Development Cooperation Instrument (DCI)

The Development Cooperation Instrument increases the effectiveness of the EU development cooperation by merging the previous numerous geographic and thematic mechanisms into a single instrument. It assists developing countries on their way to reducing poverty and enhancing sustainable development and social progress towards faster integration into the world economy.

Objectives and general principles of the DCI have been formulated in line with the changed EU Treaties and the latest policies. Human rights, democracy and good governance have been given increased importance. The approach of differentiation reflects needs, capacities and performance of partner countries, and targets EU development cooperation where it can have most impact: Least Developed Countries are the key priority. The DCI encourages greater concentration on certain sectors in partner countries to ensure that the EU's policy and the policies of the Member States complement each other in all areas of intervention.

Thematic programmes are concentrated and simplified by reducing them to just two: (1) 'Global public goods and challenges' and (2) 'Civil society organisations and local authorities'. The DCI will also include a new Pan-African programme in line with the Joint Africa-Europe Strategy. This programme complements other financial instruments which are applied in Africa (in particular ENI and EDF) and will support activities of trans-regional, continental and global nature in Africa and also specific initiatives for which no alternative source of funding can be mobilised.

Accompanying measures for former Sugar Protocol countries and major Banana producing countries will not be continued. These had been introduced to support the economic transition following tariff changes in the trade of these commodities with the EU;

The EU will improve its coordination in countries or regions for which a joint framework  exists that lays down a comprehensive Union strategy, including development policy. Where EU and Member States agree on joint multiannual programming, no further strategy papesr will be required. Joint programming will allow reinforced donor coordination and division of labour.

The DCI will offer new flexibility for a faster decision-making, particularly in cases of crisis, post-crisis and fragility, e.g. through the use of unallocated funds and a review of the programming.

Programming can be simplified replacing Country Strategy Papers with other existing strategy documents and alignment with national planning cycles of developing countries.

It consists of three categories of programmes: geographic programmes covering cooperation with Asia, Central Asia, Middle East, Latin America, and South Africa; thematic programmes to address global public goods and challenges and support civil society organisations and local authorities; and a new Pan-African programme to support the implementation of Joint Africa-Europe Strategy.



Target Group
Demonstration and investment activities
Source Regions
European Union
Source Countries
Eligible Regions
Australia and New Zealand, Caribbean, Central Asia, Eastern Africa, Eastern Asia, Eastern Europe, European Union, Micronesian Region, Middle Africa, Northern Africa, Southern Africa, Western Africa
Eligible Countries
Grant Types
Cooperation, collaboration
Funding Bodies
Bulgarian, Croatian, Czech, Danish, Dutch, English, Estonian, Finnish, French, Georgian, Greek, Hungarian, Irish Gaelic, Italian, Latvian, Lithuanian, Maltese, Polish, Portuguese, Romanian, Slovak, Slovene, Spanish, Swedish
Support Types
Deadline Date
Programme Owner
Legal Source
Proposal for a Regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council establishing a financing instrument for development cooperation
Supporting Programme
Refering Grants

  • Assist developing countries to reduce poverty
  • Enhance sustainable development
  • Support faster integration into world economy
  • Foster human rights
  • Promote democracy and good governance
  • Strengthen relationships between the European Union and partner countries



Proposal Submission

At least 25  % of the global public goods and challenges programme should support people's life development.

At least 20 % of the allocated assistance under this Regulation should be allocated to basic social services, with a focus on health and education, and secondary education, recognising that a degree of flexibility must be the norm such as in cases where exceptional assistance is involved. Data concerning compliance should be included in the annual report referred to in Article 13 of the Common Implementation Regulation.

Community aid is implemented through Geographic and Thematic Programmes; additionally it sets up accompanying measures in favour of the 18 ACP Sugar Protocol countries* with the aim to support their adjustment process to the new market conditions they have to face due to the reform of the Community sugar regime.

In case of Geographic Programmes the European Commission prepares annual action programmes which specify the objectives pursued in the fields of intervention, the expected results, the management procedures and total amount of financing planned.

Thematic Programmes complement the Geographical Programmes and supports projects mainly in developing countries, they are not geographically specific.

Thematic Programmes are implemented by an intermediary organisation such as non-governmental organisations or international organizations. DCI is implemented through calls for proposals and tenders. The maximum co-financing rate is 50% in most regions.

Funding for higher education activities in third countries in the context of "Erasmus for All" programme will be made available, in line with EU external action objectives, through 2 multi annual allocations only covering the first 4 years and the remaining 3 years respectively. This funding will be reflected in the multiannual indicative programming of the DCI, in line with the identified needs and priorities of the countries concerned.

Supported activities

Geographical Programmes
Geograhical programmes will support the cooperation with developing countries, territories and regions. Within each country programme, the Union will in principle concentrate its assistance on three sectors.

  A geographic programme shall encompass cooperation in appropriate areas of activity (regionally and bilateraly).

Areas of cooperation:

Human rights, democracy and good governance:

   (a) Democracy, human rights and the rule of law;
   (b) Gender equality, empowerment of and equal opportunities for women;
   (c) Public sector management at central and local level;
   (d) Tax policy and administration;
   (e) Fight against Corruption;
   (f) Civil society and local authorities;
   (g) Promoting and protecting the rights of children

Inclusive and sustainable growth for human development:

   (a) Health, education, social protection, employment and culture;
   (b) Business environment, regional integration and world markets;
   (c) Sustainable agriculture; food and nutrition security;
   (ca) Sustainable energy;
   (d) Natural resources management, including land, forestry and water;
   (e) Climate change and environment.

Other areas of significance for Development:

   (a) Migration and asylum;
   (b) Linking humanitarian relief and development cooperation;
   (c) Resilience and disaster risk reduction;
   (d) Development and security, including conflict prevention.

Thematic Programmes
Global Public Goods and Challenges thematic programme: include, inter alia, environment and climate change, sustainable energy5, human development (including health, education, gender equality, employment, skills, social protection and social inclusion as well as economic development-related aspects such as growth, jobs, trade and private sector engagement), food security and migration and asylum. This thematic programme will enable swift response in view of unforeseen events and global crises.
Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) and Local Authorities (LAs) thematic programme: promote an inclusive and empowered civil society and local authorities, increase awareness and mobilisation on development issues, and strengthen the capacity for policy dialogue on development.
Pan-African Programme: to implement the Joint Africa-EU Strategy (JAES). The programme will be complementary and coherent with ENI, EDF and the thematic programmes under DCI. It will support in particular activities of transregional, continental and trans-continental nature.


Terms And Conditions
Legal basis: REGULATION (EC) No 1905/2006 OF THE EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT AND OF THE COUNCIL of 18 December 2006 establishing a financing instrument for development cooperation


EUR 19 661 million in current prices


Available Calls

Total Funding Amount

Selection Criteria


Geographic programmes aimed at supporting development cooperation with developing countries that are included in the list of recipients of Official Development Assistance (ODA) of the OECD/DAC, except:

     ( i) countries signatories to the ACP-EU Partnership Agreement signed in Cotonou on 23 June 2000, excluding South Africa;
   (ii) countries eligible for the European Development Fund;
   (iii) countries eligible for Union funding under the European Neighbourhood instrument;
   (iv) beneficiaries eligible for Union funding under the Instrument for Pre-Accession.

While, the Thematic Programmes are open for all developing countries* (including those covered by the ENPI and the EDF). Decentralised bodies of the partner countries (municipalities, provinces, departments and regions), joint bodies set up by the partner countries and regions with the Community, non state actors, as well as international organisations and EU agencies are eligible for funding.
In duly justified circumstances and in order to ensure the coherence and effectiveness of Union financing or to foster regional or trans-regional cooperation, the Commission may decide, without prejudice to Article 2(3), to extend the eligibility of actions to countries, territories and regions which otherwise would not be eligible for financing pursuant to Article 1, where the action to be implemented is of a global, regional, trans-regional or cross border nature.

Open To

EU, ACP-EU Partnership, European Development Fund, European Neighbourhood countries.