A platform on evaluating coordination, complementarity and coherence (3Cs) in the European Union’s development co-operation policies and operations.

The Heads of Evaluation for External Cooperation of the EU Member States and the European Commission have initiated a series of evaluation studies with a view:

  • To explore and assess the role played by the Maastricht Treaty precepts, coordination, complementarity and coherence (3Cs), in the European Union’s development co-operation policies and operations;
  • To determine how far these have been applied in practice and with what impact.

… (about 1/2).

Resource Corner; Evaluation Hub; Tools, guidelines; Networking; Studies; 3Cs; Orgs involved; Practise; News, events;
Contact: go to orgs involved and click on the country.

About 2/22: … The series of evaluations is not a goal in itself; it is expected to produce evidence, lessons and recommendations to strengthen the quality and effectiveness of European development assistance. 


The European Union has a long history in development cooperation. In the Maastricht Treaty the Union’s principles for development cooperation were summed up in the so-called ‘ 3Cs ‘: complementarity, coherence and coordination.

The 3Cs relate to critical factors in the effectiveness of development cooperation of the EU Member States and the European Commission, and are similar to the principles of harmonisation and alignment which feature centrally in undertakings and initiatives such as the Paris Declaration and the Millennium Development Goals. The 3Cs adhere to the manner in which the increasing amount of Official Development Assistance should be programmed and managed, stressing the need for donor countries to coordinate and optimise complementarity between their efforts; for development cooperation to fully correspond to development plans formulated and owned by developing countries; and for ensuring that public policies of donor countries are consistent with and also contribute to achieving the goals of development policies. The relevance of the 3Cs for development becomes even clearer if one considers some examples of the problems that these principles are supposed to counteract:

  • Domestic policies of the European Union and its Member States should not compromise or work against the successful implementation of development policies; This includes both intended and unintended consequences of policies.
  • The Member States and the Union share important competences in the field of development cooperation, which may be exercised alongside each other. But does this mean that in some cases donors should leave certain activities to other donors who are better in doing it?
  • Each year, Tanzanian government officials have to prepare about 2,000 reports and receive over 1,000 donor delegations. Opportunities for coordination are more than clear.
  • How can coordination between donors be stimulated when there are clear incentives for donors to promote their individual efforts and projects in order to show the tax payers of their respective countries that their money is being used effectively?

The evaluations: … (full text about).

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