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Thursday, 11 April 2013

'Agenda for Change': EU’s helping hand gets an overhaul

Europe’s overseas aid policy, the 'Agenda for Change' – unveiled in October 2011 and approved in May 2012-  calls for giving the world’s most fragile nations more help through what Development Commissioner Andris Piebalgs calls “more strategic, targeted and results-oriented” assistance. But some anti-poverty campaigners say there is a risk that the agenda could end up neglecting impoverished people in emerging and middle-income nations.
The new overseas aid policy, the Agenda for Change, is aimed at focusing assistance on the 48 least-developed countries, nearly all of them sub-Saharan Africa. The plan puts the emphasis on improving governance and social protections in developing nations, while also supporting agriculture and expanding energy access to drive growth.
The shift in funding would be in line with commitments donor nations made in December 2011 in Busan, Korea, where the European Union, United States, Japan and other big donors also agreed to strengthen development aid coordination to help the most impoverished countries.
The Agenda for Change is also seen as complementing the EU’s support for a successor to the United Nations’ Millennium Development Goals, eight poverty-fighting targets that expire in 2015.
EU Development Commissioner Andris Piebalgs has hailed the aid agenda will make aid “more strategic, targeted and results-oriented.”
But anti-poverty campaigners, while supportive of the Commission’s effort to improve aid effectiveness, fear the plan will leave some needy people in emerging countries helpless. They also fear that EU nations, struggling with their own economic and fiscal challenges, will scale back their commitments to do more for the world’s poor.

Source: Euractiv