Development Cooperation Instrument (DCI)

Development Cooperation Instrument (DCI)

The objectives and general principles of the DCI have been formulated in line with the Lisbon Treaty and the latest policies, notably the 'Agenda for Change' of EU development policy. Its prime objective is the reduction of poverty. It contributes also to the achievement of other goals of EU external action, in particular fostering sustainable economic, social and environmental development as well as promoting democracy, the rule of law, good governance and respect for human rights.

What does it cover?

The DCI covers, through its different programmes all the developing countries except the countries eligible for the Pre-Accession Instrument. There are three specific components covered:

Geographic programmes supporting cooperation with around 47 developing countries in Latin America, South Asia and North and South East Asia, Central Asia, Middle East and South Africa.

These programmes support actions based on the European Consensus for Development and the following areas:

  • Human rights, democracy and good governance (e.g. rule of law, democracy, gender equality, public sector management, fight against corruption…)

  • Inclusive and sustainable growth for human development (e.g. health, education, social protection, sustainable agriculture, food and nutrition security…)

  • Migration and asylum

  • The link between humanitarian relief and development cooperation

  • Resilience and disaster risk reduction

  • Development and security, including conflict prevention.

Thematic programmes benefiting all developing countries (including those covered by the ENPI and the EDF). These programmes add value, complementarity and coherence to the geographical programmes. There are two categories:

  • 'Global public good and challenges': this programme addresses climate change, environment, energy, human development, food security and migration while ensuring coherence with the poverty reduction objective. No less than 27% of this programme is spent on climate change and environment objectives. At least 25% of the programme is used to support social inclusion and human development.

  • 'Civil society organisations and local authorities': this programme provides greater support to civil society and local authorities to encourage them to play a bigger role in development strategies.

The newly established Pan-African Programme to support the strategic partnership between the EU and Africa. This programme complements other financing instruments which are used in Africa (in particular ENI and EDF) and supports activities of trans-regional, continental or global nature in and with Africa.


How much money is available?

The budget allocated under the DCI for the period 2014-2020 is €19.6 billion:

  • €11.8 billion for the geographic programmes,
  • €7 billion for the thematic programmes,
  • €845 million for the Pan-African programme.

Who is eligible for funding?

The entities which are eligible for funding are:

  • partner countries and regions, and their institutions,
  • decentralised bodies in the partner countries (municipalities, provinces, departments and regions),
  • joint bodies set up by the partner countries and regions with the Community,
  • Non State Actors,
  • international organisations,
  • EU agencies.

In case of call for proposals and tenders: each of them will specify in related documents the eligibility criteria for that specific call or tender.


  • The Practical Guide explains contracting procedures for EU external aid contracts financed by the EU general budget (Budget) and the 10th European Development Fund (EDF).

    Consult PRAG

  • E-learning course on the Practical Guide. Do you want to know more about EU external action procedures? See our self-learning distance course on contractual procedures.

    e-Learning PRAG

  • e-Calls PROSPECT is the electronic system developed by EuropeAid to facilitate the submission of applications for call for proposals.

    e-Calls PROSPECT

  • Potential Applicant Data Online Registration database contains information on organisations applying for European Commission grants in the field of external assistance.

    e-Calls PADOR

  • Delegated Cooperation, Cooperation with partner countries and with international organisations, Co-financing and Management Modes.

    Consult DEVCO-Companion