Global crises demand strengthened cooperation and solidarity
The ONE Campaign, Climate Action Network (CAN) Europe, CONCORD, Cooperatives Europe, the European Network of Political Foundations (ENoP), The Human Rights and Democracy Network (HRDN), the European Peacebuilding Liaison Office (EPLO) and VOICE call on EU leaders to reverse cuts to EU budget funds for partner countries and reinforce solidarity with crisis-affected people.
Ahead of the next round of negotiations between the institutions on the 2021-2027 Multiannual Financial Framework (MFF), 8 networks, civil society organisations and NGOs are calling on decision-makers to reverse deep cuts agreed to the EU’s external action instruments by EU Heads of State/Government in July. These cuts send an alarming signal about European solidarity with the rest of the world. They will hamper the EU’s ability to tackle the global crises that hit developing countries the hardest. These crises include rising extreme poverty and inequality, the climate emergency, biodiversity crisis, unemployment and underemployment, gender-based discrimination and violence, threats to democracy, violent conflict and increasing disasters and existing and emerging pandemics.
To tackle these crises, the next decade must be a period of unprecedented international cooperation and action on Agenda 2030 and the Paris Agreement. The undersigned networks are convinced that if the EU reduces the level of support to international cooperation at this critical juncture, it will undermine the EU’s role as a global and geopolitical actor, its commitment to strengthening multilateralism, human rights and democracy, and its ability to support people’s and partners’ recovery from COVID-19.
It is for this reason that we welcome the European Parliament’s inclusion of the Neighbourhood, Development and International Cooperation Instrument (NDICI) and humanitarian aid in its 15 flagship programs for the next EU MFF and that we support their call for additional funding for them in it. This is even more pressing considering the huge additional needs due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
We are particularly concerned about the reduction of resources for the thematic pillar and Rapid Response Actions pillar of the NDICI which the European Council agreed to. These pillars host funding for the programmes for Global Challenges (including climate change, global health, decent work, social protection and environmental action), Civil Society, Human Rights and Democracy, Stability and Peace, and Resilience. These are crucial to implementing the Sustainable Development Goals and should stay at the centre of the EU’s COVID-19 response.
The undersigned organisations and networks, therefore, call on EU Member States and the European Parliament to:
- Reverse the cuts to the NDICI by bringing it back to the EC’s 2018 proposal of €78.994 billion in 2018 prices;
- Reinforce the humanitarian aid budget;
- Increase substantially the funding for the thematic and rapid response actions pillars of the NDICI by reducing the allocation to the “emerging challenges and priorities cushion”. More specifically, the thematic pillar should be increased to at least 11.49% of the NDICI budget, while the rapid response pillar should be increased to at least 3.76% of the NDICI budget.
Finally, within the NDICI, ambitious binding targets on Official Development Assistance, human development, gender equality, climate and environmental action should be agreed to ensure that the EU invests in future challenges and that its development budget has lasting impact, especially for the world’s most marginalised people.
Note to editors:
The EU Heads of State and Government’ cut a deal in July which resulted in less funding for the EU’s long-term external action budget (Heading VI ‘Neighbourhood and the World’), including the development aid budget which drops below current levels. The deal also rejected the Commission’s appeal to increase both development and humanitarian assistance to support global COVID-19 response and recovery.
Heading VI, is the budget that supports ‘Team Europe’s Global response to COVID’. The Neighbourhood, Development and International Cooperation Instrument (NDICI) and humanitarian aid will be the EU’s primary tools for supporting partner countries and crisis-affected communities to recover from the COVID-19 pandemic. The NDICI is also a main tool for the EU’s democracy-related actions and is essential to the EU’s ODA (official development assistance) commitments and climate finance commitments under the Paris Agreement. The NDICI was cut by 10%, with a disproportionate decrease to funding for targeted programmes on Global Challenges, Civil Society, Human Rights and Democracy (the already stretched ‘thematic pillar’), and Stability and Peace and Resilience (the ‘Rapid Response Actions pillar’). An insufficient level of funding will undermine these operations. In contrast, a huge increase in non-programmable funding has been proposed through the “emerging challenges and priorities cushion” despite concerns about its vague objectives, governance and accountability mechanisms. At this time partners need to be able to rely on long-term programmable development funding.
Undersigned: The ONE Campaign, Climate Action Network (CAN) Europe, CONCORD, Cooperatives Europe, the European Network of Political Foundations (ENoP), The Human Rights and Democracy Network (HRDN), the European Peacebuilding Liaison Office (EPLO) and VOICE.