More than half of the world’s official development assistance (ODA) originates from Europe. Yet, to what extent are these resources effectively used for fighting poverty and promoting pro-poor and equitable development?
The international community has developed an international framework for making aid more effective over the past decade. The key agreements that set out the principles are the Paris Declaration on Aid Effectiveness and the Accra Agenda for Action. The European Union has not only committed to scaling up their aid to 0.7% of GDP by 2015, it has also committed to focusing these resources on poverty eradication in the European Consensus on Development and in the Lisbon Treaty.
But European donors do not fully deliver on their international commitments. Scaling up aid is far off-track- some donors have even cut their ODA in recent years. The figures they are officially reporting are misleading because they are inflated by imputed non-aid items such as debt relief, or costs for refugees and students from developing countries in Europe. Moreover, the majority of all contracts in EU-funded development projects go to European firms and consultants. Consequently, much European aid never flows to developing countries in the first place, and an additional share quickly flows backs to Europe rather than promoting development and fighting poverty in the South. Most worryingly, while the European treaties clearly state that poverty eradication is the goal of European aid, aid allocation is in fact largely distorted by other foreign policy interests, in particular security and foreign trade.
Eurodad monitors the compliance of European donors with the commitments made on aid quantity and aid effectiveness over the past decade, to make sure that they live up to their promises. Together with our partners from developing countries, we are also exploring new ways and developing new policies on how we can get the most out of European aid in terms of poverty eradication and sustainable development.
In particular, we call on European governments to:
- put an end to aid tying
- stop imposing policy conditionality on recipient countries
- phase out parallel implementation of projects and phase in the use of country systems
- ensure that they do not obstruct full democratic ownership of the development process.