EU faces challenges to its aid efficiency

Published: 04 December 2010

The EU needs to ensure maximum efficiency in its aid delivery methods if the 2015 MDGs are to be reached, according to a representative from EuropeAid.

Phillipe Loop (Head of Information, Communication and Front Office at EuropeAid) expressed how the "go there and fix it" approach is no longer effective, and that international aid efforts should be "geared towards supporting developing countries in their own efforts".

The EU is dedicated to the UN MDG to spend 0.7% GNI on international development within its original member states (0.33% in new member states) by 2015. However the success of such expenditure is dependent on aid delivery efficiency, particularly if the aid budget reduces due to the current economic crisis faced by some European countries.

Previous aid delivery has focused around 'projects', activities with specific objects and defined timelines. However such work is expensive and aid often does not reach the most under-represented communities. Aid delivery is now being targeted towards other methods which involve supporting partner governments.

Loop described "the rolls royce of development" as 'general budget support', or large monetary transfers to a partner country in support of a national development policy.

The success of aid efforts is measured by a result-orientated monitoring system. Visits are conducted once every six months and results are assessed by impacts which are both immediately visible and forecast wider impact. However Loop admitted that it remains difficult to measure the impact of particular aid delivery methods, as impact relative to aid is difficult to assess. "To measure that you need time. You need a longer track record", he said. "We will most likely never have a system that will be 100% proof.' 

He also highlighted the difficult of collecting accurate data in many developing world countries.

Loop also identified weaknesses in the current delivery of aid and the MDGs themselves. He suggested that the focus has been too much on primary education, as despite the fact that EU funding has put 1 million more pupils through primary education, such results are not reflected in secondary education.