During a workshop that was held in Brussels in 2003, the European Union's Heads of Evaluation Taskforce agreed upon definitions for each C. In this section, these definitions are shown.
The Community's competence in the field of development co-operation was only established in law by adoption of the Maastricht Treaty in 1992. The Treaty created a constitutional basis for development co-operation policies, and formalises the existence of a European development policy functioning in liaison with those of Member States, while recognising their interdependence. It revolves in essence around aspects of the so-called "3Cs", while distinct concepts are also inter-related. However, the Treaty is not always clear or free from ambiguities.
Co-ordination has been defined as ‘activities of two or more development partners that are intended to mobilise aid resources or to harmonise their policies, programmes, procedures and practices so as to maximise the development effectiveness of aid resources’. With regard to co-ordination several levels (international, regional, national, sub-national, sectoral) can be distinguished, as well as differences in content (policies/principles/priorities, procedures, practices) as in intensity (consultation, co-operation, collaboration). Co-ordination is seen as necessary, because a lack of co-ordination could lead to: a donor driven agenda, excessive demands on scarce management capacities, inconsistencies of approach, etc.
Complementarity is intended to ensure that Community development policy ‘shall be complementary to the policies pursued by the Member States’. This indicates that development co-operation is a shared competence between the Community and the MemberStates which can be jointly exercised. It is confirmed that the Community has a specific, but not exclusive competence in the field of development co-operation. In this sense complementarity differs from the concept of ‘subsidiarity’, which refers to a distribution of competence and decision-making at the most appropriate level. In the case of complementarity both the Commission and the MemberStates can have competences and tasks at the same level.
The notion of complementarity poses the question of its direction, in other words, is it up to the Community to complement the activities of MemberStates, or the other way around? Another issue is the equal partnership between the Commission and MemberStates, and reciprocal participation in the elaboration of their respective policies.
Coherence, probably the most debated of the 3Cs, is defined here as: ‘The non-occurrence of effects of policy that are contrary to the intended results or aims of policy.'
Much depends on the perspective of the viewer. For example:
- A narrow definition would be that objectives of policy in a particular field may not be undermined or obstructed by actions or activities in this same field.
- A wide definition would be that objectives of policy in a particular field may not be undermined or obstructed by actions or activities of government in that field or in other policy fields.
With regard to policy coherence this means that it can focus on one terrain or field of policy only, or try to make links with other fields, domains or policies. This can lead to a range of consequences:
- incoherence in European development policy itself;
-incoherence between different sets or parts of foreign policy and development co-operation policy;
and incoherence between development co-operation policies and policies in other fields, which can in theory be all parts of European policy making.
An important aspect is the distinction between intended and unintended incoherence in policy-making. This stresses that there is no hierarchy in policies and that given a certain set of goals and weighing them against a set of goals in another policy field, incoherence can also be deliberate.