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Is the DEVE committee turning its back on development cooperation in the next MFF?

On 30 August 2018, the European Parliament development (DEVE) committee met to discuss a draft Opinion from MEP Engel on the next Multiannual Financial Framework (MFF 2021-2027) and in particular the Regulation for the Neighbourhood, Development and International Cooperation Instrument (NDICI). This draft Opinion will be one of the Committee’s contributions to this instrument and to the MFF process within the European Parliament. It is thus an important opportunity for the DEVE Committee to have its voice heard on part of the future budget dedicated to development policy, and to push for instruments that truly support sustainable development and the principle of leaving no-one behind.

Unfortunately, the Opinion drafted by MEP Engel represents a U-turn in the DEVE Committee’s position, as it supports the single instrument – the NDICI - proposed by the European Commission. By contrast, in its former Opinion from end of January, the DEVE Committee clearly stated that “a dedicated development instrument is the best option for a high-quality development policy in the interests of developing countries, particularly LDCs, with the primary objective of eradicating poverty while upholding internationally agreed development and aid effectiveness principles”. In addition, the Opinion fails to point out the lack of funding dedicated to gender equality, despite the EU’s commitment in its Gender Action Plan to ensure that 85% of all external EU programmes have gender as a principal or significant objective.

Plan International will continue to work with members of the European Parliament to ensure that the proposed NDICI Regulation contributes to the achievement of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and fulfils the principle of leaving no one behind, in particular girls and young women.

We recently submitted a written contribution to the Commission’s online consultation on the NDICI. In this document, we raise additional points with regards to the overall coherence and consistency of the NDICI, its objectives, scope and principles, the programming, monitoring and evaluation processes, and the achievement of the EU’s commitments on girls and women’s rights, children and youth.

By the next DEVE Committee vote on this position in October, we expect to see a clearer and stronger position promoting the place of sustainable development and equal opportunities and outcomes for all within development cooperation in the next MFF.