By Counter Balance, Eurodad, Green Alternative Georgia,
We welcome the intention to improve coordination of EU development and external cooperation actions. However we urge the Group of Experts (GoE) to take a step back and reflect on the key concerns that stakeholders have raised, and ensure a proper evaluation is done of current operations before proceeding: a preliminary decision must not be rushed.
We would like to bring to the attention of the GoE the following key issues, detailed in the main sections of this submission:
- The purpose and added value of the proposed Platform – development impacts must be properly assessed, stakeholder views considered, and objectives rethought – in particular by not mixing development objectives with other objectives such as visibility.
- Blending – is this the answer? – There are a number of key concerns, including: the risk of financial incentives outweighing development principles; insufficient attention to transparency and accountability; unclear monitoring and evaluation methods; opportunity costs may be high, but are not carefully considered; and there are debt risks for developing countries of increasing lending.
We have also included annexes on lessons learned from the Neighbourhood Investment Facility (NIF) and the Tblisi railway bypass project.
The main purpose of the expert group as established by the GoE is to identify the “potential benefits and costs (value added) of establishing such a Platform”, including identifying the stakeholders and then propose recommendations for the establishment or not of such Platform. However, we are concerned that the platform will be created regardless of the findings and that its key objectives will be to help establish new blending facilities, while enhancing EU visibility, rather than considering carefully the development benefits.