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The EU Development Cooperation Instrument

The Development Cooperation Instrument (DCI) is the EU’s main instrument for providing development assistance through the general EU budget. It operates under a separate legislative instrument from Horizon 2020. Launched in January 2007, the DCI replaces a wide range of geographic and thematic instruments which were created over time. In this way, it increases the effectiveness of the EU development cooperation.


The DCI covers three components:

1. Geographic programmes supporting cooperation with 47 developing countries in Latin America, Asia and Central Asia, the Gulf region (Iran, Iraq and Yemen) and South Africa

These programmes support actions within the following areas of cooperation:

  • poverty eradication and the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals;
  • essential needs of the population, in particular primary education and health;
  • social cohesion and employment;
  • governance, democracy, human rights and support for institutional reforms;
  • trade and regional integration;
  • sustainable development through environmental protection and sustainable management of natural resources;
  • sustainable integrated water resource management and fostering greater use of sustainable energy technologies;
  • developing infrastructure and an increased use of information and communication technologies;
  • sustainable rural development and ensuring food security;
  • assistance in post-crisis situations and fragile States.

2. Thematic programmes benefiting all developing countries (including those covered by the ENPI and the EDF). These programmes support actions in the following fields:

  • investing in people;
  • environment and sustainable management of natural resources including energy;
  • non-state actors and local authorities in development;
  • food security;
  • migration and asylum.


3. Programme of accompanying measures for the 18 African, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) Sugar Protocol countries, in order to help them adjust following the reform of the EU sugar regime