France’s institutional landscape for development assistance
France’s development cooperation system is organized through bodies with clear mandates.
The Interministerial Committee for International Co-operation and Development (CICID) and its joint secretariat
The CICID sets the guidelines for French development policy. It is chaired by the Prime Minister and is made up of the Ministers directly concerned with development assistance, including Europe and Foreign Affairs, Finance, Economy, Education, Research and Higher Education, Interior, Armed Forces, Environment, Budget, Foreign Trade, Overseas France and Agriculture.
It has met 11 times since its creation in 1998, most recently on 8 February 2018.
The CICID joint secretariat is a flexible, operational body which follows up and implements the Committee’s decisions and the evolution of development policy. It meets more regularly than the CICID itself, chaired on an alternate basis by the Ministry for Europe and Foreign Affairs and the Ministry of the Economy and Finance. The Agence Française de Développement (AFD, the French development agency) takes part in the meeting’s, at the chair’s invitation.
At the 2018 CICID meeting, the government decided to strengthen political steering of development policy. The Development Council, chaired by the President of the Republic, will therefore meet on an ad hoc basis for strategic decisions on the delivery of French official development assistance (ODA).
The DGM at the Ministry for Europe and Foreign Affairs provides the latter’s side of the CICID joint secretariat. Its mandate is wide-ranging, covering:
- Definition and implementation of French economic and societal action in international organizations and intergovernmental organizations with a global role, and steering of French government networks abroad when it comes to global issues;
- On behalf of the Minister for Europe and Foreign Affairs, contributing to the drafting of policy on global public goods;
- Supervision, on behalf of the Minister for Europe and Foreign Affairs, of French international cooperation agencies, and particularly the AFD;
- Participation in the preparation and implementation of international cooperation in the governance sector;
- Monitoring the international action of non-governmental organizations;
- Supporting the action of local government bodies in decentralized cooperation.
The DGM’s work is split between three main thrusts, each of which has a sectoral directorate:
- Economic diplomacy, handled by the Economic Diplomacy Directorate, responsible for supporting French businesses abroad, monitoring strategic economic sectors, and analysing the economic issues of globalization and contributing to shaping its governance. It works closely with our embassies, which implement an enhanced economic action plan;
- Development policy, under the Sustainable Development Directorate, which manages all aspects of development strategies;
- Soft diplomacy, managed by the Culture, Education, Research and Network Coordination Directorate, implementing policies to foster France’s outreach and influence in these fields.
The Directorate General of the Treasury represents the Minister of the Economy and Finance in its share of cooperation policy steering, and is responsible for relations with international financial institutions, debt issues (Paris Club secretariat), monetary cooperation with Franc Area countries, financial cooperation and trade policy (negotiations on development within the World Trade Organization).
The Ministry for Europe and Foreign Affairs, through the DGM, and the Directorate General of the Treasury, jointly supervise the AFD and share responsibility for budget credits delegated to it.
The General Secretariat for European Affairs (SGAE), under the direct authority of the Prime Minister, coordinates the positions of the administrations involved on ODA policy within European bodies and the OECD.
The CNDSI, which meets at least twice a year, is a forum for dialogue between NGOs, the private sector, higher education and research establishments, local government bodies and parliament on the goals, major issues and coherence of public development policies. In liaison with the various other consultation forums, the CNDSI examines the challenges and guidelines of France’s development policy and of its implementation, with regard to the demands of coherence, transparency and accountability.
The Council is responsible for regular dialogue between the government, elected officials and civil society on development and international solidarity issues.
Updated: July 2019