European Development Days with the participation of Andris Piebalgs and José Manuel Barroso
Type: Complete press conference
End production: 16/10/2012 First transmission: 16/10/2012
On 16 and 17 October 2012, the 7th edition of the European Development Days took place in Brussels. This landmark annual policy event has developed into Europe’s premier forum on international affairs and development cooperation. In 2012, the headline theme was sustainable and inclusive growth for human development.
This video shows the opening ceremony with the participation of Andris Piebalgs, Member of the EC in charge of Development, José Manuel Barroso, President of the EC, Demetris Christofias, President of Cyprus and President in office of the Council, Boni Yayi, President of Benin, Armando Emílio Guebuza, President of Mozambique, and Macky Sall, President of Senegal.
Only the original language version is authentic and it prevails in the event of its differing from the translated versions.
||Soundbite by Andris Piebalgs, Member of the EC in charge of Development (in ENGLISH): Good morning, everybody, I am very pleased to welcome President of Mozambique Armando Guebuza, President of Senegal Macky Sall, President of Benin Dr. Yayi Boni, President of Gabon Ali Bongo Ondimba, President of Malawi Joyce Banda, President of Cyprus Demetris Christofias and, of course, President of the European Commission, Jose Manuel Barroso.
Let me begin by welcoming you all to Brussels for the 7th European Development Days. This year's umbrella theme is "inclusive and sustainable growth for human development" – itself a key theme of the EU's Agenda for Change.
The EDDs have established themselves as the place where the "movers and shakers" of the development world gather to exchange views and share ideas. We certainly have much to discuss and reflect on this year, not least because we have now set about making the Agenda for Change a reality and shaping a post-2015 development framework in earnest. I'm sure that our discussions over the next two days – coupled with the thoughts and insights of eminent keynote speakers from Europe and the world – will enable us, once again, to take the international development agenda forward.
I would like to begin by introducing a man who actually needs no introduction. He is a man who has shown his dedication to sustainability, inclusiveness and development throughout this political life. It has been my pleasure to serve under his leadership during the last 8 years – I would like to welcome my president, Jose Manuel Barroso on the stage.
||Soundbite by José Manuel Barroso, President of the EC (in ENGLISH): President Christofias, President of Cyprus and of the rotating Presidency of the European Union, President Yayi Boni from Benin, President in office of the African Union, President Guebuza of Mozambique, President Bongo of Gabon, President Banda of Malawi, President Sall of Senegal,
Vice President Binay of Philippines, Ministers, Members of the European Parliament, Distinguished guests, Ladies and gentlemen, Dear friends,
It is a great pleasure and an honour to welcome so many global leaders and distinguished guests to Brussels for the 7th edition of the European Development Days.
It is a pleasure for me to be here today with President Christofias, President in office of the Council of the European Union, and also with my good friend and colleague from the Commission Andris Piebalgs and I want to thank him and his team for organising this event.
||Soundbite by José Manuel Barroso (in FRENCH) talking about the death of Claude Cheysson, former Member of the EC.
||Soundbite by José Manuel Barroso (in ENGLISH): Excellencies, Ladies and gentlemen,
We meet in uncertain times, at a critical moment for the world economy and the global community. In many nations, growth is stagnating. Fundamental questions are asked about our economic, financial and social models.
Yet in this time of uncertainty there are not just a few glimmers of hope but also several positive fundamentals.
First as President of the European Commission I am proud of the fact that despite the difficult economic situation we are in, the European Union and its Member States remain a strong international partner and by far the most generous donors in the world.
We provide over half of the world's official development assistance, and will continue to do so. The European Commission proposed an ambitious increase of twenty percent for development cooperation for our new multiannual EU-budget, which would bring our aid budget up to 100 billion for the years 2014-2020.
I will continue making the case for this, especially in difficult times. Because I believe international cooperation is not simply about money, about investing in help and change. It's also about values, about what we are. Europe's citizens agree with that. They remain deeply attached to our development cooperation: 84% of them see helping the poorest as a key priority. And I think that the Nobel Peace Prize for the European Union, and so many of you send congratulation to the European Union, I really want to thank you, I think that the Nobel Peace Prize, which is an enormous honour for us, is also a recognition of this very strong international commitment. Supporting development also means laying the foundations for peace. In many of your countries you know well the various strong links between stability and peace and development.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
There are also many economic developments in the developing world that give us hope: not just the emerging global powers, but many other economies have seen spectacular growth. Africa alone has had annual growth rates of around 6% on average over the last decade. And I have witnessed this progress first-hand on my visits this year across Africa, Asia and Latin America, and I am sure I will see it again in West Africa and South East Asia, where I will be heading this month and next month.
So there are reasons for hope, and we have a strong base from which to deal with the biggest challenge that we all face.
This challenge - which is indeed the theme of this year's Development days – is the following:
"How do we ensure global growth is inclusive and sustainable?"
How can we make this global growth sustainable and inclusive? This is the essential question which every nation, every region and indeed our planet as a whole must address. Our discussions over the next two days are an opportunity for the development community to discuss how best to push forward the global agenda, specifically the global development agenda.
Of course we are not starting from scratch.
At the global level, the outcome of the Rio+20 Summit in June provides a set of common priorities and a path for further work on "global green growth". It is now up to us to make the results concrete and operational. The EU will follow up on all Rio+20 commitments, in particular in the discussions on Sustainable Development Goals and financing for sustainable development.
Clearly, the work on the SDGs – Sustainable Development Goals - must be embedded in the wider discussions on the post-2015 global development framework and remain coherent with our reflections on the future of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). Because ultimately, building a green economy and eradicating poverty go hand in hand.
Naturally, every country represented here faces its own particular challenges. However there are many issues of common concern. This year's Development Days will focus on three issues at the core of inclusive, sustainable growth: food security, private sector development and social protection.
Despite the unprecedented growth in Africa and elsewhere, food security remains a pressing concern: There are currently close to 1 billion people around the world who are chronically undernourished. Faced with such appalling statistics, it’s clear that progress on agriculture is essential.
There can be no better day for discussing this issue than today, because today is World Food Day. The European Union has taken a strong lead in dealing with this challenge. We are the world's largest donor on food security and agricultural development, with aid of over € 1 billion per year since 2006. More specifically, the EU Food Facility, worth € 1 billion, has helped to feed 50 million people in over 50 countries in just the last three years. For the future, we will be working closely with the new G8 alliance on food and nutrition.
Let me just give some recent examples: The EU is currently allocating €250 million to support immediate recovery activities in the Horn of Africa, and we have mobilised €160 million to tackle the root causes of food insecurity in the Sahel. In August, the Commission also pledged to reduce the number of stunted children by 7 million in coming years. In fact, very recently I received here in Brussels Director General of FAO, Graziano da Silva, with whom we have discussed in detail all these challenges.
I believe that in the wake of recent food crises, this work is more crucial than ever. We therefore hope the EDDs will serve as a platform on which the development community can come together to look at solutions to hunger and food crises in the longer term.
Ladies and gentlemen,
Growth is not an end in itself. We believe it needs to be inclusive and sustainable.
Despite the economic progress in parts of the world, too often, the most vulnerable members of society are left behind. Conversely, better social protection will actually enable people to contribute to wealth and job creation. In the long run, growth and social inclusion are I believe two sides of the same coin.
Let me give you an idea of the scale of the challenge. Currently only 20 per cent of the world’s working-age population have access to the basic social protection, including income security and access to healthcare.
The European Union aid has therefore allocated one and a quarter billion Euros to finance a wide variety of social protection measures worldwide over the last years, including cash transfer schemes, public work programmes and school lunches.
But we can do more and do it more effectively. The Commission has just launched a Strategy which outlines new measures to ensure that the world's most vulnerable people are not left behind. Although there is a continuing need for donors to finance basic social safety nets, in particular in very poor countries, we want to move towards supporting the development of nationally-owned policies and development strategies.
||Soundbite by José Manuel Barroso (in FRENCH) talking about the important role of the private sector in the eradication of the poverty; saying that despite the economic crisis in Europe, the EU will continue to support its partners and friends in the struggle against poverty.
||Soundbite by Boni Yayi, President of Benin (in FRENCH)
||Soundbite by Armando Emílio Guebuza, President of Mozambique (in ENGLISH)
||Soundbite by Armando Emílio Guebuza (in PORTUGUESE)
||Soundbite by Macky Sall, President of Senegal
||Soundbite by Demetris Christofias, President of Cyprus and President in office of the Council (in ENGLISH)