Development Cooperation refers to the partnership established towards achieving global economic, social and political development and it includes all forms of assistance provided by developed or developing countries towards this goal. The flows of official financing (provided by governments) administered for the promotion of the economic development and welfare of developing countries is called “Official Development Assistance” (ODA).
Global development benefits the world as a whole, safeguards a more equitable distribution of the world’s wealth and fosters long term growth and stability, as more countries become contributors to the world economy and free themselves from reliance on foreign assistance. Having this in mind, it is important to distinguish Development Cooperation from temporary relief operations or emergency assistance. Although meeting people’s immediate needs is of the utmost importance and it is statistically reported in the total ODA figures, the focus of Development Cooperation is to engage mostly in activities that promote economic and social growth.
Landmark international efforts towards more and better aid.
The “Millennium Declaration” - The International Community unites against poverty.
At the UN Millennium Summit which took place in New York, in September 2000, world leaders agreed to join efforts towards a better world future and adopted the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) which focused on the following:
1. Eradication of poverty
2. Achievement of universal primary education
3. Promotion of gender equality
4. Reduction of child mortality
5. Improvement of maternal health
6. Combating HIV/AIDS, malaria and other diseases
7. Ensuring environmental sustainability
8. Developing a global partnership for development
The Monterrey Targets.
At the International Conference on Financing for Development (ICFD) held in March 2002 in Monterrey, developed countries committed themselves to take concrete steps towards the achievement of the target of 0.7% of Gross National Income (GNI) as ODA towards developing countries until 2015. In the same year in Barcelona, the European Union adopted the Monterrey decisions and moved a step further, adopting the “Barcelona Commitments”, which are:
(a) Examine the means and timeframe for each EU Member State to reach the UN target of 0,7% Official Development Assistance (ODA) of Gross National Income (GNI), by adopting intermediary targets.
(b) Improve aid effectiveness through closer coordination and harmonization.
(c) Take measures with regard to untying of aid (waive any requirement on recipient country that goods and services should be purchased from the donor country).
For the implementation of these objectives the Council of the European Union agreed in 2005 that:
(a) Member States that had not reached a level of 0.51% ODA/GNI by that time should undertake to reach that level by 2010 while the target of 0.7% should be reached by 2015.
(b) Member States which joined the EU after 2004 should strive to increase their ODA/GNI to the level of 0.17% by 2010 and to the level of 0.33% by 2015.
The effectiveness of Official Development Assistance (the degree to which development aid works) has varied in achieving a significant correlation between aid and the growth rates of GDP in developing countries. Various reasons have contributed to this lack of effectiveness e.g. too many donors and projects, excessive aid concentration in some regions (“aid darlings”), while other regions attract far less assistance (“aid orphans”), lack of coordination between donors, duplication of efforts, weaknesses in partner countries’ institutional capacities etc.
The EU has committed to Aid Effectiveness both internationally (notably Paris Declaration, Accra Agenda for Action and Busan Partnership for Effective Development Co-operation) and internally (notably the Code of Conduct of Complementarity and Division of Labour, the Operational Framework on Aid Effectiveness and the Council Conclusions on the EU Common Position for the Fourth High Level Forum on Aid Effectiveness, including the "EU Transparency Guarantee" and the "European Union strengthening Joint Multi-annual Programming").
The Fourth High Level Forum on Aid Effectiveness (Busan - Korea, 29 November-1 December 2011) follows meetings in Rome, Paris and Accra. The five principles that were agreed at these fora encourage local ownership, alignment of development programmes around a country’s development strategy, harmonisation of practices to reduce transaction costs, avoidance of fragmented efforts and the creation of results frameworks.
The “European Consensus on Development” .
EU action in the field of development is based on the European Consensus on Development, signed on 20 December 2005, whereby EU Member States, the Council, the European Parliament and the Commission agreed to a policy statement that reflects the EU's willingness to eradicate poverty and build a more stable and equitable world.
The Consensus identifies shared values, goals, principles and commitments which the European Commission and EU Member States will implement in their development policies, in particular:
Reducing poverty – particularly focusing on the Millennium Development Goals. This will help meet other challenges such as sustainable development, HIV/AIDS, security, conflict prevention, forced migration etc., to bring about equitable globalisation.
Development based on Europe's democratic values – respect for human rights, democracy, fundamental freedoms and the rule of law, good governance, gender equality, solidarity, social justice and effective multilateral action, particularly through the UN.
Developing countries are mainly responsible for their own development – based on national strategies developed in collaboration with non-government bodies and mobilising domestic resources. EU aid will be aligned with these national strategies and procedures.