Documents considered by the Committee on 15 December 2010 - European Scrutiny Committee Contents

18 Increasing the impact of EU development policy



COM(10) 629

Commission Green Paper: EU Development Policy in Support of Inclusive Growth and Sustainable Development: Increasing the impact of EU development policy
Legal base
Document originated10 November 2010
Deposited in Parliament15 November 2010
DepartmentInternational Development
Basis of considerationEM of 24 November 2010
Previous Committee ReportNone; but see (32105) —: HC 428-viii (2010-11), chapter 11 (17 November 2010)
To be discussed in Council9 December 2010 "Development" Council
Committee's assessmentPolitically important
Committee's decisionCleared, but further information requested


18.1 As the Commission notes on its website, the European Union — Commission and Member States — is the world's foremost donor of development aid, accounting for 55% of the total. Noting that the effectiveness of European aid could and must be increased through renewed efforts to improve coordination and harmonisation, on 20 December 2005, the Presidents of the Commission, Parliament and the Council signed a new statement on EU development policy, the "European consensus", which, for the first time in fifty years of cooperation, set out to define a framework of common principles within which the EU and its Member States would each implement their development policies "in a spirit of complementarity." As well as this shared vision to guide the EU's activities in the field of development cooperation, both at Member State and Community level, it also sets out concrete action to be taken to implement this vision at Community level.

18.2 With the chief objective being to reduce poverty worldwide in the context of sustainable development, the EU said it was seeking to meet the UN Millennium Development Goals by 2015:

·  to eliminate extreme poverty and hunger;

·  to achieve universal primary education;

·  to promote gender equality and empower women;

·  to reduce child mortality;

·  to improve maternal health;

·  to combat HIV/AIDS, malaria and other diseases;

·  to ensure environmental sustainability; and

·  to set up a global partnership for development.

18.3 The Consensus also took the view that the fundamental objective of poverty reduction is closely associated with the complementary objectives of promotion of good governance and respect for human rights, noting these as shared values underpinning the EU; and that the fight against poverty also implies achieving a balance between activities aimed at human development, the protection of natural resources and economic growth and wealth creation to benefit the poor.

18.4 It specified as the common principles of development cooperation activities: ownership and partnership, in-depth political dialogue, participation of civil society, gender equality and an ongoing commitment to preventing state fragility.

18.5 Though developing countries bore the primary responsibility for their own development, the EU accepted its share of responsibility and accountability for the joint efforts undertaken in partnership.

18.6 On implementation, the Consensus sees development cooperation as a major component of a broader set of external measures which must be consistent and complementary. Programming documents — country, regional and thematic strategy papers — were to reflect this range of policies and ensure consistency between them. To meet the needs stated by partner countries, the Community would concentrate its activities in the following areas:

·  trade and regional integration;

·  the environment and the sustainable management of natural resources; infrastructures;

·  water and energy;

·  rural development, agriculture, and food security;

·  governance, democracy, human rights and support for economic and institutional reforms;

·  prevention of conflicts and of state fragility;

·  human development; and social cohesion and employment.

18.7 Democracy, good governance, human rights, the rights of children and indigenous peoples, gender equality, environmental sustainability and the fight against HIV/AIDS would be "mainstreamed". The type of aid provided would be tailored to the needs and context of each individual country, giving preference, where conditions allowed, to budget aid. The Community's approach would be based on results and performance indicators. Most Community aid would continue to be provided as non-repayable grants.[136]

The Commission Green Paper

18.8 European Commission Development Commissioner Piebalgs has announced his intention to update EU's development policy and, depending on the outcome of this Green Paper consultation, may choose to launch a full review of the Consensus in late 2011, aiming to conclude in 2012.

18.9 The Green Paper considers how to update the EU's development policy so as to improve its impact and increase its focus on economic growth as a driver of sustainable development. It has been published on the Commission's website and launches a public consultation which will run until 17 January 2011.[137]

18.10 In his Explanatory Memorandum of 24 November 2010, the Minister of State at the Department for International Development (Alan Duncan) notes that the Green Paper poses questions covering a range of EU development policies, focusing on the following areas:

    "Putting 'High Impact' cooperation into practice: Should the EU and Member States develop guidance setting out conditions to be met (e.g. on coordination and results) before any programmes can be implemented? How should different aid flows (e.g. from public and private sources or different EU budget instruments) be managed together?

    "Growth for human development: How can the EU and Member States ensure that aid for health and education contributes to human development and growth? How should the EU support skills development, for example through its approach to migration?

    "Promoting Governance: How should the EU adapt its development policy to support governance reforms in partner countries, with greater incentives for reform? How should the EU promote more robust results monitoring?

    "Security and Fragility: How should the EU intervene in fragile and conflict-affected states, coordinating short term conflict or crisis response with longer term development?

    "Making coordination of aid a reality: How can the EU promote aid effectiveness and make European Country Strategy documents a reality?

    "Policy Coherence for Development: How can policy coherence be improved and measured?

    "Partnerships for inclusive growth: How should the EU support industrial investments in partner countries, e.g. in the extractive or post-extractive sectors? How can the EU better protect social and economic rights, such as labour standards? How can the EU help partner countries to promote a business-friendly environment, especially for small and medium sized enterprises? How can the EU support low cost finance and financial guarantees? How can EU funding promote innovation and technology transfer in partner countries?

    "Fostering regional integration: How can the EU's experience inform regions seeking to strengthen their integration?

    "Continuing to ensure trade for development: How can the EU improve aid for trade provisions and ensure consistency between its trade and development policies?

    "Climate change, biodiversity and development: How can climate adaptation and disaster risk reduction be mainstreamed into the EU's development policy?

    "Energy and development: How can the EU help partner countries to secure sustainable energy for their citizens, combining climate change funding and leveraged loans from Development Finance Institutions?

    "Agriculture and food security: How can EU development policy better support food security and stimulate sustainable intensification of agriculture, fishing and aquaculture? How can the EU support the fight against malnutrition?"

The Government's view

18.11 The Minister goes on to say that it is not currently clear whether the Green Paper consultation is intended to focus only on growth, or if it should cover the entire remit of EU development policy. He sees the broad remit of questions as suggesting a wholesale review, although also notes that the title of the Green Paper and discussions with Commission officials put the emphasis on growth.

18.12 The Minister also notes that similar consultations are presently being run on the EU's approach to Budget Support,[138] while those on the future of the EU's external financial instruments have yet to be officially launched. The Commission has, he says, indicated that, together with this Green Paper on EU development policy, all these consultations will feed into a Communication in autumn 2011, at which point a decision will be taken on whether to open up the European Consensus on Development for a full review.

18.13 The Minister sees this consultation process as an important opportunity to influence emerging EU priorities on development. He welcomes the focus on sustainable growth and wealth creation in the Green Paper and the reference to the private sector as a key driver of growth, which he says is an area in which the Department for International Development is stepping up its efforts. He also welcomes the increased focus on demonstrating the impact and results achieved by EU development aid.

18.14 He then says:

    "However, we have concerns that a major review of the Consensus in the current climate could downgrade its poverty reduction focus and undo the achievements of 2005. In addition to focusing on growth and the private sector, we would want any potential review of the Consensus to ensure that EU development policy continues to prioritise poverty reduction and the Millennium Development Goals, certainly the most off-track ones like maternal mortality, as well as press for a stronger focus on ensuring value for money from EU's aid budget. It should also embrace EU's future role in combating climate change and preventing conflicts across the globe."

18.15 In the short term, the Minister notes that general discussion on the Green Paper is scheduled for the 9 December 2010 "Development" Council, and says that the Government will provide written comments on the Green Paper (consulting other Government Departments, including the Foreign and Commonwealth Office and the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills) and work closely with the Commission and other EU Member States through experts' groups and officials' meetings to steer the emerging Communication.


18.16 We are reporting this development to the House because of the importance of the subject matter and also drawing it to the attention of the International Development Committee.

18.17 We ask the Minister to write to the Committee in due course about the outcome of his Department's consultations and the Government's response.

18.18 In the meantime, we clear this Communication from scrutiny.

136   The full document is available at Back

137   See Back

138   For the Committee's consideration of this other Green Paper, see (32105)-: HC 428-viii (2010-11), chapter 11 (17 November 2010). Back

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