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Smarter, high-impact development aid - 07/12/2010

Logo of European Development Days with the URL link to © EU

European Development Days, an annual forum for deciding an EU approach to tackling poverty worldwide.

About 7 000 people attended European Development Days, 6-7 December in Brussels. They discussed how to more efficiently and effectively deliver aid, addressing issues such as food security, water, health, education, human rights, gender equality, democracy, good governance, and economic and social growth.

The EU, along with its member countries, is the world's biggest aid donor, contributing over half of the money used to help developing countries. It also drives development by opening its markets to exports and encouraging regional economic integration.

Even during the economic downturn, as much as 89% of Europeans believe development aid remains very or fairly important, according to a 2010 survey . About 50% say the EU should honour its commitment to increase aid to 0.7% of gross national income by 2015 and 14% want the bloc to give even more.

This year's forum also focused on the special needs of the world's least developed countries, gender equality and the problem of fake medicines.

One EDD panel examined the advantage of considering children's rights in development policy. A related seminar on the exchange of best practice examined the plight of children working in the cacao industry.

Another panel outlined the evolution of the EU's development policy and its role in supporting democracy in developing countries. Discussions on how to combat poverty through promoting gender equality were held, along with a debate on the role of local authorities.

Most importantly, the Commission discussed a forthcoming EU initiative to improve access to energy in developing countries and the bloc's efforts at achieving the UN's Millennium Development Goals, which have set global targets for reducing poverty by 2015.

A series of reports and studies, including the European Report on Development 2010, were released during the forum.

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