Statement from Development Commissioner, Andris Piebalgs, in response to Aidwatch report "Making Sense of EU Development Cooperation Effectiveness"
I welcome Aidwatch's initiative in launching this special report on the first anniversary of the Busan Partnership Agreement on Effective Development Co-operation, especially in the light of the changing development landscape in this area. Last year's High Level Forum at Busan was a big step forward on the aid effectiveness agenda, and reports like this are very helpful in keeping this issue in the spotlight.
The European Commission has long been a leader in transparency and in making aid more effective, and many of the report's findings reflect the pioneering work done in pushing forward the aid effectiveness agenda. We scored an impressive fifth place among all donors on transparency in watchdog Publish What You Fund's recent Transparency Index - a clear indication that our work in this area (such as on the recent implementation of the International Aid Transparency Initiative, an innovative transparency standard which makes our data on aid projects more easily available) - is bearing fruit and that the Commission is increasingly accountable to both EU citizens and partner countries. The report echoes this, pointing out that this is an area where new work has been done.
The report also highlights the new work done in the area of joint programming of EU development cooperation and I am pleased to see our work in this area being recognised. Last year at Busan, I announced the EU Joint Programming of Aid – an enhanced approach to development cooperation whereby the EU and its Member States jointly assess the priorities in each partner country to establish a common framework to implement their development programmes with the objective of less fragmentation and better impact on the ground. Joint programming is making concrete progress: beyond the initial pilot countries identified to implement joint programming, the conditions are ripe in other partner countries to bring this agenda forward.
I was also glad to see our 'Agenda for Change' (the Commission's proposal to refocus its work to prioritise those areas and countries where its support is most needed) being singled out for praise. I'm pleased to see that our work on development policy is being recognised - after all, aid effectiveness is not just about delivery; we need the right policy in place in order for our work on the ground is as effective as it can be.
In conclusion, this statement provides lots of interesting food for thought on aid and development effectiveness. Even if some of its findings may be challenged, it provides us with an opportunity to discuss this issue in more detail and to make sure that we keep the media and development community's attention focused on it. It's clear that if we are to stand any chance of meeting the Millennium Development Goals by 2015, then making sure that our aid is as effective, joined up and transparent as possible going forward is vital.