European Union institutions

The European Union institutions’ contribution to data for development

Strengthening partner country statistical capacities is part of the overall capacity-building activities of the European Union, which emphasises the need for reliable statistics for macroeconomic management, project management and the evaluation of objectives, for example for budget support programmes. The EU’s statistical capacity-building activities in developing countries focus mostly on improving statistical production, strengthening data dissemination and improving co-ordination among development partners. Support focuses, in particular, on statistics for key societal variables which are often needed as performance indicators in budget support programmes – but also on trade and fiscal statistics. Support is provided mainly through funding for equipment and technical assistance.

According to the 2017 Partner Report on Support to Statistics (PRESS) dataset, the European Commission committed on average USD 51.74 million per year to finance national statistical capacities and systems in developing countries in 2013-15.

Financial flows from the European Union institutions to developing countries

Figure 14.1. Net resource flows to developing countries, 2005-15, EU institutions

The European Union institutions’ use of ODA to mobilise other resources for sustainable development

  • USD 0.17 million of official development assistance (ODA) was committed to the mobilisation of domestic resources in developing countries, e.g. to support the development of their tax systems, in 2015.

  • USD 6.7 billion of ODA (+6% in real terms from 2014) was committed to promote aid for trade and improve developing countries’ trade performance and integration into the world economy in 2015.

The European Union institutions’ performance against commitments for effective development co-operation

Table 14.1. Results of the 2016 Global Partnership monitoring round, EU institutions


Alignment and ownership by partner country (%)

Predictability (%)



Use of country-led results frameworks

Funding recorded in countries’ national budgets

Funding through countries’ systems

Untied ODA

Annual predictability

Medium-term predictability

Retrospective statistics (OECD CRS)

Information for forecasting (OECD FSS)

Publishing to IATI

























Note: Please refer to Annex B for details on the indicators.

The European Union institutions’ official development assistance

In 2016, the EU institutions provided USD 15.7 billion in net ODA (preliminary data), which represented a 14.3% increase in real terms from 2015, mostly due to increased bilateral projects with developing countries and increased humanitarian aid. The EU institutions’ ODA budget is determined within the EU multi-year financial framework. The EU institutions’ share of untied ODA (excluding administrative costs and in-donor refugee costs) was 62.3% in 2015 (down from 65.6% in 2014).

Figure 14.2. Net ODA: Trends in volume, 2000-16, EU institutions

p: Preliminary data.

In 2015, almost all of the EU’s gross ODA (99.1%) was provided bilaterally. The EU channelled 16.1% of its bilateral ODA for projects implemented by multilateral organisations (multi-bi/non-core).

Figure 14.3. Share of ODA channelled to and through the multilateral system, two year averages, gross disbursements, EU institutions

In 2015, 52.6% of the EU institutions’ bilateral ODA was programmed with partner countries. Project-type interventions accounted for 65.1% of country programmable aid, while budget support accounted for 22%. Thirty-one per cent of bilateral ODA was categorised as “other and unallocated”.

Figure 14.4. Composition of bilateral ODA, 2015, gross disbursements, EU institutions

In 2015, USD 1.8 billion of bilateral ODA was channelled to and through civil society organisations (CSOs), corresponding to 11.6% of bilateral ODA. Between 2014 and 2015, aid to and through CSOs decreased in terms of volume (by -2.4%), but it remained relatively stable as a share of bilateral aid.

Figure 14.5. Bilateral ODA to and through CSOs, two year averages, gross disbursements, EU institutions

Note: Data on CSOs are not available for 2010-11.

Bilateral ODA focused primarily on Eastern Europe and sub-Saharan Africa. In 2015, USD 4.4 billion was allocated to Eastern Europe and USD 4 billion to sub-Saharan Africa.

Figure 14.6. Share of bilateral ODA by region, 2014-15 average, gross disbursements, EU institutions

Note: 9% of bilateral ODA allocated was unspecified by region in 2014-15. This share is not represented on the map.

In 2015, 35.2% of bilateral ODA went to the top 10 recipients. The European Union has specific agreements and instruments with 79 African, Caribbean and Pacific countries, and 9 European accession countries. In 2015, its support to fragile contexts reached USD 5 billion (32.1% of gross bilateral ODA).

Figure 14.7. Bilateral ODA to top recipients, 2014-15 average, gross disbursements, EU institutions

In 2015, 22.4% of bilateral ODA was allocated to least developed countries (LDCs), which amounted to USD 3.5 billion. The share decreased from 24.7% in 2014. Upper middle-income countries still received the highest share of bilateral ODA in 2015 (37.2%). This is partly due to the instrument for pre-accession with nine European countries.

Figure 14.8. Bilateral ODA by income group, two year averages, gross disbursements, EU institutions

In 2015, 24.3% of bilateral ODA was allocated to social and economic infrastructure and services (USD 4.8 billion), with a strong focus on government and civil society (USD 3 billion). Twenty-four per cent of bilateral ODA was allocated to economic infrastructure and services, with a focus on energy generation and supply (USD 1.7 billion), and banking and financial services (USD 1.6 billion). USD 2 billion was allocated to humanitarian aid.

Figure 14.9. Share of bilateral ODA by sector, 2014-15 average, commitments, EU institutions

USD 7 billion of bilateral ODA supported gender equality in 2015. The EU’s commitment to promoting gender equality continues to grow. Its new Gender Action Plan (GAP II) for 2016-20 aims to place gender equality and the empowerment of girls and women at the heart of the EU’s external actions, focusing on four priority areas: ensuring girls’ and women’s physical and psychological integrity, promoting their economic and social rights, strengthening their voice and participation, and changing the EU institutional culture to integrate gender equality as a shared responsibility in all external relations activities and initiatives. In 2015, 52.7% of the EU’s bilateral allocable aid had gender equality and women’s empowerment as a principal or significant objective, compared to 17.4% in 2014.

Figure 14.10. Share of bilateral allocable ODA in support of gender equality by sector, 2015, commitments, EU institutions

USD 3.8 billion of bilateral ODA supported the environment in 2015. This represented 20.8% of bilateral allocable aid (up from 14% in 2014). The EU institutions’ tools and services developed to support mainstreaming in its programme include guidance documents, systematic screening and review of action documents, quality control on the use of Rio markers, training seminars and technical assistance, in addition to the knowledge-sharing platform available on Capacity4Dev. In line with the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the UN Paris Agreement on Climate Change, the EU has undertaken to step up its efforts to integrate environment and climate change into EU co-operation, through the development of new guidelines, enhanced engagement with EU delegations in partner countries and continued support to partner countries, notably through the new phase of the EU Global Climate Change Alliance flagship initiative (GCCA+) and the UN Poverty-Environment Initiative. In 2015, 17.5% (USD 3.2 billion) of the EU’s bilateral allocable aid focused particularly on climate change.

Figure 14.11. Bilateral allocable ODA in support of global and local environment objectives, two year averages, commitments, EU institutions

Note to reader: Annex B provides “Methodological notes on the profiles of Development Assistance Committee members”.