EC Aid Policies
Overall EC Development Policy
In 2005, the Council and Commission adopted the European Consensus for Development. This new legal framework applies to all EC recipient countries and for the first time introduces the fight against poverty ‘in the context of sustainable development’ as the objective of EU development cooperation.
This new commitment places environmental development at the same level as economic and social development. Specifically, the European Community commits to ‘support the efforts undertaken by its partner countries to incorporate environmental considerations into development, … [giving] particular attention to initiatives ensuring the sustainable management and preservation of natural resources, including as a source of income, and as a means to safeguard and develop jobs, rural livelihoods and environmental goods and services.’(Para. 75)
To this end EC aid will support in particular:
1) national and regional strategies;
2) European or global initiatives and organisations;
3) the promotion of the sustainable management of biodiversity;
4) the effective mainstreaming of sustainable land management issues in developing countries’ strategies;
5) the promotion of sustainable forest management, especially the efforts to combat illegal logging;
6) the implementation of the EU Action Plan on Climate Change in the context of development co-operation; and
7) the promotion of the sustainable management of chemicals and waste.
Moreover, the EU’s development policy includes the requirement to integrate environmental sustainability, indigenous peoples, human rights, gender equality and good governance This requires that environmental concerns be integrated into all areas of development cooperation.
The following are the most important policies to be aware of with regards to EC aid:
Integration of environment and biodiversity in development co-operation
As part of the EU Treaty (the Amsterdam Treaty) the European Union is obliged to integrate environment into all sectors of EU policies. Specific mentions appear in:
Article 6: "Environment protection requirements must be
integrated into the definition and implementation of the Community policies and activities referred to in the Article 3, in particular with a view to promoting sustainable development."
Article 3 (1): "The activities of the Community shall include...a policy in the sphere of the development co-operation."
Article 174: "... Community policy on the environment shall contribute to the pursuit of the following objectives: - preserving and protecting and improving the quality of the environment - protecting human health - prudent and rational utilisation of natural resources - promoting measures at international level to deal with regional or worldwide environmental problems."
The EC strategy to tackle environmental issues in development
To implement the above policies, DG Development drafted a Communication in October 1999 about how to integrate environmental and development issues into practices and policies. The aim of this draft strategy was to integrate environmental concerns into the six areas where the Commission will concentrate its activities.
Based on the Commission’s strategy, the Council issued Conclusions in May 2001 which set out the priority activities for the European Institutions. These included enhancing policy dialogue on the environment with partner countries, incorporating environmental themes into programming and Country Strategy papers and the inclusion of environmental dimensions into projects.
In 2007, and after a European Court of Auditors Special Report on the matter (Special Report No 6/2006), the Commission launched the revision of its integration strategy. While it is still unclear when the review will be finalised, the Council issued a second set of Conclusions in June 2009 stating the need for EU aid should be more rigorous and systematic in tackling the sustainable management of natural resources and adaptation to climate change. The conclusions also call on the Commission to ensure coordination with other donors in order to develop mutually supportive strategies for the integration of environmental issues across policies and sectors in recipient countries, and to take greater steps to ensure coherence between policies affecting developing countries, such as aid, agriculture, fisheries and trade. Perhaps more important, to improve the EU environmental record abroad, the Conclusions ask the Commission to update and use its tools for environmental integration,1 develop a work programme listing deliverable results and responsibilities and present an EU-wide environmental integration strategy to the Council. Having indicators for delivery will bring new, much-needed speed to the process.
1. Such as updating country profiles and using environmental impact/strategic environmental assessment tools