Thursday, April 05, 2007

With change, European Community aid could make more of a difference for the poor

The serious and growing dimensions of global poverty challenge us to stop and ask ourselves: Why has development aid been more successful in reducing poverty in some countries than in others? How can people living in poverty participate in, contribute to and truly benefit from development assistance? Whose responsibility is it to ensure that aid reaches those that need it?

The new CIDSE and Caritas Europa report, 'The EU’s Footprint in the South: Does European Community development cooperation make a difference for the poor?', brings some responses to these fundamental questions on aid effectiveness by looking more closely at the development practice of the European Community, the world’s third largest development aid donor. Drawing upon research carried out with local civil society partners in six developing countries: Ethiopia, Nicaragua, Bangladesh, Zambia, Guatemala and Cameroon, the report sheds light on EC development cooperation and its impact on poverty reduction.

EC aid practice has been improving in general. Yet, the findings of this in-depth analysis reveal that measured against its potential, EC aid requires significant changes. The European Commission does not sufficiently (1) monitor and measure the impact of its actions, (2) support developing countries’ priorities on poverty reduction and (3) consult with different stakeholders. In Cameroon, for instance, over two thirds of EC funding is being used for the construction of large international roads even though what poor people living in rural areas need are roads that connect them with other areas, so that they can have access to health services and benefit from economic development.

Illustrated by examples of good EC development practice, the report offers concrete recommendations to further the development results of EC aid and sends out the positive message that with change, European Community aid could make more of a difference against the injustice of global poverty.

The “EU’s Footprint in the South” report is part of the 2007 global CIDSE-Caritas Internationalis campaign “Make Aid Work–The World Can’t Wait!”, mobilizing public support for policy changes needed to make aid work for the poor.

Source: CIDSE Advocacy Newsletter, April 2007

See also Euforic dossier on EU cooperation.