The Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development’s latest peer review of aid programs of Development Assistance Committee members has put the European Union on the spotlight.
Each installment of the OECD peer review focuses on the development programs of one DAC member, highlighting its strengths and weakness. OECD’s most recent reviews featured Spain, the United States, the United Kingdom and the Netherlands.
The OECD’s assessment noted a number of high points, particularly the steps the bloc has taken to improve the effectiveness and impact of its aid program. These include organization restructuring, increased engagement with civil society and improved coordination among EU member countries.
But additional work is needed to make EU aid more coherent and cohesive, the review says. It was a call supported by leading European nongovernmental organizations.
For one, the roles and responsibilities of EU institutions involved in the aid program must be further clarified and distinguished, the OECD noted. It also warned that there is a “high risk” the European Union will fall short of spending 0.7 percent of its gross national income on aid by 2015.
The OECD outlined the following recommendations to guide EU efforts moving forward:
Continue efforts to craft a common aid strategy capitalizing on the proposed “Agenda for Change.”
Ensure funding for private sector development, gender equality, environment and security in order to adequately support programs in fragile states.
Review EU member state policies to make sure they are coherent with international development goals.
Publicize positive results of EU and member state development efforts to shore up public support for aid.
Further streamline and simplify the EU aid budget and administrative process, including by devolving more authority to EU aid workers in the field.
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