Budapest 16-18 May 2011 concord cotonou working group Briefing paper intra-acp funds

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ACP-EU Joint Parliamentary Assembly

21st Session­­­­ - Budapest

16-18 May 2011

CONCORD Cotonou working group

Briefing paper



One of the trends observed with the implementation of the 9th EDF was the constant increase of the financial envelope allocated to the Intra-ACP, culminating in the decision of the ACP-EC Council of Ministers in May 2007 to transfer all remaining non-committed 9th EDF funds to it.

In total all Intra-ACP funds represented more than € 3 billion or around 22% of the 9th EDF1.

In the 10th EDF breakdown, 2700 million are earmarked for Intra-ACP cooperation. It includes 300 million for diverse institutions, 300 million for global initiatives (GFATM), 1730 million for supra-regional initiatives (1290 million for all ACP and 440 million for pan-African initiatives including 300 million for the African Peace Facility 2008-2010) and 370 million in reserve (including 300 million for the Peace Facility after 2010).

On the contrary to what happened with the 9th EDF, the 10th EDF intra-ACP envelope has been subject to a programming process that was only finalised in March 2009. Guidelines for the programming and the final programme itself have been adopted by the ACP-EC Committee of ambassadors. They are based on the principles of subsidiarity, complementarity and visibility and set the framework of intra-ACP cooperation in three areas: 1) institutional expenditures for the joint institutions and the ACP secretariat, 2) supra-regional ACP initiatives benefiting the majority or all ACP countries and 3) global initiatives to which the ACP states have subscribed.
An intra-ACP cooperation strategy and an indicative programme have been adopted and are available on DG Development website2. A large part of the funds will be used to finance the EC contribution to the Global Fund for Malaria Tuberculosis and HIV (€300m), support in the area of climate change and disaster risk reduction (€500m), agriculture and the private sector (€400 m), water, sanitation and infrastructures (€500m) and peace and security with an announced envelope of €400m. Smaller allocations will go to Migration (€40 million), Science and research (€40 million), Education (€90 million) etc… In many places the indicative programme refers to supporting the implementation of the 8 partnerships of the Africa-EU strategy.

According to the programming guidelines, requests for the funding of measures must originate from the ACP side (ACP Council or Committee of ambassadors or regional bodies or two countries from each of the 3 regions). The African Union can also present requests. These requests will as far as possible be integrated into an annual intra-ACP action programme to be approved by the EDF Committee. Flexibility will be maintained through a non-programmed reserve and through mid-term, ex-post or ad hoc reviews.

Main concerns regarding the Intra-ACP funds

  • The growing share of the Intra-ACP envelope in the 9th and 10th EDF reflected a shift from a joint management of country and regional envelopes to a more classical donor-recipient relation where funds are managed and contracts are administered by the donor. Intra-ACP envelope is an easier and more rapid way for the EU to commit money in line with its own priorities but it doesn’t contribute to enhancing recipient countries capacities and procedures as recommended by the Paris aid effectiveness declaration.

  • Some argue, for example, that the Water Facility has distracted donors and recipients from the urgent need to increase conventional sources of funding for W&S. Challenge or vertical funds do not always allocate money in a strategic manner, and may even undermine national policies and structures. Allocations are not systematically correlated with MDG requirements and there is not a real sense of ownership of the Water Facility by African Governments.

  • In many cases Intra-ACP funding reflect new priorities of the European Commission and the African Union in line with the Africa-EU strategy (infrastructure trust fund, Peace facility), or new EU policy initiatives and are in some cases directly related to internal EU policies (GEEREF, FLEGT, migration facility, sugar research project, Erasmus Mundus, etc.).

  • This may be due to the fact that the programming of Intra-ACP funds in the 10th EDF was discussed and prepared in Brussels. For example, the idea from the ACP side to establish an ACP Food Security Facility that would allow the ACP to set up their own expert working group and address food security matters more systematically and strategically was not supported by the European side.

  • Intra-ACP funds represent a flexible pocket of money where the EC and MS can find the means they need to support new political initiatives and aid commitments at international level without having to debate the relevance, effectiveness and accountability of their decisions with any representative body of European tax payers. Under the 9th EDF it was particularly hard to find clear and comprehensive public information on expenditures at intra-ACP level. It is only in spring 2009 that information on the programming of the 10th EDF intra-ACP envelope has been disclosed.

  • This is particularly true for the Peace Facility that represents a transfer of official development assistance (ODA) to peacekeeping military expenditures in line with the objective of security and stability that is at the core of the EU-Africa strategy. Member States continue to report 100% of their contribution to the EDF as ODA while part of it (almost €400 million from the 9th EDF and €600 million planned for the 10th EDF) is used to support non-ODA eligible expenditures.

  • The ad hoc management and thematic focus of Intra-ACP funding is in contradiction with the general efforts under the 2007-2013 Financial Perspectives to limit the thematic funding and with the central role of country programming. According to that principle, any thematic funding should be subsidiary to the country strategy. Many Intra-ACP programmes have escaped that principle so far.

  • Intra-ACP funds support a lot of technical assistance with a generalised recourse to consultancies and little involvement of and support to ACP human resources and capacities. They are often managed by specialised bodies that represent an additional administrative layer and cost compared to the main programmable aid envelope (NIPs and the RIPs).

  • The participation of civil society organisations in the design and implementation of Intra-ACP programmes is limited. The only possibility for civil society actors to take part in these programmes under the 9th EDF was through the calls for proposals for the Water Facility, the Energy Facility and the Microfinance Facility. These facilities were perceived as a good opportunity for CSOs to access EDF funds that are usually out of reach. We must recognise however that International agencies and Northern NGOs are over-represented in allocations while ACP civil society is almost absent except in the form of NGO N-S partnerships.


1) In accordance with the programming guidelines, apply the principle of complementarity with and subsidiarity to the Country Strategy papers to the Intra-ACP funds in the same way as for the thematic programmes of the DCI and limit Intra-ACP programmes to activities taking place at a supra-national/regional level and for the real benefit of all ACP countries. These should include activities supporting regional, including pan-African and pan-ACP civil society networking and cooperation.

2) Involve ACP countries in the decision-making process for programming and allocation of Intra-ACP funds on an equal footing, be more responsive to ACP suggestions and use the Intra-ACP funds in full respect of the Cotonou agreement’s objectives and principles and in accordance with the ODA eligibility criteria.

3) Establish a transparent process of programming and implementation of the Intra-ACP funds in full respect of the role of the ACP countries in the management of EDF while taking account of the scrutiny role of the European Parliament and the Joint Parliamentary Assembly and involving civil society actors whenever relevant.

4) Do not increase Intra-ACP funds at the expense of national and regional indicative programmes and put in place conditions that will allow for the full absorption of the programmable envelope of the 10th EDF without having to transfer those funds to the Intra-ACP envelope as happened with the 9th EDF conditional billion and end of term review.

For further information

1 We use here the initial figure for the 9th EDF, €13.5 billion.

2 Available at :

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