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Since 2008, bilateral cooperation with Ecuador has been carried out mainly through non-reimbursable budget support programmes. This type of financing strengthens trust in the country´s public service, as it is granted after an analysis of the management capacity of the country´s public finances, its macroeconomic indicators, and the existence of national development strategies or plans. Budget support therefore allows cooperation to focus on the achievement of indicators rather than measuring spending on specific items. Furthermore, since budget support is a disbursement that goes directly to the state´s general budget, the country is free to direct those resources to the predetermined priority areas.
Budget support is seen as the clear expression of mutual trust between the European Union and Ecuador as well as the EU´s alignment with specific policies of the Ecuadorian State.
The last bilateral cooperation package between the European Union and Ecuador (2014-2017) has a budget of 67 million Euros to support the following programmes:
Within the framework of bilateral cooperation and with the aim of promoting sustainable economic development, the European Union is financing a multiannual programme named PASES II - Support Programme for the Social, Solidary and Sustainable Economic System. This programme proposes alignment with Goal #8 of the National Plan for Good Living, which aims to "consolidate the social economic system and solidarity in a sustainable way."
The programme has a funding of 38.4 million Euros for the period (2014-2018) and has the following specific objectives:
This agreement is implemented through the form of budget support, which requires a high level of regular political dialogue with the Ecuadorian State and with civil society to strengthen the implementation of national policies. Moreover, direct transfers of non-reimbursable funds from EU co-operation to the general state budget are made based on the sustained implementation of specific indicators with deadlines and targets, focusing on the social, economic, solidary and sustainable development sectors.
In the context of the entry into force of the Multiparty Trade Agreement between the European Union and Ecuador, a Financing Agreement to support Ecuador´s commercial sector was signed in November 2016, with a funding of 10 million Euros for the next three years (2017-2020). Its objective is to support the transformation of the productive matrix in the field of Foreign Trade and:
This agreement is carried out through two programmes executed by two private entities, FEDEXPOR and CORPEI, and will focus on supporting economic development and formal employment through the internationalization of Ecuadorian SMEs with the aim of strengthening their presence in the European market. The specific objectives of the action seek, among others, to involve the actors of the popular economy and support innovation, as well as the promotion and quality improvement projects carried out by producers and/or exporters, federations and consortia at the national level.
After the 16 April 2016 earthquake, the European Union Humanitarian Aid Office (ECHO) earmarked 5 million Euros to address the emergency through projects that guaranteed food, shelter, psychosocial care, access to services such as water, and recovery of livelihoods for hundreds of people affected by the earthquake. These projects will end in August 2017.
Simultaneously, 28.3 million Euros have been allocated through the budget support instrument to support the Ecuador´s post-disaster reconstruction and reactivation plan in earthquake-affected areas (Manabí and Esmeraldas provinces).
Specific objectives include:
In addition, to respond to the needs of the country as a consequence of the earthquake, the existing PASES II (Programme for Support the Social, Solidary and Sustainable Economic System) budget support programme has been extended and endowed with additional funds to respond to post-disaster needs. An addendum to the PASES II Financing Agreement was signed by both parties in March 2017 with the implementation period extended until June 2018 and an additional amount of 6.4 million Euros to cover the needs of the affected provinces, Manabí and Esmeraldas, and to promote their sustainable economic development.
Finally, the Board of Directors of the Latin American Investment Fund (LAIF), which aims to promote additional investments and key infrastructure developments in the transportation, energy and environment sectors, as well as to support private sector growth, approved the Programme of Technical and Technological Institutes of the EIB to finance the construction of a new technological institute in the city of Portoviejo, one of the most affected by the earthquake. LAIF will also provide technical assistance to accompany the reconstruction efforts.
The Thematic Instruments complement the bilateral Geographic Programmes. They support the empowerment and strengthening of Ecuadorian civil society and local authorities, the promotion and defence of human rights and democracy, as well as the promotion of global public goods through global and national competitive bidding processes.
The thematic programmes are the main source of support for civil society organisations and local authorities. They have a genuine added value as their actions, through a rigorous mechanism of Calls for Proposals, come from the initiatives of the local actors themselves. This support and the structured dialogue with civil society are of great strategic importance for the EU and all its partners in achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (ODS) together.
Although this modality of funding involves more modest funds than in the case of geographical cooperation, more than 90 thematic projects have been financed since 2007 in Ecuador with a total EU contribution of around 60 million Euros.
On-going thematic line projects in Ecuador:
The European Instrument for Democracy and Human Rights (EIDHR) is a European Union programme whose objective is to promote democracy and human rights in all countries of the world through initiatives that support a vibrant civil society. The EIDHR for the period 2014-2020 was adopted by the European Parliament and the Council in March 2014. The EIDHR has two objectives: on one hand, to enhance the respect, implementation and enforcement of human rights and freedoms as proclaimed in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and other international and regional human rights instruments. On the other hand, the EIDHR aims to support, develop and consolidate democracy in third countries, strengthening the democratic cycle and enhance participatory and representative democracy.
In Ecuador, amongst other actions, the EIDHR supports the promotion of EU values through concrete actions in favour of building mechanisms to strengthen legislative management in the National Assembly, prevent violence against women (in particular femicide), protect human rights, indigenous peoples in voluntary isolation, and strengthen and protect human rights organizations, and help implement the right to adequate food in rural communities.
The European Union is fully committed to supporting civil society organizations (CSOs) that are active in development. The EU recognizes CSOs for their role of articulating the concerns of all citizens, thus reinforcing development and democracy, as well as the protecting and promoting human rights.
The European Union's "Civil Society Organizations" (CSOs) Thematic Programme is part of the Development Cooperation Instrument (DCI) which was adopted in March 2014 for the 2014-2020 period. The main objective of the CSO Programme is to strengthen civil society organizations in the European Union´s partner countries as well as to raise awareness and train European citizens about development. The 2014-2020 Multi-Year Indicative Programme of the CSO Programme has three priorities, one of which directly addresses actions in EU partner countries.
The actions specifically supported vary from citizen dialogues to enhance the implementation and monitoring of Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in Ecuador, to fostering inclusive and innovative initiatives for local socio-economic development in areas affected by the earthquake, or strengthening collaboration between civil society organizations and universities. Other projects support the participation of civil society in the electoral process or promote indigenous governance.
Some of the 2016 projects include:
Under the thematic line of Civil Society Organizations and Local Authorities, the Thematic Programme - MAAP 2015-2017-LAs, the first priority at the country level focuses on improving the contribution of Local Authorities in governance and development processes.
In this context, the EU Delegation in Ecuador signed in 2016 two direct contracts with an EU contribution of 1 million Euros for each contract:
The regional cooperation programmes are open to all Latin American countries. These programmes strengthen relations with the EU through the exchange of experiences and networking, while strengthening links between the region´s countries by promoting sub-regional integration.
EU cooperation with Latin America contributes to the region's efforts to reduce poverty and increase sustainable and inclusive population growth while respecting human rights, the rule of law, democracy and other key elements of good governance. The main regional programs fall under the following themes:
The Latin American Investment Fund (LAIF) was officially launched during the EU-CELAC Summit in May 2010. This Fund is an innovative financial mechanism combining grants (non-reimbursable financial contributions from the European Union) with other resources, such as loans of financial institutions to leverage additional funding for development and increase the impact of EU aid. LAIF acts as a catalyst for pooling resources and improving coordination and coherence of donor actions, in accordance with the principles of ownership, partnership, and shared responsibilities, as set out in the Paris Declaration on Aid Effectiveness, the Accra Agenda for Action, and the Busan Partnership Agreement.
In Ecuador, the EU finances the following initiatives: