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AidWatch 2018: Security Aid - Fostering development, or serving European donors’ national interest?

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EU prioritising security over peace-building negatively impacts development aid – New Report

Brussels, 15 February 2018 – While today less and less aid is spent in least developed countries [1], the EU increasingly spends ODA in favour of national and foreign policy and security interests. A new CONCORD report explores the use of EU aid to respond to security threats and warns the EU of the negative impact this has on sustainable development.

Aid spending on conflict, peace and security (1.06€ billion reported in 2015), has outpaced the growth of all aid over the last decade, shows the report.

While inclusive, sustainable peace-building is clearly a key part of sustainable development; this does not mean that all security or conflict-related spending is the most effective aid. Aid is a unique and limited resource, as it is increasingly diverted towards national security interests and this away from some key social sectors like health and education for example, we risk undermining capacity to meet the SDGs, end poverty and leave no one behind. With 3.1€ billion in total and 90% coming from ODA, the EU Trust Fund for Africa perfectly illustrates this trend [2]
Amy Dodd CONCORD expert from the UK Aid Network

The report shows that not only has EU security interests impacted the aid amounts allocated to conflict, peace-building and security but donors have also chosen different recipient countries. Today, a larger proportion of aid is sent to countries and regions that pose threats to security interests of the EU and its Member States, with Morocco, Turkey, Pakistan and Egypt being in the top 10 of EU aid recipients.

Shifting the focus of aid away from people living in poverty contradicts the purpose. There are internationally agreed principles of effective development cooperation, based on what actually works to reduce poverty.
Åsa Thomasson CONCORD Expert from CONCORD Sweden

Referring to the Africa Fund set up in Italy in 2017:

Bringing together development concerns and security interests within the same instrument is problematic in a number of ways. Genuine development impacts are at risk. Public opinion will less and less understand what aid is meant for, leading to diminished public support for development aid.
Luca de Fraia CONCORD Expert from Action Aid Italy

Ahead of the Munich Security Conference, development NGOs call on EU leaders to stop security interests jeopardising the development agenda and ask the EU to put long-term solutions for peace-building and human security at the heart of any EU Aid spending related to conflict, peace-building and security.

Media contacts:
CONCORD Expert on Financing for Development: Amy Dodd, UK Aid Network Director – amy@ukan.org.uk – Tel: +44 (0)203 122 0637
CONCORD Policy and Advocacy Coordinator: Alexandra Rosen – alexandra.rosen@concordeurope.org – Tel: 0032 (0)2 743 87 61
CONCORD Communication Coordinator: Helene Debaisieux – helene.debaisieux@concordeurope.org – Tel: 0032 (0) 472 433 120

Notes to editors:

[1] The amount of aid that reaches Least Developed Countries (LDCs) keeps on decreasing, shows CONCORD AidWatch report 2017. While the total ODA from EU 28 increased by 10% between 2012 and 2015, the ODA to LDCs decreased by 2.5%. In 2015, this amount represented 14.6% of the total European aid, namely half of the amount the EU committed to. In 2016, the aid to LDCs fell by 2.9%.

[2] For instance: the EU spent 29 million€ in Mali to build effective security forces to combat terrorism and organised crime (see paper, page 7) ; 162€ million of EU Aid money was earmarked within the EU Trust Fund for Africa for Libya to reinforce security measures for migration management (see page 17 of report).

CONCORD EUROPE: CONCORD is the European confederation of Relief and Development NGOs, made up of 28 national associations, 21 international networks and 3 associate members that represent over 2.600 NGOs, supported by millions of citizens across Europe. www.concordeurope.org SECURITY AID – “Fostering development, or serving European donors’ national interests?”: Analysing the current trends around the aid agenda with the help of figures, examples to build on recommendations, this publication focuses on how is Aid progressively “instrumentalised” and spent in favour conflict, peace and security (CPS) management, to the detriment of poverty eradication and sustainable development.

AIDWATCH: Since 2005, CONCORD AidWatch monitors aid spendings and formulates recommendations on the quality and quantity of aid provided by EU Member States and the European Commission. www.concordeurope.org/aidwatch-reports CONCORD actively campaigns to hold EU leaders accountable for their commitments to dedicate 0,7% of their Gross National Income to development assistance and to use this aid in genuine, poverty-focused and effective ways.

EU TRUST FUND: Recent report “Partnership or conditionality? Monitoring the Migration Compacts and EU Trust Fund for Africa”. By focusing on the main financial instrument for EU’s political engagement with African partners in the field of migration, CONCORD report analyses the EU Emergency Trust Fund for Africa and more specifically its implementation in 3 key partner countries: Libya, Niger and Ethiopia. The research monitored the instruments, the way the funds are used and the possible consequences they have on the ground.

ODA COMMITMENT & DEFINITION: The EU commitment on spending 0.7% of its GNI on ODA has been recently renewed in the European Consensus on Development.

Resource: https://ec.europa.eu/europeaid/sites/devco/files/european-consensus-on-development-final-20170626_en.pdf (article 103)

The rules defining what can be included within the Official Development Assistance (ODA) definition have been recently broadened in the field of peace and security to include measures such as preventing violent extremism, and engagement with the police beyond training in routine civil policing functions. Resource: https://www.oecd.org/dac/DAC-HLM-Communique-2016.pdf (Feb. 2016)

OECD DAC global aid figures 2016: http://www.oecd.org/dac/financing-sustainable-development/development-finance-data/aid-at-a-glance.htm