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Cross cutting issues

The European development consensusidentifies four “cross-cutting issues” of major importance for development:

They are issues that impact in more than one field - since wealth and wellbeing in a given country/region are generally affected by a series of interconnected factors.

It is important for development policy to identify such issues, since it is less effective to tackle individual sectors/issues – e.g. improving roads - in isolation, ignoring these external factors.

Cross-cutting issues require action in multiple fields and should thus be integrated into all areas of donor programmes and be addressed in all political dialogue on development.

Backed by international agreements

Cross-cutting issues are laid down in a number of international conventions, declarations and treaties on development that are bindingon EU countries and most beneficiary countries.

The broad policy goals for the issues have therefore been set. They must be taken into account at all stages of the funding cycle, and the EU cannot support action that may result in a beneficiary country infringing its obligations under these agreements.

Possible future additions to the list of cross-cutting themes are 'Disability', 'Culture', 'Conflict prevention' and 'Decent Work'.

Better EU development strategies

By including the most relevant cross-cutting issues in its development strategies, the EU is able to respond more effectively to particular circumstances in each country/region.

Example of how this works - Environmental profiling in EU development programmes

Taking account of cross-cutting issues helps donors:

  • identify the key constraints affecting growth, poverty reduction, equity, opportunity, security and empowerment in a given country
  • work with national stakeholders on measures to address these issues
  • incorporate such measures into the domestic development strategy
  • monitor the outcomes of a policy of integrating cross-cutting issues.
Last update: 17/02/2012 | Top