The EU Annual Budget for 2016 was adopted on November 24th and 25th by the European Parliament and the Council. Compared to the initial draft published by the European Commission in May, the final document includes an increase for the Human Development line of €2 million. This line, embedded in the Global Public Goods and Challenges of the Development Cooperation Instrument (DCI), serves notably health thematic objectives and in particular “improving access to essential health commodities and sexual and reproductive health services”.
Countdown 2015 Europe advocated to counter significant cuts initially proposed by the Council – efforts were supported by the ongoing work done in Brussels towards the various European institutions to avoid cuts in budges serving FP/RH (in relation to other networks such as CONCORD), as well as the Brussels-national link to sensitize DCI committee members. The final increase of €2 million is a stepping stone for the objective on sexual and reproductive health to receive funding in 2016 and 2017 – it has not been served since 2014 and the start of the current multi-annual financial framework. In addition, during the process of adopting the Annual Action Plan 2015 for the health component of the Human Development line, the Netherlands submitted written comments asking for funding for the sexual and reproductive health objective in the Annual Action Plans 2016 and 2017, noting “We are concerned that SRHR, despite being mentioned as an objective of the DCI programme for Human Development, will scarcely receive funding.”. Other Member States responded positively to the input provided by Countdown 2015 Europe.