All too often, the effectiveness of development policies is hindered by non-aid policies that do not take development objectives into account. In practice, developing countries suffer the consequences of these incompatible policies. The Evert Vermeer Foundation, together with CONCORD and other partners, are therefore monitoring the consistency of EU policies in their EU Coherence Projects and are working to raise awareness of policy coherence.
In October 2007 the European Commission will issue its first Biennial Report on Policy Coherence for Development (PCD). The content can be largely predicted already: great progress will have been made, compliments will be paid and member states will be patted on the back. The EU Coherence Programme, however, thinks it is a bit too early for a party, and is highly critical of the European Commission's PCD questionnaire which was sent to member states in January to collect their assessments of how much they have done to ensure coherence between policies.
Strangely enough, it was up to the Member States themselves to decide whether or not to make their responses to the questionnaire publicly accessible. Interestingly, only the Dutch government has decided to publish its response. Another weird aspect is that some questions were open to all respondents, but most were not. It would be interesting to know why certain questions were to be answered only by the Commission.
The EU Coherence Project has therefore sent a 13-page document questioning the rationale behind the report, giving examples of inconsistency between EU policies and reaffirming that development cooperation should be implemented in a coherent fashion. There is a need to move beyond traditional development circles in order to broaden people’s understanding of the links and of the interdependence of the various interests of different stakeholders. In the debate on policy coherence for development, emphasis should be placed on the actual needs and aspirations of developing countries and their citizens. Joint responsibility and ownership of development strategies should be at the forefront of policy-making.
For further information: Else Boonstra (firstname.lastname@example.org – http://www.eucoherence.org).
Source: CONCORD Flash - June 2007.
See also Euforic dossier on coherence.