on the MDGs (July 2013), outlined his vision of "A life of dignity for all" for post-2015.

In parallel, the Rio+20 Summit agreed to a process to propose Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to the UN General Assembly by no later than September 2014. An Open Working Group was set up to formulate proposals by September 2014 at the latest.

The Intergovernmental Committee of Experts on Sustainable Development Financing (launched at Rio+20) started its work in August 2013 and will deliver its report probably in September 2014.

The UN Special Event to review the MDGs, which took place in New York in September 2013, indicated how these processes should be merged. The three work strands will all disembogue into an intergovernmental process that starts in September 2014 with a view to reaching a final agreement by September 2015.

The current EU approach

On 27 February 2013, the Commission adopted a Communication on the post-2015 agenda "A decent life for all: ending poverty and giving the world a sustainable future". The Council Conclusions on "An overarching post-2015 framework" were adopted by the General Affairs Council.

Both the Communication and Council Conclusions highlight that the eradication of poverty and sustainable development are linked and mutually reinforcing and should therefore be integrated into a single overarching post 2015 framework. They list EU priority elements for such a framework, i.e. a) addressing decent living standards, b) the drivers for sustainable and inclusive growth, c) sustainable management of natural resources, d) equality, equity and justice, and e) peace and security. In addition, the framework should be universal in aspiration and coverage and with relevance and responsibilities for all countries. The EU remains committed to addressing the existing gaps in the MDGs.

On 16 July 2013, the Commission adopted the Communication "Beyond 2015: towards a comprehensive and integrated approach to financing poverty eradication and sustainable development", which presents possible elements of a common EU approach to financing post-2015. It argues that a successful approach needs to be comprehensive and cover all sources: public, private, domestic, international. Such an approach should consider policies as the main tool for getting results, be adjusted to the specific country situation, integrate different parallel discussions on financing different global goals and challenges, and ensure mutual accountability that reflects shared responsibilities of donors and recipients. It supports merging the Rio+20 follow-up process on and the UN Financing for Development follow up process to create an overarching approach to financing. The Council is expected to adopt conclusions on the Communication on 12 December.

2. Agenda for Change/Programming Results

The programming process for EU external assistance is currently underway for the financing period 2014-2020.

The proposed sectors have a strong focus on the two pillars of the “Agenda for Change”, the EU’s blueprint for future development and cooperation: a) governance, human rights and the rule of law, and b) inclusive and sustainable growth.

The bilateral programming process is well underway for the African, Caribbean and Pacific countries, which receive funding from the European Development Fund. For countries that are targeted by the Development Cooperation Instrument, the process will start once the EU regulatory framework is in place (EP vote expected for 11 December 2013)

Joint programming, an important vehicle to improve EU coordination and impact has been successfully launched and will be taken forward in around 40 partner countries for the period 2014-20. Under joint programming the EU and its Member States jointly assess the priorities in each partner country to establish a common framework for their development programmes to reduce fragmentation and have better impact on the ground.

Blending loans and grants to leverage private investment for development is an important new instrument in EU external action.

A strong emphasis on results in the programming process builds on the commitment in the Agenda for Change to strengthen capacity to monitor and report on EU's contribution to development results. To be effective, results-orientation must be built into the programming process from the outset by clearly identifying expected results and linked indicators against which progress can be measured.

The EU intends to concentrate resources on the poorest countries. This is ensured through the proposed graduation of upper and large middle income countries under the Development Cooperation Instrument1 and differentiated country allocations in favour of low income and least developed countries through the transparent use of criteria of needs, commitment, performance, capacity and potential EU impact. The allocations are made on the basis of a transparent method, using internationally recognized indicators, and also including limited adjustments based on a qualitative assessment of the country situation.

The main objective of the allocation methodology is to allocate EU resources where they are needed the most to address poverty reduction and where they can have the greatest impact, including fragile countries, as stated in both the Agenda for Change and the Cotonou Agreement. This focus on needs has to be balanced by considerations of capacity, performance and commitment, and potential impact.

3. Policy coherence for development

In October 2013 the European Commission published its 4th report on policy coherence for development which lays out the progress made by the EU and its Member States in taking account of development cooperation objectives when implementing non-aid policies such as trade, agriculture, security or migration. The Council is expected to adopt conclusions on the report on 12 December.

The report highlights, among other things, that the EU has increased the transparency of payments made by European companies in the exploitation of natural resources, thereby supporting the fight against tax evasion and corruption in developing countries. According to the report, the EU is an important supplier of high quality and safe food to the world and facilitates improved access to EU markets for producers especially from developing countries, which creates jobs and growth.

The report focuses on five development challenges on which the EU specifically targets its efforts: trade and finance, climate change, food security, migration and security. Some examples of progress:

  1. The EU continues to increase access (e.g. through bilateral free trade agreements) to the large European single market, allowing for export-driven growth in developing countries. The EU and its Member States are also collectively the largest provider of Aid for Trade (AfT) at €9.5 billion in 2011. Aid for Trade helps build productive capacities and strengthens a country’s ability to trade on domestic, regional and international markets.

  2. The EU’s raw materials policy attaches great importance to improving governance and transparency in developing countries. A flagship of EU action in this regard is the EU Forest Law Enforcement, Governance and Trade (FLEGT) Action Plan, on the fight against illegal logging, which uses trade incentives and the EU market as a leverage to ensure that only legally-harvested timber is imported.

  3. Recent changes to the Accounting and Transparency Directives promote the disclosure of payments made to governments by the European extractive and forestry industries. All payments to governments over €100,000 by large companies in the extractive industry will need to be publicly disclosed. This will provide civil society in resource-rich countries with the information they need to hold governments to account for any income made through the exploitation of natural resources.

The EU has been a leader in formulating the concept of Policy Coherence for Development (PCD) which is aimed at avoiding negative consequences and strengthening positive impacts of non-aid policies on developing countries. By making policies more coherent and by building synergies between them, increased effectiveness of development aid can be achieved.

The EU's commitment to PCD is enshrined in article 208 of the Treaty on the functioning of the European Union, which affirms that "The Union shall take account of the objectives of development cooperation in the policies that it implements which are likely to affect developing countries." The commitment is also embedded in the European Consensus on Development, which was jointly agreed by the Commission, the Council and the European Parliament.

4. Regional Issue: Great Lakes

In the Great Lakes region, after the defeat of the M23, there is a unique political momentum that all of us should seize and support. The ongoing national and regional European Development Fund programming processes will contribute to the stabilisation of the region and to its long term development.

The Commission is not alone in its efforts to stabilise the region. In this region, more than anywhere, there is a crucial need to coordinate better what we do - with Member States and with other donors.

The Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), is Sub-Saharan Africa's largest and third most populous country. It suffers from structural weaknesses in the administration and public sectors. Eastern DRC is plagued by local conflicts, human rights violations (including sexual violence) and impunity of security forces and armed groups.

EU involvement in the DRC has largely been focused on the peace/stabilisation process that led to a political transition (2003-2006) in the aftermath of the regional wars in the 90s. Democratic elections in 2006 initiated a new constitutional era and a new start for the country. Support to reconstruction (state building and physical reconstruction) as well as consolidating an open/democratic political system have been the main concerns for the EU.

In addition, efforts have been made to deal with the humanitarian consequences of a number of localised leftover conflicts, particularly in eastern DRC where human rights violations (including sexual violence) are widespread. Since 2005, the Commission has provided €367 million in humanitarian aid inside the country, which makes it the largest relief aid donor there.

Development and cooperation funding for the 10th EDF (2008-2013) amounts to around €694 million focussing on governance, infrastructure and health and also environment.

In addition to EDF funds, DRC benefits from other EU instruments, which brings the total budget to €1.1 billion for 2008-2013. The funding under the 11th EDF (2014-2020) is expected to amount to €619.9 million.

5. Lunch discussion: Myanmar/Task Force with EIB

The EU has provided development assistance to Myanmar since 1996, with over €300 million committed so far. Following the political opening of the country Commissioner Piebalgs announced a package of support of €150 million early last year for 2012 and 2013, all of which has already been committed. €100 million of this was committed in 2012 building upon existing support. Funds went to sectors such as health, education, livelihoods, aid to uprooted people and civil society. Support to civil society will go towards monitoring of reform and transition, addressing discrimination (ethnic tensions) and domestic observation of the electoral cycle. The remaining €50 million were committed in 2013 to provide support to peace building, climate change and trade and private sector projects.

The European Commission has proposed the following main sectors for development cooperation with Myanmar for 2014–2020: rural development, education, governance and support to peace building. Funding levels for the upcoming programming period are likely to be substantially increased, possibly to up to €90 million annually. The EU and its Member States are engaged in a process of preparing joint programming of suppor tot Myanmar for 201-2026.

Some achievements and results of EU funding

Livelihoods (agriculture):

  1. 860,000 people helped through the Livelihoods Trust Fund (LIFT)

  2. 10,000 households received funds to start a new business

  3. 3,500 community groups trained in management, livelihood and vocational skills.

Health: Through the multi-donor Trust Fund the EU has helped to treat

  1. Malaria: 1.7 million confirmed and probable cases of malaria treated;

  2. TB: 160,000 new pulmonary TB smear positive cases were detected;

  3. HIV/AIDS: 19,000 people living with HIV are receiving antiretroviral treatment (ART) and 625,000 people were reached with prevention programmes.

  4. Avian Flu: Awareness in 4,000 villages, covering 300,000 households,

  5. Other: 600.000 people given improved access to primary health care

Education: under the multi-donor Education Trust Fund (MDEF)

  1. 900,000 children received essential learning packages;

  2. 230,000 under-fives in poor areas attended Early Childhood Development services;

  3. Over 5 million primary school children benefitted from the Life Skills curriculum.

  4. 60,000 students in 400 monastic schools benefit from improved quality education

  5. 1,000 teachers trained in child centred teaching and learning approaches.

Uprooted People (displaced by ethnic conflicts)

  1. Helped 700,000 displaced people, particularly women and under-fives;

  2. 180,000 displaced people have better access to safe water and sanitation;

  3. 100,000 receive skills and capacity to improve farming productivity and income

1 :

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