Joint programming implies shared analysis, a common strategic vision, a division of labour based on comparative advantages and financial programmes for participating donors, as decreed in a joint multi-annual document. This is based on the result of the commitments made in the framework of the EU’s Council Conclusions on the Agenda for Change and the Council Conclusions in November 2011 regarding the EU’s common position for the 4th High Level Forum on Aid Effectiveness in Busan.
The joint programming process should be a voluntary exercise and flexible enough to respect the decisions of member states, in line with partners’ national development plans and fully synchronised with their planning cycles.
In 2012-2013, the Commission and the EEAS, in conjunction with field delegations, identified a group of fifty-five countries that would be able to get the process started, including Mozambique and East Timor. In the case of Mozambique, the Delegation and the United States have been in regular contact, having identified the sectors and their heads. In East Timor, the process has not seen any practical developments and so far there are no plans to start the process.
In 2014, a manual was prepared with the involvement of the member states, comprising a set of documents that organised in a structured way the tasks to be carried out in countries where the process is taking place. It was concluded in 2015 and circulated to field delegations and member states.
Twenty-five joint strategies have already been agreed or commenced (Burma/Myanmar, Cambodia, Laos, Burundi, Chad, Comoros, Ethiopia, Ghana, Kenya, Mali, Namibia, Niger, Rwanda, Senegal, South Sudan, Uganda, Benin, Burkina Faso, Ivory Coast, Togo, Bolivia, Guatemala, Paraguay, Morocco and Palestine), while thirty joint evaluations and thirty-seven roadmaps for joint programming have also been prepared.
Already underway is an assessment of the joint programming exercise (2011-2015) conducted by the Commission, France, Netherlands and Italy. No matter the results, there is a clear intention on the part of the Commission and the EEAS to consolidate the exercise and extend it to more countries. This process is having an impact on the objectives of aid effectiveness and division of labour, which verifies the fact that the evolution of each procedure depends on the contexts of the different countries involved, both in the relationship between donors and the local authorities involved. The joint programming process presents many challenges, such as the synchronisation of programme cycles between the donors and the development plans of the partner countries and their relationships with the bilateral agreements in progress. At the moment, the exercise should remain open and flexible owing to the realities of each country concerned, ensuring the strength of its own leadership and appropriation.