What is Joint Programming and how is it carried out?
EU Joint programming means the joint planning of development cooperation by the EU development partners working in a partner country. It includes a 'joint analysis' of the country situation followed by a 'joint response' setting out how EU development partners will provide support and measure progress. Joint analysis and joint response together are hereinafter called 'joint strategy'.
Together with national authorities EU development partners develop a joint strategy fully aligned to the partner country's national development plan. The joint strategy sets out the overall rationale and direction for EU and MS support. It also outlines which sectors/areas each of them will work in, what the overall objectives for these sectors are, and gives provisional figures for their financing over the joint strategy period.
The timing of the joint strategy is synchronised to match the timing of the partner country's national plan so that EU development partners are planning and implementing at the same time and for the same period as the government and can therefore be more responsive to national needs.
The joint strategy is developed at the partner country level to ensure that it provides the best possible response to the situation. This also allows close cooperation with other stakeholders.
Non-EU development partners who share the principles of joint programming are welcome to sign up to the strategy too.
International Context and Commitments
The EU’s Lisbon Treaty of 2009 promised more joint working and "whole of Europe" approaches, including on development policy. Joint programming is one of the key aid effectiveness commitments of EU development partners – enshrined in the 2006 European Consensus for Development and featured strongly in the Agenda for Change, the overall EU development policy agreed by EU Ministers in 2012. All of these commitments are reflected in the EU Council Conclusions of November 2011 which provides overall policy direction for the EU and its Member States.
Why JP is a good idea
Joint Programming is expected to generate benefits at different levels. First of all Joint Programming is expected to lower transaction costs for partner governments as they will have only one programming exercise to deal with for all EU development partners. The joint strategy will include a clear and coherent division of labour across sectors with many advantages for partner governments in terms of rationalized dialogue and coordinated interventions. EU development partners will show more coherence vis-à-vis government and other players as they work together and speak with a common voice.
Joint Programming also aims at more coherence and less aid fragmentation as EU development partners plan together, cutting out gaps and overlaps. Moreover, we can expect higher impact aid and better value for money as EU development partners combine their resources. As together they make up more than half of official development aid funding (ODA) worldwide, Joint Programming is expected to make a real difference to global aid effectiveness, improving how tens of billions of euros are spent each year.
Joint Programming can also help to raise public image and accountability of development aid among EU national constituencies. There should be more visibility for EU Development Partners support as a whole, with a single "EU brand" of high quality aid, as well as more visibility for each participating Development Partners as they are associated with everything done under the "joint strategy". In addition, each Development Partner will still have their agency’s recognition on the projects and programmes they are implementing.
There should be less pressure on each DP to tackle all of the sectors and issues in a given country that are in need of attention. EU development partners can credibly demonstrate that they are part and parcel of a coherent Joint Programming which, through a division of labour, ensures that all relevant sectors and issues are being covered.
There will be more opportunities for joint initiatives on the ground, as EU development partners are planning at the same time and for the same period. This is expected to generate savings in terms of economies of scale and reduced overhead costs.
Joint Programming can make Europe happen on the ground, translating shared European values and policies on issues such as fundamental rights and good governance into coherent, targeted action in partner countries.
EU Joint Programming Guidance Pack
For further information on how to roll out joint programming see the Guidance Pack developed in conjunction with Member States which consists of a "Quick Guide" to Joint Programming, the "road map menu, the "joint analysis" menu and the "joint response menu" as well as and generals FAQs. This is to support and facilitate the the Joint Programming work conducted in the field.
Joint Programming: Progress to Date
As of April 2016, the state of play of Joint Programming is such that 34 countries have Joint Programming roadmaps, 30 have a Joint analysis, and 25, a Joint strategy (drafts included across the three).
 Bilateral government to government development cooperation, if possible also regional and thematic funds