G8 Development Ministers' Meeting
Yesterday I returned from the two-day G8 Development Ministers' meeting in Halifax. The meeting was convoked in a crucial time to prepare for the upcoming G8 Muskoka Leaders' Summit, where Heads of State will discuss how to advance achievement of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).
We had very fruitful discussion with Ministers from the G8 countries and representatives of the UN Development Programme, the World Food Programme, the UN Population Fund and the OECD on three key areas: strengthening accountability and effectiveness of development assistance; improving health of mothers, newborns and children under five in developing countries; and accelerating food security efforts.
On the effectiveness of international assistance Ministers agreed that more determined political action is needed to deliver on existing commitments, including greater predictability and transparency of aid, while reducing transaction costs and fragmentation. More coordination is needed for improving development assistance. Since I just had returned from a visit to Haiti I could reflect on my experience in the field.
On other key subjects Ministers agreed that new mechanisms, funds and structures are not needed, rather existing ones need to be better aligned around a common set of goals ad aid effectiveness principles.
I also used this opportunity and presented the European Commission's EU Action Plan to speed up progress towards MDGs, calling the EU partners to commit to our ambitious targets to achieve Millennium Development Goals.