Shaping the future EU Development policy, EC consults

The European Commission has launched on 10 November a public consultation in order to gather opinions from all stakeholders regarding the orientation to be given to EU approach to development. The results of this public consultation will be the base for the Communication on a Modernised EU Development policy expected to be presented by the Commission in 2011.

By means of the public consultation on on budget support to EU Development Policy, the Commission wishes to collect views on how the EU can best support developing countries to speed up their progress towards the Millennium Development Goals and beyond. In a context marked by the effects of economic crisis and faced to the dangers of food and environmental crisis, one thing remains unchanged, which is the support given by European citizens to EU cooperation and development aid policy.

The Commission is now considering the shape that community support to development aid policy should take and the major challenges it will be faced to. In order to clear up the possible orientations the Commission has identifies four main challenges the consultation will be based on.

Four main challenges for future EU Development Policy

  • How to ensure high impact of EU development policy, so that every Euro spent provides the best value added and value for money, the best leverage and the best legacy of opportunities for generations to come. European aid must focus on areas where a clear added value can be shown. This starts by targeting four fundamental requirements: human development, including health and education, and security as preconditions for any country's development; growth and social inclusiveness for any long lasting engagement. This also covers support for good governance, coordination of aid and coherence between policies.
  • How to facilitate more, and more inclusive, growth in developing countries, as a means of reducing poverty. Aid alone won't be sufficient for supporting countries' capacity to achieve poverty reduction, and growth can have a multiplier effect through employment creation and social protection. The question arises whether the EU should consider new Joint Strategies for Inclusive Growth in partnership with the individual or regional groupings of developing countries, also involving private-sector stakeholders. These strategies could cover such key issues as ensuring legal and regulatory framework, access to credit or decent work. This objective also relates to how best development policy could serve to reinforce regional integration and ensure a positive integration of developing countries in the global trade.
  • How to promote sustainable development as a driver for progress: development based on the green economy must not be seen only as a burden, but in reality it is a huge driver for opportunities. The Green paper reflects on how to ensure that sustainable development is at the core of both our development and climate change policies to guarantee that action to combat climate change also improves the growth potential of the world's poorest citizens. The Commission also raises the issue of access to energy, which constitutes a pre-requisite to meet most MDGs: there can not be functioning hospitals, schools or agricultural production without energy. It notes that Africa has a vast untapped renewable energy potential, which could be used to ensure millions of people access to electricity. It also discusses the appropriate use of combined climate, biodiversity and development funds, coming from grants and loans or blending of both.
  • How to achieve durable results in the area of agriculture and food security. Development and food security go hand in hand; experience demonstrates that agricultural reform and the capacity to feed a country's population is a precondition for wider development and poverty reduction. The Green paper proposes to make agriculture and food security a test case for the EU's capacity to deliver high impact cooperation and promote inclusive and green growth by concentrating its efforts on ensuring that where assistance is granted, the whole chain of production is taken into consideration.