Results of EU development co-operation

Together, the European Union (EU) and its member states are the largest donor to development aid worldwide, contributing €75.7 billion to official development aid in 2017. In addition to financing and implementing development projects themselves, EU member states also support development co-operation carried out by the European Commission. The European Commission makes use of a variety of financial instruments for development co-operation. The Netherlands therefore also makes progress in achieving the goals of the Dutch development co-operation policy via the EU.

The EU reports on its results itself. This page provides a brief overview of the results of EU development co-operation between June 2016 and June 2017 (reporting year 2017); the most recent period for which results are available.

In the reporting year 2017, the European Commission had almost €17 billion to spend on development co-operation worldwide. The Netherlands contributed around 5% of this amount, either via the EU budget or the European Development Fund. The European Consensus on Development is the policy framework for European development co-operation and is based on five focus areas that are fundamental to achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs): people, planet, prosperity, peace and partnership.

These five focus areas of the European Consensus on Development are in line with Dutch policy priorities. All results achieved are described concisely in the Annual report of the European Commission on development co-operation in 2017, and in detail in the Staff Working Document on the Implementation of the EU’s Instruments for Financing External Actions in 2017.

The following selection of results in the reporting year 2017 shows that the development co-operation realised by the European Commission contributes in part to the Dutch goals being achieved.

External sources

Annual report European Commission

Annual report of the European Commission on development co-operation in 2017

Staff Working Document

Staff Working Document on the Implementation of the EU’s Instruments for Financing External Actions in 2017


Ending poverty and hunger in all forms and ensuring dignity and equality

One of the main goals of Dutch development co-operation policy is reducing poverty and social inequality. This is achieved by working on priorities such as food and nutrition security, humanitarian aid, sexual and reproductive health and rights, and women’s rights and equality. The European Commission also applies ‘people’ as a starting point in this framework. Examples in the reporting year 2017 include:

EU-financed humanitarian relief actions in more than 90 countries with a total value of €2.2 billion. A new partnership between the EU and UN was launched to eliminate all forms of violence against women and girls. The EU is supporting this Spotlight Initiative with €500 million over a number of years.


Protecting future generations from environmental destruction and resource depletion

Climate change is a major international challenge. For this reason the Netherlands focuses, among others, on promoting inclusive green growth and climate action worldwide. ‘Planet’ is also one of the starting points for development co-operation carried out by the European Commission. In the reporting year 2017 this translated into various results, including:

The Electrification Financing Initiative connected a total of 452,000 households in Zambia, Benin, Ivory Coast and Nigeria to an electricity network and stimulating sustainable electricity generation.The Global Climate Change Alliance (GCCA+) supported more than 70 small island states and least-developed countries in tackling the effects of climate change.


Ensuring prosperous and fulfilling lives, in harmony with nature

The Netherlands focuses its development co-operation on unstable regions. Contributing to reducing poverty and promoting inclusive, sustainable development is a goal in itself. It is also the best approach to preventing instability and reducing the risk of armed conflict. Offering people prospects for a decent and safe life is also a long-term investment in reducing irregular migration. The European Commission stimulates prosperity worldwide via dedicated programmes and by facilitating the exchange of knowledge. Results in the reporting year 2017 include:

166,000 people worldwide participated in education and vocational training programmes via EU development co-operation, which will increase their opportunities in the local labour market.The International Urban Co-operation EU programme started. With a budget of €20 million for 2016-2019, this programme helps cities on various continents to share solutions for problems such as rapid urbanisation.


Creating peaceful, just and inclusive societies

The Netherlands focuses its development co-operation on preventing conflicts and combating instability and insecurity. Whether a country is suffering from fragility or conflict largely determines its development perspective. With ‘peace’ as a starting point, the European Commission works on stimulating security and rule of law, and strengthening civil society. In this way, it achieved the following results in the reporting year 2017:

1,420,000 people benefited directly from programmes that support civil post-conflict peace building and conflict prevention. The EU and its member states jointly established the EU Trust Fund for Colombia, supporting the country’s peace process following 50 years of civil war.


Implementing development work through global partnerships

Both the Netherlands and the European Commission work closely with partners, including multilateral organisations, non-governmental organisations (NGOs) and non-EU countries, with the aim to achieving development goals. In the reporting year 2017 this included the following:

The EU participated in various United Nations processes relating to development co-operation, such as the High-Level Political Forum on Sustainable Development and the Financing for Development Forum.The EU worked closely with local NGOs, as described in a 2017 report on the co-operation between the EU and NGOs.

Global involvement

Effectively tackling global challenges by pooling funding from various parties

Recognising that achieving the SDGs will require major investments, it is important that funding from various parties, including the private sector, is combined. The European Commission stimulates the pooling of funding from various parties. Examples in the reporting year 2017 include:

The EU External Investment Plan started, which stimulates investments in Africa and the EU neighbourhood. The €4.1 billion contribution of the European Commission is expected to result in total investments of €44 billion. In the framework of the EU emergency trust fund for Africa, 40 programmes aimed at stability and tackling the (root causes of) irregular migration in a number of African countries were approved.