The Future of Development Cooperation: From Aid to Policy Coherence for Development?

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    English translation of the original paper written in Dutch.

    The Member States of the European Union collectively contribute more than half of worldwide ‘Official Development Assistance’ (ODA), a concept that was defined in 1972 and since then has not been fundamentally revised. Whereas ODA once played a strong role, and still does in least-developed and fragile states, the traditional donors in developing countries were more recently joined by increasingly influential private donors as well as so-called ‘emerging economies’ such as China and India. This group of  ‘new’ donors generally does not report in terms of ODA but nevertheless makes significant investments in developing countries.

    Besides the developments outside Europe, globalisation also influences the character of public policy, to such an extent that it is hard to imagine a policy area that today does not have an external dimension. 

    The declining influence of European ODA in developing countries as well as the increasing effects of other policy areas makes that in the long run the size of the European ODA budget will no longer be a sufficient indicator of its contribution to international development – if this had ever been the case. International policy discussions refer in this context to ‘Policy Coherence for Development’ (PCD), a concept that expresses the ambition to make sure that all policy areas that affect developing countries contribute positively to the objectives of development cooperation. 

    This brief paper aims to inform the debates about PCD during the 2012 Stakeholders Meeting of the Belgian Development Cooperation.

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