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Common framework for joint multiannual programming

This summary has been archived and will not be updated, because the summarised document is no longer in force or does not reflect the current situation.

Common framework for joint multiannual programming

This communication proposes a common framework for programming development aid so as to make it more effective. Programming of this kind is part of the European Union (EU) action plan for effective aid.


Communication from the Commission to the Council and the European Parliament of 2 March 2006: Increasing the impact of EU aid: A common framework for drafting country strategy papers and joint multiannual programming [COM(2006) 88 final - Official Journal C 130 of 3 June 2006].


The programming framework for the country strategy papers (CSPs) is a multiannual programming instrument that was adopted in 2000 as part of the reform of the management of the Commission's external aid. Between 2000 and 2006 it was applied in the programming of the CSPs and the regional strategy papers (RSPs) for all the developing countries benefiting from the European Development Fund (EDF) and from the ALA, Meda, Tacis and Cards programmes. The use of CSPs/RSPs was a way of improving the quality of the Commission's programming. The quality and effectiveness of the CSPs was further improved by the 2004 and 2005 mid-term reviews; the regional strategies were revised in 2005.

The communication proposes an updating of the 2000 CSP framework with a view to introducing joint multiannual programming aimed at:

  • facilitating the gradual alignment of lenders on the multiannual programming cycles of the partner country;
  • increasing the possibility of synchronising the programming processes of the Member States and the Commission.

Joint multiannual programming is one of the components of the European Union (EU) action plan for effective aid and one of the principles set out in the European Consensus on Development.

The principles of effective programming

The Commission recommends that the structure of the CSPs and its main components be guided by the following principles:

  • compliance with cooperation and partnership agreements and consistency with regional strategies;
  • compatibility with the objectives of the European Consensus (eradication of poverty, sustainable development, promotion of democracy, etc.);
  • consistency between the objectives of development policy and those of other policies defining relations with the partner country;
  • allowance for the diverse nature of partners, as regards both general policy and cooperation programmes, and for cross-cutting issues such as gender equality, human rights and a sustainable environment;
  • sharing of information between all concerned and complementarity between the activities of the Commission and the Member States and those of other international donors;
  • use of budget support, whether general or sectoral, for implementation;
  • focus on a limited number of areas for inclusion;
  • preparations for the strategy and programming on the basis of the partner country's agenda;
  • a results-based approach to programming, implementation and evaluation in order to measure the impact of aid;
  • involvement of civil society, the private sector, local authorities and parliaments in drawing up and implementing the cooperation strategy;
  • regular evaluation of the performance of CSPs with a view to adjusting strategies in the light of the findings.

The essential components for CSPs

The Commission proposes that the CSPs include the following components, which, in its view, are essential:

  • the framework for relations between the donor and the partner country (including association and partnership agreements);
  • country analysis:

- the political, economic, commercial, social and environmental situation in the partner country;

- the partner country's agenda, including the development strategy;

- the viability of the country's current policies and medium-term strategies;

  • an overview of past and present cooperation with the donor;
  • a description of the state of the partnership with the country;
  • the donor's cooperation strategy and specific objectives, the consistency of the strategy with other external aid instruments and policies, and complementarity with other donors;
  • a national indicative programme (NIP), i.e. a work programme covering several years and defining measurable objectives, the target groups, the programmes for achieving those objectives, the contribution to be made by the donor, the nature and scope of the support mechanisms, the results expected and an implementation timetable;
  • annexes, including a summary table for the country, a short environmental profile, a prospective donor matrix, a migration profile, an account of consultations with non-state actors and a harmonisation roadmap where there is one.

Using these components, the Commission will draw up its CSPs on the basis of a gradual approach starting immediately with the African, Caribbean and Pacific countries (ACP) and followed at a later date by Asia, Latin America, the countries covered by the European Neighbourhood Policy and Russia.

The procedure for drawing up a CSP

Joint programming must be a process that is:

  • flexible and thus able to take on different forms depending on the situation in the partner countries and on the donors and their readiness for harmonisation;
  • gradual in that it must make provision for gradual stages of integration as the situation develops;
  • open in that it should not be restricted to Member States and can merge into any existing processes aimed at introducing joint programming;
  • conducive to the partner country playing a leading role in preparing the ground and coordinating joint programming. If the country does not have that capacity, it must be given the support it needs to acquire it;
  • a forum for the Commission delegations and other development partners on the ground so as to ensure frequent exchanges between headquarters and local offices.

The stages of joint programming

The first stage of joint programming is joint analysis of the elements essential for drawing up a cooperation strategy, namely:

  • evaluation of the global political situation;
  • appraisal of the country's macroeconomic, social and environmental background;
  • formulation of the partner country's priorities;
  • analysis of lessons from cooperation in the past and analysis of consistency with the partner country's other policies.

The second stage is the formulation of a joint strategic response involving:

  • joint setting of cooperation objectives with the partner country;
  • selection of focal areas, including a division of labour between the partners (donor matrix);
  • an outline of financial allocations and risk analysis, and commitments by the partner countries on the basis of a joint agreement.


Council conclusions on "Financing for Development and Aid Effectiveness: delivering more, better and faster". General Affairs and External Relations Council - 11 April 2006 [Not published in the Official Journal].

The Council approves the Commission proposal concerning joint multiannual programming and adopts the benchmark model for a common framework for drawing up country strategy papers and the principles concerning joint multiannual programming.

Communication from the Commission to the Council and the European Parliament of 2 March 2006: " Financing for Development and Aid Effectiveness - The challenges of scaling up EU aid 2006-2010" [COM(2006) 85 final- Official Journal C 130 of 3 June 2006].

Communication from the Commission of 2 March 2006: " EU Aid : Delivering more, better and faster" [COM(2006) 87 final - Not published in the Official Journal].

Last updated: 31.08.2007