Monday, April 21, 2008

EC proposals for an "ambitious" EU position on aid effectiveness and finance for development

Source: EU News no. 3, April 2008

One week after the publication of the appalling preliminary ODA figures for the year 2007 and the joint press release by Commissioners Michel and Barroso urging Member States to keep their promises and substantially increase aid levels, the Commission adopted a communication and a package of staff working papers under the generic title: The EU – a global partner for development – Speeding up progress towards the Millennium development Goals.
The package includes a communication introducing 5 working documents:

  • An EU aid effectiveness Roadmap to Accra and Beyond: from rhetoric to action, hastening the pace of reforms
  • The Millennium Development Goals – state of play
  • The Monterrey process on Financing for Development - the European Union's contribution to Doha and beyond
  • Policy Coherence for Development: Climate Change/Energy/Biofuels, Migration and Research
  • Aid for Trade monitoring report

The EC considers that 2008 is a crucial year for Development and for Europe’s credibility and leadership and is particularly worried by the reduction in EU aid from €47.7 billion in 2006 to €46.1 billion in 2007 and by the fact that aid from major EU donors such as France and the UK has decreased while certain member states like Portugal, Greece and Italy are still far behind the 2005 commitments and aid in certain new Member States is also on the decrease.

The EC is expecting a difficult debate with the Member States on these issues and others related to the full untying of aid (including food aid and transport and technical assistance) beyond the Paris declaration indicator, the focus on a ex-post performance-oriented approach and the reduction of the number of conditionalities (however the text is quite ambiguous here), the enhanced use of country systems through budget support and a special attention to situations of fragility in line with he recently adopted EC communication and Council conclusions. NGOs are disappointed by the lack of ambition and concrete proposals in the EC roadmap on issues such as gender equality, the centrality of human rights and democratic ownership, phasing out political conditionalities, improvement in transparency and mutual accountability of aid and a clear preference for relying on and building local human and economic resources and better aligning technical assistance to make it fully demand-driven.

The CONCORD Aid Watch group is preparing its annual report on EU aid that will combine a qualitative and quantitative assessment and will be launched all over Europe on 22nd of May. Tools and templates for lobbying at national level to encourage the Member States to take the lead on an ambitious agenda for aid quality and quantity are also under preparation. Read more...

More information: EC package, Eurodad, CONCORD and BetterAid, or contact Karine Sohet and Denise Auclair

Check also the Euforic newsfeed and dossier on aid effectiveness