How EU’s action helps the poorest countries to develop

EU website. The European Commission adopted its Annual Report 2010 on the implementation of EU’s development and external assistance policies in 2009. Programmes and projects led by the Commission reached around 140 developing countries. Specific instruments were set up to help the world’s poorest to face the triple economic, food and environmental crisis and delivered results.

Between 40 million and 80 million people in developing countries are estimated to have been forced into absolute poverty because of the food, economic and financial crisis in 2009. The Annual Report 2010 explains the role played by the European Commission to help the poorest countries deal with the crisis and details the evolution of its development policies and their implementation in 2009.

New instruments to respond to the crisis and climate change

The European Commission proposed and implemented a set of timely, targeted and coordinated measures in 2009:

  • EU Food facility : The €1 billion EU Food Facility put in place at the end of 2008 has provided a fast and efficient response in tackling food insecurity. Of the €1 billion pledged under the facility, €837 million were allocated by the end of 2009.
  • EU ” Vulnerability FLEX ” instrument : €236 million were committed under the so-called Vulnerability FLEX mechanism to help 11 African, 3 Caribbean and 1 Pacific countries reduce funding shortfalls in their 2009 government budgets
  • Climate change : the EU intensified its cooperation and dialogue with developing partners. The Global Climate Change Alliance (GCCA) received an allocation of €35 million to support poor countries most vulnerable to climate change, in particular the least-developed countries and small island developing states. In December, the EU agreed on ‘fast-start’ funding of €2.4 billion annually for 2010-2012, to assist developing countries in adapting to climate change and in moving to low-carbon strategies.

In 2009, the European Commission also started a mid-term review of its cooperation programmes and financial allocations to adapt them to evolving realities and progress to date.

Increasing the effectiveness and impact of European Commission’s aid

The Commission continued to make its aid more effective and acted as catalyst and coordinator to improve synergies among Member States. In order to implement the internationally agreed Accra Agenda for Action on aid effectiveness, the Commission focused on demonstrating concrete and measurable results in the three priority areas of: increased use of country systems as first option to channel bilateral assistance; implementation of division of labour among donors to reduce aid fragmentation; and better quality technical cooperation.

The Commission takes pains to measure the impact of its development cooperation actions. Results for 2009 show that project performance improved compared to the previous year. 94% of the projects are now rated positively.

Key figures

Share of external aid in the EU budget: external aid represents 9 % (€12 billion) of the total EU budget (€143 billion).

Geographical spread: financial commitments for European countries (Eastern European countries and pre-accession countries) amounted around to €2 billion, €618 million for the North of Africa, €3.9 billion for Sub-Saharan Africa, €669 million for the Middle East, nearly €1.4 billion for South, Central Asia and the Far East, €899 million for Latin America, €89 million for Oceania and €2.1 billion for unallocated and multilateral aid.

Sectoral breakdown: social infrastructures (education, health, population and reproductive health, government and civil society and other social infrastructures) keeps the lion’s share (34%) of European Commission’s development cooperation with commitments amounting around to €4 billion; €1.7 billion (14 %) went to the production sectors (agriculture, forestry, fishing, industry, mining, construction, trade and tourism) and €1.2 billion (11%) were targeted at economic infrastructures and services (transport, communication, energy, banking and financial services and business).

Budget support: In 2009, the Commission committed €2.4 billion of EU aid funds for external cooperation as budget support, a mechanism under which European funds are made available to governments of beneficiary countries and their national budgets, provided agreed conditions for payment are met.

Download the full version of the Annual Report 2010 here.

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