The report draws on the role of the EP Committee on Development to assess how EU policies affect development in a new power granted by the Development Cooperation Instrument (DCI) that entered into in force December 2006. The periodic review of EU policies is called "policy coherence for development (PCD)" and forms part of the 2005 European consensus on development.
MEPs say that the creation of a legal framework that will guarantee protection for current and potential Community investment stemming chiefly from the creation of joint ventures, which presently encounter too many obstacles to investment in the third country, mainly owing to the loss of control over the business and legal uncertainty in almost all countries in the region.
Preventing timber sales from destructive and illegal sources
Concerning timber policies, the report calls on the Commission to propose comprehensive legislation preventing timber from illegal and destructive sources being placed on the market and is concerned that cheap imports of illegal timber destabilises internal markets and reduces the tax revenues of producer countries.
MEPs are concerned about the negative effects of deforestation on climate change and indigenous communities and therefore call on the Commission to "respond favourably to requests to finance sustainable forest management initiatives" and for Member States and the Commission to "speed up the adoption of a green public procurement policy".
More sustainable fishing activities needed
The report calls on the EU to make fishing activities in West Africa more sustainable and considers that the EU's fisheries policy must be in accordance with the Food and Agricultural Organization's (FAO) Code of Conduct.
MEPs call on the Commission and West African Governments to curb illegal fishing and control fish stocks, and also note that when the EU reduces its activities in West African waters, their place may be taken by fleets from countries with less respect for the principles of sustainability.
Local impact of EU policies
The report stresses the importance of policy coherence as one of the EU's contributions to the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals and the impact of EU fisheries and timber policy on local sustainable development.
As more than 80% of the fish and timber exported by the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) goes to the EU, the report states that "the EU can play a significant role for the region's further development in these areas".
In its policy assessment, the report included Member States of ECOWAS (Benin, Burkina Faso, Cape Verde, Côte d'Ivoire, The Gambia, Ghana, Guinea, Guinea Bissau, Liberia, Mali, Niger, Nigeria, Senegal, Sierra Leone, and Togo), Mauritania and Cameroon.