EU Communication on the Agenda for Change

EU Communication on the Agenda for Change

Agenda for Change

The Agenda for Change, adopted in 2011, is the basis for the EU's development policy. The primary objective of the Agenda for Change is to significantly increase the impact and effectiveness of EU development policy and, to this end, a series of key changes in the way assistance is delivered have been introduced. These key orientations have changed EU development policy significantly and have informed the programming process for the current 2014-2020 period.

The key principles and policy priorities of the Agenda for Change can be summarized as follows:


  1. Differentiation: taking into account the increased differentiation between developing countries, the EU shall seek to target its resources where they are needed most to address poverty reduction and where they can have the greatest impact. Greater emphasis will be put on the poorest countries including Fragile States. At the same time for countries already on sustained growth paths and/or able to generate enough own resources, this will result in less or no EU development grant aid and the pursuit of a different development partnership based on loans, technical cooperation or support for trilateral cooperation.
  2. Concentration: to increase the impact and leverage of its assistance, the EU shall engage in no more than three sectors per partner country.
  3. Coordination: to avoid fragmentation of aid and further increase impact, the EU and its Member States shall strengthen Joint Programming, emphasizing the need for a simplified and faster programming process, to be largely carried out on the ground. Similarly, the EU and its Member States will work to develop a common results-based approach to provide a basis for improving mutual accountability and transparency on development results.
  4. Coherence: the EU shall continue to evaluate the impact of its policies on development objectives to ensure Policy Coherence for Development. Similarly it will strengthen county-level dialogue on PCD and continue to promote it in global fora.

Policy priorities

  1. Human rights, democracy and other key elements of good governance: recognizing that good governance, in its political, economic, social and environmental terms, is vital for inclusive and sustainable development, the EU support to governance shall feature more prominently in all partnerships. The EU action should center on the support and promotion of democracy, human rights and the rule of law, gender equality, civil society and local authorities, public-sector management, corruption, tax policy and administration. In its action the EU shall employ a mix of approaches and instruments such as political dialogue, aid and conditionality based on countries' context, commitments and performance.
  2. Inclusive and sustainable growth for human development: recognizing that inclusive and sustainable economic growth is crucial to long-term poverty reduction, the EU shall strengthen its action on social protection, health and education, which are the foundation for growth and ensure its inclusiveness. At the same time, it shall enhance support to those sectors that can have a high impact on development outcomes, like sustainable agriculture and energy, including natural resources management. Finally the EU shall support those sectors which create enabling conditions for inclusive and sustainable growth such as private sector development and fostering regional integration, including by using new financial tools in order to leverage further resources to increase the EU's impact on poverty reduction.

Additional efforts will also be put in place to tackle the challenges of security, fragility and transition with the setting up of a more integrated, coherent and coordinated response notably linking development cooperation, humanitarian relief and conflict prevention.


The Agenda for Change was taken into account in the Commission's financing instruments for the period 2014-2020  and in the programming guidelines for the DCI and the EDF in order to ensure the implementation of its principles and priorities. With regard to the principle of differentiation a transparent, clear and equitable methodology was applied for the first time to allocate bilateral aid to both EDF and DCI countries.