The European Union takes its responsibility to cooperate with the developing world seriously. More than 100 developing countries worldwide receive EU Official Development Assistance (ODA) amounting to over €50 billion a year. This currently accounts for more than 50% of the world's total development aid making the European Union the world’s largest donor. The European Commission is responsible for the management of €11 billion of aid per year, putting it in second place among donors globally.
The European Union ODA is mainly targeted towards achieving long-term development goals (poverty reduction in the context of sustainable development, Millennium Development Goals) but is also used in conflict resolution, humanitarian aid and reconstruction/rehabilitation programmes. Support for biodiversity, water and climate change are among the key areas for development support identified in the European Consensus on Development (2006), Environmental sustainability is also one of the Millennium Development Goals.
Poverty, development and environment are closely linked. The world’s poorest are those most directly dependent on natural resources for their daily survival and therefore most vulnerable to environmental hazards. This is why the European Commission has made the protection and sustainable management of natural resources a key priority in its poverty reduction policies. Integrating environmental concerns into development policy is also key to ensuring that natural resources are protected. The European Union through the various development instruments has paid particular attention to this.