Documents considered by the Committee on 21 July 2015 - European Scrutiny Contents


46 2015 EU accountability report on financing for development

Committee's assessment Politically important
Committee's decisionCleared from scrutiny; drawn to the attention of the International Development Committee; relevant to the debate recommended elsewhere on the Commission Communication "A Global Partnership for Poverty Eradication and Sustainable Development after 2015"
Document detailsCommission Staff Working Document
Legal base
DepartmentEnergy and Climate Change, Environment, Food and Rural Affairs and International Development
Document Numbers(36801), 10294/15 + ADD 1, SWD(15) 128

Summary and Committee's conclusions

46.1 The EU Accountability Report on Financing for Development (FFD) is an annual Commission publication detailing EU and Member States' progress towards past development finance commitments.

46.2 The Report finds that 23 of 41 targets have been met or are "on track" to be met. The Commission's assessment is that a further nine are only partially "off track" and could still be met. The Commission assesses strong progress on domestic resource mobilisation, private finance for development, combining public and private finance for development, and using development finance effectively.

46.3 The Ministers at the Departments for International Development (Baroness Verma), Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Rory Stewart) and Energy and Climate Change (Lord Bourne) note that the EU record on international public finance for development in particular is less good, with only four of 14 targets on track. They also highlight the collective commitment for developed countries to spend 0.7% Gross National Income (GNI) as Official Development Assistance (ODA):

"seen by many as the most important FFD commitment, [it] is assessed as very off track (and it is clear that it will not be met by the target date of 2015). However, importantly the UK is recognised as having met the target alongside Sweden, Denmark and Luxembourg."

46.4 This year's Report, which reviews the entire series of reports from 2002 to 2013 together with new information on progress in 2014, comes at a crucial juncture in the negotiations on the design of the new global framework for sustainable development, which will be centre stage at the UN Financing for Development Conference, in Addis Ababa, in July 2015 and the UN Summit on the new Sustainable Development Goals in in September 2015 (which will in turn "read-across" to the Conference of the Parties to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change in Paris in December).

46.5 Elsewhere in this Report we consider the latest stage of the Committee's consideration of the Commission Communication: A Global Partnership for Poverty Eradication and Sustainable Development after 2015, which sets out the Commission's views on the delivery of a new global partnership for poverty eradication and sustainable development after 2015. The same Ministers have provided us with their views on the Conclusions agreed on 26 May 2015 "Development" Foreign Affairs Council, which set out the EU's high-level position for the ongoing FFD negotiations, and which they describe as providing "helpful clarity in the run up to the Financing for Development Conference".[ 347]

46.6 In that part of our Report, we conclude that the time has now come for the major developments in the Commission Communication and the Council Conclusions to be debated in European Committee B. We have recommended that this debate should be held immediately after the House returns from the "conference" recess, so that the House can be provided with, and discuss, the Government's analysis of the outcome of both the Addis Ababa "Financing for Development" conference and the discussions at the United Nations in September.[ 348]

46.7 We think that this chapter of our Report should be "tagged" to that debate.

46.8 If any Council Conclusions are adopted on this Commission Staff Working Document before then, we should be grateful if the Minister would provide the Committee with a copy.

46.9 In the meantime, we now clear this Commission Staff Working Document from scrutiny.

Full details of the documents: Commission Staff Working Document: "2015 EU Accountability Report on Financing for Development": (36801), 10294/15 + ADD 1, SWD(15) 128.

Background

46.10 The EU Accountability Report on Financing for Development (FFD) is an annual publication by the European Commission. It responds to the Council's mandate to the Commission to monitor progress and report annually on the EU's collective aid commitments. It initially focused on commitments of official development assistance (ODA) made at the 2002 International Conference on Financing for Development in Monterrey. The Council later expanded the original monitoring mandate to cover more areas, including domestic revenue mobilisation, aid effectiveness, aid for trade, and fast-start climate finance.

46.11 The Commission notes that this year's report comes at a crucial juncture in the negotiations on the design of the new global framework for sustainable development: financing issues will be discussed, as part of the overall Means of Implementation, at the UN Financing for Development Conference, in Addis Ababa, in July 2015; while a UN Summit is expected to agree on the new Sustainable Development Goals in New York in September 2015. These will in turn have a "read-across" to the Conference of the Parties to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change in Paris in December:

"Implementing what will be an ambitious and comprehensive new development agenda will undoubtedly require an unprecedented effort by all, and securing the required means of implementation — including financing — for the agenda will be crucial to its success."[ 349]

46.12 The entire series of reports from 2002 to 2013 was reviewed for this report, together with new information on progress in 2014. The Commission describes the overall picture as encouraging: 23 out of 41 EU commitments have been met or are "on track" to be met; another nine are only partially "off track"; and the EU is "off track" to meet the remaining nine commitments. The EU is described as doing well in private finance for development (see section 4), combining public and private finance (section 6), and using development finance effectively (section 7). It has made less progress on public finance (section 5) where it has fallen short of "ambitious" ODA targets.[ 350]

46.13 In their Explanatory Memorandum of 10 July 2015, the Parliamentary Under-Secretaries of State at the Departments for International Development (Baroness Verma), Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Rory Stewart) and Energy and Climate Change (Lord Bourne) note that, as a factual technical document containing information on EU institutions' and Member States' progress towards previous FFD commitments, which does not articulate Member State views or EU policy, there are no policy implications per se in relation to the EU Accountability Report. They expect that the Luxembourg EU Presidency will adopt Council Conclusions on the Accountability Report, but the timing is not yet clear; they undertake to keep the Committee informed of any forward looking commitments or proposals.

The Government's view

46.14 The Ministers note that the UK has been a longstanding supporter of this Report, which they describes as "a valuable transparency tool", and "a regular accountability mechanism for the EU's 0.7% ODA commitment, as well as other important pledges in relation to FFD". They also welcome the Commission's decision to bring forward publication of the 2015 Report, to make the information available in advance of the Addis Ababa FFD Conference.

Previous Committee Reports

None.


347   See (36644), 5902/15 at chapter 2 of this Report for the Ministers' full view on these Council Conclusions (which themselves run to 64 paragraphs over 23 pages). Back

348   Ibid. Back

349   SWD(15) 128, p.11. Back

350   See "Highlights" for full detail. Back


 
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Prepared 30 July 2015