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Delivering aid effectively and efficiently

Development aid must be delivered in an efficient and effective way if it is to benefit those who are most in need. The Commission carries out careful analysis and consultations before committing funding. Aid can be distributed in a number of ways – through specific projects, via a sector approach or by budget support to recipient governments.

The Commission follows the project approach in particular to support initiatives outside the public sector, such as through civil society and the private sectors. Projects are also implemented where conditions do not yet permit the adoption a sector approach or a budget support.

EuropeAid manages projects in a way that guarantees convergence with EU and partner country policy objectives. In line with aid effectiveness principles, projects must support country-owned policies, must be sustainable and have realistic objectives.

For full details about EuropeAid’s use of the projects see: ‘Project approach, the Commission way’.

Making aid work better

The Commission promotes the sector approach to work with partner countries, other donors and stakeholders. This method of aid delivery has become increasingly important in recent years.

The sector approach gives partner governments greater ownership of development policy and financing compared to the project approach. The end result is greater coherence between the allocation of internal and external resources, spending and expected results.

For more information, see ‘A sector approach to working with developing countries’.

Where the conditions are right, the Commission is committed to providing budget support as a means to strengthening country ownership, financing national development strategies (including poverty reduction strategies) and promoting sound and transparent public finances. Budget support involves the direct transfer of funds to a partner country’s budget where they can be managed using national systems. Those receiving aid in this way must display sound macro-economic policies, and take steps to improve public financial management.

The way EuropeAid transfers funds to recipient governments – and the types of budget support on offer – is further explained in: ‘How the Commission provides budget support’.


Last update: 17/02/2012 | Top