Since 2007 the Development Cooperation Instrument (DCI) has replaced a range of instruments which provided financial and technical assistance to the developing countries of Asia and Latin America, the Commonwealth of Independent States (TACIS), cooperation with South Africa, as well as more than ten different thematic instruments, including the instrument for financing European NGOs.
The thematic programmes, currently five in number, provide in particular support for civil society or international organisations. They focus on non-state actors and local authorities, food security, the environment and the sustainable development of natural resources, human resources development (Investing in People) and cooperation in the areas of asylum and immigration.
The financial framework for the period 2007-2013 is set at EUR 16.897 billion: EUR 10.057 billion for the geographic programmes, EUR 5.596 billion for the thematic programmes (and EUR 1.244 billion for the ACP Sugar Protocol countries).
In 2010 the DCI underwent a mid-term review by the Council and the European Parliament, but will be evaluated and overhauled in tandem with the debate on the new financial perspectives (2013‑2020).
Within this context, the own-initiative opinion on the DCI explores how to involve institutionally the EESC in the DCI, alongside the Council and the European Parliament.
The EESC restates the importance of the decent work concept, and calls for this concept to be better integrated into the MDGs and for the social partners and other civil society organisations to be considered as essential EU partners with regard to development policy. It highlights the importance of the private sector in development, together with that of a policy that fosters CSR.
The EESC urges the Commission and the Member States to strengthen DCI civil society support mechanisms, by increasing the proportion of thematic programmes in the DCI and by rethinking the complementarity between the instrument's geographic and thematic programmes.
The EESC recalls that civil society involvement in development is a means of boosting transparency, combating corruption and misappropriation of funds, and calls for broad and systematic consultation with local organisations.