More and better aid needed for making Millennium Development Goals a success
Development policy is the ultimate human interest story. Europe's aid changes lives for good. Our policies are about people - real people, not just ideas, cooperation and money. Let me tell you just one story…, about Angela from Mozambique. She is a 34 year old single mother suffering from AIDS. When she fell sick, she went to visit the medical centre – part of her own country's health system, funded by the EU. With treatment and medicines she was able to recover and take care of her children. This is just one story amongst others,… thousands, millions of others.
Together these stories show the power of development - the power to change lives and even whole societies. Our development projects are changing the reality in poorest countries, improving livelihoods worldwide.
The EU is at the forefront of the fight against poverty. Each European citizen contributes for around 100 euro each year, and as a result, the EU is the first global donor, representing more than half of the global aid. This is something we can be proud of and we can see progress towards the Millennium Development Goals. But poverty still remains with one point four billion people - almost three times the European - living in extreme poverty –…
So now is not the time for complacency – we need to redouble our efforts.
2010 is the year of "Development". It comes 10 years after the launch of the Millennium Development Goals whose objective was to cut by half poverty by 2015. Next September, all Heads of States and Governments will meet in New York to take stock of progress made towards the MDGs and to discuss the way ahead to achieve them.
In that perspective, the European Commission launched today an Action plan to get back on track with our will of making them a reality. Today, the picture is mixed. But achieving the Millennium Development Goals is possible.
How can we do that? Obviously, there is no quick fix.
First, we all have to increase our financial aid. Since 2000, Europe has doubled its aid to developing countries which today amounts around 49 billion euros. But we have to do more to meet our goal of devoting 0.7% of GNI to aid by 2015. At the moment, with only 0.42%, the EU is off track. Sticking to our commitments requests a clear effort by Member States, but if you look at figures, this is doable. Why is it important? Well, because it is a question of credibility. I believe that when you make a promise, you must respect it. And the EU, being a world leader, has a major responsibility…
However, I'm aware that EU public budgets alone won't suffice. Developing countries should also increase their domestic resources. Our action plan proposes to support the establishment of proper fiscal systems so that they can be the owners of their future. On the other side, it also supports any new global mechanism that could generate significant revenues and ensure predictable financing for development.
But money is not the only solution. We also have to make our aid more efficient by working all together in partnership, doing more for the most fragile, and focusing on the basics : health, education, and food for instance. We also have to make our other EU policies work for development as well, from trade to migration and climate to agriculture. I will personally work closely with my colleagues in the Commission to make sure we are coherent.
These proposals will be presented to Ministers of Member States. They should bring to the definition of a common EU position for the UN Summit in September. And I hope they will be endorsed by our Heads of States and Governments when they meet in June: they have to confirm they are serious and committed to achieving the Millennium Development Goals. I want Europe to remain the credible leader in the fight against poverty.
- IP/10/451 - Development aid and Millennium Development Goals: Commission calls Member States to get back on track for more and better aid
- MEMO/10/145 - The Millennium Development Goals (MDGs): Frequently Asked Questions and examples of EU-funded projects
- MEMO/10/146 - Tax and development: promoting good governance in taxation as part of development cooperation
- MEMO/10/147 - Getting the Millennium Development Goals back on track: a twelve points EU action plan