As a supranational organization, the European Union (EU) is the only multilateral OECD DAC donor. According to preliminary OECD figures, it disbursed US$17.6 billion (€13.7 billion) in net official development assistance (ODA) in 2012. EU development assistance is managed and implemented by the European Commission (the Commission) and comes from two different sources: the general EU budget and the European Development Fund (EDF). The next Multiannual Financial Framework for the EU budget and the next EDF financing period (both running from 2014 to 2020) are currently in their final phase of negotiation.
The European Consensus on Development sets out the strategic priorities for the development assistance activities of Commission and the EU member states. The overarching aims are poverty reduction and the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). Support focuses on African, Caribbean and Pacific countries where the EU allocated an additional €1 billion (US$1.3 billion) as part of its 2010 MDG Initiative. The Commission delivers the vast share of its ODA bilaterally to partner countries (97% in 2011).
The Commission is a cofounder and the sixth largest contributor (as of January 2013) of the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria (Global Fund). Its bilateral support to global health made up 5% (US$659 million or €474 million) of its bilateral ODA in 2011. It focuses on health systems strengthening (HSS), and HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria prevention and treatment.
The Commission is a large donor to agriculture and rural development. Bilateral spending (including forestry and fishing) reached US$814 million or €585 million (6.5% of bilateral ODA) in 2011. In addition, it provides substantial funding toward food security and has set up the emergency Food Facility (€1 billion or US$1.4 billion; 2009—2011). At the 2009 G8 summit in L’Aquila, the Commission committed US$3.8 billion (€2.7 billion) for 2010—2012 of which US$742 million (€533 million) are additional.
The EU plays a unique role in development cooperation. As a supranational organization, it receives large amounts of development funding from the EU member states which it channels to developing countries mostly bilaterally and only to a small degree through international organizations. The EU also sets guidelines for development policies of its member states and plays thus a federating role. The Commission holds the executive power for most of the EU policies and is responsible for its management and implementation. Legislative competencies for most policy areas including development assistance are shared between the Council of the European Union (Council), bringing together the ministers of member states, and the European Parliament (EP), which is elected by the EU citizens.
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