Sustainable development - global partnership

Data from July 2015. Most recent data: Further Eurostat information, Database.

This article provides an overview of statistical data on sustainable development in the area of global partnership. It is based on the set of sustainable development indicators the European Union (EU) agreed upon for monitoring its sustainable development strategy. This article is part of a set of statistical articles for monitoring sustainable development, which are based on the Eurostat publication 'Sustainable development in the European Union - 2015 monitoring report of the EU sustainable development strategy'. The report is published every two years and provides an overview of progress towards the goals and objectives set in the EU sustainable development strategy.

Table 1 summarises the state of affairs in the area of global partnership. Quantitative rules, applied consistently across indicators and visualised through weather symbols, provide a relative assessment of whether Europe is moving in the right direction and at a sufficient pace, given the objectives and targets defined in the strategy.

Table 1: Evaluation of changes in the global partnership theme (EU-28)

Overview of the main changes

The EU is not on track to meet its target on ‘official development assistance’ (ODA). In spite of a slight increase in the long term (2000 to 2014), the short-term trend (2009 to 2014) saw a slight decline in the share of ODA in gross national income (GNI). The EU is increasingly lagging behind its path towards the 0.7 % gross national income (GNI) target for 2015. However, compared with other countries in the world, the EU remains the world’s largest donor, also in terms of ODA/GNI. Many indicators in the global partnership theme are linked to the EU’s economic situation. For this reason, several show clear impacts of the onset of the financial and economic crisis in 2008. This is particularly visible in the headline indicator ‘official development assistance’ where overall flows fell during the economic downturn. Although the EU is the world’s largest donor, it is not on track to meet its long-standing target of dedicating 0.7 % of its GNI to ODA in 2015. Nevertheless, the share of ODA for low-income countries did improve between 2000 and 2013 to some extent and particularly shows a favourable trend for the last five years. In addition, although ODA to developing countries is not enough to meet EU targets, it remains a largely stable source of finance in absolute terms. A negative trend that emerges is the fluctuation of private financial flows. These fluctuations can create unpredictability for developing countries that particularly rely on external financial support. In relation to trade, the EU has increased its imports from developing countries, although these have mainly been from China. Imports from least-developed countries (LDCs) represent a considerably lower share of overall EU imports. The largest increase among imports from LDCs is in the category of mineral fuels and lubricants. The proportion of people whose income is less than USD 1.25 a day halved between 2010 and 1990. However, regional differences exist. The target had not been met in Sub-Saharan Africa, Southern Asia and Western Asia. The ratio between per capita carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions in the EU and developing countries was halved between 2000 and 2012; yet this was mainly due to increasing emissions in developing countries. The global target to halve the share of the population without access to safe drinking water by 2015 was achieved early in 2010. However, a large gap remains between high-income countries and LDCs.

Key trends in global partnership

EU not on track to meet its target on official development assistance (ODA)

‘Official development assistance’ shows unfavourable trends in both the long term (2000 to 2014) and in particular in the short term (2009 to 2014). Although the EU is the world’s largest donor, it is not on track to meet its long-standing target of dedicating 0.7 % of its gross national income (GNI) to official development assistance (ODA) in 2015, although the rate increased slightly in the long term. Nevertheless, the share of ODA for least-developed countries (LDCs) did improve in the decade from 2000 to 2010, in particular in the short-term (2008 to 2013). Also, although ODA to developing countries is not enough to meet the EU’s targets, it remains a largely stable source of finance in absolute terms.

Rise in ODA for low-income countries but no clear trend for EU foreign direct investment (FDI)

The indicators on financing for sustainable development show a mixed picture.

Financing for developing countries shows positive trends, both in the long and the short term. The share of ODA for low-income countries shows only a moderately favourable change in the long term, but the short-term trend has been favourable. The share of untied assistance is continuously increasing, thus showing a clearly favourably trend in both the long and the short term. On the negative side, EU foreign direct investment (FDI) to low-income countries varies widely between years. It has not shown any consistent upward or downward trend towards the aim of increasing the share of EU FDI to these countries. Bilateral ODA has increased in absolute terms in the long term, but has fluctuated over the last five years, showing varying changes for some categories. Regarding global poverty, the overall population living in poverty decreased but to varying degrees in different regions of the world.

Increase in EU imports from developing countries, mostly China

The indicators on globalisation of trade mostly show favourable trends. With regard to the aim of increasing imports from developing countries to the EU, both the long-term trend (2002 to 2014) and the short-term trend (2009 to 2014) are positive as the share of developing country imports in overall EU imports increased. Imports from China were the single largest factor behind this trend. Imports to the EU from least-developed countries increased more strongly than imports from all developing countries. This marked progress towards the goal of raising the share of these particularly poor countries in global trade. Yet in 2014 imports from least-developed countries still represented only about 2 % of all EU imports. Regarding agricultural subsidies, between 2000 and 2011 the EU significantly reduced subsidies considered to be trade-distorting under the World Trade Organization’s Agreement on Agriculture. This is a positive trend. Yet these figures do not allow a conclusion on whether the EU has shifted its agricultural support to other types of payments that are not limited according to WTO rules, but may still have a negative impact on developing countries.

2.5 times more CO2 emissions per inhabitant in the EU compared with developing countries

In 2012, the per capita CO2 emissions per EU inhabitant were 2.5 times as high as those of developing country inhabitants. Between 2000 and 2012 CO2 emissions per inhabitant in developing countries increased by more than 70 %; by contrast, the increase was only 11.5 % between 2009 and 2012.

Access to water target reached but some challenges remain

The global target of halving the share of the world population without access to safe drinking water by 2015 was achieved five years early in 2010. Yet there are still more people without such access in developing than in developed countries. International aid is likely to have contributed to the progress.

Main statistical findings

Headline indicator

Official development assistance.jpg

Official development assistance

The EU increased its share of gross national income (GNI) spent on official development assistance (ODA) by 0.07 percentage points between 2004 and 2014. The short-term trend since 2009 even saw a slight decline in the share of ODA in GNI. The EU is therefore not on track to meet the UN target of dedicating 0.7 % of GNI to ODA by 2015.

Figure 1: Official development assistance as a share of gross national income, EU-28, 2004−14 (% of GNI) - Source: OECD, European Commission services, Eurostat (online data code: (tsdgp100))
Figure 2: Official development assistance as share of gross national income, by country, 2005 and 2014 (% of GNI) - Source: OECD, European Commission services, Eurostat (online data code: (tsdgp100))
Figure 3: Official Development Assistance per capita in donor and recipient countries, EU-15, 1990−2013 (EUR per inhabitant; at current values) - Source: OECD, Eurostat (online data code: (tsdgp520))
Figure 4: Official development assistance as share of gross national income, by donor, 2004−14 (% of GNI) - Source: OECD, European Commission services, Eurostat (online data code: (tsdgp100))

In the long term, between 2004 and 2014, the share of GNI spent by the EU on ODA (the assistance granted to developing countries) grew on average by 1.9 % a year. This was insufficient to meet the goal of 0.7 % of GNI by 2015. Short-term developments have been tentative. Between 2010 and 2012, the ODA of EU Member States decreased from 0.44 % to 0.39 %, in the face of continued budgetary constraints resulting from the economic crisis (Council of the European Union, 2013). However, from 2012 to 2013 a slight growth of 0.02 percentage points can be observed, probably due to a wide agreement for raising development aid in almost all Member States /European Commission, 2015, p.63). However, from 2013 to 2014, no increase in ODA can be observed. Thus without substantial additional efforts by most Member States, the EU’s long-standing collective commitment to dedicating 0.7 % of its GNI to official development assistance in 2015 is unlikely to be met. The EU had already missed its collective interim target of dedicating 0.56 % of its GNI to ODA in 2010; the share in that year was 0.44 %.

  • EU citizens’ solidarity with developing countries grows

EU citizens continue to think that providing assistance to developing countries is important; its solidarity even grows. In a 2014 survey, 52 % said that promises to raise ODA should be kept and an additional 15 % thought ODA should be raised beyond what has been promised (European Commission, 2015, p.7). These figures are slightly higher compared with the 2012 survey, when 49 % and 12 % respectively held the above opinions (European Commission, 2012, p.16), and represent a return to 2010 levels.

  • How ODA varies between Member States

The EU has committed itself to a collective target of 0.7 % for 2015. The same target applies to many Member States. However, those Member States that joined the EU after 2002 pledged to increase their ODA/GNI to 0.33 % by 2015 (Council of the European Union, 2014, p.4). In 2014, ODA/GNI shares in the EU ranged from 1.1 % in Sweden to 0.08 % in Bulgaria, Latvia, Poland and Slovakia. Four Member States — Sweden, Luxembourg, Denmark and the United Kingdom — exceeded the 0.7 % target in 2014. Between 2005 and 2014, the ODA/GNI share fell in 10 EU Member States and increased in 16. Between 2005 and 2014 the largest increase took place in the Luxembourg (by 0.28 percentage points), and the largest decrease (by 0.26 percentage points) in Austria.

  • ODA per capita in EU and developing countries has increased

ODA can furthermore be analysed in relation to the average amount of assistance spent per inhabitant in donor countries and the amount received per inhabitant in developing countries. While in 2008 the EU-15 spent EUR 122.4 per capita a year on ODA, the figure in 2013 was EUR 132.0 [1], representing an increase of 7.8 % during the last five years. However, this growth is not entirely reflected in ODA received per person in developing countries. There was only a moderate 3.0 % increase in ODA received per capita from EUR 8.88 in 2008 to EUR 9.15 in 2013. One possible reason for this is population growth in developing countries.

  • EU trends in ODA compared with other countries in the world

In 2014, the EU maintained its position as the biggest ODA donor globally in absolute terms, providing more than half of the total ODA made available by the Development Assistance Committee (DAC) of the OECD countries [2]. This figure refers to the combined ODA provided by all EU Member States [3]. In 2012, the share of aid from the EU’s DAC members in all aid from DAC donors was at its lowest since 2001 (United Nations, 2013, p.53), however, it rose again in 2013 (United Nations, 2014, p.48). The total EU ODA/GNI ratio in 2014 was 0.42%, significantly higher than for most other OECD donors: in the US the ODA/GNI share decreased from 0.21 % in 2010 to 0.19 % in 2014. Canada dedicated 0.34 % of its GNI to ODA in 2010, but only 0.24 % in 2014 (UNSTAT), while Japan spent 0.28 % of its GNI to ODA in 2000, but only 0.19 % in 2014 (UNSTAT). At the same time, aid from emerging donors, such as Turkey, Estonia and Russia is increasing (United Nations, 2014, p.46). The United Arab Emirates spent 1.25 % of its GNI for ODA, which is the highest ratio of a country in 2013 (United Nations, 2014, p.46).

Financing for sustainable development

Share of official development assistance for low income countries.jpg

Share of official development assistance for low-income countries

Least-developed countries and other low-income countries — the two poorest groups of developing countries — received a higher share of EU-15 ODA in 2013 than in 2000. The short-term trend since 2008 is particularly strong, but has started from one of the lowest levels since 1990.

Figure 5: Share of ODA dedicated to low-income countries, EU-15, 1990−2013 (% of country-allocated ODA) - Source: OECD, Eurostat (online data code: (tsdgp330))
Figure 6: Official development assistance, by income group, EU-15, 1990−2013 (EUR billion; at current values) - Source: OECD, Eurostat (online data code: (tsdgp330))

In 2013, LDCs and other low-income countries (OLICs) together received 50 % of total EU-15 ODA, up from 45.8 % in 2000. From 2000 to 2013 total EU-15 ODA to LDCs and OLICs grew by almost 77 % from EUR 5 321 million to EUR 9 402 million. Although the amount did not grow in every year, the promising long-term trend is also reflected during in last five years, with a growth of almost 12.4 % between 2008 and 2013. The European Consensus on Development (European Parliament, 2005) furthermore stresses the need to dedicate a high proportion of ODA to LDCs and OLICs. In 2008 EU Member States pledged to this end to collectively provide between 0.15 % and 0.20 % of their GNI to ODA in LDCs by 2010. However, in 2010, EU DAC members only provided 0.14 % and the proportion even fell to 0.13 % in 2011 and 0.11 % in 2012 (European Commission, 2014, p.89). ODA constituted a much more steady flow to low-income countries than foreign direct investment which varied greatly between years.

  • Least developed countries are particularly reliant on ODA

ODA is particularly significant for low-income countries. The poorest countries, especially those that are resource-scarce, may not attract foreign direct investment. In addition, their level of domestic resource mobilisation and domestic investment remains low, making them particularly reliant on external aid and development finance (UNDP, 2011, p.146). The macro-economic stability of these countries is thus vulnerable to the fluctuations in the overall volume of aid as well as donor preferences for this aid (European Commission, 2011).

  • Some low-income countries have ‘graduated’ to middle-income countries

An additional factor that should be taken into consideration when analyzing the level of aid to LDCs and OLICs in comparison to higher income countries is the graduation of countries to lower middle income countries (LMIC) and upper middle income countries (UMIC) status. [4]. Between 2000 and 2010, 13 least-developed and other low-income countries graduated to lower- or upper middle income status [5]. It has been argued that for this reason, a higher proportion of the world’s poor now live in LMICs and UMICs, not LDCs (Summer, 2011, pp.2). The exact numbers of poor people living in LMICs and UMICs require further analysis; however, to monitor the impact of ODA on poverty, and indeed on inequality, additional or new indicators may be necessary.

Bilateral official development assistance

The fastest growing category for bilateral official development assistance (ODA) between 2000 and 2013 was ‘economic infrastructure and services’, with an annual growth rate as high as 11.2 %. In contrast, bilateral ODA for ‘budget support, food aid, food security’ decreased by 2.7 % annually and ‘action relating to debt’ even fell by 3.8 % during the same time period.

Figure 7: Bilateral official development assistance, by category, EU-15, 1990−2013 (EUR billion; at current values) - Source: Eurostat (online data code: (tsdgp350))

In 2013, the biggest share of bilateral ODA went to social infrastructure services, amounting to EUR 12 893.5 million, starting from EUR 6 289.1 million in 2000. The smallest share in 2013 went with only EUR 743.3 million to ‘budget support, food aid, food security’, starting from EUR 1 060.3 million in 2000. However, with an annual growth rate as high as 11.2 % between 2000 and 2013, the ‘economic infrastructure and services’ sector grew the fastest in that time period to EUR 5 874.7 million in 2013. The three sectors ‘social infrastructure services’, ‘production sectors’, and ‘humanitarian aid’ each grew between 4 % and 5.6 % on average per year between 2000 and 2013. During the same period, bilateral ODA for ‘budget support, food aid, food security’ annually decreased by 2.7 % to EUR 743.3 million and ‘action relating to debt’ decreased by 3.8 % annually to EUR 1 238.8 million in 2013.

Share of united assistance.jpg

Share of untied assistance

The share of untied EU-15 official development assistance increased by 17.4 percentage points over the long term between 2000 and 2013. The short-term trend since 2008 has shown moderate growth of 6.2 percentage points.

Figure 8: Untied official development assistance, EU-15, 1990−2013 (% of total ODA) - Source: OECD, Eurostat (online data code: (tsdgp340))

In 2013, 96.9 % of all EU-15 ODA was untied, compared with about 80 % in 2000 and 90.7 % in 2008. This meant developing countries could use almost 97 % of the ODA they received to freely buy services and goods in all countries, giving them more freedom in their economic choices than when the aid would have been tied. The share of untied ODA increased by 17.4 percentage points between 2000 and 2013. However, the share of untied EU-15 ODA was already more than 95 % in 2006 and had decreased until 2011 before starting to rise again. The short-term trend since 2008 shows a moderate growth of 6.2 percentage points until 2013. Considering that the share of untied assistance is already considerably high at almost 97 %, it is obvious that growth rates must be slowing. The longer-term trend is therefore quite positive: in the early 1990s the share of untied EU-15 ODA had been below 50 %. There were marked differences between the rates of untied ODA in different Member States of the EU-15 in 2013. Three countries had untied their ODA entirely and another three by more than 98 %, but two others had untied less than 50 %.

Financing for developing countries.jpg

Financing for developing countries

Financing for developing countries from the EU-15 grew by 2.5 % a year on average between 2000 and 2013. However, over the last five years its average annual growth rate only reached 1.3 %.

Figure 9: Financing for developing countries, by type, EU-15, 1990−2013 (EUR billion; at current values) - Source: OECD, Eurostat (online data code: (tsdgp310))

Total EU-15 [6] financing for developing countries, comprising flows from the public and private sector, was EUR 127 293.5 million in 2013. This corresponds to an annual average increase of 2.5 % between 2000 and 2013, while it was only 1.3 % during the last five years with an absolute decrease in the last two years. In the decade 1990 to 2000 the average annual growth was 11.5 %. Thus, financial flows to developing countries grew more slowly than in the previous decade.

  • The global economic crisis had a marked impact on private finance for development

In 2013 overall EU-15 financing for development was just 77.9 % of what it had been in 2007, the year before the financial crisis began. While ODA remained relatively stable, the impact on financing for development was mainly due to private sector finance to developing countries, which fell by 41.9 % between 2007 and 2013. Between 2009 and 2011 the amount of private flows was growing, but it decreased again between 2011 and 2013. These fluctuations can create an unpredictable financial environment for developing countries that are particularly reliant on external financial support (Massa, et al, 2012).

Share of foreign direct investment in low-income countries

The amount of EU foreign direct investment (EU FDI) destined for low-income countries varied widely in the period from 2000 to 2013. There was no consistent upward or downward trend. The absolute amount of EU FDI to these countries increased only marginally between 2000 and 2013, its share in all EU FDI in developing countries fell.

Figure 10: Share of foreign direct investment in low-income countries, EU-15, 1990−2013 (% of country allocated FDI) - Source: OECD, Eurostat (online data code: (tsdgp320))
Figure 11: Foreign direct investment in developing countries, by income group, EU-15, 1990−2013 (EUR billion; at current values) - Source: OECD, Eurostat (online data code: (tsdgp320))

In 2000 the share of low-income countries of the total EU FDI to developing countries was 3.2 %; in 2008 it was 5.9 % and in 2013 it had reduced to 1.7 %. Yet these figures have only limited significance in showing long-term trends, given that FDI figures for low-income countries fluctuated considerably over the years. FDI from the EU-15 to these countries ranged in the decade 2000 to 2010 from a negative amount of EUR − 1 874 million in 2002, to a high of EUR 12 211 million in 2012. Declines in FDI flows, for example as a result of the euro area crisis, are a particular concern for low-income countries.

Global poverty

Globally, the proportion of people whose income is less than USD 1.25 a day has been halved by 2010 compared to 1990 levels. However, there are regional differences: the target hat not been met in Sub-Saharan Africa, Southern Asia and Western Asia.

Map 1: Population living on less than 1.25 USD a day, 2010−13 (% of population) - Source: World Bank
Figure 12: Population living on less than 1.25 USD a day, 1990 and 2011 (% of population) - Source: World Bank

Between 1990 and 2010, the world’s population living in extreme poverty (with less than USD 1.25 per day), shrank from 36.4 % in 1990 to 16.3 % in 2010 and even further down to 14.5 % in 2011 [7]. However, if these aggregated numbers are subdivided for the different world regions, it can be seen that the main winners of this process are East Asia and Pacific (from 57.01 % in 1990 down to 7.93 % in 2011), Middle East and North Africa (from 5.77 % in 1990 to 1.69 % in 2011), Latin America and Caribbean (from 12.18 % in 1990 to 4.63 % in 2011), but not Sub-Saharan Africa (from 56.64 % in 1990 to 46.81 % in 2011) or fragile and conflict affected regions (from 44.69 % to 42.72 % in 2011).

  • Poverty rates vary widely between regions and are concentrated in a few countries

To be more precise, the majority of the world’s poor live in just a few countries. For instance, in 2010, 33 % of the world’s population living with less than USD 1.25 a day was living in India alone, a further 13 % in China and another 9 % in Nigeria (United Nations, 2014, p.9). Furthermore, high poverty rates are often found in small and conflict-affected countries which lack surveys that could capture data on income or consumption, therefore hindering the efforts to design and implement policies and programmes to combat extreme poverty (United Nations, 2014, p.9).

While the population living on less than USD 1.25 per day significantly decreased from 57 % in 1990 to 7.93 % in 2011 in the developing countries of East Asia and Pacific, in the developing countries of Sub-Saharan Africa it only decreased from 56.64 % to 46.81 % in the same period.

Globalisation of trade

Imports from developing countries.jpg

Imports from developing countries

EU imports from developing countries increased 7.3 % on average per year between 2002 and 2014. The growth rate was the same between 2009 and 2014. Imports from China were the main driver of growth.

Figure 13: EU Imports from developing countries by income group, EU-28, 2002−2014 (EUR billion, at current values) - Source: Eurostat (online data code: (tsdgp210))
Figure 14: Extra-EU-28 imports, by trading partner, EU-28, 2002 and 2014 (%) - Source: Eurostat (online data codes: (tsdgp210) and (ext_lt_maineu))
Figure 15: EU Imports from developing countries, by group of products, EU-28, 2002 and 2014 (%) - Source: Eurostat (online data code: (tsdgp220))

Between 2002 and 2014, EU imports from developing countries more than doubled, from EUR 358 766 million in 2002 to EUR 834 941 million in 2014. Growing imports from China are a decisive factor behind the overall increase in EU imports over the long term; their share in total EU imports increased from 10.8 % in 2002 to 18.6 % in 2014. In absolute terms, the value of imports from China in 2014 was more than three times the value recorded in 2002. Imports from developing countries to the EU decreased slightly between 2012 and 2013, reflecting a general decrease in imports from all countries to the EU, but then increased again between 2013 and 2014.

  • Which are the EU’s main trading partners?

Looking at total imports of the EU, China was the largest provider in 2014, followed by the US and Russia. Among the 10 biggest exporters to the EU there were three developing countries in addition to China in 2014. China was by far the largest exporter among the BASIC countries (Brazil, South Africa, India and China), exporting to the EU more than eight times as much as India, the next EU import provider in this group. Between 2002 and 2014 the share of EU imports from developing countries in EU imports from all countries outside the EU increased from 38.3 % in 2002 to 49.7 % in 2014. While the average annual growth rate was 7.3 % for imports from developing countries, the rate was 5.0 % for imports from all non-EU countries to the EU.

  • Which are the most imported products to the EU from developing countries?

Developing countries export a range of products to the EU. Yet manufactured goods were by far the largest type of EU imports from developing countries in all years between 2002 and 2014. Their value increased by 7.2 % on average annually over the entire period. The amount of mineral fuels and similar materials, the second largest type of products that developing countries export to the EU, increased at a higher average rate of 9.0 %. These two largest groups of products accounted for about 80 % of developing countries exports to the EU in 2002 and 2014. The four categories (food, drinks and tobacco; raw materials; mineral fuels, lubricants and related materials; and manufactured goods) together accounted for more than 90 % of developing countries’ exports to the EU in 2014.

Imports from least-developed countries.jpg

Imports from least-developed countries

Imports from least-developed countries to the EU increased by 8.6 % annually between 2002 and 2014. The annual increase was considerably higher in the period between 2009 and 2014, amounting to 14.5 %. These favourable trends underline progress towards the overall aim of increasing the share of imports from LDCs in total EU imports.

Figure 16: Share of imports from least-developed countries in total extra-EU imports, EU-28, 2002−14 (%) - Source: Eurostat (online data codes: (tsdgp210) and (ext_lt_intratrd))
Figure 17: EU imports from least-developed countries by group of products, EU-28, 2002−14 (EUR billion) - Source: Eurostat (online data code: (tsdgp230))
Figure 18: EU Imports from least-developed countries, by group of products, EU-28, 2002 and 2014 (%) - Source: Eurostat (online data code: (tsdgp230))

In 2014, the absolute amount of EU imports from least developed countries (LDCs) almost three times the 2002 value. The overall share of imports from these countries in total EU imports stood at 2.3 % in 2014, up from 1.5 % in 2002. Between 2002 and 2014, there was an 8.6 % annual increase in EU imports from LDCs, a category that comprises almost 50 countries [8]. Hence, the annual growth rate for EU imports from LDCs was moderately higher than the annual increase in imports from all developing countries. This indicates progress towards the objective of increasing the share of imports from the poorest countries of the world. The difference is more pronounced in the short term, from 2009 to 2014. In this period the annual growth rate of imports from all developing countries to the EU was 7.3 % and thus the same as the long-term (2002 to 2014) annual growth rate. By contrast, the average annual growth rate of EU imports from LDCs was 14.5 % between 2009 and 2014.

  • Which LDC products does the EU import the most?

Between 2002 and 2014, the composition of EU imports from LDCs underwent considerable changes, with a marked increase in mineral fuels, lubricants and related materials, and substantial decreases in the categories of foods, drinks and tobacco as well as raw materials other than oil. In 2014, 55 % of EU imports from LDCs consisted of manufactured products, whereas the share for all developed countries was 64 %. Yet in absolute terms imports in manufactured products from LDCs to the EU were more than twice as high in 2014 as they had been in 2002. By far the largest average annual increase among EU imports from LDCs was in the category of mineral fuels, lubricants and related materials. These imports grew by 14.3 % annually or an absolute amount of almost EUR 10 billion between 2002 and 2014. By contrast, only a slight increase could be observed in the import of foods, drinks and tobacco. In 2014, the share of this group of products in overall LDC exports to the EU was only a bit more than a third of the 2002 share. The absolute value of imports of these products remained more or less unchanged in the same period. In 2014, the share of other raw materials in LDCs' exports to the EU was also less than half the share in 2002. Given that international oil prices have substantially increased between 2002 and 2013 [9], high oil prices appear to be an important driver behind growing values of LDCs' exports to the EU. Yet only a few LDCs export substantial amounts of oil to the EU, among them Equatorial Guinea, Yemen, Angola and the Democratic Republic of the Congo [10]. This suggests that some LDCs have benefitted disproportionately from the increasing EU imports. Least-developed countries overall continue to be dependent on exports of a few primary commodities, making them vulnerable to volatile world market prices (European Report on Development, 2013, p.150).

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Subsidies for EU agriculture

The amount of trade-distorting EU agricultural subsidies decreased substantially between 2000 and 2011, resulting in a growing distance from the ceiling established under the World Trade Organization’s Agreement on Agriculture.

Figure 19: Aggregated measurement of support for agriculture, EU-27, 1995−2011 (EUR billion; at current values) - Source: EU Commission services, World Trade Organisation, Eurostat (online data code: (tsdgp240))

Between 2000 and 2011 those EU subsidies for agriculture classified by the World Trade Organization (WTO) as ‘trade-distorting’ decreased from EUR 44 419 million to EUR 6 859 million. From 2000 to 2011, the amount of subsidies decreased on average by 15.6 % annually. The WTO Agreement on Agriculture required a reduction of certain subsidies between 1995 and 2000 below a certain level (‘ceiling’). Since then the ceiling has remained unchanged. The EU has remained well below the agreed ceiling in each year since the agreement entered into force. In principle, this is a positive trend in terms of sustainable development. However, other EU agricultural subsidies not included in this calculation and permitted under WTO may also make it harder for developing countries to compete with EU producers [11]. The reduction described here is due to changes in the EU’s Common Agricultural Policy (CAP). While EU farmers in earlier years received more direct product-related payments, which are limited under WTO law, the support has shifted to other forms in more recent years [12].

Global resource management

CO2 emissions per inhabitant

CO2 emissions per EU inhabitant are 2.5 times as high as those of developing country inhabitants in 2012. The ratio between the EU and developing countries was almost halved between 2000 and 2012, mainly because of increasing CO2 emissions in developing countries.

Figure 20: CO2 emissions per inhabitant in the EU and in developing countries, 1990−2012 (tonnes per inhabitant) - Source: European Environment Agency, International Energy Agency, Eurostat (online data code: (tsdgp410))

In 2000, CO2 emissions per inhabitant in the EU were five times higher than in developing countries. Since 2001 this gap has steadily narrowed: emissions have grown in developing countries, while they have decreased in the EU. Nevertheless, the difference in absolute terms remains high. In 2012, the EU emissions stood at 7.4 tonnes per capita, while in developing countries the amount was 2.9 tonnes.

  • Fall in EU per capita CO2 emissions less than growth in developing countries

Between 2000 and 2012 CO2 emissions per inhabitant in developing countries emissions increased to 2.9 tonnes per inhabitant, representing a total increase of more than 70 % for this period. By contrast, the increase was only 11.5 % between 2009 and 2012. The decreases in the EU’s CO2 emissions in 2009 and 2011 are not mirrored by those in developing countries. Yet even among developing countries, there were large differences in per capita emissions; for example, per capita emissions were 1.6 tonnes in India as opposed to 6.1 tonnes in China in 2012 (IEA, 2014, p. vii).

Access to water

The global target of halving the share of the population without access to safe drinking water by 2015 was achieved early in 2010. The gap in share of population with access to safe drinking water between high-income countries and least-developed countries narrowed between 2000 and 2012, but was still more than 30 percentage points in 2012. International aid has contributed to progress.

Map 2: Population with sustainable access to an improved water source, 2012 (% of population) - Source: World Bank
Figure 21: Population with sustainable access to an improved water source, 1990 and 2012 (% of population) - Source: Source: World Bank

Between 2000 and 2012, more people globally got access to a source of enhanced drinking water, representing progress towards globally agreed sustainable development goals. For example, the percentage of people having access to water in least-developed countries increased from 59 % in 2000 to 67 % in 2012. However, the difference between richer and poorer countries concerning the proportion of the population with access to safe drinking water was still pronounced in 2012. For example, in Sub-Saharan Africa, comprising many of the world’s poorest countries, the percentage was at 64 % in 2012. By contrast, the ratio was at 99.2 % in high-income countries in the same year. Yet the gap narrowed: in 2000 the difference between both country groups had been 43 percentage points, but by 2012 it was 35 percentage points.

  • International aid fosters progress towards international water-related goals

According to the UN, the target of halving the proportion of people without access to improved sources of water was achieved five years ahead of the target year 2015. Between 1990 and 2012, 2.3 billion people gained access to improved drinking water sources. Nonetheless, 748 million people remained without access to an improved source of drinking water in 2012 [13]. Aid was an essential factor for progress toward the MDG targets on water supply and sanitation (OECD, 2013). For example, the OECD points out that total annual average aid commitments to water and sanitation amounted to USD 7.6 billion; this was 6 % of all aid that was allocated to specific sectors in 2010−11.

Context

Why do we focus on global partnership?

Advancing in the global partnership for development has been one of the core Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) [14]. Presented as the eighth MDG, the global partnership for development reflects mutual responsibilities for both developed and developing countries to achieve the other seven MDGs which focus on poverty, education, gender equality, child mortality, maternal health, poverty diseases and the environment. As early as in 1987, the Brundtland report (World Commission on Environment and Development, 1987) had emphasised the urgency of meeting the essential needs of the world’s poor to achieve sustainable development. To that end it highlighted the importance of collective action and the idea of sitting ‘all on one boat’, which is at the core of the concept of global partnership. Furthermore, 2015 is the European Year for Development [15]. This year was chosen for two reasons: the MDGs were to be reached by 2015 and it also marks the beginning of a new era of development cooperation since the debates about the design of the Post-2015 Development Agenda are supposed to culminate into Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The latter are currently discussed at the global level and the global partnership also plays a crucial role in these goals. Goal 17 of the SDGs aims to strengthen ‘the means of implementation and [to] revitalise the global partnership for sustainable development’ (United Nations, 2014). In addition, every goal highlights the global partnership perspective by listing special targets aiming at highlighting those aspects of each goal that are particularly relevant for a global partnership. One of the objectives of the EU Sustainable Development Strategy is to promote sustainable development actively worldwide. For this purpose, the EU does not only take specific development-related actions, including action towards its international commitments on development financing, but is also committed to the objective of policy coherence for development. Policy coherence for development aims ‘to ensure that, as much as possible, a state’s policies other than its development co-operation policy do not undermine (‘do no harm’) and indeed ideally also support development. This applies to both external policies (for example, trade or security) and internal policies (for example, agriculture or finance) that have external effects, which is increasingly the case as globalisation intensifies’ [16]. Today’s world is economically, socially and environmentally interconnected. A country pursuing the well-being of its citizens is very likely to affect, directly or indirectly, positively or negatively, the well-being of citizens in other countries. Globally, the effects of unsustainable patterns of economic development are still largely determined by developed countries and increasingly by emerging economies, while poorer countries are disproportionately impacted and have the least resources to cope with negative effects (European Commission, 2013). To tackle these challenges the EU contributes directly to sustainable development in developing countries. It does so by allocating financial flows, both public and private, to these countries. In addition, it supports them with special concessions in trade policies. Trade constitutes a source of revenue for the developing countries. The type of trade is also monitored. The EU’s policies may impact, for example, the number of people seeking to migrate to the EU as a result of the situation in their home countries. The EU also affects developing countries by its resource use; extraction of natural resources may have negative impacts on the ground in developing countries, but also provides a potential source of income to developing countries. More and more resources are imported into the EU from third countries, and more than half of the energy used in the EU actually comes from outside. This is why some of the indicators relate to natural resources in the EU and developing countries.

How does the EU tackle the global partnership?

The EU Sustainable Development Strategy (EU SDS) (Council of the European Union, 2006) dedicates one of its seven key challenges to global poverty and sustainable development issues. The overall objective is ‘to actively promote sustainable development worldwide and ensure that the European Union’s internal and external policies are consistent with global sustainable development and its international commitments’. To this end, the EU SDS sets out the following operational objectives and targets:

  • Make significant progress towards meeting the commitments of the EU with regard to internationally agreed goals and targets, in particular those contained in the Millennium Declaration (United Nations, 2000) and those deriving from The World Summit on Sustainable Development held in Johannesburg in 2002 (World Summit on Sustainable Development, Johannesburg, 2002), and related processes such as the Monterey Consensus on Financing for Development (United Nations, 2000), the Doha Development Agenda (WTO, 2001), the Paris Declaration on Aid Effectiveness (OECD, 2005) and the Accra Agenda for Action (OECD, 2008).
  • Contribute to improving international environmental governance, in particular in the context of the follow-up to the 2005 World Summit outcome [17], and to strengthening multilateral environmental agreements (MEAs).
  • Raise the volume of aid to 0.7 % of gross national income by 2015 with an intermediate target of 0.56 % in 2010.
  • Promote sustainable development in the context of the negotiations of the World Trade Organisation (WTO), in accordance with the preamble to the Marrakesh Agreement establishing the WTO (WTO, 2004) which sets sustainable development as one of its main objectives.
  • Increase the effectiveness, coherence and quality of EU and Member States’ aid policies in the period 2005¬−2010.
  • Include sustainable development concerns in all EU external policies, including the common foreign and security policy, inter alia, by making it an objective of multilateral and bilateral development co-operation.

Furthermore, the EU committed, at the Foreign Affairs Council (Development) on 26 May 2015, to collectively achieve the 0.7 % of GNI as ODA target within the time-frame of the post-2015 agenda, and to meet the 0.15 %−0.20 % GNI target for least-developed countries in the short term, reaching the upper 0.20 % threshold of that target within the timeframe of the post-2015 agenda.

Selection of EU policy instruments for improving global partnership The European Consensus on Development adopted in December 2005 (European Parliament, 2005) reflects the EU’s willingness to make a decisive contribution to the eradication of global poverty and to help build a more peaceful and equitable world. It identifies shared values, goals, principles and commitments to be implemented in EU and Member State development policies. In particular, these include a focus on poverty reduction and achievement of the Millennium Development Goals; a commitment to increased levels of official development assistance of 0.7 % by 2015; and improved co-ordination of aid with other development work in the beneficiary country for greater effectiveness.

In 2012, the Council endorsed the ‘Agenda for Change’ (European Commission, 2011) for EU development policy which puts renewed emphasis on good governance; social protection, health and education; sustainable agriculture and clean energy. The agenda also calls for a ‘differentiated’ EU approach to aid allocation and development partnerships, whereby the EU should seek to target its resources where they are most needed and for greatest impact on poverty reduction.

One way in which action is taken to implement the SDS objective of increasing ‘the effectiveness, coherence and quality of EU and Member State’s aid’ is through EU joint programming of aid. This approach, first implemented in selected countries in 2012, improves co-ordination between the EU and its Member States who agree on which donor should work in which sector. The aim is to increase the impact and the results of aid, as well as transparency and predictability [18]. To improve transparency the EU also makes data on the aid provided available online [19].

In February 2013, the European Commission adopted the Communication ‘A Decent Life for All: ending poverty and giving the world a sustainable future’ (European Commission, 2011). The Communication puts forward a common EU approach for a single post-2015 development framework, integrating the review of the MDGs and the follow up to the 2012 United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development (Rio+20). One of the outcomes of Rio+20 was the agreement to launch a process to develop a set of Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Several EU Member States were members of the Open Working Group (OWG) tasked with developing the SDGs [20]. In 2014, the Commission published a follow-up Communication ‘A Decent Life for All – From Vision to Collective Action’ (European Commission, 2014). The Communication sets forth the EU’s vision for achieving a decent life for all people globally by 2030 and stresses that the framework for achieving this objective should be rights-based and people-centered and that it needs to integrate all three dimensions of sustainable development. The document also identifies potential targets and priority areas for action. In February 2015, the Commission published a further Communication entitled ‘A Global Partnership for Poverty Eradication and Sustainable Development after 2015’ (European Commission, 2015). In this document, the Commission outlines its vision for the global partnership in the run-up to the two important development-related events in 2015: the third International Conference on Financing for Development in Addis Ababa in July and the United Nations (UN) summit for the adoption of the post-2015 development agenda in New York in September. Thus, there is a chance not to be missed to establish a global partnership that brings together different earlier initiatives.

In July 2013, the European Commission adopted a Communication putting forward possible elements of a common EU approach to financing post-2015, titled ‘Beyond 2015, Towards a Comprehensive and Integrated Approach to Financing Poverty Eradication and Sustainable Development’ (European Commission, 2013). Building on ‘A Decent Life for all’, which focuses on the ‘what’ to put on the future development framework, this communication turns the attention to the ‘how’ to finance it, the type of resources available that could be mobilised, the principles that should guide the Commission’s work, and the processes that could help put those into practice.

The main current EU funding instruments for development co-operation cover the period 2014–2020. The EU has proclaimed 2015 to be the ‘European Year for Development’ [21].

Further reading on the global partnership

See also

Further Eurostat information

Main tables

Global partnership

Dedicated section

Methodology

  • More detailed information on global partnership indicators, such as indicator relevance, definitions, methodological notes, background and potential linkages, can be found on page 281-314 of the publication Sustainable development in the European Union - 2015 monitoring report of the EU sustainable development strategy.

Notes

  1. For the EU-28 it was EUR 106.6 in 2013.
  2. OECD (2014). Aid to developing countries rebounds in 2013 to reach an all-time high, 8 April 2014. See also European Commission (2015). EU Accountability Report 2015 on Financing for Development, SWD(2015) 128 final, 23 June 2015. The Development Assistance Committee (DAC) of the OECD is a forum of selected OECD member states that are at the same time major donor countries to discuss issues surrounding development cooperation. The DAC also monitors financial flows to developing countries. 19 EU Member States are DAC members.
  3. 52 % of this is provided by EU-DAC members (currently 19 EU Member States).
  4. ‘Graduation’ of developing country from one category (e.g. LMIC) to another (e.g. UMIC) is the term used by the OECD and other organisations when the respective country’s economic status has improved to the extent that it satisfies the criteria of a different category.
  5. Comparing DAC List of ODA Recipients (Effective for reporting on 2009 and 2010 flows) with DAC List of Aid Recipients (Effective for reporting on 2000 flows). Sumner even speaks of 28 that graduated between 2000 and 2011, see Sumner, Andy, Institute for Development Studies, Poverty in Middle-Income Countries, 2011, p. 2.
  6. Data on bilateral aid is only available for the EU-15 countries.
  7. World Bank, http://data.worldbank.org/indicator/SI.POV.DDAY
  8. For the list, see OECD (2015). DAC List of ODA Recipients 2014–2016, http://www.oecd.org/dac/stats/documentupload/DAC%20List%20of%20ODA%20Recipients%202014%20final.pdf.
  9. For example, the Organisation of Oil Exporting Countries (OPEC) indicates that the OPEC yearly basket price for oil increased from US$ 24 in 2002 to US$ 106 in 2013, see OPEC, OPEC Basket Price.
  10. See: European Commission, Monthly and cumulative crude oil imports into the EU (2001-2014).
  11. United Nations Conference on Trade And Development (UNCTAD), Green Box Subsidies: A Theoretical and Empirical Assessment, 2007; ICTSD, Agricultural Subsidies in the WTO Green Box: Ensuring Coherence with Sustainable Development Goals, Geneva, p.6.
  12. Alan Swinbank (2009). The reform of the EU’s Common Agricultural Policy, In: Meléndez-Ortiz, Ricardo, Christophe Bellmann, and Jonathan Hepburn (2009). Agricultural Subsidies in the WTO Green Box: Ensuring Coherence with Sustainable Development Goals. Cambridge University Press, p. 71ff.
  13. For all figures UN, Millennium Development Goals, Goal 7, Ensure Environmental Sustainability.
  14. The Millennium Development Goals are a set of eight development-related objectives that the international community seeks to achieve by 2015.
  15. 2015 is the European Year for Development.
  16. Definition used in the European Report on Development (2013) Post-2015: Global Action for an Inclusive and Sustainable Future, Overseas Development Institute (ODI), German Development Institute/Deutsches Institut für Entwicklungspolitik (DIE), European Centre for Development Policy Management (ECDPM), Brussels: 2013, p. 19.
  17. United Nations General Assembly (2005). 2005 World Summit Outcome.
  18. European Commission, International Cooperation and Development, Programming.
  19. European Commission, Aid Explorer.
  20. These Member States are: Netherlands, United Kingdom, Denmark, France, Germany, Italy, and Spain. All of the countries shared their seat with other countries, see Sustainable Development Knowledge Platform, Open Working Group on SDGs, Members.
  21. See: European Year for Development.