This report has been prepared by the European Partnership for Democracy to examine the extent to which domestic accountability in recipient countries is currently addressed in the European Development Fund (EDF), the largest European financial instrument for development aid in ACP countries.

Specifically, the paper addresses the following questions: what priority does the strengthening of domestic accountability take in the EDF? How is this reflected in the amount and type of funding for development? What degree of influence do domestic accountability actors have on the development agenda in their countries and how are they engaged across the EDF programming cycle?

Based on an analysis of EDF programming documents, evaluations of EU development aid, country case studies and recent interviews with local development practitioners as well as EU officials, the paper arrives at five key findings and a set of eight recommendations, which are designed to be practical steps for improving domestic accountability, ownership and aid effectiveness in ACP countries.

The report aims to contribute to the on-going review of the EDF’s 11th cycle (2014-2020) and to the larger discussion of how ACP-EU development cooperation should be structured after 2020, when the Cotonou Agreement is set to expire.

It was launched during EPD’s panel discussion “Who owns the EDF? Political realities and domestic accountability in EU development aid”.