CONCORD AidWatch statement on the Council Conclusions on the Annual Report 2014

CONCORD AidWatch statement on the Council Conclusions on the Annual Report 2014 to the European Council on EU Development Aid Targets
On 19 May 2014, the Foreign Affairs Council endorsed the Council Conclusions on the Annual Report 2014 to the European Council on EU Development Aid Targets. The report has been produced annually since 2010 as a monitoring tool for the European Council on the aid quantity target 0.7% of GNI to official development assistance by 2015.
Just one year before the deadline, the EU Member States have to increase their Official Development Assitance by €41.3billion in order to reach the 0.7% target. The EU is repeating its aid commitments without making any concrete action to reach the target. This is unacceptable. Moreover, the EU will lose its credibility if it steps back from its commitments especially ahead of the UN Financing for Development in post 2015.
Aid commitments in the Post 2015 framework
The 0,7% of income to ODA is a standing target that comes from the deliberations endorsed at the UN level, and reiterated globally in different international fora. The EU cannot simply live with its current poor performance as responsibilities for meeting the global solidarity commitments will just grow larger with the post 2015 agenda, which captures the entire set of sustainable goals to include development, social and environmental challenges. The need for development finance will not diminish; Europe cannot count on its performance’s going unnoticed by its partners. To restore its credibility, all EU Member States need submit reliable timetable to fill the current gap
for the committed resources.
Aid to Business
As the EU commits to the rapidly increasing trend of using development aid to subsidise private finance, it is important to highlight that growth must put people, especially the most marginalised, first, and not profits. There needs to be transparent and accountable structures to adequately show how these interventions reduce poverty, tackles economic inequality and improves the lives of the poorest. The Commission seems to ignore that the business sector is now globally seen as an “important actor in development cooperation” in its own right and therefore the sector is expected to comply with and reinforce the effectiveness principles.
Reform of ODA definition
The official definition of aid is currently under discussion at the OECD DAC. The latest development of the debates suggests that DAC members want to broaden the ODA definition by inclusions of such sources that do not have necessarily direct impact on poverty eradication in developing countries. This trend could raise countries aid figures without any additional budgetary effort and potentially cause that the EU member states will reach 0.7% target without any impact on the poor people of the partner countries.