In parallel to the meeting of the EU Development Ministers in Poland, the European Commission publishes the 2011 Report on development and external assistance. It confirms the Commission as one of the largest providers of development aid in the world, with commitments and disbursements exceeding €11 billion respectively. The priorities for 2010 were to continue ensuring progress of the Millennium Development Goals and to help developing countries tackling the impact of the economic downturn and the food prices instability. EU aid's intention was to prevent progress from backsliding because of the crisis and to consolidate what has been achieved.
Keeping MDGs on target
There is global consensus that attaining the Millennium Development Goals requires additional effort. The EU led the way and announced last September its €1 billion MDG initiative to boost and focus progress. In 2011, the Commission will continue to drive ideas for an EU development policy that is fit for the future and promotes inclusive growth, sustainable development, and democracy and human rights. It will present its proposals in October.
Ensuring food security
In 2010, the European Commission continued to be at the forefront of fighting hunger and poverty worldwide in the aftermath of the recent food and economic crises. The Food Facility, established in 2009, has demonstrated Europe’s ability to react rapidly, efficiently and transparently to a global food security crisis. By the end of 2010, the full amount of €1 billion had been committed and more than 80% of the payments were made. The Facility has funded 222 projects, benefitting more than 50 million people.
Two examples for its success: Over a million small farmer families have been reached in Zimbabwe by improving crop and livestock production and market access. A project in the Congolese Province of Bandundu triggered a threefold increase or staple food (to more than 1 000 tonnes per year) of regional agricultural production delivered to the market in Kinshasa. The number of undernourished people is estimated to have fallen to 925 million in 2010 compared with 1.02 billion in 2009.
Supporting Democracy and Human Rights
Recent events in the Arab world have demonstrated once again that democracy and human rights are an essential prerequisite of sustainable development. Through the €1.1 billion (2007-2013) European Instrument for Democracy and Human Rights (EIDHR) the EU integrates support for democracy and human rights into all its external policies. A total of 66 local calls for proposals were launched and 434 grants contracts were signed in 2010 for a total value of €69 million.
A success story of the EIDHR work is the fight against torture in Guatemala and Peru where more than 5500 persons were trained on prevention of physical and psychological torture. In 2010, the EU also supported electoral assistance programmes and projects in numerous countries, providing about €100 million. A good example for promoting the electoral participation of women comes from Sudan, where an EU project raised awareness among rural people and women, provide education on civil rights, census, voter registration, and the use of local radio and cassettes to spread voting information.
Progress on the provision of basic social services
In Bangladesh, 480 schools are supported by the EU, a total of 595 teachers are being trained and over 15 500 children are at present benefiting from new schools and the improved quality of teaching and learning.
Access to drinking water
In Samoa, access to drinking water was significantly increased to 88% of the population and the number of primary schools and hospitals with acceptable levels of sanitation facilities rose to 88% as well.
Aid for trade and agriculture
In Nicaragua, a programme helped local producers to raise quality standards to improve exports: 100 cattle farms now apply traceability norms and 30 shrimp farms meet EU standards.
In Ethiopia, a food self-sufficiency programme increased agricultural production capacity in 33 districts, reaching 7.4 million beneficiaries in 2010.
Continuous priority to ensuring quality of aid implementation
The European Commission constantly monitors the effects of EU development policy and its impact to see if projects are on target to deliver the intended results. In 2010, a record number of more than 2000 projects were assessed, the overwhelming majority of which were found to deliver good or very good results.
Share of external aid in the EU budget
2010 commitments for external aid amounted to €11.107 billion. This total combines resources from the EU budget and the European Development Fund and represents 8% expressed as a share of the budget (9% in 2009).
30% (€3.23 billion) of all aid was committed to Africa, which is by far the largest share, compared to other regions in the world. 24% was directed at sub-Saharan Africa, 6% to Northern Africa. €2.06 billion (19%) was dedicated to Asia, €934 (9%) million to Latin America, and €116 million to Oceania. Assistance to Eastern European countries and pre-accession countries was €2.23 billion (21%).
40% (€4.283 billion) of the European Commission's aid was invested in social infrastructure such as education, health, water and government but also in targeting civil society. The results of EU support in this area are impressive: For example, 9 million children have been enrolled in primary education since 2005. 31 million households have been connected to better drinking water.
Humanitarian assistance: In the aftermath of the devastating earthquake in Haiti, the Commission provided humanitarian assistance of €122 million; it mobilised €150 million of immediate assistance to cope with the disastrous floods in Pakistan. But Europe secured fast and efficient help for many other countries as well: 13% of the Commission's aid (€1.332 billion) was devoted to humanitarian aid (emergency response, reconstruction and rehabilitation, disaster prevention and preparedness).
Another 13% were targeted at multisector and crosscutting programmes. 12% (€1.235 billion) went into the production sector (agriculture, forestry and fishery, industry etc.).
€1.07 billion financed projects in economic infrastructure and services, adding, for example to the 36,000 km of roads that the EU has helped to construct and maintain in the last five years.
The sector that covers food aid and food security received €782 million (7%), adding, among other things, to the 24 million people that have been helped with social transfers related to food security since 2005.
In 2010, the Commission committed €1.8 billion of EU aid funds for external cooperation as budget support, a mechanism under which European funds are made available to governments of beneficiary countries and their national budgets, provided agreed conditions for payment are met.
For more info
The whole report
Website of Development and Cooperation DG - EuropeAid:
Website of the European Commissioner for Development, Andris Piebalgs: