EC/UN PARTNERSHIP ON DEVELOPMENT AND HUMANITARIAN
Commission Communication to the Council and the European Parliament: Building an effective partnership with the United Nations in the fields of Development and Humanitarian Affairs.
||2 May 2001|
|Forwarded to the Council:
||4 May 2001|
|Deposited in Parliament:
||20 June 2001|
|Basis of consideration:
||EM of 13 July 2001
|Previous Committee Report:
|To be discussed in Council:
||No date set
29.1 Relations between the UN
and the EC have grown into a "rich and diverse" but
complex network of co-operation and contacts are strong. Both
agree that collaboration should be strengthened and the Commission
suggests that a start could be made by establishing a more effective
partnership in their development and humanitarian work.
29.2 A global consensus has emerged in recent years
on the fundamental objectives and strategies of development co-operation
and the two bodies have established co-operation at the policy-making
as well as the operational level. However, at the operational
level this has been on a case-by-case basis, and as a result it
has been unstructured and unfocussed and neither side has been
able to draw maximum benefit from their co-operation. The Commission
analysis is that insufficient internal co-ordination on both sides,
different administrative cultures and institutional as well as
regulatory obstacles are among the reasons for this situation.
29.3 The objective of the Communication is to ensure
a better link between political commitments taken at a global
level, policy and programme development and the preparation and
implementation of projects. It proposes a strategy for building
a more transparent, financially predictable and easily monitored
partnership with chosen UN agencies, funds and programmes. These
would be chosen for their ability to match the objectives and
performance requirements of the EC as set out in its Development
and Humanitarian Aid Regulation.
The aim would be to strengthen the involvement of the EC in early
consideration of policies.
29.4 The Commission argues that its internal reform
process should help improve collaboration. In particular, the
new standard framework for EC Country Strategy Papers should explicitly
examine the opportunities for collaboration with other donors,
and the new Financial Regulation which is expected to be adopted
next year should
allow greater flexibility for the EC to co-fund programmes with
other donors. In addition, following agreement in 1999 between
the Commission and the UN, work is in hand to establish procedures
which would make EC funding of UN programmes easier.
29.5 The Communication proposes that future activity
to improve co-operation should be based on the principles of division
of labour among donors, comparative advantage of UN activities
and refocusing of EC development activities on a smaller number
of areas, linked to poverty reduction and Community added value.
29.6 The Commission notes that the full support
of Member States is required to meet the objectives set out in
The Government's view
29.7 In an Explanatory Memorandum dated 13 July,
the Secretary of State for International Development (Clare Short)
says that the Government supports the objective of improving co-operation
between the EU and the UN, in order to enhance the impact of both
in contributing to the achievement of the International Development
Targets (IDTs). The Commission's two criteria for structuring
the improved relationship, those of poverty focus and UN added
value/comparative advantage, are the right ones. She adds:
contributions to UN development funds and programmes that make
an effective contribution to the achievement of the IDTs could
be a good outlet for Commission funds that might otherwise be
difficult to disburse, or which would be disbursed badly. At the
same time they could help address the concerns frequently expressed
by some UN funds and programmes about the level, predictability
and stability of their funding. The [Commission] Communication
highlights the importance of ensuring that the EU targets its
funding of the UN, so that the money is used with best effect.
"We would welcome moves towards collaborative
development of the EC's Country Strategy Papers and co-financing
of programmes (particularly on a sector-wide basis) with other
donors. This is in line with the general trend towards more joined-up
donor assistance through initiatives such as Poverty Reduction
Strategy Papers, the Comprehensive Development Framework, United
Nations Development Assistance Framework and Sector Wide Approaches.
"We therefore welcome proposals to address existing
regulatory and administrative constraints on co-operation by recasting
the Financial Regulation and creating a standard grant agreement.
"EU co-ordination in inter-governmental processes
is fairly well-established and aims for a collective European
position wherever possible in order to maximise input. However,
we retain the flexibility to agree to differ in some circumstances.
In the funds and programmes, Member State are major donors in
their national capacities and express their positions independently."
29.8 This initiative is to be welcomed. We drew
attention to a high-profile example of poor co-ordination between
the Commission and the United Nations in our report on the programme
of assistance to Palestinian society which we have recommended
The European Court of Auditors commented that in the case of the
European Gaza Hospital Project, the Commission did not take active
responsibility in the early years of the project, other than by
providing the funds, while leaving everything else to UNRWA, the
UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near
East. This is such a notorious project that we are confident that
the Commission will wish to ensure, in any future collaborative
ventures, that it plays a much more active part in the monitoring,
if not implementation, of the projects concerned.
29.9 We ask the Government to keep a close watch
on the arrangements which emerge from this initiative, such as
the standard grant agreement, so as to tie any European Community
funds allocated to United Nations projects to formal requirements
for close and effective monitoring.
29.10 We now clear this document.
71 Council Conclusions were adopted on 31 May 2001:
See Council Press Release 8855/01, pages 18 to 21: Building
an effective partnership with the United Nations in the fields
of development and humanitarian affairs - Council Conclusions. Back
this Communication, United Nations excludes the International
Monetary Fund, the World Bank and the World Trade Organisation.
A list of the bodies included is attached as an annex to the
8333/00: see HC 23-xxii (1999-2000), paragraph 3 (21 June 2000). Back
Regulation (EC) No. 1257/96 of 20 June 1996. Back
12598/01: see HC 23-xxxi (1999-2000), paragraph 11 (29 November
2000) and HC 28-xiii (2000-01), paragraph 5 (2 May 2001). Back
14778/00; see HC 28-vii (2000-01), paragraph 4 (28 February 2001). Back