A new ambition for French development policy


To tackle the consequences of the global crises that affect all continents today, France is giving itself the means to more effectively combat all global inequalities and protect global public goods. A programming bill on inclusive development and combating global inequalities was therefore presented by the Minister for Europe and Foreign Affairs, Jean-Yves Le Drian, at the Council of Ministers meeting on 16 December 2020. It was adopted by the National Assembly unanimously among voting members on 2 March 2021, and at the Senate on 17 May 2021. A joint committee will be meeting soon to propose a reviewed text on the provisions still under discussion.

Why do we need a bill on inclusive development?

The COVID-19 crisis has exposed the global challenges that all societies, North and South, must confront: the emergence of pandemics due to the deterioration of biodiversity; growing inequalities, poverty and food insecurity, forced migrations and the emergence of radicalism, which are given fertile ground during crises.

It is in our interest to take action as early as possible in order to prevent these crises that affect all continents and all populations
. We have a common interest in the successful transition of our growth models to make them resilient, inclusive and sustainable. In this collective effort, we should particularly focus on the most vulnerable countries, especially African countries. It is a solidarity imperative in their regard. It is also directly in the interests of French citizens.

That is why the Government has decided to step up efforts to be more involved in global public goods and the fight against global inequality with this programming bill on inclusive development and the fight against global inequalities, which recalls that development is a fully-fledged pillar of France’s foreign policy. Replacing the act of 7 July 2014 on development and international solidarity policy, with greater resources and renewed methods, it reflects the desire to ensure our field action is effective, serving the most vulnerable populations.

The challenge is also for France to be able to continue, thanks to the credibility of its political and financial commitment, to rally vast coalitions to take greater action to preserve global public goods (climate, health, education, etc.). That is what it did in 2019 during its G7 Presidency, and it continues to do so in 2020 in the context of the COVID-19 response and to contribute to setting up a sustainable recovery after the crisis.

What are the key focus areas of the programming bill on combating global inequalities?

1. France is giving itself the means to more effectively combat global inequalities and protect global public goods

  • Increasing our investments in the preservation of global public goods and crisis prevention requires foresight and a clear financial trajectory: for the first time, France will have an act programming budget funds allocated to development policy.
  • The bill implements the President of the Republic’s commitment to increase France’s official development assistance (ODA) to 0.55% of the gross national income (GNI) by 2022, compared to 0.44% today. France will strive to dedicate 0.7% of GNI to ODA by 2025.
  • The increase in resources will enable France to assist the most vulnerable countries, particularly in Africa, to move towards more resilient, more inclusive and more sustainable growth models. It will also enable France to invest in multilateral funds to take greater action to support the preservation of the climate, health, education and gender equality.

2. Clearly identified geographic and sector-based priorities

  • Resources in grants will be focused on the most vulnerable countries, in particular the 19 priority countries in the least developed countries category (LDCs) and mainly located in sub-Saharan Africa. France will also increase its investments in other developing and emerging countries to support the protection of global public goods.
  • Investing in multilateral organizations and funds will enable France to provide solutions to the global challenges affecting every continent: the climate and biodiversity; health; security crises and vulnerabilities; gender equality, and education.

3. Strengthened partnerships to ensure there is a real impact on the ground

  • With partner countries, especially African countries, we are establishing a partnership based on the principles of responsibility and shared interests.
  • With all development stakeholders (local governments, NGOs, foundations, the private sector, etc.) and including in partner countries, which produce results on the ground and play their role fully in this solidarity effort.

4. Strengthened coordination in support of our strategic guidelines

  • The development policy will be better coordinated, both centrally and on the ground.
  • In partner countries, the ambassador will chair a local development council in order to ensure the efforts made by all actors in “Team France abroad” are aligned, as part of a single strategy.

5. More transparency and better monitoring of results on the ground

  • To better evaluate the results, efficiency and impact of our action, a development policy evaluation committee will be created.

6. Increased appeal of France to host international institutions

  • This bill will allow France to make itself more attractive as a seat for international institutions, especially those that play a key role in the international agenda to develop and promote global public goods.

7. Improved measures for the return of “ill-gotten gains”

  • These new measures, introduced by a dual parliamentary and governmental amendment during the examination of the bill by the National Assembly, states that the fruits from the sale of “ill-gotten gains” will give rise to the opening of funding for cooperation and development activities directly benefiting the populations concerned. Each year, Parliament will take stock of the implementation of the returns mechanism in order to guarantee transparency and accountability.
Main amendments by the National Assembly
  • A new Article 1 setting down the major goals of French development policy in the text of the bill, recalling that development is a pillar of France’s foreign policy.
  • The inscription in Article 1 of the target of dedicating 0.7% of GNI to ODA by 2025, above and beyond the 0.55% for 2022.
  • Improved measures for returning the fruits from the sale of “ill-gotten gains” to finance cooperation and development activities.

The bill on development policy: the fruit of a vast consultation process

The bill is the result of a vast consultation process with all international development and solidarity stakeholders, led by Jean-Yves Le Drian, Minister for Europe and Foreign Affairs, and Jean-Baptiste Lemoyne, Minister of State for Tourism, French Nationals Abroad and Francophonie:

  • The “National Forum to Renew Development policy” held on 22 February 2018, took stock of the 2014 Act with NGOs, associations and government agencies;
  • • Three extraordinary sessions of the National Council for Development and International Solidarity (CNDSI) were chaired by the Minister or the Minister of State on 16 November 2018, 22 March 2019 and 18 February 2020;
  • National Commission on Decentralized Cooperation meetings were held on the topic of the bill;
  • Decentralized workshops were held in Dijon and Marseille with civil society and local governments.

Members of parliament also took part in the reflection on renewing development policy:

  • Report (in French) by National Assembly Deputy Hervé Berville - “Modernization of the partnership-based development policy (August 2018) (in French);
  • The report (in French) by National Assembly Deputies Bérengère Poletti and Rodrigue Kokuendo on official development assistance (June 2018).
  • Consult the briefing papers concerning the programming bill on inclusive development and combating global inequalities)