11th REPORT: THE EUROPEAN UNION'S ROLE
AT THE MILLENNIUM REVIEW SUMMIT
Letter from Rt Hon Douglas Alexander MP,
Minister for Europe, Foreign and Commonwealth Office to the Chairman
of Sub-Committee C
I refer to your letter of 27 July 2005 to Tim
Morris enclosing the Committee's report on the EU's role at the
Millennium Review Summit. I enclose the Government's response
to the report, which addresses specifically the Committee's conclusions
as outlined in Chapter 8 of the report.
The Committee might also be interested in the
attached documents. These illustrate the very close and effective
cooperation that EU Partners maintained in the run-up to the Summit,
which resulted in broad agreement between Partners on the EU's
priorities for the Summit. I enclose:
extracts from the June European Council
and July GAERC meeting conclusions;
the EU priorities paper for the 60th
session of UNGA;
the EU written statement at the Summit
the EU written statement circulated
to delegations in New York to accompany the Foreign Secretary's
statement on behalf of the EU at the general debate of the 60th
session of the UN General Assembly that immediately followed the
I also enclose a copy of the paper on conditionality
written jointly by the Treasury and the Department of International
I understand that the Committee's report will
be debated in the House of Lords on Thursday 20 September. Lord
Triesman will participate, and wind up for the Government.
28 September 2005
CHAPTER 8: CONCLUSIONS
114. In order to ensure a successful outcome
at the Millennium Review Summit the EU must articulate the case
for reform, use its transatlantic relationship to influence the
United States and have a serious dialogue on the reform agenda
with countries in Africa, Asia and Latin America (para 32)
The European Union worked tirelessly to promote
a successful Summit outcome.
In New York and in capitals the EU encouraged
all UN Member States throughout the negotiating process to play
their part in ensuring a successful Summit outcome. Shortly before
the Summit itself, when negotiations were at a very difficult
stage, the EUPresidency and several Member Stateslobbied
at the highest levels including in Africa, Asia and Latin America,
emphasising the need for constructive participation in the end-game
negotiations. We were part of the core group in New York that
sought to reach agreement on the most contentious parts of the
Summit outcome text. The EU also urged partners, including the
US, to show the necessary flexibility to reach compromise to achieve
the best outcome possible. The Foreign Secretary and Secretary
of State for International Development reinforced these messages
with the US and key partners from all regional groupings.
This overall effort was crucial in achieving
the Summit outcome, which was finely balanced shortly before leaders
arrived at the Summit. As the Prime Minister noted in his address
to Summit leaders, if fully implemented, the reforms agreed will
represent a major step forward for the UN system.
115. The Government, whilst holding the EU
Presidency, should give an adequate emphasis to the importance
of the EU's role at the Summit and provide Parliament with an
explanation of any areas of disagreement between United Kingdom
and EU policies and priorities (para 34)
We sought at every opportunity to stress the
crucial role the EU would play at the Summit. As agreed with EU
Partners, we raised as Presidency the importance of a successful
Summit outcome in many of the EU's meetings with Third countries
in the months preceding the Summit. Furthermore, Heads of Government
at the June European Council, and Foreign Ministers at July's
GAERC meetings endorsed the EU's strong support for the UN Summit
process in their respective conclusions (attached at Annexes A
and B). Partners agreed a priorities paper for the 60th session
of UNGA (attached at Annex C). The EU also circulated a detailed
written statement at the Summit, and a written statement to accompany
the Foreign Secretary's statement on behalf of the EU at the general
debate of the 60th session of the UN General Assembly that shortly
followed the Summit (attached at Annexes D and E).
There was a very broad consensus on the EU's
position and priorities for the Summit. This reflected the very
close cooperation that EU Partners maintained throughout the Summit
process, in New York, Brussels and in Capitals.
One area where there is no EU consensus is on
Security Council reform. However this did not affect the EU's
approach to the Summit.
116. We commend the EU for its stated commitment
to increased aid. The Minister for Europe is right to acknowledge
the very significant commitment made by the EU-10, until recently
recipients of aid themselves.
But we note that some doubts have been expressed as to whether
all the Member States so committed will be able to deliver the
sums pledged. We therefore recommend that monitoring procedures
be rigorously applied in order to ensure that the pledges made
by all Member States are met (para 41)
We agree that progress should be rigorously
monitored and believe that it will be. Each Autumn the European
Commission will send a questionnaire to Member States asking them
to report progress on a series of development commitments, including
the new aid volume commitments. On the basis of this information
the Commission will issue a report each Spring which will then
be discussed by the Council of Ministers. The progress made by
each individual Member State will be visible for all to see.
117. We recommend that, well in advance of
the December Council, the Government provides to Parliament for
examination a detailed analysis of how the EU's new long-term
strategy on Africa will implement the outcome of Gleneagles and
of the Millennium Summit Review (para 43)
We agree with the recommendation. An explanatory
memorandum on the European Commission's Communication on the EU
Strategy for Africa will be submitted for parliamentary scrutiny.
A debate on EU development, including Africa, has already been
organised by the House of Commons EU Scrutiny Committee for 3
118. If broad participation in the International
Finance Facility is to be secured the Government will, as a matter
of priority, need to convince European and other partners of the
usefulness of this instrument and encourage them to support it
We agree. On 9 September, the UK launched the
pilot IFF for Immunisation (IFFIm) alongside the announcement
of pledges to the IFFIm by France, Italy, Spain and Sweden. The
IFFIm demonstrates the technical feasibility of the IFF and the
frontloading principles. On the same day as the IFFIm launch,
the UK and France jointly announced that they would implement
We continue to discuss the IFF with EU and non-EU
donors, with the aim of launching the IFF in 2006. The IFF already
has support from over 80 countries, including France, Italy, Sweden,
Brazil, China and South Africa. However, one of the advantages
of the IFF is that it does not require the agreementor
participationof all donor countries for it to be launched.
119. The EU should make serious efforts to
enlist the support of the emerging countries of the globalised
economy in its efforts to gain support for its development agenda
EC delegations engage in regular dialogue with
emerging countries on the development agenda. In addition, outreach
to the emerging countries of Brazil, China, India, Mexico and
South Africa was a major part of the G-8 agenda this year, with
the Summit in Gleneagles attended by EC President Barosso.
Since then, there have been the EU-China and
EU-India summits, which have included development issues on the
Trade is also an important part of the development
agenda. The EU will continue to work closely with all WTO members,
including the G20 grouping of developing countries (which includes
China, India and Brazil) to move the WTO Round of trade negotiations
forward, to ensure a successful outcome to the WTO Ministerial
Conference in Hong Kong in December. We aim to complete the WTO
Round in 2006.
120. We were interested to hear the Minister
for Europe mention a paper written jointly by the Treasury and
the Department of International Development on conditionality
and recommend that the Government make this paper available to
Parliament with an explanation of how far the Government's analysis
is shared by other EU Member States and the European Commission
The paper on conditionality, a copy of which
is attached, will be placed in the Commons and Lords libraries,
and we are currently analysing to what extent our policy is shared
by other EU member states and the EC. Once this analysis is complete
it will also be placed in the Parliamentary libraries.
121. We call on the Government, in cooperation
with Italy, France and Germany, to work on securing the agreement
of other leading nations to the G8 initiative (para 51)
We are working closely with all other members
of the G7 to secure the agreement by the Boards of the IMF, World
Bank and African Development Bank to press ahead with implementation
of the G8 debt relief initiative. We will provide the Committee
with a readout from the Annual Meetings of the World Bank and
IMF, where the issue is scheduled to be discussed.
122. We urge the Government to give a strong
lead in the EU preparations for the WTO ministerial meeting in
Hong Kong in December 2005 and to take forward the discussion
on reforming the Common Agricultural Policy in a way that benefits
As EU Presidency, we will work closely with
the Commission, our EU partners and other WTO Members to build
on the progress made so far to ensure a successful and pro-development
outcome at the WTO Ministerial Conference in Hong Kong in December.
This will allow us to achieve our aim of completing the WTO Round
by the end of 2006. A successful trade round has the potential
to lift 140 million people off subsistence of less than $2 a day
60 million people in sub-Saharan Africa alone. Agriculture is
the key issue for developing countries.
We will continue to press for reform of the
CAP and other developed countries' trade-distorting agriculture
policies. Within the WTO Round, we will push for improved market
access for developing countries, reductions in trade-distorting
domestic support and agreement on an end date for agricultural
export subsidies at Hong Kong. We believe that WTO members can
and must agree an end date of 2010. In the longer term, we will
continue to press for further reform of the CAP.
123. We agree with the Minister for Europe
that it has been a "brave and principled" decision by
the Government to pick climate change as one of its key priorities
for the United Kingdom's EU ands G8 presidencies.
We urge the Government to seek agreement at the international
conference in November, and to promote a specific date for the
start of the post 2012 discussions included in the Millennium
Review Summit draft-outcome document. The date should ideally
be the December 2005 UN Climate Change Conference, where the United
Kingdom will represent the EU (para 57)
The 1 November meeting marks the formal launch
of the Dialogue on Climate Change, Clean Energy and Sustainable
Development which was agreed at Gleneagles to provide a forum
for continuing discussions amongst the G8 and China, India, Brazil,
South Africa and Mexico and other countries with significant energy
The Dialogue will create a unique forum for
participating countries to work together on the shared challenges
of addressing climate change, energy security and access to energy.
The Gleneagles Communique outlined the need to:
(a) address the strategic challenge of transforming
our energy systems to create a secure and sustainable future;
(b) monitor the implementation of the Gleneagles
Plan of Action and explore how we can build on that progress;
The Gleneagles Communique makes very clear that
the Dialogue is not a substitute for negotiations on future action
in the UNFCCC. The UNFCCC is the only place where agreement can
be reached on future action.
The UN Climate Change Conference (COP11 COP/MOP1)
in Montreal later this year will represent the first time that
an item that allows the Parties to discuss formally commitments
post-2012 has been included on the Agenda. This item will cover
Article 3, paragraph 9 of the Kyoto Protocol, which covers consideration
of commitments for subsequent periods for Parties included in
Annex I to the Convention. The EU's objective for this agenda
item will be to secure the start of negotiations on further international
action post 2012.
The EU is also looking forward to initiating
a process among all Parties to explore how to implement better
the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change.
124. The EU should, if necessary, continue
to press for new principles on the application of force beyond
the Millennium Review Summit (para 66)
The EU welcomed the reaffirmation at the Summit
of the provisions in the UN Charter on the use of force and the
unprecedented recognition of the responsibility to protect. EU
member states are likely to continue to promote debate on the
circumstances in which it is right to use force, so that action
can be taken against the full range of serious threats to international
peace and security, including those from terrorism or proliferation
125. We endorse the concept of the responsibility
to protect; we hope the EU will throw its full weight behind its
endorsement at the Review Summit; and we express our hope that
the Security Council will apply it in future when cases are brought
before it which justify such action (para 69)
The endorsement of the responsibility to protect
was an important achievement of the Summit. For the first time,
the international community has agreed that it cannot stand by
as genocide, war crimes or crimes against humanity are committed
against vulnerable populations. At the Summit, the world's leaders
recognised that their governments and the international community
have a responsibility to act, with force if necessary, even when
atrocities are committed within another member state's borders.
126. We recommend that the Government press
for as much specific language as possible in the Millennium Review
Conclusions so that the "actual setting up of the Peacebuilding
Commission does not in some way go backwards or be delayed".
Its objective should be to have the Commission up and running
by the end of 2005. We agree with the EU position that the Peacebuilding
Commission needs to be closely linked with the Security Council
The Committee's recommendations on the Peacebuilding
Commission are entirely in line with the Government's view and
were taken up in our negotiating position in New York.
As a result, we achieved a detailed outcome
text setting out both the functions, organisation and membership
of the Commission (and related Peacebuilding Support Office and
Fund) and agreement that its reports should be made widely available.
The Summit text also establishes a deadline of 31 December 2005
for the Commission to begin operations.
What remains now is to agree on which UN organ(s)
should be involved in the Commission's establishment this was
the single most controversial issue in the negotiations on the
Peacebuilding Commission prior to the Summit. The Government will
continue to press for the closest possible link to the Security
Council, particularly as regards the Commission's day-to-day operations.
127. We urge the Government to do its best
to ensure that the strategy against terrorism is finally endorsed
at the Millennium Review Summit (para 76)
We did just that and achieved a good outcome.
Some Member States had doubts about specific items within the
Sercretary-General's strategy so we were unable to secure full
endorsement. But the Summit welcomed the outline presented by
the Secretary-General and, crucially, agreed a process to take
128. We urge the European Union to take an
active role in talks with the Organisation of the Islamic Conference
to reach agreement on a Comprehensive Convention on Terrorism
as soon as possible (para 78)
The EU continues to do this. The Summit strongly
condemned terrorism, though it did not go on to describe terrorists
acts. We continue to press OIC members at every opportunity to
fight for the definition of terrorist acts contained in the "Co-ordinator's
text" of the Comprehensive Convention. The Summit agreed
to try to agree the Convention within a year. We will do all we
can to make it happen.
129. The NPT Review Conference was a disastrous
failure and more needs to be done. The Government should include
non-proliferation among its priority objectives for the Summit
Like many other countries, the UK was disappointed
that no substantive outcome was achieved at the NPT Review Conference,
particularly after the strong urging given to the Conference by
the UN Secretary General in his opening address. The Foreign Secretary
was therefore pleased to accept the Norwegian Foreign Minister's
invitation to join an initiative that sought to redress the lack
of substantive results at the Review Conference with a robust
declaration on these issues at the Millennium Review Summit. In
this initiative, as in our work for the NPT Review Conference,
the UK hoped to spur the international community to strengthen
the nuclear non-proliferation regime.
We worked until the last minute, both nationally
and as EU Presidency, to seek the best possible outcome on non-proliferation
and disarmament at the Summit. We share the UN Secretary General's
disappointment at the lack of international commitment shown by
the inability of States to agree any language on these subjects.
Non-proliferation remains a Government priority, and we are currently
considering how best to find pragmatic solutions to overcome this
setback and enhance the nuclear non-proliferation regime.
130. We support the proposal to establish
a Human Rights Council which would, we believe, be more effective
and more respected than the current, largely discredited, institution.
We urge the Government and the EU to support all measures proposed
at the Millennium Review Summit to strengthen the UN human rights
machinery (para 88)
We welcome the Summit's resolve to create a
Human Rights Council responsible for promoting universal protection
of all human rights and fundamental freedoms, to address violations
of human rights and make recommendations. The EU was disappointed
that it was not possible to agree more detail about the Council
at the Summit. However, the EU looks forward to working with the
President of the General Assembly and partners to take forward
work on this as soon and as effectively as possible.
We support the Secretary General's call to resume
negotiations on the Council on the basis of the detailed language
developed in the run up to the Summit, including, for example,
that it must be a standing body able to address urgent human rights
situations and questions; must preserve and build upon the strengths
of the Commission on Human Rights, in particular the system of
special procedures and participation of civil society; and that
its members must undertake to abide by the highest human rights
131. We believe that the EU Member States
should be ready to contribute to a democracy fund if the modalities
of its operation can be satisfactorily negotiated (para 91)
At the Summit the EU welcomed the establishment
of the UN Democracy Fund. We support its remit to co-ordinate
and complement democracy-strengthening activities throughout the
UN system. As at 16 September the UK, France, Germany, Hungary,
Italy and Portugal have made initial financial pledges to the
Fund. Other member states may do so in due course.
132. The Government must do all it can to
ensure that the issue of Security Council reform does not overwhelm
all the other important aspects of this Summit (para 102)
The High Level Panel report and In Larger Freedom
made Security Council reform more likely now than for several
years. However, there was no agreement among the 191 UN member
states on a model of reform before the Summit and it did not overshadow
the broader summit agenda. The UK continues to support an enlarged
Council to make it more representative. We expect the debate to
133. We call for the Government to state how
it believes the UN General Assembly can be revitalised and to
work towards the reforms proposed by the Secretary General (para
The General Assembly has set up a working group,
open to all Member States, to identify ways to further enhance
the effectiveness and efficiency of the GA. The UK, as a leading
proponent of UN reform, will continue to ensure that the working
group leads to practical steps that build on previous resolutions
and the proposals in the Outcome Document. Revitalisation should
include streamlining the Assembly's agenda, reducing duplication
with other UN bodies, and other measures to promote more efficient
134. We agree that reform of the UN Secretariat
to make it more effective and accountable is both necessary and
urgent. The Government should press for the acceptance by all
UN member states of the Secretary General's reform package (para
We welcome the significant progress that the
final Outcome document represents. There is strong language and
a significant level of detail on strengthening oversight at the
UN, in recognition of the need for improved transparency, accountability
and efficiency. The future reviews of programme mandates, human
resources, budget and programme planning rules are all significant
steps forward. It is vital that the UN's resources are channelled
to the areas of greatest need and impact, and in this respect
we welcome the Summit decision on the review of mandates.
A key task for us during the current General
Assembly will be to ensure we deliver these reforms without losing
to the lowest common denominator that consensus sometimes delivers.
We will be working closely with partners and with the Secretariat
to develop strategies to deliver this reform as work on implementing
summit outcomes continues.
135. The Government should make available
to Parliament, following the Millennium Review Summit, its analysis
of how successful any agreed reforms of ECOSOC are likely to be,
and what other reforms might be required in order to render ECOSOC
an effective multilateral institution (para 113)
The EU has welcomed the Outcome document's provisions
on ECOSOC, reinforcing the role of ECOSOC as the principal body
of UN for co-ordination, policy review and policy dialogue on
issues related to development and, in particular, on the implementation
of the Millennium Development Goals.
The Outcome document also acknowledges that
in order to do this ECOSOC will have to change the way it organises
its work. The UK would like to see this include streamlining of
the current agenda, and a reduction in overlap between ECOSOC
and other UN bodies such as the Functional Commissions and the
JUNE EUROPEAN COUNCIL CONCLUSIONS: EXTRACT
ON UN SUMMIT
V. EXTERNAL RELATIONS
Preparation for the September 2005 United Nations
23. The European Council considers that the
United Nations Summit will provide an opportunity to reaffirm
our support for the UN as an international relations instrument
founded in law. It reaffirms its strong support for effective
multilateralism and for the process of reform of the United Nations.
It emphasises that the report which the Secretary-General presented
on 21 March 2005 is balanced and, with the contribution from the
President of the General Assembly, provides an excellent working
basis for the declaration to be adopted in September in New York.
24. The European Council wishes to express its
gratitude to the Secretary-General for the exhaustive and coherent
nature of his report. It shares the Secretary-General's views
on his integrated concept of collective security and supports
the idea that development, security and human rights are interdependent
and mutually reinforcing. It welcomes the strategies proposed
in the areas of development, security, human rights, the rule
of law and democracy.
25. The European Council considers it essential
to achieve a balanced and ambitious outcome enabling the UN to
be reformed so that it can respond more practically and effectively
to the multi-dimensional threats and challenges identified in
the Secretary-General's report.
26. Against that background, the European Council
emphasises its commitment to pursuing a substantial dialogue with
all UN member countries with a view to preparing for the Summit.
27. Development plays a crucial role in the
preparation of the Summit. In this respect, recalling the prime
responsibility of developing countries for their own development,
the European Council welcomes the agreement reached by the Council
concerning Official Development Assistance (ODA). In the context
of the commitment to attain the internationally agreed ODA target
of an ODA/GNI ratio of 0,7%, the European Council notes with satisfaction
that its Member States are on track to achieve the 0,39% target
of GNI in 2006 for ODA volumes contained in the Barcelona commitments.
While reaffirming its determination to fulfil these commitments,
the Council decided on a new collective European Union target
of an ODA/GNI ratio of 0,56% by 2010. That would result in an
additional EUR 20 billion a year in ODA.
28. In this context, the European Council can
reiterate that Member States which have not yet achieved an ODA/GNI
ratio of 0,51% undertake to attain that level, within their respective
budget allocation processes, by 2010, while those that are already
above that level undertake to continue their efforts. Member States
which joined the EU after 2002, and have not yet achieved an ODA/GNI
ratio of 0,17%, will endeavour to increase their ODA to attain
that level, within their respective budget allocation processes,
by 2010, while those that are already above that level undertake
to continue their efforts; Member States undertake to achieve
the target of an ODA/GNI ratio of 0,7% by 2015, while those which
have achieved that target commit themselves to remaining above
that target Member States which joined the EU after 2002 will
endeavour to increase their ODA/GNI ratio to 0,33% by 2015.
29. The European Council invites the Council
to pursue its consideration of the most promising options for
innovative sources of funding for development, so as to increase
the resources available in a sustainable and predictable manner.
30. The European Union recalls the need, in
parallel with funding-related efforts, to improve the quality
and effectiveness of Official Development Assistance, and the
need to reinforce capacities and ensure the viability of increased
Official Development Assistance for partner countries. It welcomes
the Paris Declaration on Aid Effectiveness and recalls the commitment
by the Member States and the Commission to ensure that it is implemented
and followed up without delay, that verifiable key targets are
established, and that the specific commitments which the European
Union adopted at the High-level Forum in Paris are implemented.
31. The European Council confirms that the European
Union will continue to take account of development cooperation
objectives in all policies that it implements which are likely
to affect developing countries. The EU will make a particular
effort to promote and increase the consistency of development
policies in the context of the Global Partnership for Development
under Millennium Development Goal (MDG) No 8.
32. The EU considers the development of Africa
a priority and will step up its efforts to assist African countries
to reach the Millennium Development Goals. In this context, the
European Council reaffirms the European Union's intention of increasing
its financial assistance for subsaharan Africa by collectively
allocating at least 50% of the agreed increase in ODA resources
to the African continent, respecting the priorities of the various
Member States. Aid for countries which are emerging from conflict
and for fragile States will also be improved.
33. The European Council regards the creation
of the Peace Building Commission, conflict prevention, the fight
against terrorism, the adoption of principles governing the use
of force, disarmament, the non-proliferation of weapons of mass
destruction and their delivery systems and the strengthening of
the United Nations' peacekeeping capabilities as its priorities
in the area of security in the preparation of the Summit.
34. The European Council welcomes the agreement
reached at the United Nations General Assembly on 13 April 2005
on the Convention for the Suppression of Acts of Nuclear Terrorism
and calls on all members of the United Nations to sign that Convention
during the Summit in September.
35. With regard more specifically to the non-proliferation
of weapons of mass destruction, the European Council deplores
the fact that despite the EU's efforts, the NPT Review Conference
was not able to achieve a document by consensus, dealing with
the basic questions. The European Council reiterates the importance
which it attaches to the consolidation of the NPT and hopes that
the issue will be addressed at the September Summit. It confirms
its common position, adopted for the Review Conference, as the
basis for pursuing its objectives in the forthcoming examination
of the NPT.
36. The European Council welcomes the
prominent place given to human rights, the rule of law and democracy
in the reform proposals. In this connection, the European Council
reaffirms the importance which it attributes to the concept of
responsibility to protect, which must be implemented by the Security
Council. It supports the Secretary-General's proposals to reinforce
the role and resources of the High Commissioner and to establish
a Human Rights Council meeting throughout the year, linked to
the General Assembly, and reflecting the universality of human
rights and their central position in the UN system. It also supports
the call for the strengthening of the High Commissioner's Office,
inter alia through its interaction with the Security Council.
Those initiatives should increase the extent to which account
is taken of human rights in the United Nations' activities.
37. In the area of institutional reforms,
the European Council recognises the need to reform the main UN
bodies, among them the General Assembly, ECOSOC and the Security
Council, with a view to enhancing the representativeness, transparency
and efficiency of the system. It also supports reform efforts
in the areas of the budget and administrative management, to enable
the UN better to fulfil its mandate.
38. Sustainable development, including
environmental questions and concerns, must be integrated to a
greater extent in national and international development programmes
and strategies. The European Council supports the Secretary-General's
urgent appeal for a more integrated international environmental
governance structure, based on existing institutions. In this
perspective, and. given the environmental challenges associated
with development, the EU proposes that the high-level meeting
in September 2005 initiate a process, as part of UN reform, which
will lead to negotiations on the establishment of a UN agency
for the environment, based on UNEP, with a revised and strengthened
mandate, supported by stable, adequate and predictable financial
contributions and operating on an equal footing with other UN
specialised agencies. This agency, based in Nairobi, would make
it possible to develop the environmental dimension of sustainable
development in an integrated and consistent manner, and would
cooperate closely with multilateral agencies, each using its comparative
advantages to best effect.
DRAFT COUNCIL CONCLUSIONS ON UN SUMMIT
The Council discussed preparations for the United
Nations Summit to be held from 14 to 16 September 2005. The Council
welcomed the Commission Communication "The 2005 UN Summit:
Addressing the global challenges and making a success. of a reformed
UN"as an important contribution in shaping the European
Union's aspirations for the Summit. The Council recalled the European
Union's recent decision on increasing aid volumes and effectiveness,
enhancing policy coherence for development, and focusing on Africa,
and welcomed the commitments made at the G8 meeting in Gleneagles.
Recalling the conclusions agreed by the European
Council in June and its own decisions of 24 May, the General Affairs
and External Relations Council agreed that the European Union
should continue to attach the highest priority to ensuring a balanced
and ambitious Summit outcome, resulting in substantive actions
to support the full implementation of the Millennium Declaration
and related commitments, as well as in a stronger and more effective
UN that can better meet today's interconnected challenges to international
development, peace and security, and human rights. The Council
supports the efforts of the UN General Assembly President in drafting
a declaration, based on the concepts and proposals contained in
the Secretary-General's March Report "In larger freedom".
In particular, the Council emphasises the importance
more and better aid, including debt
relief and innovative sources of funding for development, to meet
the ODA objectives and the Millennium Development Goals and other
existing commitments from major international conferences and
recalls the EU's recent commitments to increase levels of ODA;
good governance, the social dimension
of globalisation, and the special needs of Africa;
international trade as an engine
for development, the call for rapid completion of the Doha Development
Round, and the call for market access for LDCs;
its conclusions of 24 May, which
inter alia highlight the importance of an intensified multisectoral
response to HIV/AIDS as laid down in the European Programme for
Action to confront HIV/AIDS. The EU further recognises that the
MDGs cannot be attained without progress in achieving the Cairo
goal of universal sexual and reproductive health and rights;
the need to make progress on environmental
sustainability issues such as climate change and biodiversity,
and a more coherent institutional framework of international environmental
governance built on existing institutions including through launching
a process leading to the creation of United Nations Environment
the creation of the Peacebuilding
strong language on terrorism (leading
to a definition of terrorism and conclusion of the Comprehensive
Convention), disarmament, non-proliferation, and strengthening
the rule of law;
the responsibility to protect;
strengthening the UN's human rights
machinery including the establishment of a Human Rights Council
in order to truly elevate the Commission on Human Rights and reinforcing
the role and resources of the Office of the High Commissioner
for Human Rights;
strengthening gender equality in
all UN activities;
strengthening the new UN capacity
building for rapid action in the face of humanitarian disasters;
modernising and reforming the UN
administrative system, including the Secretary General's longer
term vision for grouping the various agencies, funds and programmes
into more tightly managed entities in the field of development,
humanitarian assistance and environment, and further improving
UN system coherence at country level.
The Council recognises the need to reform the
main UN bodies, among them the General Assembly, ECOSOC and the
The Council welcomed the work of the Latvian
President and Irish Foreign Minister as two of the UN Secretary
General's Special Envoys for preparation of the Summit and agreed
that the Presidency should conduct intensive consultations in
New York and capitals ahead of the Summit and carry out further
outreach in third country capitals as necessary. The Council agreed
that Presidency should prepare a written statement, drawing on
the June 2005 European Council Conclusions, the Commission Communication,
and EU statements and position papers, for circulation at the
EUROPEAN UNION PRIORITIES FOR THE 60th
SESSION OF THE UNITED NATIONS GENERAL ASSEMBLY
1. The European Union is deeply committed
to the United Nations, to upholding and developing international
law, and to effective multilateralism as a central element of
its external action. This commitment was strongly reaffirmed by
the European Council in its conclusions of 16-17 June. During
the course of the 60th General Assembly of the United Nations,
the European Union will give the highest priority to engaging
with its UN partners on implementation of the agreements reached
at the September Millennium Review Summit. It will also engage
with UN partners on other key issues such as co-operation in crisis
management, refugees/displaced persons, negotiations of the next
UN Budget and the Capital Master Plan.
2005 HIGH LEVEL
2. The 60th Session of the United Nations
General Assembly has special significance this year in view of
the meeting of Heads of State and Government on 14-16 September
2005 for the High-Level Plenary Event of the General Assembly
in New York. Five years after the 2000 UN Millennium Summit, the
2005 Summit will assess the implementation of the Millennium Declaration,
the Millennium Development Goals and the outcome of major UN summits
and conferences in the economic, social and related fields. The
Summit will also adapt the UN to new realities and define specific
tasks in this respect.
3. The European Union stresses that
the Secretary General's report "In Larger Freedom" is
a good basis for the negotiation of an outcome document for the
Summit in September and considers it crucial to agree on a package
of development, human rights, security and UN institutional reforms.
The result should be a strengthened and more effective United
Nations, better able to address the interconnected and multidimensional
threats and challenges to international peace, security and development.
The EU will strengthen its efforts in a common endeavour to work
for an ambitious and balanced outcome at the Summit and is committed
to working constructively with UN partners during the 60th General
Assembly and elsewhere to implement the agreements made at the
4. The EU stresses the high importance of development
issues in the 60th UNGA. The EU's recent commitment to new levels
of ODA, notably to reach a collective 0.56% ODA/GNI by 2010 and
0.7% by 2015 which will result in an additional annual 20 billion
euros ODA by 2010, underlines the priority the EU attaches to
financing for development. The EU will strive for an ambitious
and concrete programme of action, involving more and better financing
for development, including through innovative mechanisms; commitments
and action, at national level, by developing countries to create
and reinforce the necessary governance structures and environment
for economic growth; and adopting ambitious national development
strategies and policies, as well as paying special attention to
the particular needs of Africa. In this regard, the EU recalls
its collective commitment to allocate at least 50% of the agreed
increase in ODA resources to Africa. UNGA60 should signal clearly
the need for longer term, more radical reform of the UN development
5. The EU underlines the importance of taking
into account the social dimension of globalisation in various
policies and in international co-operation. The EU will promote
employment and decent work for all.
6. The EU regards the creation of the Peacebuilding
Commission, conflict prevention, the fight against terrorism,
the adoption of general principles concerning the use of force,
disarmament, the non-proliferation of weapons of mass destruction
and their means of delivery and the strengthening of the United
Nations peacekeeping capabilities as its priorities in the preparation
of the Summit as far as the issue of peace and security is concerned.
7. The EU welcomes and strongly supports
the establishment of a Peacebuilding Commission, to assist countries
in making the transition from the end of armed conflict to the
resumption of sustainable development activities and to better
co-ordinate all bilateral and multilateral actors. The EU will
work for an effective Peacebuilding Commission, which can prevent
8. Regarding the fight against terrorism, the
EU welcomes the proposal for a clear statement that violence targeted
against civilians and non-combatants is not justified under any
circumstances. It urges all states to unite behind the clear political
declaration on this proposed by the Secretary General. The EU
also supports the UN comprehensive counter-terrorism strategy
proposed by the Secretary General in Madrid, including the elaboration
of a universal definition of terrorism. The EU calls for agreement
at the 60th GA on the Co-ordinator's text of the Comprehensive
Convention on International Terrorism, and for the signature and
ratification of all 13 existing UN counter-terrorism conventions.
9. The EU also welcomes the prominent place
given to human rights, the rule of law and democracy in the reform
proposals. In this connection, the EU reaffirms the importance
of the responsibility to protect. It supports the Secretary-General's
proposals to reinforce the role and resources of the High Commissioner
for Human Rights and to establish a Human Rights Council, with
a robust mandate, in order to truly elevate the Commission on
Human Rights. The EU would favour establishing the Human Rights
Council as a main free-standing charter body of the UN, linked
to the GA, meeting throughout the year and reflecting, at the
institutional level, the universality of human rights and their
central position in the UN system, as well as the concern to place
human rights on the same footing as issues of development, peace
and security. Pending a decision the General Assembly might take
on the establishment of such a body, the Human Rights Council
should be established as a subsidiary body of the General Assembly,
thus creating a link with a universal body. The EU supports the
strengthening of gender equality in all UN activities.
10. The EU supports the development of co-operation
between the United Nations and the regional organisations as an
effective way to maximise efficiency in addressing the numerous
challenges confronting the international community.
11. The EU recognises that management reform
and modernisation of the UN Secretariat will be key to delivery
of Summit outcomes and to enable the UN better to fulfil its mandate.
In particular, the EU calls for greater accountability, transparency,
professionalism and efficiency within the UN Secretariat and greater
authority for the UN Secretary-General to allocate and redeploy
resources within an overall budget and posts ceiling.
12. The EU also supports further structural
reform of the UN development, humanitarian and environment systems
and policies to improve system-wide coherence and effectiveness
and promote sustainable development, and looks forward to working
with all parties on specific proposals to strengthen environmental
governance from the 60th UNGA. In this regard, the EU supports
the launching of a process to establish a UN agency for the environment,
based on UNEP, with a revised and strengthened mandate, supported
by stable, adequate and predictable financial contributions and
operating on an equal footing with other UN specialised agencies.
13. In the area of institutional reforms, the
EU recognises the need to reform the main UN bodies, among them
the General Assembly, ECOSOC and the Security Council, with a
view to enhancing the representativeness, transparency and efficiency
of the system.
14. The EU supports continued reform and revitalisation
of the GA as a key element of the wider UN reform agenda. We will
therefore support further rationalisation in the work of the GA
Committees following the Summit. We will engage fully on areas
that represent clear priorities in the UN agenda, including those
where Summit follow-up action is needed. But on lower priorities,
or on issues where leaders have already reached substantive Summit
decisions, we are determined that in the wake of the Summit, the
GA should not simply return to business as usual.
15. The EU supports a reform of the modus
operandi of ECOSOC and its subsidiary bodies to ensure that
ECOSOC carries out its mandate more effectively. ECOSOC must better
be able to promote global dialogue and partnership in the economic,
social, environmental, and humanitarian fields. It must equally
better promote coherent and co-ordinated approaches of the UN-system
and has to play an important role in post-conflict situations.
16. The EU will support improvements in humanitarian
response commitments to predictable funding, predictable capacity
and standby arrangements, as well as safe and unimpeded access
to vulnerable populations. The EU will stress the need to observe
humanitarian principles and International Humanitarian Law.
UN REGULAR BUDGET
17. The EU will seek to adopt a budget that
will strengthen the UN in support of implementation of Millennium
Declaration proposals and agreements reached at the 2005 Summit.
The EU is committed to ensuring the availability of resources
for the UN, while adhering to our long-standing principle of budgetary
discipline to ensure effective management of resources.
18. Given the urgency and the necessity of the
renovation of the UN HQ in New York, the EU attaches great importance
to the agreement of a comprehensive and coherent Capital Master
Plan. The EU considers that decisions on this issue should be
Statement of the European Union accompanying
the speech of The Rt Hon Jack Straw MP, Foreign Secretary of the
United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland to the General
Debate of the 60th Session of the General Assembly
17 September 2005: United Nations, New York
In his speech, the Foreign Secretary will refer
to progress made at the World Summit, but will address his comments
particularly to the Summit's recognition of the responsibility
to protect and need for further engagement between the Middle
East and the rest of the world
The Acceding Countries Bulgaria and Romania,
the Candidate Countries Turkey and Croatia*, the Countries of
the Stabilisation and Association Process and potential candidates
Bosnia and Herzegovina, the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia,
Serbia and Montenegro, as well as Ukraine and the Republic of
Moldova align themselves with this statement.
* Croatia continues to be part of the Stabilisation
and Association Process.
1. At the Summit, which ended yesterday,
world leaders took up the challenge of making the UN more efficient,
effective and relevant. The European Union (EU) believes that
the Summit Outcome is a clear milestone along the road of reform.
It is a clear mandate for change, addressing challenges that the
world has long facedand others that the world is facing
for the first time.
2. The EU knows that a stronger and more
effective United Nations is the only way to secure global stability
and prosperity. Events in the five years since the Millennium
Summit have strengthened this conviction. Without a shared effort
to accelerate progress towards the Millennium Development Goals,
rich and poor countries alike face a future of increased instability.
Failure in UN-led efforts to tackle the threats of terrorism and
proliferation would endanger the prosperity of the developing
world as much as the developed. The United Nations should not
be a forum for countries to push individual agendas, but one in
which the international community can agree common action for
the benefit of all the world's citizens.
3. The EU's support for the United Nations
does not make us blind to its faults. It makes us more determined
to build a United Nations that can act quickly and effectively.
The EU's deep commitment to the ideals of the United Nations and
to the vital work it carries out around the world can be seen
as well as heard. EU member states pay about half of all voluntary
donations to humanitarian and development activities as well as
nearly 40% of the cost of the UN's regular budget and UN peacekeeping
4. The EU welcomes the Outcome as a whole,
but is particularly pleased with progress in a number of areas:
the Summit's headline on the need for more and better aid, and
for development efforts to focus on meeting the Millennium Development
Goals and promoting sustainable development; the condemnation
of terrorism; the detailed mandate for the establishment of the
Peacebuilding Commission; the doubling of resources for OHCHR
and the decision to create the Human Rights Council; the unprecedented
recognition of the responsibility to protect; and crucial first
steps towards a reformed UN Secretariat.
5. Like the Secretary-General, the EU had
hoped for greater progress in some areas: a more substantial terms
of reference for the new Human Rights Council; agreement to give
the Secretary-General more flexibility and authority as Chief
Administrative Officer of his Secretariat, in return for greater
accountability; and backing for further measures on non-proliferation
6. Nevertheless, the EU believes that where
action has been agreed, it is vital that the international community
now takes it. Where the urgent need to discuss and implement has
been recognised, the international community must now heed it.
Words and promises must be made reality.
7. The need for such action is most vividly
illustrated by the agenda on development. The Summit provided
the foundation for strengthening the global partnership between
developed and developing countries set out at Monterrey. Earlier
this year, the EU set a timetable to reach new levels of Official
Development Assistance. By 2010, this assistance will account
for 0.56% of the EU's collective Gross National Incomeresulting
in an annual additional 20 billion Euros. By 2015 this proportion
will reach 0.7%. And EU member states recently agreed to support
the G8 agreement to write off debt. In addition, the Summit recognised
the value of developing innovative sources of financing.
8. Sub-Saharan Africa is not on target to
reach many of the goals for over 100 years and on some goalsincluding
hunger and sanitationthe situation is actually going backwards.
At least 50% of the agreed increase in EU aid resources, therefore,
will go to Africa; in plain terms this means a doubling of EU
aid to Africa over the next five years.
9. More aid on its own will not be enough.
The real engines for making poverty history will be developing
countries themselves. The EU believes that, as important as increasing
aid, is making sure that it is used better and more effectively,
in order to drive up standards of governance and help the poorest
people for whom it is intended. This means developing countries
adopting ambitious national development strategies, creating and
reinforcing good governance structures, fostering a positive environment
for economic growth and helping the private sector flourish. We
welcome the strong and comprehensive commitments made in this
regard by the African countries through the African Union, and
its NEPAD initiative, and reflected in the Summit Outcome.
10. Some would say that we did not make
enough progress on trade at the Summit. The EU believes that,
through the Doha Round, the international community must deliver
real gains for poor countries by reducing market barriers, abolishing
export subsidies and significantly reducing trade-distorting domestic
support, so that these countries can trade their way to higher
growth and more jobs.
11. The international community of today
owes it to future generations to ensure that development, in rich
and poor countries alike, is sustainable in economic, social and
environmental terms. The EU welcomes the Summit's recognition
of the need to meet the commitments and obligations undertaken
in the UNFCCC, and remains fully convinced that the UNFCCC is
the appropriate forum for negotiating future action on climate
change. The EU is firmly committed to urgent global action to
mitigate climate changea serious, long-term challenge for
every part of the world.
12. The EU is taking a leading role across
the development agenda. But this agenda cannot be advanced in
isolation. Individual countries can only develop in a secure global
environment. Just as development is not a preoccupation only for
the developing world, so security is not only in the interests
of the developed world. We have seen time and time again how conflict
and instability in developing countries have destroyed fragile
social and economic progress. The threats of terrorism and proliferation
endanger the stable global environment within which trade flourishes
and economies grow. Security is of direct relevance to the whole
13. Progress was made at the Summit. The
agreement to establish a Peacebuilding Commission will make a
major contribution to a more coherent and better co-ordinated
international response to the needs of countries emerging from
conflict. It will help prevent conflicts from restarting and encourage
countries to make the transition from violent instability to peaceful,
sustained development. The EU is committed to seeing the Commission
established by the end of the year.
14. Increasingly, conflict and violence
takes place beyond the boundaries of conventional war. In July,
the EU again suffered the horror of a major terrorist atrocity.
This time, the target was London. But no continent is safe from
the threat of terror. International terrorism requires an international
response; we pay the price for each others' vulnerabilities.
15. The United Nations has already done
much to set international standards against terrorism and to encourage
and help States to meet them. The EU welcomes the Summit Outcome's
clear condemnation of terrorism and the undertaking to conclude
a comprehensive convention on international terrorism during the
60th session of the General Assembly. But the EU believes we must
go further and affirm that the targeting and deliberate killing
of civilians and non-combatants cannot be justified or legitimised
by any cause or grievance.
16. Despite the Summit's failure to reach
agreement on measures for non-proliferation and disarmament, work
to make progress on these issues must go on. In his speech to
the NPT Review conference, the Secretary General gave stark warning
of the catastrophic global impact of any such use. We should heed
his words. At the conference the international community made
clear its continued commitment to the non-proliferation regime
and to disarmament.
17. The Secretary General has said that
we will achieve neither development nor security without respect
for human rights. Over fifty years the UN has had remarkable success.
It has built a framework of international human rights law that
sets clear standards by which all states are judged. As has long
been recognised, however, when those standards are breached, we
have not always done enough. The EU welcomes the unprecedented
recognition of the international community's responsibility to
protect populations from genocide, war crimes, ethnic cleansing
or crimes against humanity.
18. The EU also welcomes the Summit's commitment
to reinforcing the role and doubling the resources of the Office
of the High Commissioner on Human Rights. Together with the decision
to establish a Human Rights Council, the Summit has thus taken
two other notable steps towards creating more effective human
rights machinery at the UN. Protection and promotion of human
rights has been reinforced as the third pillar of the UN's work,
alongside development and peace and security. The EU is fully
committed to work with the President of the GA and all interested
delegations to complete, as soon as possible during the 60th session
of the GA, negotiations on the mandate, modalities, functions,
size, composition, membership, working methods and procedures
of the new Council.
19. In his report "In Larger Freedom",
the Secretary-General set member states a challenge. He called
on all member states to reshape the United Nations "in ways
not previously imagined, and with a boldness and speed not previously
shown". The EU welcomes endorsement at the Summit of the
need to reform the main UN bodies, among them the General Assembly,
ECOSOC and the Security Council, with a view to enhancing the
representativeness, transparency and efficiency of the system.
The EU will play its part in ongoing efforts to improve the effectiveness
of the General Assembly and ECOSOC. In this regard, the EU welcomes
the Outcome document's provisions on ECOSOC, reinforcing the role
of the Council as the principal body of UN for co-ordination,
policy review and policy dialogue on issues related to development
and, in particular, on the implementation of the MDGs.
20. More widely, the EU welcomes the decisions
on management reform taken at the Summit and will pursue their
implementation vigorously in this session of the General Assembly.
There needs to be a modernised approach to management in the UN
that is based on strengthened accountability, greater transparency
and more efficient working practices. It is vital that the UN's
resources are channelled to the areas of greatest need and impact,
and in this respect the EU welcomes the Summit decision on the
review of mandates. The EU further believes that the Secretary-General
needs the authority and flexibility to carry out his managerial
responsibility and to re-deploy posts and resources from lower
to higher priority areas.
21. At an operational level, the EU is determined
to see, through improvements to the predictability of humanitarian
funding and capacity and to standby arrangements. The current
reforms which will bring the various UN agencies and programmes
working in one country together under a single leader and common
management are good ones. We look forward to the results of the
Secretary-General's further work on strengthening the management
and co-ordination of operational activities.
22. The EU is committed to ensuring the
availability of adequate resources for the UN, while adhering
to our long-standing principle of budgetary discipline. We will
therefore seek to adopt an appropriate budget for 2006-07 that
will enable the UN to deliver meaningful results in all its activities,
including new mandates agreed by the Summit. Given the need for
urgent renovation work to make the UN Headquarters in New York
safe, the EU believes that agreement on a comprehensive and coherent
Capital Master Plan should be taken during the current session.
PARTNERSHIPS FOR POVERTY REDUCTION: RETHINKING
Foreword by the Rt Hon Hilary Benn MP,
Secretary of State for International Development
Five years ago, the world agreed an ambitious
plan for development in the 21st centurythe Millennium
Development Goals. It called for a new sort of relationship between
donors and developing country partners based on a shared commitment
to common goals, and to joint action to achieve them.
There is, rightly, much debate about how this
shared commitment should work in practice. President Mkapa of
Tanzania has said: "Development cannot be imposed. It can
only be facilitated. It requires ownership, participation and
empowerment, not harangues and dictates".
I agree, but our thinking and practice on conditionality
has not kept pace with this new approach. That's why the UK Government
has reviewed its policy; and is calling on the World Bank, the
International Monetary Fund and other donors to do the same.
This paper shows how donors can support policy
leadership by developing countries without imposing our own views.
It also sets out our clear responsibility to parliament and people
to ensure that aid is not used corruptly and is well spent for
the purpose for which it was intended. The right kind of partnership
must have reducing poverty at its heart, alongside upholding human
rights and strong financial management. The paper also highlights
the importance of good economic and social policies, and of strong
commitment to transparency, accountability and good governance.
In this new approach, agreed benchmarks for
measuring progress on the reduction of poverty, rather than policy
conditions set by donors, will be the basis for both partners
to be accountable to their citizens. The paper makes firm commitments
to prevent the misuse of funds through corruption or weak financial
management. It is also clear about the circumstances in which
accountability to taxpayers will require the UK to consider interrupting
or reducing agreed aid. It expresses our commitment to make aid
more predictable and more transparent, and explores how donors
can work together more effectively,
The "Make Poverty History" campaign
is calling on donors to provide "more and better aid"
to help developing countries achieve the Millennium Development
Goals. I see the principles in this paper as central to both objectives.
By supporting policy leadership in developing countries, donors
will make their aid more effective. And by ensuring that aid is
effectively used for reducing poverty, donors will give their
own countries confidence that more aid will be worthwhile.
1.1 Our understanding of what makes aid
effective is changing. Evidence and experience have challenged
traditional approaches to "conditionality" (where donors
make their aid conditional on the pursuit of particular policies
in the partner country). This paper sets out a significantly new
approach to building a successful partnership for poverty reduction,
focussing on poverty outcomes rather than specific policy conditions.
1.2 Good policy matters for development.
Macroeconomic stability, growth, good governance and social inclusion
are all important for long term poverty reduction. We believe
that developing countries must be able to determine their own
policies for meeting the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).
We are committed to supporting greater country ownership, especially
of the policy process, and better mutual accountability.
1.3 The UK Government believes that an effective
aid partnership should be based on a shared commitment to three
(a) reducing poverty and achieving the Millennium
(b) respecting human rights and other international
(c) strengthening financial management and accountability,
and reducing the risk of funds being misused through weak administration
Developing country governments and donors should
agree on benchmarks to assess progress in these areas. These benchmarks
should where possible be drawn from national poverty reduction
plans. As in any relationship, an aid partnership should be based
on open dialogue, with rights and responsibilities on both sides.
Each partner should take account of the views and concerns of
1.4 In deciding how to allocate aid between
countries, the UK will take account of the extent of poverty in
a country, and of its ability to use aid effectively (as evidenced
by the expected impact of its poverty reduction programme and
its commitment to sound financial management and accountability
standards). Even where the shared commitment needed for a good
partnership is not in place, or is under threat (for example in
some fragile states), donors can still contribute effectively
to reducing poverty. In countries where the government is weak
or uninterested in development, the UK will seek to provide aid
in ways which build the government's commitment and strengthen
its capacity. Where appropriate, the UK will also work with civil
society and the private sector.
1.5 Within a partnership, both donors and
developing country governments need to agree the purpose for which
aid is given. This ensures that both parties have a shared understanding
of how aid will contribute to reducing poverty, and can be held
publicly accountable for delivering on their commitments.
1.6 In its aid relationships, the UK will
be guided by five principles:
Developing country ownership
DFID will support nationally owned poverty reduction
plans that take account of the views and concerns of poor people.
We will not make our aid conditional on specific policy decisions
by partner governments, or attempt to impose policy choices on
them (including on sensitive economic areas such as privatisation
and trade liberalisation). Instead we will agree with partners
on the purpose for which aid is being given, and will agree benchmarks
to assess progress. We will draw these from countries' own plans,
where available, and these benchmarks will relate to the impact
and outcome of countries' overall programmes in reducing poverty,
rather than to specific policies.
Participatory and evidence-based policy-making
Both donor and developing countries should be
accountable, to their citizens and to the wider global community,
for showing how aid is improving the quality of life for poor
people. The UK supports participation and the use of evidence
in policy-making, and will press for the use of Poverty and Social
Impact Analysis (PSIA). We will also encourage national debateincluding
in parliamentson the relative impact of different policy
Developing countries can use aid most effectively
if they can rely on it as part of their long-term budget plans.
The UK will seek to make aid more predictable by being clear in
advance about how much aid will be given and the basis on which
funds will be reduced or stopped. We will talk to partner countries
before any interruption of aid, and will assess the impact that
reducing or interrupting aid would have on the poor.
The UK will work with other donors to improve
aid harmonisation and limit the overall burden of conditionality.
In particular, we will encourage the World Bank and the IMF to
use conditionality in accordance with the principles in this paper;
and will continue to press them to monitor and streamline their
combined terms and conditions. DFID will use analysis from the
IMF and World Bank in making its assessment of progress towards
poverty reduction. However, an IMF or World Bank programme going
"off track" will not automatically lead DFID to suspend
Transparency and accountability
Both partnersdonors and developing country
governmentsshould be committed to transparency, and should
make public their decisions and the evidence on which they are
based. The UK aims to increase transparency around the process
of decision-making on conditions, the conditions themselves, and
the process for deciding to reduce or interrupt aid. The UK will
use conditionality to ensure that aid is not used corruptly or
for purposes other than those intended. In giving aid we will
also take account of countries' commitment to universal human
rights standards and other international obligations.
1.7 The circumstances in which the UK will consider
reducing or interrupting aid are, therefore, if: (a) countries
move significantly away from agreed poverty reduction objectives
or outcomes or the agreed objectives of a particular aid commitment
(eg through an unjustifiable rise in military spending, or a substantial
deviation from the agreed poverty reduction programme); or (b)
countries are in significant violation of human rights or other
international obligations; or (c) there is a significant breakdown
in partner government financial management and accountability,
leading to the risk of funds being misused through weak administration
2.1 This paper sets out the UK Government's
position on effective aid partnerships. It outlines the principles
we will apply in building partnerships. It explores the relationship
donors should have with the policy-making process in developing
countries. It sets out the circumstances in which we will consider
modifying or withdrawing existing aid commitments. It signals
a significant change in our thinking and practice.
2.2 In recent years the UK has been moving
away from traditional approaches to conditionality. We believe
that it is inappropriate and has proven to be ineffective for
donors to impose policies on developing countries. Instead, we
believe that successful aid relationships must be based on mutual
commitment and dialogue, transparency and accountability.
2.3 Good policy matters for development.
Macroeconomic stability and growth are essential for lasting poverty
reduction. But the policies needed for poverty reduction and long
term development are much broader and encompass the social, cultural,
economic, civil and political rights of all men, women and children.
They also include governance issues, environmental concerns and
social exclusion. We will support developing countries to decide
for themselves what policies to include in their poverty reduction
plans. We will use our aid to back these plans, wherever possible.
2.4 The paper has been produced jointly
by the Department for International Development, HM Treasury and
the Foreign and Commonwealth Office. It is based on a broad range
of international experience and evidence.
2.5 The paper is in four sections:
What do we mean by conditionality?
What impact has conditionality had?
The UK government's approach to aid
3. WHAT DO
3.1 The UK applies terms and conditions
through the programmes it has directly with a country (so-called
bilateral programmes) and those it supports as one of many donors
such as through membership of the World Bank or European Union
3.2 Aid agreements typically set out terms
and conditions to be met by the parties. Agreements often allow
donors to stop funding if there is a significant breakdown in
the performance of public financial management and accountability.
This is sometimes known as "fiduciary conditionality".
They can also allow donors to stop funding if a country veers
significantly from its poverty reduction objectives or international
obligations. There is general agreement that conditionality in
these areas is important, though there is debate about the particular
circumstances in which it is appropriate, given the potentially
adverse consequences on poor people of any reduction or interruption
3.3 There is more disagreement around the
use of "policy conditionality", where donors agree to
provide aid on condition that the country pursues particular policies.
Aid has often been conditional on economic, environmental or social
policies, such as macroeconomic stabilisation or increased investment
in health or education. Sometimes it has been conditional on specific
policies such as privatisation, which have been controversial
in the partner country. If the country failed to implement agreed
commitments then donors have reduced or even stopped their support.
3.4 From the. mid-1990s there has been a
significant evolution in aid relationships, which has implications
for the appropriate role of conditionality. First, poverty reduction
has become the primary objective of development assistance, and
the Millennium Development Goals have provided a new framework
3.5 Second, while sound macroeconomic policies
are essential for growth and poverty reduction, there is also
greater understanding of the importance of good governance in
reducing poverty and conflict, and of the role of democratic participation
in developing national plans to reduce poverty. For example, excessive
military spending and corruption have an impact on the delivery
of public services and the investment environment.
3.6 In response, donors have broadened the
focus of aid conditions from macroeconomic policies to include
also conditions linked to political and institutional change,
as well as social and environmental policy. Such conditions have
included commitments by the partner country to tackle corruption
or establish more transparent and inclusive systems of government.
Donors have also been readier to include conditions about the
process of policy-making, for example making aid conditional on
a country's commitment to consult poor people in preparing a national
poverty reduction strategy. These so called "process conditions"
cover the process of policy making without specifying the content
of the policy that should result.
4. WHAT IMPACT
4.1 Evidence on the impact of policy conditionality
in bringing about policy change is at best mixed.
Have conditions been met?
4.2 In many cases, either donors or developing
countries have not kept to the conditions that they signed up
to. Developing countries sometimes agreed conditions in areas
of reform even though they were unconvinced of the case for change.
Unsurprisingly, countries have largely ignored conditions set
in such circumstances, or the reforms pursued have not been sustained.
Put simply, conditionality which attempts to "buy" reform
from an unwilling partner has rarely worked.
4.3 Donors, too, have sometimes failed to
fulfil their part of the bargain. Aid has been withdrawn in response
to domestic financial pressures in donor countries or external
political events, with limited notice or consultation. There are
also frequent examples of donors continuing to provide assistance
even when countries have not kept to their agreement.
Have conditions reduced poverty?
4.4 Concerns have been raised that some
conditionality has promoted reforms that have made poor people
worse off. In the past, poverty reduction was not always given
priority in development assistance programmes. For example, structural
adjustment reforms during the debt crisis of the 1980s sometimes
failed to take account of the social impact, especially on poor
4.5 The spotlight has also fallen on privatisation
and trade reforms. There is particular concern that in the 1980s
and 1990s donors pushed for the introduction of reforms, regardless
of whether these were in countries' best interests. This led to
growing discomfort that developing country governments were becoming
more accountable to donors than to their own people, and that
this distorted national priorities in the process.
4.6 Evidence on the social impact of privatisation
policies in the area of public services, particularly in the absence
of effective competition and regulation, has been a subject of
much debate. In some cases, developing country governments have
limited capacity to regulate the private sector effectively. There
are examples where privatisation has not benefited poor people,
and therefore the use of conditionality in such cases has been
4.7 On trade reform, the evidence is also
mixed. Overall, trade reforms have been important in encouraging
economic growth in poor countries and hence poverty reduction.
But there are concerns, for example, that aid conditions have
constrained poor countries from incorporating some of the lessons
of successful East Asian economies that relied on appropriately
sequenced trade measures during early stages of development, and
that conditions requiring unilateral trade liberalisation affect
the ability of poor countries to negotiate effectively in multilateral
discussions. In some cases poor people have suffered during trade
liberalisation, where conditionality has been excessively restrictive,
or where insufficient attention was paid to the capacity of the
economy to take advantage of the opportunities of more open trade,
or to factors that help poor people to benefit from trade, such
as their ability to access health and education, financial services,
4.8 There has been insufficient analysis
of the impact of different reforms on poor people. In the last
few years, donors have recognised this gap and started supporting
"poverty and social impact analysis" (PSIA) of major
policy changes, This analysis anticipates and assesses the intended
and unintended consequences of policy changes for the welfare
of poor men and women and vulnerable groups, such as ethnic minorities,
disabled people, older people and children. It covers both income
and non-income measures of welfare. So far over a hundred assessments
have been completed or are underway. But PSIA needs to be implemented
much more consistently, and be more widely owned within developing
countries. The UK is working with partners to encourage a country
led approach, involving all stakeholders at each stage of selection,
design and implementation, and including social and political
analysis as well as economic analysis.
5. THE UK GOVERNMENT'S
5.1 We believe that an effective aid partnership
is based on a shared commitment to
(a) poverty reduction and the Millennium
(b) respecting human rights and other international
(c) strengthening financial management and
accountability, which reduces the risk of funds being misused
through weak administration or corruption.
Partners need to agree the basis for assessing
progress in these three areas to ensure that the partnership is
achieving these shared objectives.
Commitment to poverty reduction
5.2 The international Development Act, which
came into force in 2002, makes the elimination of poverty the
primary purpose of UK development assistance. DFID provides aid
to further sustainable development and improve the welfare of
people outside the UK.
5.3 Within a framework of partnership, both
donors and country governments need to agree the purpose for which
aid is given. This ensures that both parties have a shared understanding
of how aid will contribute to poverty reduction, and can be held
publicly accountable for delivering on their commitments.
5.4 Poverty reduction programmes produced
by developing country governments should specify benchmarks of
progress to clarify for all stakeholders the results intended
from the programme, and to prompt changes in the programme if
it is not leading to the expected results. We are increasingly
interested in assessing whether the programme is producing the
desired poverty outcomes, rather than whether the government is
implementing a particular policy measure.
Commitment to human rights and other international
5.5 The UK government believes that the
realisation of all human rights underpins sustainable development.
States have a shared responsibility to ensure that human rights
are upheld and that violations do not take place, and that governments
respect their international obligations. Donors have a particular
responsibility, as part of their accountability to parliament
and the public, to ensure that their development assistance is
not used in ways that abuse human rights. The human rights situation
should be assessed on the basis of the partner country's own international
human rights obligations. We will explore ways of working with
partner governments and civil society to incorporate human rights-based
benchmarks into poverty reduction plans and into frameworks for
determining progress on poverty reduction. We will also work to
ensure that our own policies, alongside those of other donors,
do not impede the ability of recipient governments to fulfil their
human rights obligations.
5.6 We will also consider a country's position
in relation to other international obligations, eg on peace and
Commitment to strengthening financial management
5.7 We believe that improving performance
in public financial management and accountability is critical
for building the capability of states to deliver basic services
and to progress towards the Millennium Development Goals. Partner
governments, like donors, are accountable to their electorates
for the propriety of public finances.
5.8 DFID is accountable to Parliament for
how UK taxpayers' funds are used. We have a duty to ensure that
development assistance is used to promote poverty elimination.
Where aid is provided directly to partner governments through
direct budget support, we evaluate the strength of public financial
management and accountability and support governments to implement
a programme of improvement. This should address weaknesses in
the system to minimise the risk of funds being misused through
weak administration or corruption. Where necessary, additional
short-term safeguards should be considered in dialogue with partner
governments and other donors.
5.9 The implication of this approach to
aid partnerships is that the UK will consider reducing or interrupting
committed aid if:
(a) countries veer significantly away from
their agreed poverty reduction objectives or from the agreed objectives
of a particular aid commitment (eg through an unjustifiable rise
in military spending, or a substantial deviation from the agreed
poverty reduction programme); or
(b) countries are in significant violation
of human rights or other international obligations; or
(c) there is a significant breakdown in the
performance of partner government financial management and accountability
systems leading to the risk of funds being misused through weak
administration or corruption.
Any decision to reduce or interrupt aid because
countries have veered from their poverty reduction objectives
will be based on an assessment of the long term impact on poverty
of the overall programme of the government, not on failure to
implement any specific policy.
5.10 Where a partnership breaks down, the
UK will need to judge carefully whether to reduce or suspend aid.
This judgement will need to consider the impact for poor people,
and for longer-term poverty reduction efforts, of stopping or
continuing aid. The judgement should also take into account any
special circumstances, such as evidence that the breach will be
reversed, or that the government is making efforts to address
the problem in question. In all cases the UK will seek to talk
the issues through with partner governments before taking a decision.
Commitment to key principles
5.11 In its aid relationships, the UK will
be guided by five principles:
developing country ownership;
participatory and evidence-based
transparency and accountability.
5.12 In some countries this already represents
UK practice; in others progress needs to be made. We shall continue
to work to make sure that the approach is applied universally.
Developing country ownership
5.13 The UK government accepts the evidence
that conditionality cannot "buy" policy change which
countries do not want. Reforms will not be implementedor
will not be sustainableif a partner country is acting purely
in order to qualify for financial support and does not consider
that the reforms are in its own interest. The UK will not make
our aid conditional on specific policy decisions by partner governments
or attempt to impose policy choices on them (including in sensitive
economic areas such as privatisation or trade liberalisation).
Instead we will agree with partners how aid will contribute to
poverty reduction in a manner that can be sustained over the long
term, and agree benchmarks to show what progress is being made.
These benchmarks should focus on the impact of the government's
overall programme, rather than on specific policies.
5.14 Wherever possible we will base our
assessment of partner country programmes on evidence of actual
impact, since we recognise that policies have different effects
in different institutional and social environments. We also recognise
that in some cases where the lag between policy action and impact
on poverty is long, or the likely impact is well established through
the evidence in other similar country situations, our assessment
may need to precede the availability of data on impact. In these
cases, we will base our assessment on transparent dialogue with
the partner country government and relevant stakeholders.
|BOX 1: VIETNAM CASE STUDY|
The government drew up a comprehensive strategy in May 2002 that sought to reduce poverty and encourage growth. This reform package was agreed by the government following a year-long consultation process that canvassed a broad range of views, including those of local officials.
Donor organisations offered their technical support to this process and were consulted on its progress. The end result was a strategy that was widely supported by the international community, but which was developed entirely by the Vietnamese government.
The basis of the commitments made by to government in order to qualify for Poverty Reduction Budget Support (PRBS) now linked to this strategy.
5.15 We will support broad-based country ownership of
poverty reduction plans, including through processes that take
account of the views and concerns of poor people. For us, "country
ownership" requires that the country has leadership over
its development policies. It requires partner governments in consultation
with citizens to define a poverty reduction programme, which donors
can support (see Box 1). We do not only equate country ownership
with government ownership. We believe that civil society, including
poor people, should also-have a voice and stake in their development,
and that governments should be accountable to them.
5.16 The UK aims to support country-led development and
maximum country ownership of development, whilst also maintaining
accountability to the UK parliament and public, and ensuring that
aid is used effectively. We believe donors have a useful and legitimate
role as catalysts for change, and should continue to participate
in policy dialogue based on well-researched policy options. Policy
matters in poverty reductionboth policy content and the
policy process. If we are concerned that policy choices included
in a poverty reduction strategy (PRS), or other national strategy,
will not lead to poverty reduction, or might even exacerbate poverty,
we will discuss these differences of opinion with our partner.
5.17 Questions remain about the amount of genuine autonomy
enjoyed by countries, given the greater financial power and technical
capacity of donors in some aid dependent countries. Openness and
transparency in agreeing the terms on which aid is provided and
systems of mutual accountability can help to offset this power
5.18 Where a partner government requests technical co-operation
(TC) (in the form of specialist personnel, training or research
advice), this must not undermine country ownership. Partner governments
will always be responsible for deciding the terms of reference
for such assistance. Both donors and partner governments have
responsibility for ensuring open and transparent procurement processes
for the selection of consultants.
Participatory and evidence-based policy making
5.19 Both donor and developing countries should be accountable,
to their citizens and the wider global community, for showing
how aid is supporting sound policies, which improve the quality
of life for poor people.
5.20 To improve the quality and effectiveness of policy-making
the UK will encourage participation by poor people and by parliaments
in decision-making and policy-making. Civil society can also play
an important role, as can the media.
5.21 It is critical that there is a full and open national
debate in a countryincluding in Parliaments and National
Assemblieson the relative impact of different policy options,
before the government takes final decisions on the way ahead.
This debate can be well informed by poverty and social impact
analysis (PSIA), and is especially important if partner country
governments are considering the adoption of policies which may
have a negative impact, or do not have broad consensual support
in the country. As part of the partnership commitment to poverty
reduction, all policy choices in the PRS or other national strategy
should be well researched and debated.
5.22 The World Bank and IMF have agreed to increase the
use of PSIAs for reforms which are likely to have significant
impacts on different groups and on the distribution of resources
between different groups. Progress is being made, but considerably
more needs to be done to increase the number and to improve the
quality of PSIA, to promote its ownership by country governments,
and to ensure that the results of the PSIA are used effectively
in the policy process.
Predictabilityaid partnerships should enable predictable
5.23 The UK is very concerned that aid to developing
countries is unstable. Countries cannot properly plan their public
policies if they do not know with any certainty how much external
finance they will receive. A major reason why aid has been so
unpredictable is that donors do not always make clear the basis
on which they will cut or stop aid flows. And where they do have
rules, they do not always consistently apply them.
5.24 The UK proposal for an International Finance Facility
(IFF) will also help to improve the predictability of aid flows.
Donors would make legally binding commitments over the medium
to long term to allow increased levels of aid to be disbursed
in the years to 2015. This would allow multi-year funding to be
agreed for recipient countries, and could therefore enable them
to invest more efficiently.
5.25 Where it is necessary to reduce or interrupt aid,
we will make the decision based on criteria and processes agreed
with our partner country in advance. The process will allow for
a substantial period of assessment and discussion between the
developing country government and donor agencies. Any planned
disbursements will continue during the period of dialogue. Dialogue
is particularly important when several donors have conditions
in the same areas and there is a risk of countries losing a substantial
amount of aid at short notice by failure to adhere to certain
5.26 We recognise that changing planned aid disbursements
within a financial year can severely disrupt the recipient's budgetary
process. We will only reduce aid within a country's financial
year in exceptional circumstances.
|BOX 3: ETHIOPIA CASE STUDY|
The UK and Ethiopian governments have drawn up a 10-year agreement that aims to link action on reducing poverty with progress on key issues such as justice, human rights and enhancing democracy. The initiative seeks to build a stronger partnership between the two governments by setting out their mutual commitments and expectations.
As part of the arrangement, there will be regular dialogue between the two sides, making the future actions of each government easier to predict. As a result, the Ethiopian government should be able more accurately to predict future aid, and the UK should have more confidence in the outcome of aid, to the ultimate benefit of the poor.
Harmonisationdonors must work together more effectively
5.27 The UK strongly supports efforts to improve donor
coordination and harmonisation. These efforts are leading to some
rethinking of how donors, collectively, use conditionality and
reduce the overall number and intrusiveness of conditions. The
International Monetary Fund (IMF) has already moved significantly
in this direction, through their "streamlining conditionality"
initiative. This has clearly distinguished between the conditions
the IMF sets and those set by the World Bank. The IMF has made
good progress in limiting its conditions to areas that have a
major impact on a country's macroeconomic situation.
5.28 The World Bank has also moved to reduce its conditionality,
and this now needs to be applied more systematically. The World
Bank is currently reviewing its approach to conditionality and
we are contributing to the debate (see Box 4). We will continue
to press both the World Bank and IMF to monitor the combined burden
and impact of their conditionality and to use conditionality in
accordance with the principles set out in this paper.
BOX 4: WORLD BANK REVIEW OF CONDITIONALITY
At the 2004 World Bank/IMF Annual Meetings, the World Bank agreed with the UK's suggestion that the Bank should carry out a review of its approach to conditionality, and report back at the 2005 Annual Meetings.
We have specifically asked the Bank to take a critical look at the following five issues: the scope and content of policy conditionality; the appropriate level for application of conditionality (ie overall programme or individual project); improving harmonisation and alignment behind country-owned plans for poverty reduction; improving predictability; and conditionality in fragile states.
In addition to a comprehensive policy statement on conditionality, the Bank is expected to publish operational guidelines for staff, and also to propose monitoring mechanisms to support policy implementation and strengthen accountability to stakeholders.
5.29 Unlike the IMF and World Bank, whose Articles of
Agreement require them to link lending conditions to their eventual
economic impact, and prevent them using "political conditionality",
the European Union sets its development cooperation within the
framework of its overall political relationship. Under the Cotonou
Agreement with African, Caribbean and Pacific countries, the EU
has a clear process for dialogue when concerns arise over human
rights and other political issues. Where there is a need for dialogue
over issues of this kind, the UK will wherever possible work jointly
with other donors, through the EU or other multilateral channels.
5.30 The European Commission (EC) is piloting an approach
that bases the benchmarks of its budget support on the impact
of reform on social services delivery (such as the increase in
girls attending schools) rather than the specific policy reforms
5.31 Using outcomes rather than policies as the basis
for assessing progress offers a way of maintaining accountability
for the effective use of aid whilst giving countries a freer rein
to choose their own policies. But there are potential downsides.
Developing countries are concerned that they will be penalised
for failing to achieve results for reasons outside their control,
such as a collapse in commodity prices forcing a cut in education
budgets because of a shortfall of revenues. There are other difficulties,
such as the problem of attributing changes in performance when
there are time lags in policy implementation, or where a new government
takes power. In addition, accurate and timely data may not be
available to determine whether outcomes have been achieved.
5.32 The UK will be looking to learn from the EC experience
with this approach, and to explore the scope for incorporating
outcome benchmarks as part of an approach harmonised with other
5.33 More action is also needed from bilateral donors
to limit their use of conditions. To promote respect for national
ownership, and provide a common framework around which donors
can harmonise, we will encourage all donors to draw the terms
and conditions for their aid from a collectively agreed framework
of poverty reduction benchmarks, a country's existing international
human rights commitments, and a credible programme of improvement
in public financial management.
5.34 Mozambique has recently agreed a common policy matrix
with 14 donors (see Box 5: Mozambique case study). We would like
to see coordinated approaches become the norm, not the exception.
We recognise however that not all donors and not all recipients
will wish to develop a framework of support with identical terms
and conditions. This may impose excessive restrictions on donor/recipient
relationships and potentially increase downside risks for the
recipient. It may also increase rather than reduce the potential
imbalance of power between donors and recipients.
|BOX 5: MOZAMBIQUE CASE STUDY|
Total external aid to Mozambique has averaged 12% of GDP over the past decade, and is now just below 10%, compared to an Africa average of 6% to 8%. The government has a medium term objective to reduce aid dependency by funding a larger proportion of expenditure through domestic revenues.
External aid will still be needed for the foreseeable future, however, and DFID has made a five year commitment to support Mozambique's poverty reduction efforts. Our programme, which has more than doubled in size since the late 1990's, will reach £47 million in 2004/05 and £50 million in 2005-06. This will put DFID amongst the top three donors to Mozambique.
Around a third of grant assistance is provided in the form of poverty reduction budget support (PRBS), channelled directly through the Government's own systems. DFID believes that increasing the proportion of aid channelled in this way is essential for sustainability and for the development of domestic accountability. By 2005-06, some 70% of our programme in Mozambique will be in the form of PRBS.
The Government and 14 donor partners, including DFID and the World Bank, signed a memorandum of understanding governing the provision of budget support in April 2004.
5.35 Donors, including the UK, have traditionally relied
on an IMF programme to indicate that a country's macroeconomic
policy stance and strategy are satisfactory before granting aid.
A stable macroeconomic environment is critical for establishing
a basis for growth, avoiding adverse effects on the poor and protecting
government expenditure that benefits the poor. Our primary concern
of poverty reduction places the emphasis on long-run macro-economic
stability, sustained economic growth and institution building.
The UK will form its assessment of progress in these areas by
using IMF assessments and other sources of information. It will
not necessarily require a financed IMF programme to indicate that
a stable macroeconomic environment is in place. If an IMF programme
is suspended (or "off-track"), we will decide whether
to continue or suspend assistance according to the principles
laid out in this policy paper.
5.36 In view of the IMF's competence in macroeconomic
analysis, the UK will look to the IMF to provide an assessment
of a country's macroeconomic position, independently of IMF financing.
The assessment will require regular monitoring and policy evaluation
by IMF staff, We will seek to identify, along with other donors
and partner governments, an appropriate macroeconomic standard
for assessing country performance. We will also continue to assess
whether IMF programmes allow sufficient fiscal flexibility to
accommodate priority poverty reduction expenditure while maintaining
Transparency and accountability
5.37 Both partnersdonors and developing country
governmentsshould be committed to transparency. Accountability
is enhanced when both make public their decisions and the evidence
on which they are based.
5.38 We are committed to increasing transparency around
the process of decision-making on conditions, the conditions themselves,
and the process for deciding to reduce or interrupt aid. We will
encourage greater involvement of parliaments in the oversight
of conditions prior to their agreement, and greater involvement
of line ministries, parliamentarians and civil society in the
identification of agreed benchmarks. We will also encourage other
donors, including the IFIs, to be more transparent, particularly
in relation to the process of agreeing the terms and conditions
for their aid.
5.39 The UK will make our own aid conditions more transparent,
by publishing them on DFID's website.
5.40 In deciding. how to allocate aid between countries,
DFID will take account both of the extent of poverty in a country,
and of its ability to use aid effectively ((as evidenced by the
expected impact of its poverty reduction programme and its commitment
to sound financial management and accountability standards).
5.41 In fragile states the shared commitments for a good
partnership are often not in place. The UK's focus on promoting
good partnerships does not mean that we cannot work effectively
in these countries. DFID has recently published a paper on working
in fragile states
which sets out a number of ways of contributing to poverty reduction
in these countries.
5.42 Poor political governance, such as widespread human
rights violations, can hasten a country's decline towards instability.
Instead of withdrawing from these countries, the UK is committed
to finding ways of delivering targeted, selective aid focusing
on improving governance and delivering services.
5.43 In the fragile states where we can work with the
government, we should as far as possible apply the principles
set out in this paper. Partnerships can be built around simple
planning instruments for prioritisation and sequencing of reforms.
Transitional Results Matrices are currently being piloted in some
fragile states, to help apply the poverty reduction strategy principles
of a unified, country-owned plan. They have an element of mutual
accountability by identifying actions for partner governments
as well as donors, and can provide the basis for a partnership
in the absence of a poverty reduction strategy.
5.44 In countries where the government is weak or uninterested
in development, we will closely monitor the situation to identify
opportunities for political dialogue. Wherever possible, we will
remain involved through partners other than the government, for
example supporting NGOs in the provision of services. Apart from
decisions on aid, well-targeted sanctions may also have some impact
on the pace of reform. Measures such as asset freezing and travel
bans which target those individuals most likely to be able to
influence a positive change on the ground can often help limit
any wider negative impact on the population. The UK always seeks
to ensure that sanctions are properly targeted and enforced, while
aiming to avoid unnecessary suffering to the civilian population.
6. THE WAY
6.1 The UK would like to build a new consensus across
the international community on effective aid partnerships and
accountability, drawing on the approach outlined in this paper.
There is already significant international agreement on many of
the elements. Critical to making this new approach work will be
the evolution of poverty reduction plans into processes that are
truly owned and pushed forward by developing countries. As the
recent evaluation by the IMF and World Bank demonstrates, despite
considerable progress there remain question marks about the level
of genuine autonomy that countries, especially those that depend
heavily on aid, have over their own policies.
6.2 Much of the solution rests with donors. We need to
take a back seat, giving more space to countries to draw up their
own plans for poverty reduction. To make this happen, we need
to find more effective ways to strengthen countries' policy expertise.
We need to make good our commitment to support country priorities
with our aid and to cut back on old style conditionality. We need
to improve the predictability of our aid and increase the transparency
of any conditions applied. And at a more technical level, we need
to step up support for poverty and social impact analysis (PSIA),
so that developing countries can make choices based on the full
range of evidence.
6.3 The UK is keen to work with our partners to make
this happen. We also have more to do ourselves to put our new
approach into practice, In summary, the UK Government will:
build aid partnerships where accountability is
linked to a country's own plan for reducing poverty;
promote a more equal approach in which donors
do not impose conditions but agree benchmarks with partners;
highlight the importance of good economic and
social policies, and of a strong commitment to transparency, accountability
and good governance;
promote a shared commitment to respecting human
rights by donors and recipient governments, and explore ways of
incorporating human rights benchmarks into frameworks for determining
progress on poverty reduction;
encourage greater cooperation between all organisations
providing aid, including national governments and international
act to prevent the misuse of funds through corruption
or weak financial;
continue to support partner country's efforts
to improve public financial management and accountability through
using donor and IFI assistance;
continue to support efforts by the World Bank
and the International Monetary Fund to streamline their use of
terms and conditions when granting aid, seeking further progress
from the World Bank and considering the overall impact of conditionality;
continue to seek commitment from other donor agencies
to harmonising terms and conditions of aid;
promote a much greater use of Poverty and Social
Impact Analysis, both bilaterally and in the International Financial
Institutions to improve the quality of policy reforms;
consider further how to maintain predictable and
stable aid flows. This will look at the issue of how to tackle
political concerns about the aid relationship while avoiding interruptions
to aid with very little warning;
develop further our understanding of effective
partnerships in fragile states;
publish more information (including on DFID's
website) about the conditions used in DFID's bilateral programmes;
produce operational guidelines for DFID staff,
review agreements to ensure consistency with this policy and monitor
the impact of the policy over time.
Millennium Development Goals (MDGs)
The Millennium Development Goals were derived from commitments
made in a series of United Nations conferences in the 1990s and
agreed by nearly 150 heads of states and governments at the 2000
Millennium Summit. By 2015, we aim to:
Eradicate extreme poverty and hunger.
Achieve universal primary education.
Promote gender equality and empower women.
Reduce child mortality.
Improve maternal health.
Combat HIV/AIDS, malaria and other diseases.
Ensure environmental sustainability.
Develop a global partnership for development.
Poverty and Social Impact Analysis (PSIA)
Poverty and Social Impact Analysis (PSIA) refers to the systematic
analysis of the impact of policy reforms on the welfare of different
stakeholder groups, with particular focus on poor women and men
and vulnerable people (such as people with disabilities, ethnic
minorities, older people and children). During 2002-03 the World
Bank funded 11 pilot PSIAs, with DFID supporting an additional
8 studies. These provided the basis for a rapid expansion in World
Bank-funded PSIAs and by early 2004 there were some 100 PSIA activities
being carried out, with two-thirds of these based in PRSP countries.
These studies have provided evidence to inform decision-makers
and have strengthened the process of domestic policy-making. Although
the total impact of these studies has not yet been measured systematically,
early evidence suggests they have influenced actual policy design
in Malawi, Zambia and Armenia, amongst others.
Poverty Reduction Budget Support (PRBS)
Poverty Reduction Budget Support (PRBS) is a form of financial
aid in which funds are provided:
in support of a government programme typically
focussing on growth, poverty reduction, fiscal adjustment and
strengthening institutions, especially budgetary processes; and
directly to a partner government's central exchequer
to spend using its own financial management, procurement and accountability
PRBS is also commonly known as Direct Budget Support.
DFID uses PRBS explicitly to link the provision of aid to
the partner government's commitment to poverty reduction. Where
circumstances are appropriate, PRBS is the aid instrument most
likely to support a relationship between the donor and partner
that strengthens the accountability and capability of the state.
For further information see DFID's policy paper on Poverty Reduction
Budget Support, May 2004.
Poverty Reduction Strategy (PRS)
In September 1999, the World Bank Group and the IMF agreed
that nationally owned "poverty reduction strategies"
should provide the basis of all their concessional lending. In
many countries, this strategy takes the form of a PRS Paper, which
links debt relief to poverty reduction goals. The UK works actively
with poor countries' governments to support the development of
these national frameworks. We are also supporting the consultative
process to ensure that PRS are built on a broad-based consensus
in which the poor have a voice. Interim or full Poverty Reduction
Strategies have been developed in 53 countries.
The International Development Act
The Act came into force in June 2002. It makes clear that
the sole purpose of UK development assistance is the elimination
of poverty. It is illegal for the UK Government to spend development
assistance for any other purposes. Our aid is "untied"
in that the provision of development assistance is no longer conditional
on the use of British goods and services.
This refers to programmes carried out by any of the International
Financial Institutions (IFIs) concerned with development, namely
the World Bank, the Regional Development Banks, and the International
Monetary Fund (IMF).
Letter from the Chairman to Rt Hon Douglas Alexander
Thank you for your letter dated 28 September which contained
the Government response to our Report, "The European Union's
Role at the Millennium Review Summit" [HL Paper 35, 11th
Report of 2005-06].
Sub-Committee C considered the response at its meeting on
13 October. We are grateful for your detailed comments and for
the additional information provided, in particular the paper on
conditionality. Members of the Sub-Committee have a number of
concerns about the outcome of the Millennium Review Summit which
they would like to share with the Government during a debate on
the Report. We hope that a date for this debate can be found shortly,
and look forward to engaging with ministers in a stimulating and
thorough review of the European Union's role at the Millennium
13 October 2005
Q 150. Back
Q 151. See also The Future Financing of the Common Agricultural
Policy, 2nd Report, Session 2005-06, HL Paper 7, para 116. Back
Q 139. Back
DFID is publishing a paper on security and development. This
will consider how international obligations on peace and security
should affect development partnerships. It will make clear that
development assistance resources must remain focused on the MDGs,
but a country's commitment to its own international obligations
will be relevant in assessing whether the basis for a development
partnership has broken down. Judgement will be required. For example,
if a country were to adopt an explicit policy of actively supporting
terrorism, this would be a clear reason to rethink our aid relationship.
If, on the other hand, a country were unable to meet stringent
requirements at ports of entry to check all containers for illegal
arms export, we would be unlikely to use this as a justification
for ending out aid programme. Back
For further information about PRBS see Glossary of development
The UK believes that the procurement of goods and services financed
by aid should be through open competition internationally. We
do not tie our aid to purchases from UK suppliers. Back
As set out in its Articles of Agreement, the IMF and World Bank
are not allowed to use "political conditionality", but
can only directly link lending conditions to their eventual economic
DFID (2005) "Why we need to work more effectively in fragile
states", London: Department for International Development. Back