Excellencies, Dear colleagues
- On behalf of the European Union and its Member States, let me first underline the quality of the report of the Secretary General which we believe provides an accurate picture of the challenges we collectively face today to ensure development impact in a rapidly changing global environment. I can be very brief: we very much share its recommendations.
- The message I want to relay to you today in more detail relates to what the EU has actually decided to do to match this analysis with action. Following extensive preparations, the EU has just agreed a new policy framework, adapting its development action to today’s reality, and providing for a more comprehensive and effective approach. On 14 May, the European Foreign Affairs Council adopted a set of Conclusions on 4 key issues:
1. “Increasing the Impact of EU Development Policy: An Agenda for Change”,
2. “The Future Approach to EU Budget Support to Third Countries”
3. “EU Development Aid Targets”
4. “Policy Coherence for Development”
- These detailed conclusions are available in the room. In summary, the following was agreed:
1. To increase the impact of EU Development policy:
– We will put our emphasis on the poorest countries (“differentiation”). Grant aid will be directed to countries where it is most needed and where it can have the most impact in terms of poverty reduction, while considering new forms of strategic cooperation with more advanced developing countries. We will strengthen our commitment to fragile states with a better integrated response linking development cooperation, humanitarian relief, conflict prevention, security as well as peace and state building.
– We will develop a more focused portfolio of programmes and concentrate on three main lines of action: i) bring about genuine political and economic reforms and good governance; ii), help create economic growth and jobs that will genuinely benefit society; and iii), focus on sectors with a high impact on development.
– We will bilaterally engage in a limited number of sectors per partner country (“concentration”), based upon consultations with the country concerned on its priorities as well as with EU Member States and other key development actors in the context of a division of labour.
– We will pursue joint EU programming, synchronized with the national planning cycles of recipient countries to respond in the most effective and timely way to their own long term development programs. We will simplify programming of EU aid, again on the basis of partner countries’ own development plans. We will also work towards a common EU results-based approach to provide a basis for improved mutual accountability and transparency.
2. Regarding the new approach to EU Budget Support to third countries, we agreed a stronger link between budget support and the fundamental values of human rights, democracy and the rule of law, as well as to the importance to apply a dynamic approach focusing on progress in the implementation of credible and relevant sector reform and strategies. This balance between promoting wider governance objectives on the one hand, and maximising the developmental benefits of the budget support on the other, will serve our partnerships better. We will therefore develop 3 types of contracts (Good Governance and Development Contract, Sector reform Contract and State Building Contract) adapted to each situation.
3. Despite the current economic crisis, the European Council has reaffirmed last week its commitment to achieve EU development assistance targets by 2015, including for our collective ODA to reach 0.7% GNI by 2015, as a key contribution towards the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals.
4. Policy Coherence for Development (PCD) will remain a crucial instrument in our development policy, and we will – in the coming years – see how we can reinforce our work in this area.
We now move forward with implementation, notably through the preparation of EU future financing instruments for the period 2014-2020. We will strive for enhanced development effectiveness in action and in partnership with partner countries, also in the context of the work to be done post Busan.
Of course, there will be challenges and difficulties along the way. But there are also best practices and success stories on which we need to build. This is not something we will do one for the other, but together in partnership. We owe it to these billion people in the world that rightly hope to get an opportunity to step up the development ladder. We also owe it to those in developed and emerging economies that may be faced with difficulties at home and that rightly want to ensure that their commitment and generosity is well acted upon. Development works and it can make a real difference if we partner along a common agenda