My 8 goals in development cooperation

As Deputy Chairman of the Development Committee In the European Parliament, my work focuses on European development cooperation and humanitarian aid, which, unlike in the Bundestag, is also subordinate to the Development Committee. 

I am committed to an EU that combats global inequalities, acts on an equal footing with its partners, promotes democracy and the rule of law and is also open to people who have to flee to Europe from war and persecution, but also because of poverty and the consequences of the climate crisis. Even if there is more consensus on cooperation with the Global South than in other policy areas of the European Union, there are still some points with which I am dissatisfied or where I would like to achieve more as part of the Green Group

1: Stop externalization and conditionalization

The primary objective of the EU's development cooperation is to combat poverty, which is also laid down in primary law (Art. 21 (2) d) TEU). However, more and more funds that should actually be used for this purpose are being used for the Externalization of Europe's external borders or linked to the cooperation of third countries in migration management. This means that states, usually autocratic regimes, are provided with funds or granted other benefits such as duty-free access, in return for which the governments are supposed to ensure that fewer people enter Europe. Current examples of this are the Memorandum of Understanding with Tunisia on migration measures or the long-standing financing of the Libyan coast guard. 

With the NDICI-Global Europe Instrument for External Expenditure of the EU, various EU external policy instruments were bundled at the beginning of this legislative period and a new set of rules was drawn up. Against the will of the conservative European People's Party (EPP) and the Council, we were able to ensure that only around 10% of total expenditure is to be used for migration purposes. We also fought to ensure that the concept of migration is broadly defined and also includes combating the causes of flight or promoting legal migration routes.

Nevertheless, we see that the money from the NDICI is primarily used for migration management. The aim is to prevent people from fleeing as effectively as possible instead of effectively combating the causes. This does not lead to fewer people making their way to Europe, but it does mean that more people are on the Perish on the way to the Mediterraneanthan in the Mediterranean itself. 

The success of development policy projects is also increasingly being measured by how migration movements towards Europe are changing. Here too, actual core issues such as access to education, healthcare for local people, etc. are being overlooked and the focus and evaluation framework is shifting. 

2: Renewed focus on combating poverty

Official development aid (ODA) must not be used primarily for be used for geopolitical purposes of the EUor the implementation of measures that pursue their own interests. The focus should always be on the actual Objectives of development cooperation and on long-term structural transformations that are necessary to achieve the sustainable development goals. These are primarily poverty reduction, investment in health systems and education, climate adaptation, gender equality and other necessary tasks. Food security is also an issue where we are unfortunately not on the right track to achieving the SDG goals. In addition to sufficient funding, it is particularly important that the right measures are taken to make countries of the Global South less dependent on food imports and to develop greater resilience to climate change, for example by promoting agroecological practices.

Even though the EU and its member states are the largest donors worldwide, the Expenditure for ODA The target of 0.7% of gross domestic product continues to be well below or only reached, if funds used domestically for refugees are also accounted forwhich leads to the absurd situation that the EU member states are the largest recipients of EU development funds. The funds must be used primarily where they are most urgently needed, i.e. in the least developed countries (LDCs) – not where the EU has the most interests. 

3: Ambitious, sustainable and transparent development financingg

There are many different development finance players within the EU. In addition to the European Investment Bank (EIB) and the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, there are also a number of national development banks, such as KfW (Kreditanstalt für Wiederaufbau) in Germany. In 2019 there was a ambitious advanceto bundle the EU's external development activities via a newly created bank and to better implement European priorities. This attempt failed mainly due to the member states, but a new branch of the European Investment Bank, EIB Global, was created, through which investments in third countries are to be made. The opportunity should be seized here to take higher risks when financing projects with a high social return and to better involve experts from the partner countries in project planning and implementation. This also applies to the financing of Global Gateway Projects. It must be ensured that these infrastructure projects actually benefit the local population, that funds are allocated transparently and that social and environmental standards are observed.  

4: Control and participation rights of the European Parliamentnts

With the entry into force of NDICI-Global Europe, the European Development Fund (EDF), the most important financial instrument for development cooperation at European level to date, was transferred to the EU budget, giving the European Parliament – at least in theory – more control and participation rights. Unfortunately, this is not necessarily the case in practice. 

It is extremely difficult and often only possible with the support of civil society to gain an overview of the individual financial measures in third countries, especially in the case of migration-related projects. We need more transparency here.

I also advocate better respect for the human rights component of EU funding in third countries. This includes, for example, carrying out a human rights impact assessment – in advance, as set out in the Regulation. There must also be ongoing human rights monitoring of migration management projects and the results must be disclosed to the European Parliament. 

5. Cohesion, so that private sector and geopolitical interests do not continue to stand in the way of development policy interests.n

Unfortunately, trade and geopolitical interests before development policy goals. People in countries of the global south often do not benefit to the same extent from free trade agreements and are exploited in order to obtain resources and labor cheaply. Theoretically, there is a claim here within the EU, Coherence between the various laws and initiatives. In practice, however, there is often a lack of political will to pull together and do real work that helps poorer countries in the long term. Numerous other examples can be cited here, such as the export of pesticides not approved in Europe to the Global South or the promotion of critical raw materials for the internal market without respecting the right to consultation and free, prior and informed consent of indigenous peoples. 

6. not focusing too much on public-private partnerships

In public-private partnerships, projects are implemented by private companies and supported by public funds and the risk is reduced – so-called de-risking. The Problem The problem here is that this form of implementation often does not work in the regions where investment is most needed, as the risk is too high despite public support and therefore remains unattractive for private investors. As a result, only projects in already better developed regions are implemented and the aspect of poverty reduction for people who are most in need cannot be realized.

7: Partnership at eye level – listening to civil society in the global south

Civil society and local authorities in the global south are often not listened to enough and are only inadequately involved in projects or not at all. More work needs to be done with local representatives on the ground, as the participation of local people is essential for the long-term success of development projects. We need more bottom-up approaches instead of falling into neo-colonial patterns.

It is also important that sufficient funds are available for projects that support civil society organizations, democracy and the rule of law, and that bureaucratic hurdles are reduced so that smaller local organizations can also benefit from EU funding.

8. promote gender equality at all levels

Goal 5 of the Sustainable Development Goals for 2030 (SDGs) is to achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls. Here, too, there have been global setbacks, especially during the coronavirus pandemic. One of our negotiating successes for NDICI-Global Europe was the establishment of a 85% Target of all new measures to contribute to gender equality, in 5 % this goal should be the top priority. The Commission must ensure that this is not just a compulsory exercise, but that it produces concrete results. In addition, the Gender Action Plan III be fully implemented and additional investments made to address the regression in the recognition and protection of reproductive health and reproductive rights (SRHR).