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European Union’s Development Cooperation

Implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development

The EU institutions and Member States, together, are the leading donor and the EU is a major player in development, which is one of the four pillars of the Union’s foreign policy.

EU’s development cooperation finds its legal basis in the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (TFEU, Title III). Its main goal is poverty reduction and eradication. It targets countries most in need and invests resources in social protection, health, education, labour, industrial development, sustainable agriculture and energy. The EU’s development policy has evolved over time: initially confined to the overseas countries and territories associated with the EU, it now targets 150 partner countries in Africa, Latin America and the Caribbean, Asia and the Pacific, as well as civil society and international organisations.

Besides granting financial aid and engaging in dialogue with partner countries, the EU also carries out research and evaluation activities to ensure effective use of aid. In line with the UN Agenda 2030, it finances and implements activities and initiatives in five aspects of sustainable development:

  • people: to eradicate poverty and hunger in all forms and ensure dignity and equality;
  • planet: to protect future generations from environmental destruction and resource depletion;
  • prosperity: to ensure a prosperous and rewarding life in harmony with nature;
  • peace: to achieve peaceful, just and inclusive societies;
  • partnership: to implement development cooperation through global partnerships.


For more information on the European Union’s action and commitment visit:

Cooperazione allo sviluppo ( (Development Cooperation)


The financial instrument known as Global Europe is dedicated to the financing of external development cooperation activities. Endowed with resources totalling some      €80 billion for seven years (2021-2027), Global Europe focuses its activities on four major areas:

  1. geographical areas: Neighbourhood countries (at the border of the European Union), Sub-Saharan African countries, Asia and Pacific countries, as well as countries of the Americas and the Caribbean);
  2. thematic areas, for funding issues of a global and/or political nature (human rights, democracy, peace and stability);
  3. “quick response” for crisis management and conflict prevention;
  4. “emerging priorities and challenges”, a reserve of unallocated resources to address unforeseen events.

With a view to better responding to the challenges that the EU and its Member States face in assisting partner countries during the first months of the pandemic, the Commission launched Team Europe. With Team Europe, the Commission and Member States work in a coordinated way to maximise the impact of their respective development cooperation strategies.

In view of turning this new way of working into practice, Team Europe Initiatives (TEIs) were launched, i.e. coordination forums for implementing high-impact programmes in partner countries. The European Commission and Member States, each for their part, participate in the implementation of a portion of an initiative that individually no one could finance.

The definition of TEIs began in autumn 2021 and the first activities will start in summer 2022.

WBT Team Europe | Capacity4dev (



European humanitarian values in action

The European Union provides assistance to countries and populations, both in Europe and abroad, in the event of major disasters or humanitarian emergencies.

Together, EU Member States are the world’s largest donor of humanitarian aid, providing assistance to millions of people around the world every year. Aid amounts to 1% of the EU’s total annual budget (approximately €4 per EU citizen).

The EU action is guided by the principles of humanity, neutrality, impartiality and independence. Aid is distributed through more than 200 international and local partner organisations and agencies, supported by thousands of European volunteers.

All European citizens or long-term residents in an EU Member State can participate in a European volunteer programme for humanitarian aid.

Through the Union’s Civil Protection Mechanism, the EU, together with a number of European countries including Italy, plays a key role in coordinating crisis responses in Europe and worldwide. Actual and potential emergencies are constantly monitored and participating countries also cooperate on risk assessment, preparedness and disaster prevention planning.

Emergency relief can be provided in the form of food, shelter or equipment, specially equipped teams or assessment and coordination activities carried out by experts sent to the field. Relief teams, experts and equipment from participating countries are kept available so that the EU can provide quick responses worldwide.

For more information on the EU’s action and commitment in the humanitarian field, visit

Aiuti umanitari e protezione civile ( (Humanitarian aid and civil protection)