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Source: European Parliament

MOTION FOR A EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT RESOLUTION

on improving development effectiveness and the efficiency of aid

(2019/2184(INI))

The European Parliament,

 having regard to the UN Sustainable Development Summit of 25-27 September 2015 and the outcome document adopted by the UN General Assembly on 25 September 2015, entitled ‘Transforming our world: the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development’, and in particular to Goal 17 of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) set out therein, which commits UN member states to strengthening the means of implementation of the agenda and to revitalising the global partnership for sustainable development[1],

 having regard to the Addis Ababa Action Agenda, the outcome document adopted at the Third International Conference on Financing for Development held in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia from 13 to 16 July 2015 and endorsed by the UN General Assembly in its resolution 69/313 of 27 July 2015,

 having regard to the 2019 report of the UN Inter-agency Task Force on Financing for Development on Financing for Sustainable Development[2],

 having regard to the Paris Agreement of the 21st Conference of the Parties (COP 21) to the UNFCCC and the 11th Conference of the Parties serving as the Meeting of the Parties to the Kyoto Protocol (CMP 11), held in Paris (France) from 30 November to 11 December 2015,

 having regard to the Paris Declaration on Aid Effectiveness, adopted at the Second High Level Forum on Aid Effectiveness in 2005, the Accra Agenda for Action adopted at the Third High Level Forum on Aid Effectiveness in 2008 in Accra (Ghana), and the outcome of the Fourth High Level Forum on Aid Effectiveness held in Busan (Republic of Korea) in December 2011, which launched the Global Partnership for Effective Development Cooperation (GPEDC),

 having regard to the Nairobi Outcome Document of the Second High Level Meeting of the GPEDC, held in Nairobi (Kenya) in November and December 2016[3],

 having regard to the GPEDC Senior Level Meeting of 13-14 July 2019, held on the margins of the UN High Level Political Forum on Sustainable Development in New York,

 having regard to the 17th Steering Committee Meeting for the 2019 Global Partnership Senior Level Meeting of 26-27 March 2019 in Kampala (Uganda),

 having regard to the 2019 report of the GPEDC entitled ‘Making Development Cooperation More Effective’[4],

 having regard to the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC) of 20 November 1989,

 having regard to Article 208 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (TFEU), which defines the reduction and eradication of poverty as the primary objective of EU development policy and requires that the Union and its Member States comply with the commitments they have made in the context of the UN and other competent organisations, and take account of development cooperation objectives in policies they implement which are likely to affect developing countries,

 having regard to the new European Consensus on Development of 30 June 2017[5],

 having regard to the Joint Africa-EU Strategy, adopted at the second EU-Africa Summit held in Lisbon in December 2007,

 having regard to the fifth African Union-EU Summit of 29-30 November 2017 and to the summit declaration ‘Investing in Youth for Accelerated Inclusive Growth and Sustainable Development’[6],

 having regard to the global strategy for the EU’s foreign and security policy, presented by the Vice-President of the Commission / High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy in June 2016, entitled ‘Shared Vision, Common Action: A Stronger Europe’,

 having regard to the Council conclusions of 12 May 2016 on stepping up joint programming,

 having regard to the Council conclusions of 16 May 2019 on the Annual Report 2019 to the European Council on EU development aid targets[7],

 having regard to the report by the High Level Group of Wise Persons of October 2019 entitled ‘Europe in the World – the future of European financial architecture for development’[8],

 having regard to the Commission Staff Working Document of 26 March 2015 entitled ‘Launching the EU International Cooperation and Development Results Framework’ (SWD(2015)0080), and to the Council conclusions of 26 May 2015 on the Results Framework,

 having regard to the Commission’s Strategic Plan 2016-2020 on International Cooperation and Development,

 having regard to the Commission communication of 12 September 2018 on a new Africa-Europe Alliance for Sustainable Investment and Jobs (COM(2018)0643),

 having regard to the final report of March 2019 by the Commission’s Task Force for Rural Africa, entitled ‘An Africa-Europe Agenda for Rural Transformation’[9],

 having regard to the study of July 2019 on the application of the effectiveness principles, entitled ‘Effectiveness to Impact’[10],

 having regard to its resolution of 22 May 2008 on the follow-up to the Paris Declaration of 2005 on Aid Effectiveness[11],

 having regard to its resolution of 5 July 2011 on the future of EU budget support to developing countries[12],

 having regard to its resolution of 25 October 2011 on the Fourth High Level Forum on Aid Effectiveness[13],

 having regard to its resolution of 6 October 2015 on the role of local authorities in developing countries in development cooperation[14],

 having regard to its resolution of 19 May 2015 on Financing for Development[15],

 having regard to its resolution of 14 April 2016 on the private sector and development[16],

 having regard to its resolution of 7 June 2016 on the 2015 EU Report on Policy Coherence for Development[17],

 having regard to its resolution of 13 September 2016 on the EU Trust Fund for Africa: the implications for development and humanitarian aid[18],

 having regard to its resolution of 22 November 2016 on increasing the effectiveness of development cooperation[19],

 having regard to its resolution of 14 February 2017 on the revision of the European Consensus on Development[20],

 having regard to its resolution of 16 November 2017 on the EU-Africa Strategy – a boost for development[21],

 having regard to its resolution of 17 April 2018 on the implementation of the Development Cooperation Instrument, the Humanitarian Aid Instrument and the European Development Fund[22],

 having regard to its resolution of 14 June 2018 on the upcoming negotiations for a new Partnership Agreement between the European Union and the African, Caribbean and Pacific Group of States[23],

 having regard to its resolution of 14 March 2019 on the annual strategic report on the implementation and delivery of the Sustainable Development Goals[24],

 having regard to its legislative resolution of 27 March 2019 on the proposal for a regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council establishing the Neighbourhood, Development and International Cooperation Instrument[25],

 having regard to its resolution of 28 November 2019 on the ongoing negotiations for a new Partnership Agreement between the European Union and the African, Caribbean and Pacific Group of States[26],

 having regard to its resolution of 28 November 2019 on the 2019 UN Climate Change Conference in Madrid, Spain (COP 25)[27],

 having regard to its resolution of 15 January 2020 on the European Green Deal[28],

 having regard to the Council conclusions of 26 October 2015 on the EU Gender Action Plan 2016-2020[29],

 having regard to the Commission Joint Staff Working Document: Gender equality and Women through EU External Relations 2016-2020 (SWD(2015)0182),

 having regard to the Commission communication of 12 September 2012 entitled ‘The roots of democracy and sustainable development: Europe’s engagement with Civil Society in external relations’ (COM(2012)0492);

 having regard to the study ‘Effective Development Cooperation – Does the EU deliver?: Detailed Analysis of EU Performance’, requested by the Commission and published in May 2020[30];

 having regard to the study of May 2020 on the effectiveness of blended finance, entitled ‘The use of development funds for de-risking private investment: how effective is it in delivering development results?’,

 having regard to the Commission communication of 15 May 2013 on empowering local authorities in partner countries for enhanced governance and more effective development outcomes (COM(2013)0280),

 having regard to the Commission’s Joint Communication to the European Parliament and the Council of 9 March 2020 entitled ‘Towards a comprehensive strategy with Africa’,

 having regard to the report of 10 December 2018 by the OECD (Development Cooperation Peer Reviews) on the European Union,

 having regard to the recommendation of 22 February 2019 by the OECD’s Development Assistance Committee (DAC) on the Humanitarian-Development-Peace Nexus,

 having regard to the OECD report of 24 June 2020 entitled ‘The impact of the coronavirus (COVID-19) crisis on development finance’[31],

 having regard to the Special Report on the Ocean, Cryosphere and Climate Change (SROCC) by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) of 25 September 2019,

 having regard to Rule 54 of its Rules of Procedure,

 having regard to the report of the Committee on Development (A9-0212/2020),

A. whereas the context for development cooperation has changed over the years, with the emergence of new global challenges such as climate change and biodiversity loss, migration, food insecurity, internal conflicts, terrorism and violent extremism, and outbreaks of infectious diseases, as well as frequent and severe natural disasters, notably in developing countries, which affect the most vulnerable; whereas the global environment is becoming more complex and uncertain, with a rise in conflict and geopolitical rivalry; whereas this highlights the need for strengthened multilateralism and continuous efforts to increase the effectiveness and impact of European aid;

B. whereas the world is struck by the Covid-19 pandemic; whereas the impact of this pandemic on developing countries and aid assistance beneficiary countries is still unclear and represents a significant strain on the aid assistance capacities of both donor countries and private investors;

C. whereas the Covid-19 pandemic, which has affected all countries regardless of their level of development, is having a health-related impact, but also an economic and social impact; whereas this pandemic has an impact on development cooperation and imposes an obligation to ensure greater efficiency;

D. whereas the current pandemic has severely disrupted and could have long-lasting effects on tourism, sea transport, and other ocean-based sectors, negatively impacting the economies of many developing countries, including the most vulnerable countries, small island developing states and least developed countries;

E.  whereas aid effectiveness depends on the way the principle of Policy Coherence for Development (PCD) is implemented; whereas more efforts are still needed to comply with PCD principles, especially in the field of EU migration, trade, climate and agriculture policies;

F. whereas internal and external policies of the EU and the Member States should, in accordance with PCD, not impact negatively on developing countries; whereas there is an increasing emphasis on the promotion of EU external policy interests; whereas EU external assistance should continue to have development effectiveness and efficiency and partner countries’ needs at its core, in accordance with Article 208 TFEU, which establishes that the reduction and eradication of poverty is the principle aim for development cooperation policy;

G. whereas development effectiveness principles as well as all sources of development financing should be articulated so as to fulfil the objectives set in the Paris Climate Agreement;

H. whereas the world’s population is growing faster than gross national income (GNI), in particular in sub-Saharan Africa, where the population is expected to double over the next 30 years to 2.1 billion in 2050 and 3.8 billion by the end of the century; whereas in spite of strong economic growth, this will increase the number of people living in poverty and unemployment, pointing up the urgent need to support developing countries effectively in their efforts to achieve the SDGs;

I. Whereas an EU-Africa strategy based on a partnership of equals entails taking into account the specific concerns of African countries in terms of economic diversification, industrialisation, loss of government revenues and regional integration;

J. whereas inequalities between countries are still very high, while inequality has a negative impact on aid efficiency and effectiveness;

K. whereas it is important to put in place measures which aim at building and increasing the resilience of communities, in particular in fragile partner countries, in countries affected by conflicts or natural disasters, and in refugee-hosting countries;

L. whereas children’s health and wellbeing constitute a crucial objective of development cooperation policies;

M. whereas the EU, which taken together with its Member States is the world’s biggest donor of official development assistance (ODA), to a total of EUR 74.4 billion in 2018 representing almost 57 % of all ODA worldwide, is committed to promoting effective development cooperation geared towards ending all forms of poverty and inequality, and to supporting its development partners in realising the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development; whereas in 2019, OECD-DAC members collectively spent only 0.3 % of GNI on ODA, with only five members meeting or exceeding the spending target (the UK, Sweden, Denmark, Luxembourg and Norway);

N. whereas the principles of country and democratic ownership and alignment, focusing on results, inclusive partnerships, transparency and accountability, should underpin all forms of development cooperation, to ensure that development funds are used efficiently and effectively in order to properly achieve the SDGs;

O. whereas the role of the Global Partnership for Effective Development Cooperation (GPEDC) is to promote the principles of aid effectiveness; whereas it has three strategic priorities that will guide its contribution to the launch of the ‘Decade of Action’, namely: promoting development effectiveness to accelerate the implementation of the 2030 Agenda; building better partnerships; and leveraging monitoring for action;

 

P. whereas the study ‘Effective Development Cooperation – Does the EU deliver?: Detailed Analysis of EU Performance’ points to a decreased alignment of EU Member States and institutions to the effectiveness principles and related indicators, in particular predictability, use of indicators drawn from partner country-owned results frameworks, using partner country public financial management systems, commitment to involve partner governments in project evaluations, and transparent reporting;

Q. whereas the EU’s development policies and partnerships must be built on sustainable political and economic cooperation with partners on an equal footing and with respect for human rights at its core; whereas its development policies must take into account the situation of forcibly displaced people, of vulnerable populations and of migrants and asylum seekers;

R. whereas, given the increase in protracted crises, the EU should continue its efforts to operationalise the humanitarian-development nexus with the aim of delivering long-lasting results;

S. whereas the fragmentation of aid remains a persistent challenge arising from the proliferation of donors and aid agencies and lack of coordination of their activities and projects;

T. whereas during the programming process it is essential to guarantee a wide consultation in partner countries with all relevant actors: local authorities, national parliaments, civil society, local NGOs, women’s associations, marginalised groups, the UN and its agencies, SMEs and the private sector;

U. Whereas without a bottom-up approach to development it is impossible to maximise development results; whereas improved sharing of concrete examples and advice on successful projects on the ground in partner countries will help in implementing the principles effectively and achieving the intended results successfully;

V. whereas an effective Private Sector Engagement (PSE) should be based on the five Kampala principles, namely: Inclusive Country Ownership; Results and Targeted Impact; Inclusive Partnership; Transparency and Accountability; and Leave No-One Behind;

W. whereas in the partner countries there are several other actors and donors delivering humanitarian and development aid;

X. whereas although the EU institutions and Member States, local and regional authorities, international organisations and civil society organisations (CSOs) have a large stock of data and expertise, it remains insufficiently shared; whereas these data should be made more accessible and should be used in policymaking;

Y. whereas triangular cooperation is especially efficient in improving cooperation to respond to common challenges, such as preventing, managing and recovering from natural disasters that slow down and interrupt development, security challenges in a wider region, or adapting small business models to the new economic challenges that have emerged during the coronavirus crisis;

Z. whereas the design and implementation of effective aid policy requires a deeper understanding of the impact of aid and the overall environment in which development aid operates;

AA. whereas accessible and reliable aid data reinforce the transparency of aid flows and help all development partners in their planning and coordination processes; whereas international standards as promoted by the International Aid Transparency Initiative (IATI) make these data comparable; whereas achieving development results and working towards the SDGs require detailed data on the local context, an agreed set of results to be targeted, joined-up action to work towards them, and fast public feedback to facilitate accountability;

AB. whereas gender equality is a key principle of EU development aid; whereas the impact of development policies is different on women and girls; whereas there is a lack of gender-disaggregated data in the field of development;

AC. whereas aid policies that foster equality are proven to be more effective in achieving the SDG objectives, notably fighting poverty and promoting education;

AD. whereas there is a real risk that the benefits of development assistance and of foreign direct investment (FDI) and humanitarian aid may be captured by political and economic elites; whereas this highlights the need for development cooperation that aims at bringing about transformational changes in political economies, notably related to governance, the distribution of power, social exclusion, social protection and access to resources, as well as interaction with the global economy; whereas this highlights the need to support and promote through development cooperation the principles of good governance, the rule of law, the separation of powers and promotion of human rights;

AE. whereas the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) estimates that developing countries stand in need of USD 1 trillion in post-Covid-19 debt relief; whereas the World Bank, the IMF, the G20 and the G7 have taken public debt relief measures for the world’s poorest countries; whereas these measures should be complemented to allow development aid to effectively deliver on the SDGs in areas such as access to basic services, good governance and basic human rights in developing countries;

AF. whereas the EU is present in all the oceans through its overseas territories both outermost regions and overseas countries and territories), and it is crucial that it develops regional strategies that incorporate locally expressed needs as fully as possible;

AG. whereas local authorities have a central role to play in achieving the SDGs and decentralised cooperation must be at the heart of the EU’s development strategy;

AH. whereas development policies must take account of adaptation to the impact of climate change in terms of the displacement of vulnerable populations and the worsening of social inequalities and with a view to eradicating poverty;

AI. whereas the income developing countries are losing due to illicit financial flows, including tax evasion, is more than double the amount they are gaining through official external sources, including development assistance;

AJ. whereas the use of country-owned results frameworks and planning tools (public financial management, PFM) by the EU institutions is decreasing, although they play a significant role in effective development cooperation, for achieving the SDGs, and for achieving gender equality as they perform positively in mainstreaming gender responsiveness; whereas increased commitment in this regard is needed;

1. Stresses that effectiveness means delivering more and better impact, achieving the SDGs and leaving no-one behind; believes that when European development cooperation is aligned with partner countries’ own efforts and local needs, coordinated with other donors’ efforts, and delivered through their partners’ institutions and systems as well as local actors and civil society, and that when it supports priorities that have been agreed through inclusive and equitable policy processes, ensuring democratic country ownership and the inclusion of all stakeholders, the impact is bigger, faster and more sustainable;

2. Underlines that the EU, as the world’s biggest donor and an important international actor for rules-based multilateralism and democracy, should use its powerful toolbox of instruments and aid modalities in a coordinated manner to allow task sharing and avoid fragmentation of aid, and identify priorities where it can effectively provide the greatest value added impact;

3. Stresses that the EU should take the lead in using the principles of aid effectiveness and aid efficiency, in order to secure real impact and the achievement of the SDGs, while leaving no-one behind, in its partner countries; stresses, in this regard, the impact that EU use of development aid and FDI could have on tackling the root causes of migration and forced displacement;

4. Highlights the need to implement the policy objectives in the new European Consensus on Development in a more strategic and targeted manner in each partner country, thereby applying the humanitarian-development nexus approach, and respecting PCD; stresses that aid programmes should be combined with an analysis of debt sustainability and should take account of the need to strengthen parliamentary oversight in a partner country;

5. Stresses that the EU must continue to closely monitor the use of funds and take all necessary measures to avoid any misuse of aid funds, ensuring compliance with its policy goals and values in development cooperation; calls for effective mechanisms to be put in place to be able to thoroughly control the final destination of those funds and assess the projects which received funding;

6. Stresses that good governance is a decisive factor for the fair and appropriate distribution of aid, and points out that achievement of the SDGs, and hence the effectiveness of the funds, depends to a large extent on the capacity of partner countries to use the funds in a fair and transparent manner;

7. Calls on the EU to engage directly with and to build inclusive sustainable partnerships with countries of origin and transit of migration, based on the specific needs of each country and the individual circumstances of migrants;

8. Underlines that the principles of the Global Partnership for Effective Development Cooperation (GPEDC) are built on important and enduring lessons from past development strategies and practices, including both successes and failures, and that these principles remain important expressions of multilateral cooperation and coordination which the EU is committed to uphold; calls on the Commission to use its membership of the GPEDC and OECD-DAC and its voice in international fora and in the governance structures of the international financial institutions to further strengthen the effectiveness principles and encourage adherence to them and implementation of them in all forms of development cooperation and by all actors involved;

9. Recognises that effective development cooperation cannot be delivered through EU cooperation alone and can only be truly effective if all development actors collaborate; expresses concern that when other actors do not respect and implement the effectiveness principles in their cooperation programmes the resulting fragmentation and bypassing of partner country systems reduces the effectiveness and impact of assistance overall as a collateral, including EU assistance;

10. Calls on the Commission to publish, at least biannually, an aid effectiveness progress report, covering joint planning, joint implementation and joint results frameworks, and actions by EU institutions, Member States and local and regional authorities; underlines that this report should be based on commonly agreed targets and policy objectives, notably the SDGs and the Consensus; calls on the Commission to consult stakeholders while drawing up this report and to present the report to Parliament;

11. Calls on the Commission and the Council to scale up joint programming between the EU and its Member States; points out that at country level, the EU and the Member States need to go beyond the mere consolidation of existing bilateral development priorities and actions and form a unified collective European voice on strategic issues in political and policy dialogue with partner countries, which should also take account of regional integration bodies as EU counterparts where appropriate, as well as of innovative financing methods such as blending and guarantees when effective; calls for clear, actionable commitments, taking stock of previous strategies and practices;

12. Calls on the Commission to ensure that regular meetings of the EU with Member States’ representatives, implementing agencies, international organisations, local and regional authorities and CSOs take place on the ground in the respective partner countries in order to identify the challenges and opportunities and that the subsequent joint response and implementation meets the identified needs; points out that joint programming, under the direction of Heads of Mission, has proven to be successful in terms of policy coherence across political, trade, development and security strategies; also calls for the EU and its Member States to engage in joint implementation and evaluation, and for shared accountability mechanisms towards citizens; calls for the EU to work with non-traditional donors that can demonstrate adherence to the aid effectiveness principles;

13. Welcomes the Council conclusions of 8 June 2020 which highlight the ‘importance for all the actors involved in Team Europe to coordinate actions, and share information and communication efforts at country level, within the EU, in partner countries and in global and multilateral fora’; asks the Commission and the Member States to follow this approach in the future in the context of all development-related measures, programming and implementation; reiterates its requests of 2013[32] and 2017[33] and asks the Commission to submit, on the basis of Articles 209 and 210 TFEU, a proposal for an act concerning regulatory aspects of EU donor coordination on development aid;

14. Stresses that in view of the future implementation of the Neighbourhood, Development and International Cooperation Instrument (NDICI), joint programming and implementation by the EU, its Member States and EU development financing partners should build upon the aid effectiveness principles; points to the importance of collectively setting strategic priorities and identifying investment needs/gaps in the pre-programming phase and subsequently looking at ways to optimise the range of modalities in the EU institutions’ toolbox, including grants, budget support grants and EIB loans, as well as financing from the Member States; is concerned in this regard that LDCs are seeing an increase in tied aid and reiterates that untying aid can reduce costs by 15 to 30 %;

15. Calls on the Commission to ensure that the programming and implementation of these modalities is coordinated, strategically aligned with partner countries’ priorities and processes, and focused on delivering outcomes and impacts that are transformational for achieving the SDGs in the specific context of each partner country; underlines the need to facilitate the creation of markets which are self-sustaining and to ensure that good exit practices are taken into account in the pre-programming phase; calls on the Commission and the Member States to accelerate efforts to untie their ODA in line with the commitments of the Consensus and to encourage all development cooperation providers, including emerging economies, to do the same; encourages local procurement and ownership;

16. Stresses that Parliament’s mandate on the NDICI calls for provisions to improve the human rights, environmental and social compliance of financial operators in the use of blending-guarantee mechanisms through the EFSD+ – External Action Guarantee (EAG); recalls that according to Parliament’s position, 45 % of the financing through EFSD+ and EAG shall be allocated to investments that contribute to climate objectives, environmental management and protection, biodiversity and combating desertification, with 30 % of the overall financial envelope dedicated to climate change mitigation and adaptation;

17. Points out that the EU has set itself ambitious environmental and climate goals, and calls for it to support partner countries through close cooperation in order to help them meet their own climate and environmental goals and strategies, both those laid down by treaty and those that are self-imposed, as the sustainable use of their own resources is the basis of the economies of many partner countries and is essential for the achievement of the SDGs;

18. Calls for the EU institutions, the Member States and other public and non-governmental actors active in development cooperation to share evidence and experience about what kind of development interventions tend to be successful and which ones have failed, proved difficult to implement or did not produce the intended impact;

19. Welcomes the independent report by the High-Level Group of Wise Persons on the European financial architecture for development, and calls for the creation of a European Investment and Sustainable Development Bank;

20. Stresses that accountability for all public expenditure, including ODA, is vital both in Europe and in partner countries; believes that accountability requires strong institutions and that having clear and agreed targets for European ODA is essential for ensuring continued public support for the EU’s development cooperation endeavours; recalls that partnerships and cooperation with civil society and NGOs can improve accountability in public expenditure regarding ODA; points to the role of civil society organisations in mobilising the funds needed to achieve the SDGs;

21. Emphasises that accountability requires transparent and robust procedures as well as concern for efficiency and the attainment of demonstrable results, thorough ex-ante and ex-post evaluation, and critical analysis of failures, as well as learning how to deliver effective and sustainable results; calls on the Commission, therefore, to coordinate a Europe-wide standardisation of impact indicators in order to compare the effectiveness and efficiency of projects between Member States;

22. Encourages recipient countries’ parliaments to adopt national policies on development aid in order to improve the accountability of donors and the ownership of recipient governments, including that of local authorities, eradicate corruption and all forms of aid wastage and improve conditions for receiving budget support, as well as, in the long run, reducing dependence on aid;

23. Stresses that it is important that EU ODA focuses even more on reducing inequalities, ending poverty and leaving no-one behind;

24. Stresses that effective and efficient aids to country-led strategies and capacity development lead to a reduction in child mortality and that investing in the wellbeing of children is fundamental to break the cycle of poverty, including the fight against forced and under-age labour;

25. Believes that the use of results-based approaches is critical for the EU’s partner countries and is a fundamental element of their capacity to deliver the SDGs for their citizens; points, however, to the importance of taking into account the diversity of the specific situations in and challenges for partner countries, in particular LDCs and fragile countries; calls on the EU and its Member States to support and use partner countries’ own national results-measuring frameworks and their monitoring and statistical systems, and to involve, during all the stages, all relevant actors: local authorities, national parliaments, civil society including women’s associations and marginalised groups, and the private sector with a focus on SMEs; stresses that investment in the capacity-building of local CSOs is an essential prerequisite for effective aid;

26. Notes that in some areas development aid efficiency and effectiveness are hard to measure, but calls on the Commission to look into appropriate indicators for assessment and to use the results to prepare country-specific information on the efficiency and effectiveness of development aid and to develop best-practice approaches;

27. Calls for the EU and its Member States to enhance their commitment to transparent data flows through continuous investment in data visualisation, statistical reporting and the publication of open data, and the application of international standards such as IATI (the International Aid Transparency Initiative Standard), and by regularly updating and developing the EU Aid Explorer; encourages the stepping-up of efforts at EU level to ensure public access to and dissemination of data and reporting on the spending of EU development aid; reiterates in this respect that the Commission should publish the ‘Annual Report on the implementation of the European Union’s instruments for financing external action’ prior to the start of the discharge procedure for the given year;

28. Points out that gender equality is essential for sustainable development and that progress made in combating discrimination and violence against women and girls in partner countries should be considered as an essential aspect of aid effectiveness; recalls that development cooperation may have different impacts variously on girls and boys and on women and men;

29. Urges the Commission and the Member States, as well as all development partners, to prioritise gender equality, by making increased use of gender mainstreaming, gender budgeting and gender targeting; furthermore stresses the need to collect comparable and gender-disaggregated data in order to promote a comprehensive and harmonised approach to EU reporting on gender targets, and to support women so that they become empowered agents for development in their communities and beyond;

30. Calls for the EU and its Member States to enhance alignment of their assistance to the effectiveness principles and related indicators, in particular predictability, use of indicators drawn from partner country-owned results frameworks, use of partner-country public financial management systems, and commitment to involve partner governments in project evaluations, as well as transparent reporting;

31. Calls upon Member States to streamline their assistance to a greater extent with common European aid objectives in order to improve the effectiveness of EU development policy as a whole;

32. Supports a catalytic and cross-cutting approach, building on decentralised and bottom-up needs assessments and programming, which favours local ownership and is informed by a thorough analysis of the situation and consultation with civil society and other stakeholders in each partner country, in close collaboration with local communities and organisations;

33. Encourages a reinforcement of South-South and triangular cooperation, including for projects focused towards more effective regional cooperation and integration as well as more effective involvement of the outermost regions and overseas countries and territories in the implementation of European development cooperation in their respective geographic areas, at all levels of governance, in order to support the achievement of the SDGs and the recovery from the Covid-19 pandemic; stresses that the capacities of middle-income countries – including of countries recently graduated from the OECD’s Development Assistance Committee’s list of ODA recipients – should be engaged where relevant;

34. Stresses that, in order to make development aid more effective, deliver long-lasting results and address local needs, in particular in protracted crisis and post-crisis settings, it is imperative to improve the coordination of humanitarian aid and development assistance and to strengthen the humanitarian-development nexus and its links with actions related to peace and security in developing countries; calls for the EU to further develop such an approach;

35. Acknowledges the value of predictable and flexible financing, including multiannual humanitarian finance for protracted crises and development aid programmes that have the capacity to adapt to unforeseen humanitarian crises;

36. Underlines the importance of strengthening CSOs in their role as independent development actors; stresses that an enabling and open environment for CSOs is consistent with internationally agreed rights and maximises the contributions of CSOs to development; expresses its concern regarding the shrinking space for CSOs in many partner countries; calls on the Commission to improve accessibility of funding for CSOs, including in partner countries;

37. Stresses the importance of implementing the exchange of best practices and of policy and action coordination and collaboration between the EU and the other actors, e.g. the UN and its agencies, which deliver aid in the partner countries; underlines that this is even more crucial in fragile partner countries, in countries touched by conflicts or natural disasters, and in refugee-hosting countries; considers it essential, in this context, to place community resilience at the core and to support actions aiming at developing risk-informed programmes and training programmes for emergencies, engaging community participation and fostering partnerships;

38. Calls on the Commission and the Member States to enhance cooperation with local authorities in partner countries, but also within the EU; calls for budget support as an aid modality to be usable also at sub-national level, and for redistribution mechanisms between different levels of government and across regions to be developed with the primary objective of reducing in-country disparities and inequalities and ensuring that no-one is left behind;

39. Underlines the role of church and mission organisations in humanitarian and development aid and their importance on the ground, as they are among the biggest NGOs active in the development and aid fields; stresses the fact that working with religious leaders in many local communities in developing countries is often the most effective way of reaching local people in need;

40. Recognises the essential role of civil society as partner, both during the consultation process and as deliverer of services; in this light, calls on the Commission and the Member States to recognise and strengthen their roles in order to achieve inclusive development partnerships;

41. Calls for a stronger focus on local SMEs, small-scale farmers and empowering women, as this approach has proven particularly effective in reducing poverty and inequality, and in strengthening civil society and communities;

42. Recognises that private-sector engagement – at local, national, bilateral and international levels – is important for achieving the SDGs, for mobilising additional development finance, and for the transition towards sustainable economic development, growth and prosperity;

43. Calls for efforts to ensure private-sector alignment with the development priorities of national governments and civil society in developing countries and the needs of local populations, in particular those of marginalised and vulnerable groups, and to align the private sector’s involvement in development cooperation with the effectiveness principles and the Kampala principles while improving the transparency, monitoring and evaluation and accountability of FDI and global value chains, as well as respect for human rights and due diligence principles;

44. Calls for the European institutions and bodies to establish a clear, structured, transparent and accountable framework governing partnerships and alliances with the private sector in developing countries, and stresses that, in parallel with an increased role for the private sector, it is important to develop institutional capacities;

45. Underlines that all actors, including the private sector, need to contribute to the effectiveness agenda through participatory involvement, planning and implementing, mutual accountability and transparency, monitoring and evaluation; stresses that donors should improve their predictability and speediness when working with these actors as implementing partners and basic service supply partners, in order to genuinely reach the most vulnerable sections of the population;

46. Calls on the Commission and the Member States to ensure that actors of the private sector involved in development partnerships abide by the principle of corporate accountability on human rights and the environment throughout the whole lifecycle of projects, in compliance with the UN Global Compact on Human Rights, the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights, ILO core labour standards, and the UN Convention Against Corruption; reiterates its call for an EU legal framework supporting mandatory corporate due diligence, to ensure that EU investors act responsibly internationally and locally and contribute to local development in developing countries;

47. Reiterates that private development assistance must respect the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights, the ILO standards and the OECD Guidelines on Multinational Enterprises; further stresses that it needs to commit to ensuring good governance, poverty reduction, and wealth creation through sustainable investment, as well as to reducing inequalities, promoting human rights and environmental standards and empowering local economies;

48. Stresses that in order to move away from a donor-recipient dynamic and to empower partner countries’ ownership of development priorities so as to deliver on sustainable development, EU development strategy frameworks must foresee concrete actions to support increased domestic resource mobilisation in partner countries, such as supporting the fight against corruption and the development of progressive tax systems, as well as tackling tax avoidance and evasion;

49. Welcomes the use by the EU of various development finance tools for poverty eradication and achievement of the SDGs; stresses the need for donors to prioritise grant-based financing, especially to LDCs, in a context where, before the COVID-19 pandemic outbreak, poorer countries were already spending more money on debt service payments than on health services;

50. Notes that the Commission foresees an increasingly prominent role for blending- guarantee mechanisms in EU development policy, at the expense of other aid modalities; stresses that while blended finance has grown rapidly, there is little evidence of its development impact, as most currently goes to middle-income countries, with only a small portion going to LDCs; underlines the critical opinion of the European Court of Auditors on the management and effectiveness of the Commission’s implementation of the European Fund for Sustainable Development (EFSD); accordingly, calls for the EU and its Member States to adopt a cautious approach to blended finance and ensure that all finance mobilised through blending complies with the development effectiveness principles;

51. Encourages the EU to keep up its efforts to support partner countries in delivering smart, targeted and adaptive policies, which can help achieve the SDGs in the most effective way; recalls in this regard the crucial role of research and development (R&D) in nurturing innovation and entrepreneurship with positive spillover effects on all sectors of local economies; therefore calls on the Commission and the Member States to reinforce cooperation in R&D and to strengthen investments in strategic local production capacity, especially related to health and including for the newest bio-pharmaceutical products, so as to enhance autonomy from global supply chains;

52. Underlines the important role of CSOs in identifying needs and delivering development aid directly to the poor, underprivileged and vulnerable; calls, however, for enhanced coordination of assistance distributed among NGOs and other donors in order to secure the predictability of aid and avoid fragmentation of aid, overlapping actions and so-called ‘aid orphans’ (countries neglected by the development community);

53. Calls on the Commission to reassess whether the administrative obligations concerning access to EU funding are proportionate; deplores in that context the fact that EU grants are becoming increasingly inadequate and unattractive for NGOs, owing to requirements to limit support costs and increasing administrative and audit burdens;

54. Calls on the Commission to establish a network of and engage with reliable non-governmental partners, such as local CSOs, churches, faith-based organisations and specialised Member State agencies for the implementation of smaller-scale projects;

55. Reconfirms that investment in local and national infrastructure of different scales for key local and national projects represents the most efficient way for aid to stimulate and enhance economic and social development for the whole population;

56. Stresses the need to link debt relief measures with additional mobilisation of Official Development Aid (ODA); calls for the inclusion of multilateral and commercial debt in the G20 Debt Service Suspension Initiative (DSSI); stresses the need to secure the participation of all creditors, including the World Bank and other multilateral development banks, as well as private creditors, in the DSSI and any further debt relief offers; calls for the creation of a multilateral debt workout mechanism to address both the impact of the COVID-19 crisis and the financing requirements of Agenda 2030;

57. Draws attention to the particularly important role of training programmes for local staff and field operators in ensuring continuity for the projects supported by the EU in partner countries, thereby increasing ownership and accountability;

58. Stresses the key role of ODA in fulfilling the development effectiveness agenda; underlines that ODA is more flexible, predictable and accountable than other flows potentially contributing to development; warns against the dilution of ODA criteria with the aim of covering expenses other than those directly linked to promoting sustainable development in developing countries;

59. Reiterates its request that the Council and the Member States set out a clear timeline for reaching the target of raising the ODA budget to 0.7 % of GNI, including the international commitment of spending 0.15 to 0.2% of GNI on ODA to LDCs, and that the Commission present a concrete action plan defining how additional resources will be leveraged towards achieving the SDGs; stresses that the effectiveness of aid is no substitute for adequate aid volumes and that maintaining or exceeding the 0.7 % target for ODA is of great importance; reiterates that the EU budget should make a considerable contribution to increasing EU ODA overall;

60. Reiterates its support for the inclusion in NDICI of the following targets: 20 % for social inclusion and human development; and for at least 85 % of ODA-funded projects, having gender equality and women’s and girls’ rights and empowerment as a principal or significant objective, as defined by the OECD-DAC.

61. Calls for greater policy coherence for development, which seeks to ensure that no EU or Member States’ policies have negative effects on developing countries or contradictory objectives;

62. Notes with grave concern that the EU and Member States are currently attaching conditions to aid related to cooperation by developing countries on migration and border control efforts, which is clearly a donor concern in contradiction with key internationally agreed development effectiveness principles; recalls that aid must keep its purposes of eradicating poverty, reducing inequality, respecting and supporting human rights and meeting humanitarian needs, and must never be conditional on migration control;

63. Reiterates that making aid allocation conditional on cooperation with the EU on migration or security issues is not compatible with agreed development effectiveness principles;

64. Instructs its President to forward this resolution to the Council, the Commission, the governments and parliaments of the OECD member states, the European External Action Service, the European Investment Bank, the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, the World Bank Group, the African Union, the Co-Chairs of the Global Partnership for Effective Development Cooperation, the UN Development Programme, the UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs, the OECD, and the Interparliamentary Union.

EXPLANATORY STATEMENT

 

As agreed in the European Consensus on Development, the EU is committed to support the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals in our development partner countries by 2030. With this report, your rapporteur would like to stress the urgency that all EU development actors strategically use the existing tools on aid effectiveness and efficiency.

 

Business is not as usual. The world is becoming more complex. Geopolitical rivalry for influence and resources as well as internal conflicts are escalating. The impact of climate change affects the most vulnerable. The world’s population is growing faster than gross national income, which increases the number of people living in poverty and unemployment. As of 2030, 30 million young Africans are expected to enter the job market per year. These challenges point at the urgency for development cooperation to have a real impact and contribute to peaceful sustainable development with livelihood security and opportunities.

 

Despite good intentions, EU institutions and Member States are still mainly guided by their institutional or national goals and interests. By coordinating our efforts in a comprehensive manner and by using the aid effectiveness and efficiency tools we have at our disposal our financial commitment can have a strong impact and enable our partner countries to reach the Sustainable Development Goals. 

 

The EU, as the world’s biggest donor, as well as the strongest international actor promoting democracy and human rights, should take the lead. We need to implement the policy objectives in the EU Consensus on Development in a more strategic and targeted manner in each partner country, reinforcing and complementing the EU foreign policy goals and values. The commitments and principles on aid effectiveness and efficiency as well as international commitments towards financing needs are in place. The Union has a powerful toolbox of instruments and aid modalities.

 

There are plenty of opportunities for the EU to move forward in a more comprehensive and coordinated manner:

 

First, by using the ongoing programming exercise linked to NDICI as an opportunity to reinforce coordination. Joint programming needs to go hand in hand with joint implementation: the EU should collectively set strategic priorities and identify investment needs/gaps in the pre-programming phase and subsequently look at ways to optimise the range of modalities in the EU institutions’ toolbox, including grants, budget support and EIB loans, as well as financing from EU Member States.

 

Second, continue to support sectors where projects have been successful and there is a high potential for future sustainability. Use a catalyst approach: choose sectors where a partner country has incentives to continue a project in the absence of funding.

 

Third, using lessons learned from a common EU knowledge base in a strategic and results-oriented manner when defining prioritised sectors in a country. 

 

Fourth, review assessments of successful and failed projects where the possibilities for sustainability are high. For example, choose sectors that to date have been received budget support and where investment needs can be addressed through a combination of EIB loans/Member State financial institutions and expertise.

 

Fifth, using EU and Member State headquarters/delegations’ extensive knowledge of successful and unsuccessful aid modalities in certain sectors on the ground. Continue to tailor EU aid modalities to the local context reflecting the needs and capacity in the country.

 

Sixth, use the aid effectiveness and efficiency tools with the aim of improving transparency with our partner countries.

 

We do not need to reinvent the wheel. Given the magnitude of the funding gap and limited progress towards achieving the SDGs, it is time to be strategic and take full advantage of the combined financial weight and knowledge of all EU institutions and EU Member States – and to use the unique aid effectiveness and efficiency tools at our disposal – to achieve real impact and progress.

 

 

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