In order for development cooperation to be effective and sustainable in fragile and conflict-affected countries, it needs to address the root causes of conflict and crisis. This was already reflected in EU development policy with the ‘Agenda for Change’ – adopted in 2011 – which stated that the EU ‘should ensure that its objectives in the fields of development policy, peace-building, conflict prevention and international security are mutually reinforcing’ [and that the EU's] ‘objectives of development, democracy, human rights, good governance and security are intertwined’. The Agenda calls for a concentration on, amongst other areas, tackling the challenges of security, fragility and transition.
In the ongoing programming process, the commitments outlined in the Agenda will be reflected in the new EU development instruments for the period 2014-20, which will be more flexible and responsive in fragile and crisis situations. In 2012, EUR 2.9 billion in bilateral development aid was disbursed for fragile or crisis countries by the EU’s Directorate-General for Development and Cooperation – EuropeAid. Payments in fragile countries constitute more than half of total EU aid, placing the EU with its Member States as the largest provider of development aid in fragile states.
In its February 2013 Communication ‘A Decent Life for All’, the EU outlined its vision for the post-2015 framework, which could be constructed around a number of main elements: ensuring basic living standards; promoting the drivers for inclusive and sustainable growth; ensuring sustainable management of natural resources; promoting equality, equity and justice; and fostering peace and security. Addressing peace and security issues in the context of the post-2015 overarching framework should build on the work of the ‘New Deal for Engagement in Fragile States’, first outlined at the 4th High Level Forum on Aid Effectiveness in Busan, South Korea in November 2011, which advocated for the inclusion of peace-building, state-building and security issues.