What are the poverty reduction goals and aims of the European development cooperation agencies? This book examines the credibility of their actual record in implementing these goals in the 1990s; their commitment, the role they played, their identification of the poor and how they allocated funds and planned their country programmes. Field studies in seven poor countries estimate the impact of the projects and programmes on poor people. It reveals their good and bad practices in participation, empowerment, sensitivity to gender and targeting of specific poor groups. Despite positive achievements in access of the poor to resources, livelihoods, knowledge and empowerment, it reveals much scope for the agencies to make a bigger impact. Better understanding of poverty, pro-poor policies and more dialogue are needed. New thinking on how to widen impact and deepen partnership is reviewed and proposals are made for changes in agency management and personnel incentives to improve performance.