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Procedure : 2016/2139(INI)
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Document selected : A8-0322/2016

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PV 21/11/2016 - 17
CRE 21/11/2016 - 17

Votes :

PV 22/11/2016 - 5.10
CRE 22/11/2016 - 5.10
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Texts adopted
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Tuesday, 22 November 2016 - Strasbourg
Increasing the effectiveness of development cooperation

European Parliament resolution of 22 November 2016 on increasing the effectiveness of development cooperation (2016/2139(INI))

The European Parliament,

–  having regard to the United Nations Summit on Sustainable Development 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, committing UN member states to strengthen the means of implementation of the agenda and to revitalise 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 (Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, 13-16 July 2015) and endorsed by the UN General Assembly in its resolution 69/313 of 27 July 2015(2),

–  having regard to the report of the UN Secretary-General on ‘Trends and progress in international development cooperation’, submitted to the 2016 Session of the Development Cooperation Forum (E/2016/65)(3),

–  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 held in 2008 in Accra (Ghana)(4), 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)(5),

–  having regard to the Dili Declaration of 10 April 2010, which concerns peace-building and state-building, and to the ‘New Deal for Engagement in Fragile States’ launched on 30 November 2011 at the Fourth High Level Forum on Aid Effectiveness,

–  having regard to the Communiqué of the First High-Level Meeting of the GPEDC, held in Mexico City in April 2014(6),

–  having regard to the forthcoming Second High-Level Meeting of the Global Partnership for Effective Development Cooperation, which will take place in Nairobi from 28 November to 1 December 2016(7),

–  having regard to the OECD/UNDP 2014 progress report, ‘Making Development Cooperation More Effective’(8),

–  having regard to the Siem Reap CSO Consensus on the international framework for CSO development effectiveness of 2011,

–  having regard to regard to Article 208 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 which they have agreed to in the context of the UN and other competent organisations and take account of the objectives of development cooperation in the policies that they implement which are likely to affect developing countries,

–  having regard to the 2005 European Consensus on Development(9) and the plans to agree a new Consensus in 2017,

–  having regard to the European Union Code of Conduct on Complementarity and the Division of Labour in Development Policy(10),

–  having regard to the consolidated text of the Operational Framework on Aid Effectiveness(11), which is based on the Council conclusions of 17 November 2009 on ‘An Operational Framework on Aid Effectiveness’, the Council conclusions of 14 June 2010 on ‘Cross-country Division of Labour’ and the Council conclusions of 9 December 2010 on ‘Transparency and Mutual Accountability’,

–  having regard to the Commission Staff Working Document of 26 March 2015, ‘Launching the EU International Cooperation and Development Results Framework’ (SWD(2015)0080), and the Council conclusions of 26 May 2015 on the Results Framework(12),

–  having regard to the Council conclusions of 17 March 2014 on the EU common position for the First High Level Meeting of the Global Partnership for Effective Development Cooperation(13),

–  having regard to the Council conclusions of 26 May 2015 on a New Global Partnership for Poverty Eradication and Sustainable Development after 2015(14),

–  having regard to the Council conclusions of 12 May 2016 on stepping up joint programming(15),

–  having regard to the Council conclusions of 12 May 2016 on the Annual Report 2016 to the European Council on EU development aid targets(16),

–  having regard to the Commission Staff Working Document of 23 June 2015, ‘2015 EU Accountability Report on Financing for Development – Review of progress by the EU and its Member States’ (SWD(2015)0128),

–  having regard to the ‘Global Strategy for the European Union’s Foreign And Security Policy – Shared Vision, Common Action: A Stronger Europe’, presented in June 2016 by the Vice-President of the Commission/High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy(17),

–  having regard to its resolution of 22 May 2008 on the follow-up to the Paris Declaration of 2005 on Aid Effectiveness(18),

–  having regard to its resolution of 5 July 2011 on the future of EU budget support to developing countries(19),

–  having regard to its resolution of 25 October 2011 on the 4th High Level Forum on Aid Effectiveness(20),

–  having regard to its resolution of 11 December 2013 with recommendations to the Commission on EU donor coordination on development aid(21),

–  having regard to its resolution of 19 May 2015 on Financing for Development(22),

–  having regard to its resolution of 14 April 2016 on the private sector and development(23),

–  having regard to its resolution of 12 May 2016 on the follow-up to and review of the 2030 Agenda(24),

–  having regard to its resolution of 7 June 2016 on the EU 2015 Report on Policy Coherence for Development(25),

–  having regard to Rule 52 of its Rules of Procedure,

–  having regard to the report of the Committee on Development (A8-0322/2016),

A.  whereas the principles established by the Paris Declaration and the Accra Agenda for Action remain fully valid and have proven their value in enhancing the quality of development aid, as well as public support for it in donor countries;

B.  whereas the high-level political commitments of the Monterrey Consensus (2002), the Rome Declaration (2003), the Paris Declaration (2005), the Accra Agenda for Action (2008) and the 4th Forum on Aid Effectiveness in Busan (2011) all pursue the same goal of improving quality of implementation, management and use of official development assistance in order to maximise its impact;

C.  whereas aid effectiveness principles have clearly contributed to progress towards the Millennium Development Goals in many countries, but progress remains uneven and not all principles have been fully implemented in all countries and by all development actors at all times;

D.  whereas the Global Partnership can play a crucial role in the implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the achievement of the SDGs, by shifting the focus from the concept of ‘aid effectiveness’, referring to traditional public development aid, to that of ‘development cooperation effectiveness’;

E.  whereas Official Development Assistance (ODA) can play a crucial role in delivering on the 2030 Agenda, in particular in low-income countries and in fighting extreme poverty and inequality, if it is better targeted and if it respects the principles of effective development cooperation, namely democratic country ownership, alignment, strengthening local capacity, transparency and democratic accountability, focus on results, and inclusiveness; stresses that aid conditionalities shall respect the principles of democratic ownership;

F.  whereas besides development aid and cooperation, other development policy tools are necessary to effectively eradicate poverty and promote the SDGs;

G.  whereas budget support has many advantages, such as the responsibility of the state, more precise analysis of outcomes, greater policy coherence, more effective aid forecasting, and optimum use of the funds available directly for the benefit of the population;

H.  whereas the private sector is becoming, alongside other traditional governmental and non-governmental development organisations, a true partner in our development strategies, in terms of achieving inclusive and sustainable development;

I.  whereas it is essential for aid effectiveness that recipient countries apply in parallel pro-growth economic policies introducing market economy mechanisms, mobilisation of private capital and land reforms, as well as progressively opening their markets to global competition;

J.  whereas according to a Commission study, the fragmentation of the aid effort means an additional cost of between EUR 2 and 3 billion a year for the EU;

K.  whereas the Global Partnership for Effective Development Cooperation (GPEDC) provides an inclusive forum bringing together governments, bilateral and multilateral organisations, civil society, parliaments, trade unions and the private sector from all countries alike;

L.  whereas the GPEDC focuses on the conduct of and relationship between development actors, the effective implementation of development policies and programmes, and monitoring progress in respecting the crucial principles defined over the past decade, in order to improve the effectiveness of all actors’ efforts for development; whereas its articulation with the global development architecture overseeing the implementation of the 2030 Agenda should be clarified;

M.  whereas countries such as China, Brazil, Turkey, Russia and India play an increasingly important role as emerging donors and for the transfer of development expertise and technology, not least thanks to their own recent and current development experience; whereas their engagement with more traditional donors in the promotion of global public goods and their participation in inclusive development cooperation in the GPEDC can be enhanced;

N.  whereas the Commission plays an active role within the Steering Committee of the GPEDC, and one of its co-chairs has been from an EU Member State, the Netherlands; whereas Germany is taking over this co-chairing role;

O.  whereas country ownership in development cooperation requires alignment of donors to national development plans and the internationally agreed SDGs and targets, as well as domestic participation as regards design and accountability in the implementation of development plans and programmes;

P.  whereas aid yields a double dividend when it not only funds development projects but is also spent locally, on locally produced goods and services; whereas, therefore, the strengthening of country systems and national procurement systems is an essential element for aid effectiveness in accordance with the Paris Declaration on Aid Effectiveness and for enhancing good governance and democratic accountability in partner countries;

Q.  whereas provider-driven development cooperation agendas and tied aid, including in the area of procurement, can be an expression of diverse political interests which sometimes conflict with development policies and may risk undermining the ownership and sustainability of development assistance and past progress on alignment, resulting in ineffectiveness and increasing dependency; whereas local ownership has an important role to play in ensuring effective development for citizens;

R.  whereas there is now greater use of results frameworks for measuring the achievements of development cooperation programmes, but the full ownership and use of those frameworks by developing countries remain a persistent challenge;

S.  whereas the 2016 GPEDC Monitoring round shows that progress in the use of country systems remains low and that untying aid has not further progressed and is still at the 80 % peak reached in 2010;

T.  whereas parliamentarians of partner countries, local authorities and civil society continue to express dissatisfaction with the degree to which they are involved in and informed on development cooperation programming and implementation;

U.  whereas development effectiveness, understood as the effective use of all means and resources geared towards development, including poverty reduction, depends both on aid-providing and on recipient countries, as well as on the existence of effective and responsive institutions, sound policies, the involvement of local stakeholders and civil society, the rule of law, inclusive democratic governance, the presence of effective and transparent follow-up mechanisms, and safeguards against corruption within developing countries and illicit financial flows at international level; whereas the GPEDC should play an increased role in facilitating and promoting progress on the above determinants for development;

V.  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;

W.  whereas South-South cooperation has continued to grow, despite the slowing-down of emerging economies and falling commodity prices;

X.  whereas the development landscape is becoming increasingly heterogeneous, with more poor people living in middle-income countries than in low-income countries; whereas at the same time, development challenges have changed in nature, with the emergence of new global challenges such as migration, food security, peace and stability, and climate change;

1.  Calls on all development actors to build on the commitments made from Paris to Busan, and to renew and reinforce their efforts to make development cooperation as effective as possible with a view to achieving the ambitious goals and targets set out in the 2030 Agenda and making the best use of public and private resources for development;

2.  Calls for the utilisation of all development policy tools for poverty eradication and the promotion of the SDGs; is of the opinion that the effectiveness of development funding should be assessed on the basis of concrete results and its contribution to development policy as a whole;

3.  Stresses the key role of Official Development Assistance (ODA) in fulfilling the development effectiveness agenda, for poverty eradication, reduction of inequality, delivering essential public services and supporting good governance; underlines that ODA is more flexible, predictable and accountable than other flows potentially contributing to development;

4.  Recalls that sufficient funding is a prerequisite for effective development cooperation; notes that most ODA providers have not met their commitment to allocate 0,7 % of GNI to development assistance by 2015, resulting in more than USD 2 trillion not being made available to developing countries for attaining the Millennium Development Goals;

5.  Urges the EU and its Member States to meet their long-standing commitment to devote 0,7 % of GNI to aid, to step up their development assistance, including through the EU budget and the European Development Fund (EDF), and to adopt an effective roadmap in order to achieve the commitment target in a transparent, predictable and accountable way; 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;

6.  Notes with concern that as of mid-2015, only five EU Member States had published Busan implementation plans; urges Member States to publish implementation plans and report on their efforts prior to the Second High Level Meeting of the GPEDC (HLM2), which will take place in Nairobi from 28 November to 1 December 2016;

7.  Calls for the outcome document of the HLM2 to clearly address and assign differentiated roles and responsibilities of development actors and institutions for implementing the agenda and applying the principles, in order to enhance progress and facilitate future cooperation;

8.  Notes the Mexican proposal for inclusion of a fifth development effectiveness principle, i.e. ‘Leave No-one Behind’; acknowledges the importance of placing a strong focus on poor, vulnerable and marginalised groups, duly taking into account gender equality and situations of fragility and conflict, in the context of the development effectiveness agenda; takes the view that, while this principle would correspond to the general philosophy and the overarching commitment of the 2030 Agenda, its possible inclusion should be accompanied by serious discussion and reflection on its operationalisation, notably regarding issues of mainstreaming and indicators;

9.  Highlights the need to position the GPEDC strongly in the context of the implementation of the 2030 Agenda and the Addis Ababa Action Agenda; considers that the GPEDC can provide added value if its work is strategically phased and tailored in view of the work and calendar of the UN ECOSOC Development Cooperation Forum, the Financing for Development Forum, and the High Level Political Forum;

10.  Stresses that the GPEDC should play a strong role in the evidence-based aspects of monitoring and accountability as regards effectiveness principles for achieving the SDGs and in supporting their fuller implementation by all actors at national level; underlines the need for the GPEDC to provide clearly defined channels for cooperation for specific development actors beyond OECD donors, including emerging donors, local and regional governments, civil society organisations, private philanthropists, financial institutions, private-sector companies and trade unions; believes that the chairing arrangements of the GPEDC should reflect the diversity of stakeholders;

11.  Recalls that growth of 1 % in Africa represents more than double the amount of official development aid;

12.  Believes that the GPEDC ought to play a leading role in ensuring progress on SDG 17, namely on monitoring and accountability, increased effectiveness of aid, quality and capacity aspects of finance for development, tax and debt sustainability, mobilising the private sector and its responsibility for sustainable development, transparency, policy coherence, multi-stakeholder partnerships, and South-South and triangular cooperation;

13.  Underlines the important role the GPEDC has to play regarding SDG indicator 17.16.1, notably in achieving more effective and inclusive multi-stakeholder partnerships to support and sustain the implementation of the 2030 Agenda, by measuring the quality of their development efforts; welcomes the 2016 Monitoring Round, noting that the number of development partners engaged in this exercise has increased, and looks forward to the publication of the Progress Report;

14.  Encourages the parties to the GPEDC to consider the creation of a more independent and properly resourced permanent secretariat for it, building on the work of the Joint Support Team, and urges EU Member States and partner countries to designate national focal points;

15.  Points out that the European Parliament should be enabled fully to play its vital role of democratic scrutiny for all EU policies, including development policies, and demands to be informed regularly and in a timely manner on the positions taken by the Commission in the GPEDC Steering Committee;

16.  Welcomes the progress made, and recommends that the Commission make further efforts to ensure that all actors concerned have access to information on transparency of development cooperation programming, funding mechanisms, projects and aid flows, in particular in the context of the International Aid Transparency Initiative (IATI) and the setting-up of the ‘EU Aid Explorer’ website; points out, however, that major steps still need to be taken in this regard, and demands that further significant efforts be urgently made by all donors to make information and data more accessible, timely and comparable; calls on those Member States which are not yet contributing to IATI to start doing so; calls on the Commission and the Member States to make use of the data available, and also to support partner countries by promoting exchange of information and good practices in this regard;

17.  Considers that monitoring, review, and knowledge-sharing about progress in development are of paramount importance in order to enhance the accountability and impact of cooperation, particularly at country level; urges the Commission, therefore, to submit reports, at least every 24 months, on the efforts and action plans of both the EU and the Member States with a view to comprehensively implementing the Busan principles; calls on the EU to further support partner countries in the improvement of their administrative and logistical capacity, and in particular their statistical systems;

18.  Welcomes the OECD’s initiatives potentially contributing to reducing illicit financial flows, and calls on the international community to enhance cooperation in order to increase the transparency of tax regimes and financial flows more generally; insists on the crucial role and responsibilities of multinational companies and financial institutions in this regard;

19.  Invites the Commission and EU delegations and Member States’ agencies to inform national parliaments and, to the extent possible, local and regional authorities, as well as private stakeholders and civil society, about programming and financial commitments in relation to development assistance, by publishing country-specific development cooperation reviews, which should provide an overview of strategic documents, donor coordination, Annual Action Plans and ongoing and planned programmes, as well as calls for projects and procurements or other funding mechanisms used;

20.  Encourages recipient countries’ parliaments to adopt national policies on development aid in order to improve the accountability of donors and of recipient governments, including that of local authorities, enhance public financial management and absorption capacity, eradicate corruption and all forms of aid wastage, make tax systems effective, and improve conditions for receiving budget support, as well as, in the long run, reducing dependence on aid;

21.  Considers it important to promote participation by all Member States in the Addis Tax Initiative, in order to double technical assistance by 2020 and strengthen the taxation capacity of partner countries;

22.  Calls on the Commission and the Member States to engage with national parliaments of partner countries with a view to constructively supporting the development of such policies, complementing them with mutual accountability arrangements; welcomes the Commission’s efforts to improve domestic accountability in the context of budget support by reinforcing the institutional capacities of national parliaments and Supreme Audit Institutions;

23.  Underlines the role in development of citizens, local communities, elected representatives, faith-based organisations, civil society organisations (CSOs), academia, trade unions and the private sector, and stresses that all these actors need to be involved in furthering and implementing the effectiveness agenda at various levels; believes that their effective contribution requires their participatory involvement in planning and implementing, mutual accountability and transparency, monitoring and evaluation, and that donors should improve predictability and speediness when working with these actors as implementing partners and basic service supply partners, in order genuinely to reach the most vulnerable sections of the population;

24.  Stresses that assistance can only be sustained when recipients are strongly committed and in charge; insists on the importance of shared responsibility for development results, including for the implementation of the Istanbul Principles, and recalls that democratic ownership requires strong institutions that can ensure the full participation of local actors in the implementation, monitoring and evaluation of development programmes;

25.  Underlines the importance of enabling CSOs to exercise their role as independent development actors, with a particular focus on an enabling environment that is consistent with agreed international 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;

26.  Welcomes the EU’s progress on and commitment to Joint Programming; notes that Joint Programming should reduce aid fragmentation and transaction costs, increase complementarity through better division of labour, and enhance domestic and mutual accountability as well as predictability of development cooperation, thus offering clear advantages for the EU and partner countries alike; observes that Joint Programming has been explored in 59 out of 110 partner countries in receipt of EU development assistance; calls on the Member States and partner countries to advance their engagement with Joint Programming in order to exploit its advantages fully and in all possible countries;

27.  Recalls its request(26) for the codification and strengthening of the mechanisms and practices for ensuring better complementarity and effective coordination of development aid among EU Member States and institutions, providing clear and enforceable rules for ensuring democratic domestic ownership, harmonisation, alignment with country strategies and systems, predictability of funds, transparency and mutual accountability; asks the Commission to provide information on the absence of follow-up on this request and to state what alternative measures it has taken or intends to take in this regard;

28.  Recalls that the EU and its Member States are committed to untying their aid, and acknowledges the progress made in this area; calls for further efforts to accelerate untying of aid at global level by all providers of development aid, including emerging economies; calls on aid providers to use partner countries’ procurement systems as a first option;

29.  Calls on the Commission and the Member States to develop new initiatives to enhance South-South and triangular cooperation flagship projects, involving new emerging donors and other middle-income countries and based on tackling global challenges of mutual interest, without losing the perspective of eradicating poverty; highlights the need to harness the full potential of decentralised cooperation in order to further the development effectiveness agenda, whilst respecting all safeguards in relation to transparency, effectiveness and coherence and avoiding further fragmentation of the international aid architecture;

30.  Stresses that development assistance can play an important role in fighting poverty, tackling inequalities and promoting development, in particular of least developed countries, as well as in boosting access to quality public services for the most deprived and vulnerable groups and catalysing other critical systemic factors that are conducive to development, such as promoting gender equality (as articulated in the Busan Partnership), education, and the strengthening of health systems, including the fight against poverty-related diseases, if employed in a context of legitimate, inclusive governance based on the rule of law and respect for human rights;

31.  Underlines the significance of SDG 16 for development effectiveness overall, and warns that development aid cannot effectively fulfil its purpose in the absence of peace, respect for human rights and the rule of law, an impartial, efficient and independent judicial system, internationally recognised social, environmental and labour standards and safeguards for the integrity of public institutions and office-holders, inclusive, participatory and representative decision-making at all levels, and transparency and accountability;

32.  Recalls that corruption in recipient countries, whether directly linked to development assistance or not, constitutes a serious violation of democratic legitimacy and harms public support for development assistance in donor countries; welcomes, therefore, all measures taken to promote sound financial management and eradicate corruption once and for all, while noting that the situation in many partner countries by definition implies a certain degree of risk;

33.  Urges Member States and other donors to scale up efforts and human resources in better conceptualising effectiveness and deep analysis in contexts of fragility, post-conflict and conflict prevention, where desired outcomes may not always be captured in the form of data and within results frameworks;

34.  Firmly believes that the private sector is an important partner in achieving the SDGs and mobilising further resources for development; stresses that, given their increasing role in development cooperation, private-sector actors must align with development effectiveness principles and abide by the principles of corporate accountability throughout the whole lifecycle of projects; acknowledges the efforts of some private- sector actors to take on board human rights commitments, social inclusion and sustainability as core to their business models, and calls for the generalisation of this approach; points out the need for the private sector to respect the principles of international law and social and environmental standards, as well as the UN Global Compact on Human Rights, UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights, ILO core labour standards and the UN Convention Against Corruption; calls on the Commission to ensure that companies operating from tax havens do not participate in ODA-financed projects; underlines in parallel the need for partner countries to foster an enabling environment for businesses, including transparent legal and regulatory systems;

35.  Instructs its President to forward this resolution to the Council, the Commission, the EEAS, the Parliament and Government of Kenya as hosts of the Second High-Level Meeting of the GPEDC, the Co-Chairs of the GPEDC, the United Nations Development Programme, the OECD and the Interparliamentary Union.

(9) OJ C 46, 24.2.2006, p. 1.
(10) Council Conclusions 9558/07, 15.5.2007.
(11) Council document 18239/10.
(17) Council document 10715/16.
(18) OJ C 279 E, 19.11.2009, p. 100.
(19) OJ C 33 E, 5.2.2013, p. 38.
(20) OJ C 131 E, 8.5.2013, p. 80.
(21) Texts adopted, P7_TA(2013)0558.
(22) OJ C 353, 27.9.2016, p. 2.
(23) Texts adopted, P8_TA(2016)0137.
(24) Texts adopted, P8_TA(2016)0224.
(25) Texts adopted, P8_TA(2016)0246.
(26) Texts adopted of 11 December 2013, P7_TA(2013)0558.

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