Commission's development aid makes a difference - shows the annual report on development and external assistance
Today, European Commissioner for Development, Andris Piebalgs, presents the 2010 Report on development and external assistance, as the EU Development Ministers meet in Poland. 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.