Note:Your browser doesn't correctly display this page because of a bad stylesheets interpretation. This is probably due to an old browser version.

[Luxembourg 2005 Presidency of the Council of the European Union]
 Version française        

You are here : Home > News > Speeches > March 2005 > Speech by Jean-Louis Schiltz at the high level Forum on aid effectiveness - 02 March 2005
Print this page Send this page

Speech by Jean-Louis Schiltz at the high level Forum on aid effectiveness - 02 March 2005

Date of Speech : 02-03-2005

Place : Paris

Speaker : Jean-Louis Schiltz

Competence : Development

Policy area : General Affairs and External Relations

Mr President,

I have the honour to speak on behalf of the European Union. The candidate country: Croatia, the countries of the stabilisation and association process and potential candidates: Bosnia and Herzegovina, the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia have aligned themselves with this statement.

1. The commitments made at the Monterrey Conference on Financing for Development (2002) and the subsequent first High Level Forum on Harmonisation in Rome (2003) have been key landmarks in the enhancement of development cooperation. Donors - among them the EU - agreed to increase the level and enhance the effectiveness of their Official Development Assistance with the aim to achieve the Millennium Development Goals, and ultimately eradicate poverty worldwide.

2. In the wake of the upcoming events of the development agenda, in particular the 2005 Summit - which should reconfirm our determination to achieve the MDGs, this conference presents an excellent opportunity for maintaining the momentum and firming up our commitments to aid effectiveness. We particularly welcome the many new partner countries since Rome, contributing to making this a true partnership.

3. When aiming to achieve the internationally agreed development goals, it is important to strive towards a strong partnership between developed and developing countries. Some of our development partners have made significant investments and efforts over the past years for which they should be commended. As donors we have taken commitments, which can only be met through partnership and ownership. This implies a transparent and frank dialogue, which clarifies what we can agree or disagree on. Donors must seek, wherever possible, a maximum alignment with partner-country procedures, systems and policies, and an improved coordination of policies and harmonisation of our action.

4. This is not simple, not easy. It will not be solved by sole statements but by specific, pragmatic improvements and continued hard work. We are ready to place the EU – as the provider of more than 50% of ODA and with a presence in a large number of developing countries – in the forefront of increasing aid effectiveness and realising the benefits of harmonisation and alignment.


5. For the EU, coordination of policies and harmonisation of procedures is an important matter. By way of preparation for the Monterrey Conference, the EU provided essential input and momentum through the Barcelona Commitments. Member States committed themselves amongst others to take concrete steps on coordination of policies and the harmonisation of procedures before 2004 in line with internationally agreed best practices. One year later, in 2003 the then 15 EU Member States and the Commission signed the Rome Declaration, which described in more detail the harmonisation agenda and the direction to be followed.

6. Since these events, the harmonisation and coordination agenda has certainly gained momentum. Substantial efforts have been made in many partner countries, supported by the EU and various multilateral forums such as the OECD/DAC and the multilateral development organisations. At the same time donors, including the EU Member States and the Commission, have made efforts to adapt policies and procedures to the new agenda. The EU also started implementing a harmonisation agenda in four pilot countries (Mozambique, Morocco, Nicaragua and Vietnam).

7. We know what we have to do since Monterrey and Rome. Reality check shows that progress so far has been uneven. However, many building blocks have been put in place, both in the partner countries and in our joint understanding of harmonisation and alignment. We are ready to move and generalise good practices. We as donors can - and should - go a long way, but real progress builds on the partnership with our development partners.

8. This Forum is one of the first major international events in 2005. It has to send a positive message on how we will accelerate the pace. It has to send a positive message on how we are ready to change.


9. In order to speed up an effective implementation of commitments made and based on the EU document entitled “Advancing Coordination, Harmonisation and Alignment" (document distributed to the HLF2), the enlarged EU of 25 Member States and the Commission, decided in November 2004, on ways to improve coordination, harmonisation and alignment. Guiding our action are a number of underlying principles, namely the EU is resolved to focus on a country-based and country-led approach, avoid duplication and work in a complementary way, aim for a wide coverage of aid modalities focus on implementation, openness of all donor initiatives.

10. Our approach is to be seen as a collective contribution from the EU, but not exclusively for the EU. It is a concrete proposal for all actors to gather around a few pragmatic short and medium term objectives.

11. As a concrete step the EU also decided to establish roadmaps at country level in all partner countries where it is relevant and adds value. The Roadmap can draw on a menu of options for action to determine concrete steps to be taken by the Member States and the Commission in order to adapt the political decisions to the national context and put them into practice. The focus could be for example on increased joint programming and evaluation, towards increased complementarity, joint financial arrangements, reduction of missions.

12. We have so many challenges, the Tsunami, Ivory Coast, Sudan or the Great Lakes just to name a few of them, where only a collective push can move things forward. In these situations a common EU approach has a particular value. Countries in post-conflict and emergency situations, as well as fragile states, require special attention with regard to harmonisation and alignment. In these circumstances as much as possible should be done to reinforce national systems and alignment, but when this is not doable, we as donors have a special responsibility for ensuring coordination and harmonisation.

13. As a way to improve the efficiency of our actions and increase their impact on poverty eradication, we also believe that untying of aid should be extended. In this context, ongoing efforts are currently being made by the EU to further untie Community aid.

14. I want to highlight in this respect that the ten new emerging European donors have joined, through these EU commitments, the international agenda on aid effectiveness. Like all EU Member States and the Commission, they confirm their dedication to development and its best practices. This indicates that they are ready to join the OECD/DAC activities in the field of aid effectiveness and harmonisation, and should enjoy the possibility to participate on equal footing in all coordination and harmonisation initiatives.


15. This second High Level Forum in Paris provided a good opportunity for stocktaking, reflection and seeking new directions and commitments. It is high time that we firmly and systematically translate our commitments into action, by scaling up the progress made so far. The EU would welcome an ambitious Paris declaration with clear commitments, strong indicators and concrete time-bound targets.

For those indicators where we have not yet been, or will not be, able to agree targets we believe this Forum should mandate the DAC Working Party on Aid Effectiveness to define time-bound objectives as soon as possible and – if we really want to live up to our commitments – before September.

16. In the meantime, the EU commits itself to work towards the following overall targets:

§ To provide all capacity building assistance through coordinated programmes with an increasing use of multi-donors arrangements;

§ To channel 50% of government-to-government assistance through country systems, including by increasing the percentage of our assistance provided through budget support or Swap arrangements;

§ To avoid the establishment of any new PIUs;

§ To reduce the number of un-coordinated missions by 50%.

17. Successfully achieving those targets requires all partner countries to support the implementation of our common commitments. We invite all donors to join us, on an equal footing and wherever they can, in the implementation of the concrete commitments outlined above.

18. It is important that we commit ourselves to an effective monitoring process on a regular basis, building on existing mechanisms at country level and enabling partners to hold donors to account for their performance.

19. In 2002, the Peer Review of the OECD "considered the European Community as a timid giant". We do not want the EU to be shy. We recognise our responsibility and we are ready to act. We look forward to work hand in hand with all of you to improve our development cooperation by more harmonisation, more coordination and more alignment.

This page was last modified on : 08-03-2005

Top Top