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Keeping promises to the developing world - 09/04/2008

Portrait of a poor Colombian family – two thin parents and four children in a field with shacks

EU urges members to step up the volume and effectiveness of their development aid.

Solidarity with developing countries is one of the EU’s fundamental values – last year it spent €8.6bn on development aid. But while the EU leads the world in its commitment to scale up its aid, the amount it spent in 2007 was actually €1.7b less than the year before, according to the organisation for economic cooperation and development.

The developing world must be involved in tackling global challenges such as climate change, pandemics, migration and threats to peace and security but they cannot contribute without help. The EU is therefore urging its member countries to:

  • jointly give 0.56% of their gross national income in 2010, rising to 0.7% in 2015. To deliver on this commitment, EU countries must make substantial amounts of ‘fresh money’ available.
  • keep improving the effectiveness of aid and its impact on the ground.
  • design EU policy to favour development, focusing particularly on biofuels, research and the 'brain drain' problem – where qualified people leave developing countries to work abroad.
  • finance aid for trade - the €2bn to be spent by EU countries on trade until 2010 should target projects that help development.

As part of the United Nations' millennium development goals, EU countries promised to devote 0.7% of their gross national income (GNI) to development aid by 2015. But last year they managed only 0.38%, despite meeting the 0.39% interim target in 2006.

EU members will have to work out a common position on this issue in advance of two major international conferences later this year: the high level forum on aid effectiveness in Accra in September and the Doha financing for development conference in December.

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