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EC Aid

Volume 460: debated on Thursday 24 May 2007

To ask the Secretary of State for International Development how the effectiveness of money spent through the European Communities Development Programme is (a) monitored and (b) audited; and if he will make a statement. (138928)

The EC development programme includes funding through the European Development Fund, the Development Co-operation Instrument and the European Neighbourhood Instrument. The effectiveness of the development programme is assessed at many levels.

There are four main opportunities to monitor and/or audit the funds:

(a) Management Committees—Management Committees exist for all of the main development instruments. They provide member states with oversight and approval of major spending decisions, including country strategy papers and associated annual action plans. Evaluation reports, including on the mid-term and end of term reviews of country programmes, are presented to member states at these committees for discussion and approval. These documents are also shared with the European Parliament.

(b) Results orientated monitoring—the Commission has developed a results orientated monitoring (ROM) process. This system is based on regular onsite assessments by independent experts of ongoing projects and programmes. The projects/ programmes evaluated are assessed against criteria of relevance, efficiency, effectiveness, impact and sustainability.

(c) Annual report on the European Community's Development Policy and Implementation of External Assistance—this is published by the Commission in the summer of each year. It includes the results of the ROM process as well as detail on the breakdown of financial assistance by sector, region and type of aid (for example, project or budgetary support). It also provides information on commitment and disbursement levels. The annual report is presented to EU member states and the European Parliament for discussion and adoption.

(d) Annual auditing of EU Budget—The EU’s annual accounts and resource management are overseen by its external auditor, the European Court of Auditors. The Court of Auditors prepares an annual report for the Council and the European Parliament. The court’s main task is to conduct an external, independent audit of the European Communities’ annual accounts, including those of the development co-operation programme. Finally, the Court prepares ‘special reports’ which provide the findings of audits covering specific areas of EC work, such as that on the Environment in Development Co-operation in 2006.