With six months left before the deadline, the EU is still negotiating both its multi-annual budget as well as the EDF for 2014-2020. TheEquation EC has indicated that it intends to further strengthen the focus of the EDF on the poorest countries, but has revealed few details of how it intends to do this.

This background paper by Mira Markova, explores the possible approaches the EC could take to determine the 11th EDF aid allocations; their respective implications for the future of development cooperation with the African, Caribbean and Pacific group of states; and the changing levels of development assistance to high-income and upper-middle-income countries (more commonly referred to as differentiation).

Mikaela Gavas wrote a commentary on Owen Barder’s article on the Centre for Global Development’s ‘Commitment to Development Index’ (CDI), which was published in Europe’s World. She argues that ‘the CDI could arguably be more proactive in raising awareness of the EU’s and its member states’ track record, and in stimulating greater debate on the specific policies needed to bring about change’.

The European Commission proposed policy of ‘differentiation’ aims to recalibrate aid and development cooperation in middle-incoUrbanisation%20in%20Asia_jpgme countries. The policy responds directly to recent changes in global poverty and wealth patterns, economic flows and geopolitical realities. In an increasingly heterogeneous development landscape, the EU has initiated a multifaceted approach in an effort to ‘differentiate’ between the diverging needs and capacities of developing countries.

Differentiation is a key feature of the EU’s new development strategy, An Agenda for Change, and will shape the future of EU development cooperation over its multi-year budget period that will run from 2014 to 2020 (European Commission, 2011a). The policy will determine the allocation of EU development aid to developing countries, shape decisions on the type of modalities used and the sector focus in middle-income countries, and will ultimately change the EU’s relations with these countries.

In a recent background note , Sian Herbert provides an overview of the state of play of negotiations on differentiation, with a focus on the Development Cooperation Instrument and the European Development Fund.

Read the paper here.

In his latest blog, Simon Maxwell asks whether the EU can deliver joined-up thinking and action in international development. He recommends eight changes which should be recommended by the review of the EU’s external affairs currently underway. Read the blog here.

The EU first aLifting women out of povertyrticulated its policy commitment to gender equality in development cooperation in 1995, following the Beijing UN Women’s Conference, and has redefined it several times since.

A growing awareness of the gap between EU policy and practice on gender equality on the part of several Member States led the European Commission to draft an operational framework to strengthen implementation: the EU Plan of Action on Gender Equality and Women’s Empowerment in Development (Gender Action Plan). The EU recognised that, despite progress over recent decades, women and girls continue to make up the large majority of the world’s poorest, and women are underrepresented in governments and decision-making bodies, have fewer opportunities and receive lower pay than men in labour and financial markets. There was also concern that the financial and economic crisis could hamper progress already achieved towards gender equality. The Gender Action Plan was included as an Annex to the 2010 Council Conclusions on the MDGs, raising its profile and linking gender equality firmly, if narrowly, to achievement of the MDGs.

In a recent EDCSP research report, Helen O’Connell focuses on the implementation of the Gender Action Plan. The paper explores what has been achieved, identifies challenges and proposes a series of actions to accelerate progress. It also assesses the extent to which the Action Plan remains up to date and, in particular, the extent to which it includes a central economic perspective.

Read the paper here.

The need for greater differentiation between partner countries and the extent to which middle-income countries (MICs) should continue to receive EU aid have become contentious issues in the EU’s ongoing process of modernising EU development policy. While there is wide acknowledgement that a changing development landscape requires donor agencies to better adapt their approaches to the varying levels of development of partner countries (‘differentiation’), there seems to be less agreement on the nature of these changes and how exactly the EU should respond to them.

Svea Koch and Siân Herbert examine this dilemma in a blog.

Simon Maxwell and Mikaela Gavas analyse the Conclusions regarding the new EU development policy, ‘Agenda for Change’, published by the EU Foreign Affairs Council  in October 2011. They ask what has been gained and lost in the process, and whether it is now possible to see what kind of settlement will be reached when the Multi-Annual Financial Framework for 2014-20 is agreed. Read their opinion here.

As part of the International Development Committee’s inquiry into EU development assistance, Stephen O’Brien MP, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for International Development, and Anthony Smith, Director of International Relations at DFID were recently called to give evidence.

Read the transcript here

As part of the International Development Committee’s inquiry into EU development assistance, European Commissioner for Development Andris Piebalgs was recently called to give evidence.

Read the transcript here.

The high share of aid provided to relatively better-off middle income countries is one of the biggest challenges to the aid record of the European Commission. But what are the reasons behind this?

Simon Maxwell sets out to explore the issue in this EDCSP Opinion.

The UK’s International Development Committee (IDC) has launched an inquiry into EC development assistance. The inquiry comes at a momentous time considering the new poverty landscape, changing economic and geopolitical dynamics in the world, the economic crisis, and the potential ramifications of a possible EU treaty change. As the global development scene changes, the UK and the EC’s approaches to development must also change.

The terms of reference established for the inquiry call for evidence regarding: the EC’s comparative advantage as a channel for UK development assistance, ‘An Agenda for Change’, future funding of EC development cooperation and progress towards policy coherence for development (PCD). These areas of inquiry ultimately lead to four key questions:

  • What development objectives can the UK better pursue through the EC than through bilateral means?
  • How much funding should be allocated to EC development assistance?
  • What countries and sectors should the EC concentrate its funds on?
  • How should these funds be managed?

ODI’s Siân Herbert and Romilly Greenhill set out to answer these questions in this submission of written evidence.

Submissions from other organisations are available here.

After more than a year and a half of consultations, Development Commissioner Andris Piebalgs has released a new proposed strategy for EU development cooperation – in a document called ‘An Agenda for Change’.

The new policy directly descends from the European Consensus on Development, however also signals four important shifts:

  1. a higher profile for good governance and human rights, linked to greater conditionality;
  2. a higher profile for growth, with a strong focus on leveraging in private sector money;
  3. the introduction of the concept of differentiated development partnerships, with new allocation criteria for aid; and
  4. an attempt to boost EU joint work.

Read our response to the Commission’s proposal here

ODI joined forces with DIE and ONE to host a private roundtable on ‘Rethinking the EU’s external action budget’ in Berlin on the 1st March. Participants included officials from the German Foreign Affairs, Development and Treasury ministries as well as representatives from the European Commission and leading NGOs.

This is the third in a series of consultations EDCSP is organising on the EU Financial Perspectives post 2013. Events have already taken place in London and Brussels and a Paris meeting will take place on the 16th March. Plans are in place to hold similar events in the Spain, the Netherlands and in the European Parliament.

To read a summary of discussion click here


Simon and Mikaela’s charter sets out 10 key principles for the negotiations on the EU Financial Perspectives post-2013.  Do you agree with them?  Cast your vote on the 10 principles and leave your comments.

ODI have submitted their opinion to the European Commission’s consultation on the future of EU budget support to third countries.

Given the growing interest in the results-based aid agenda, this consultation comes at an opportune time. In the current economic climate, tough decisions will be required about aid and it is likely that those decisions will be guided by performance. A better understanding of the complex relationship between aid modalities and their effects on outcomes is needed now to inform such decisions.

To read ODI’s submission click here



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