It is with great interest that I took note of the findings of ONE’s “The 2012 Data Report” which examines EU progress in reaching development aid funding and assesses the quality of aid provided by the EU institutions and Member States. I was particularly pleased to see that the EU institutions rank in first position on Transparency and among the leaders in terms of aid efficiency and evaluation. The report also recognises a strong push made by EU institutions to demonstrate the value of development work and clearly communicate not only on inputs, but also on results. In times of constrained resources, this is a strong encouragement to pursue our objective to use aid in the most efficient way in order to achieve the highest impact, as stated the “An Agenda for Change”.
On Official Development Assistance, while the report rightly underlines the need to increase aid budgets to meet the 0.7% target, I’m happy to see that it reminds at the same time that the EU, together with Member States, is the largest donor in the world with €53 billion of development aid in 2011, which represents more than 54% of global aid. The report also points out that the EU is still lagging behind its aid targets towards Africa. In our “Agenda for Change”, I made it clear that I want to focus aid even more on the poorest of the planet, in particular those who live in the Least Developed Countries (LDCs). As majority of the LDCs are in Africa, this push will obviously result in a greater proportion of aid going to Africa.
However, this is no time for complacency. This year will witness key decisions that will set the stage for progress in development policy, notably the negotiations on the Multi-Annual Financial Framework. I am pleased to see the report’s conclusions according to which the European Commission “plays a key role in the global fight against extreme poverty” and that EU budget helps Member States to achieve their individual aid commitments. ONE also recognises the added value of channeling development aid through the EU and acknowledges the EU’s coordination role.
While I take note of the recommandations to further improve our work and impact on the ground, this report is a valuable input for us in the framework of the discussions on the next 7 year budget and the next European Development Fund (2014-2020). The Commission’s proposal was designed to help Member States to achieve EU collective target and increase efficiency of aid. I share the view that, in order to meet the 0.7% of GNI dedicated to aid, political courage and leadership is required but I’m confident that European governments will not make savings on the back of the poor. As Commissioner for Development, I will continue to call on Member States to keep their promises.