Asia and Latin America – National and Regional Cooperation

Depending on the world market - coffee farmers in Bolivia. Copyright: BMZSince 1972, the European Community (EC) has been cooperating with the developing nations of Asia and Latin America. In addition to direct cooperation with individual partner countries, cooperation with regional organisations, such as ASEM (Asia-Europe Meeting), the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), the South American common market (Mercado Común del Sur, MERCOSUR), the Andean Pact, and the San José states in Central America, plays a key role.

Development cooperation with Asia and Latin America is based on the Commission's "Asia strategy" (2001) and "Latin America strategy" (2006). To strengthen partner ownership, the EU is increasingly insisting that partners bear part of the financing, especially in economic promotion projects. Funding for Asia and Latin America is delivered through the Development Cooperation Instrument (DCI), whose overarching goal is poverty reduction. For the period 2007 – 2013, some 5.2 billion euros have been earmarked for Asia and 2.7 billion euros for Latin America within this framework.

Asia – economic cooperation

Thanks to the dynamic economic development in most Asian countries, economic cooperation with the European Community has become steadily more important. But Asia is still home to two-thirds of the world's poorest people. The development cooperation of the EC is thus today concentrating increasingly on improving living conditions in the poorest countries of this continent.

In line with the overall goal of reducing poverty, 51 per cent of the budget for cooperation between the EU and Asia was earmarked for projects in the social sector in 2007, in particular to provide primary medical care, promote civil society and deliver government advisory services.

One of the greatest challenges facing the EC since 2002 has been its work in Afghanistan. The EC is supporting reconstruction and development processes in the country. In 2006, its contribution amounted to around 176 million euros. Within the scope of the Development Cooperation Instrument (DCI), funds of 1.030 billion euros have been reserved for Afghanistan for the period 2007 – 2013.

Latin America – strategic partnership

The EU has set itself the goal of further intensifying the already close relations between Europe and the states of Latin America and the Caribbean. At the fifth summit meeting of heads of state and government of the states of the EU, Latin America and the Caribbean in May 2008, the states represented agreed on two priority areas: improving social cohesion, and climate change, the environment and energy.

The majority of EU funds go to develop social services and the infrastructure, including in particular education, health, water supply, government advisory services and the promotion of civil society. Of the funds earmarked for the period 2007 – 2013, 35 per cent are accounted for by Central America and Mexico, 28 per cent by the Andean Pact and its member states, 14 per cent by the South American common market (MERCOSUR) and 22 per cent by the Latin American region as a whole.

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