Principles of French official development assistance

Effectiveness

France has been committed to aid effectiveness since the International Conference on Financing for Development in Monterrey (2002) and has helped define principles for effectiveness at the High-level Forums on Aid Effectiveness in Rome (2003), Paris (2005), Accra (2008) and Busan (2011), where it has promoted:

  • streamlining of the architecture of multilateral assistance;
  • recognition of the diversity of our partners’ circumstances, especially fragile ones;
  • Improved measurement of aid results.

Transparency and accountability

France promotes greater transparency and greater accountability with regard to its development assistance. Aid transparency is crucial to the understanding and the legitimacy of development cooperation policies but also to aid effectiveness. Transparency requires detailed and regularly updated information to be made public regarding ongoing projects and forecasts of aid from donors in their partners countries. This information is provided on the aid transparency website, which details all the projects carried out by the Ministry for Europe and Foreign Affairs and the Agence Française de Développement that have been implemented in the 19 priority countries.

The information can be accessed and reused using the link to the single governmental portal, www.data.gouv.fr, where it is published in accordance with “open data” standards and meets the standards of the International Aid Transparency Initiative (IATI).

As part of the Open Government Partnership, France established a 2018-2019 national action plan in which it committed to the transparency of official development assistance data. This data is published on a single platform which details all the projects funded by the Ministry and the Agence Française de Développement in 47 countries. France has committed to gradually expanding geographical data coverage on bilateral projects on the website.

Coherence

Not only official development assistance policies, but all economic and social policies of donor countries have a significant impact on southern countries.

Yet however complex they may seem, the task of actively seeking to create synergies and reconcile conflicting goals is promoted in the content of policies, including those of partner countries and in the institutional means of implementing them. Since 1998, the coherence of French positions has explicitly fallen within the remit of the Ministry for Europe and of Foreign Affairs, which is “consulted on government intervention and any decisions that may affect the development of the countries concerned”.

Outcomes

Accountability is the process with which France reports to citizens how official development assistance funds are used and the outcomes of the activities implemented as a result.

France has increased and improved its accountability practices in recent years since the publication in 2012, of the first biennial report to Parliament on the implementation of France’s strategy for development cooperation and the creation of a matrix of 30 results indicators. The fourth biennial report to Parliament for 2016-2017 is currently being drafted. It will be available in 2019.

Updated: April 2019