Europes co-operation with Asia and Latin America:
Reviewing the Regulation A test of the
European Unions commitment to poverty eradication
ALA regulation is the main financial instrument of European development
co-operation with Asia and Latin America. The renegotiation of the
regulation is an important opportunity to improve the effectiveness
of this programme in eradicating poverty and contribute to the challenge
of securing peace and prosperity in Europe and globally.
renegotiation of the regulation (No. 443/92) comes at a particularly
crucial time, coinciding with the European Convention on the Future
of Europe and the InterGovernmental Conference, which will lead
to a new European Treaty. The regulation, which arranges Europes
development co-operation with two of the largest regions in the
South, will be an opportunity to demonstrate the Unions continued
commitment to play a distinct global role in promoting sustainable
and social development, human rights and democracy, which are the
essence of Europes core values.
Monterrey consensus on Financing for Development and The Implementation
Plan and the Political Declaration, that were adopted at the World
Summit on Sustainable Development held in Johannesburg (2002) and
reaffirmed immediately after by the EU General Affairs Council,
have shaped a global partnership for sustainable development. This
partnership includes commitments to increase development assistance,
good governance and a better protection of the environment.
ALA regulation offers an important opportunity for the EU to confirm
its commitment to the Millennium Development Goals and the targets
agreed in the Johannesburg Plan of Implementation. On 30 September
2002 the EU General Affairs and External Relations Council noted
in its conclusions the Johannesburg reaffirmation of the Millennium
Development Goals and that:
poverty is among the greatest challenges facing the world today
and an indispensable requirement for sustainable development to
be achieved through a multidimensional approach which mainstreams
gender and environmental issues, and ensures access to water, sanitation,
energy, health care, education, land and adequate shelter as well
as income generating activities based on decent employment, and
EU Council further reiterated:
commitment of the EU to ensure coherence between its internal and
external policies, including the development assistance programmes,
in order to achieve the goal of eradicating poverty.
proposal for a regulation by the Commission (COM(2002)340 final)
does not appear to reflect the commitments as set out by the Council
Conclusions. While we welcome the reference to the respect of human
rights and fundamental freedoms, democracy and the rule of law,
we are concerned with the overall direction of the regulation in
all other areas.
proposal does not firmly establish the goal of the regulation as
the eradication of poverty. Furthermore we are alarmed by the notion
introduced in the proposal that aid should be premised on an embrace
of neo-liberal policies, as promoted by the World Bank and the IMF
(pre-amble (7)). Article 2 of the draft regulation proposes to foster
the integration of economies of Asian and Latin American countries
into the multilateral trading system through the implementation
of WTO agreements (also pre-amble (6)). It is clearly apparent that
aid and the policy framework for sustainable development for the
reduction of poverty is to be based on unqualified principles
of free market policies.
is growing amount of evidence that unfettered liberalisation has
a tendency to exacerbate poverty rather than eliminate poverty.
It is therefore of crucial importance that communities of people
living in poverty are consulted in the programming of aid genuinely
focusing on the eradication of poverty, and participate in the aid
activities designed for them and with them.
diversity in cultures, levels of economic growth and political realities
should be taken into account in successful efforts to combat poverty,
which might require country-based solutions rather than a
one size fits all approach. The issues and concerns of poverty
are specific in many ways. Social exclusion of ethnic minorities
(lack of access to and control over productive resources and power),
gender discrimination (women being the victims of discriminatory
social practices) and caste based untouchability (dalits
who constitute a significant part of the society are at the bottom
of the poverty ladder) are at the heart of the problems that need
to be considered in effective strategies of poverty eradication.
Participation of civil society organisations representing people
living in poverty is therefore a crucial aspect for a credible strategy
towards development co-operation.
Commission argues that only a thin regulation is required to mandate
it to implement the programme towards Asia and Latin America. This
touches upon some very fundamental issues underlying this proposal.
the Commission is seeking a regulation that will enable development
resources to be used flexibly. This will allow them
to support different kinds of external actions in Asia and Latin
America, including those related to defence and security. This
would risk the subordination of the objective to eradicate poverty
to political and security interests of the Union.
the Commission has not incorporated any proposals to ensure that
the enabling legislation proposed in the regulation is backed
up with operational legislation, and that adequate decision-making
powers, as well as powers of control, are granted to the European
Parliament in the definition of concrete policies at general,
regional or sub-regional level.
flexibility requested by the Commission amounting
to a request for a blank cheque, gives no guarantees
that the regulations objectives, framed in the treaty development
objectives (art 177) will be translated in real implementation.
The emphasis given to strengthen the political and economic
presence (pre-amble (5)) and the reference to the war on terrorism
in article 2 create the impression that the regulation might be
seen as an instrument for the Common Foreign and Security Policy
(CFSP), rather than for development co-operation. We therefore demand
a clear definition of how the regulation will be translated in its
implementation, both in terms of operational procedures and in terms
of decisions with regards to the budget.
regulation should respond to the EU commitment to increase ODA to
0.7% of GNI, and reach an average of 0.39% of GNI in 2006. This
increase should be reflected in the regulation. Moreover, the regulation
should reflect a focus on poverty and identify how more resources
will be channelled to people living in poverty and to low income
countries, particularly but not solely, in South Asia which
accommodates the largest number of people in poverty. The regulation
should set clear targets to reach people living in poverty most
effectively with grant support, particularly by ensuring that at
least 35% of the total appropriations will be directed to basic
social services, which is essential for lifting people out of poverty.
This target has been included in the ALA budget by the EU Budget
Authority since 2000 and this continuity should be reflected in
inclusion of the following issues will be essential if the objective
of the regulation is to set clear parameters for eradicating poverty
in Asia and Latin America:
overall objective of the ALA regulation should be unequivocally
stated as being the eradication of poverty. Its definition of
actions should be set within the requirements of the EC Treaty,
art. 2,3,6 and 177 181, and derived from the EU commitment
to the Millennium Development Goals, as well as the joint EU Council/Commission
Development statement of November 2000. The regulations
provisions for implementation should originate in the conclusions
of the EU Council for General Affairs and External Relations from
30 September 2002 with regards to the Johannesburg Political Declaration
and Plan of Implementation.
ALA regulation should directly indicate with tangible figures
the strategic support to the EU contribution to the action-oriented
outcome agreed in Johannesburg with clear and measurable objectives,
directed to achieving the Millennium Development Goals. This should
include increasing the appropriations to reflect the commitment
to contribute 0.39% of GNI in 2006 to ODA made in Monterrey; greater
proportional allocations to low income countries and 35% of allocation
to social sectors, with 20% to basic social services, and 10%
for the environment as is the case in the current ALA regulation.
regulation should unambiguously confirm the commitment of the
EU to ensure coherence between its internal and external policies
to achieve the goal of eradicating poverty. This should include
the promotion of food security and rural development in the spirit
of the Declaration of the Rome World Food Summit as reiterated
by the EU Council Conclusions of 30 September 2002.
need to achieve a balance between environment issues and economic
development should be clearly stated in the final text. Specific
reference should be made to the environment in Article 2 of the
proposed regulation given the exceptional richness of natural
resources in the Asian and Latin American Regions and the high
level of environmental degradation and the role of natural resources
in supporting the daily life of the poorest. This would also be
in line with the EU Council Conclusions of May 2001 requiring
EC funds to support partner countries in reversing environmental
degradation and to the resolutions of the EU General Affairs Council
of September 2002 reaffirming the commitment of the EU to fulfil
the targets agreed in the Johannesburg Plan of Implementation.
research has pointed out the low level of environmental integration
in the adopted Country and Regional Strategy Papers planning EC
intervention in partner countries and regions. In this respect,
strategy papers should ensure respect for the requirements of
international environment agreements ratified by the EU and its
partner countries such as the Convention on Biological Diversity,
The Convention on Desertification, and the Framework Convention
on Climate Change. In addition and as recommended by the European
Commission to the EU Development Council, the establishment and
implementation of National Strategies for Sustainable Development,
NSSDs, called by UNGASS in 2002, should be a priority of Community
support in partners countries.
regulation should acknowledge the importance of the involvement
of peoples organisations in the process of policy, strategy
and action plan formulations. Binding provisions must be made
for active participation of the peoples organisations in
the entire decision making process. It will substantially help
to understand the ground situations and formulate strategies in
realistic terms tailored to the priorities of people living in
poverty. The regulation should provide support for building the
capacity of civil society actors and associate representatives
of civil society organisations to dialogue in the context of the
regulation at regional, sub-regional and country level, including
legislation that ensures an authentic participation of civil society
in the adoption of Country and Regional Strategy Papers.
regulation needs to recognise the specific problems of poverty
relating to Asia, which is home to 75% of the worlds people
living in poverty. A large number of Asian poor live in South
Asia totalling 40% of the worlds total poor. Within South
Asia, special consideration should be given to countries that
fall into the category of Least Developed Countries, particularly
Nepal, Bangladesh, Bhutan and Maldives. The nature and objective
of the list of countries annexed to the proposed regulation should
regulation should recognise the need to target specifically groups
of people excluded from the benefits of development, particularly
indigenous people and dalits. There are many indigenous peoples
in Asia and Latin America and the proposed ALA regulation should
make specific reference to indigenous peoples as recognised by
international laws. One difference between civil society groups
and indigenous peoples is that while the first may be seen as
stakeholders, the latter have systematically rejected that description
as they hold clear rights under international human rights law
and have instead described themselves more accurately as "right
holders". In various conclusions and resolutions the EU Council
recognises indigenous peoples' rights to full and free participation
in the development process from programming and identification
to evaluation, including the right to object to projects, in particular
in their traditional areas.
regulation should also pay specific attention to the need to address
gender equality as a precondition for sustainable development.
The severe problems of children and particularly the girl
child, in bonded and forced labour, child labour need to be addressed
and childrens health issues, particularly related to HIV/AIDS.
The right to education for all reaffirmed at the World Education
Forum in Dakar 2000 and endorsed in a European Parliament resolution
in June 2001 needs to be addressed in the regulation in line with
the Development Council conclusions in May 2002 which reaffirmed
Member States' commitment to ensure that no country with a viable
education plan will be thwarted by a lack of resources and explicitly
committed Member States to increasing the volume of aid to education.
welcoming the fact that the proposed Regulation provides for the
untying of aid in Article 9, it is logical to untie aid to the
fullest extent possible and therefore the regulation should make
provision for aid be untied to all developing countries. The Regulation
should also make a positive contribution towards increasing the
capacity of firms in developing countries to bid successfully
for contracts thus ensuring long- term sustainability and development.
A specific reference (including incentives) should be made to
concrete measures to promote local sourcing of goods and services.
The Cotonou agreement provides an existing model, which incorporates
measures to promote ACP firms participation in European
Development Fund contracts. Untied aid would lead to greater sourcing
of local supplies and expertise. This will not only produce more
relevant goods and services for development projects, but also
offer better value for money and enhanced effectiveness.
regulation should incorporate the notion that a political and
institutional environment that upholds human rights, democratic
principles and the rule of law, good governance and the transparent
and accountable management of human, natural and economic and
financial resources for the purposes of equitable and sustainable
development. This entails clear decision-making procedures at
the level of public authorities, transparent and accountable institutions,
the primacy of the law in management and distribution of resources
and capacity building for elaborating and implementing measures
aiming in particular at preventing and combating corruption. These
principles should underpin the EU-Asia/Latin American partnership
and the parties should agree that serious cases of corruption,
including acts of bribery leading to such corruption, should constitute
a violation of the essential elements of the regulation.
Regulation should be in the nature of a parent statute that clearly
lays down the policy content and under it, delegated legislation,
if any, should be established only for the purpose of giving effect
to such policy and never in the nature of a discretionary power
that goes beyond the parent statute itself.
paper contains the views of a broad range of civil society organisations
from Asia, Latin America and Europe. It sets out the expectations
of civil society on the content and orientation of European co-operation
with countries in Asia and Latin America, and on the EUs Regulation
that provides the legal base for this co-operation. The paper has
been the result of widespread consultations with NGOs and civil
society organisations in Asia, Latin America and Europe. This included
discussions and consultations at the Asia Social Forum in Hyderabad
(India) in early January 2003 and at the World Social Forum in Porto
Alegre (Brazil) at the end of January.
statement is endorsed by the following organisations:
Institute, and 11.11.11
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