Yesterday (26 May 2015) the Foreign Affairs Council adopted conclusions on a new global partnership for poverty eradication and sustainable development after 2015. International negotiations on future financing for development and a post-2015 agenda are quickly picking up pace and yesterday's conclusions represent a strong and constructive EU contribution to the discussions.
The world has arrived at a crucial juncture - the next few months will determine whether our generation succeeds or fails in eradicating poverty, sharing prosperity and securing sustainable development. The EU has played an important role in shaping the debate until now and will continue to do so, building on our reputation gained through being the world's largest donor and the most open market for exports from developing and, in particular, least developed countries.
Heads of State are due to gather in New York in September to agree a post-2015 development framework which will include new Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). It will be the successor to the Millennium Development Goals and also integrate the follow up to the Rio +20 Conference on Sustainable Development. We are working towards an ambitious and comprehensive package which integrates the social, economic and environmental dimensions of sustainable development in a balanced way. The new agenda will help us eradicate poverty in all its dimensions – in terms of income but also access to food, water, energy, health, education and addressing inequalities, including gender inequality and the needs of persons in vulnerable situations.
The EU vision to support this agenda is a new global partnership that should involve all countries and mobilise all means of implementation.
We stand ready to play our part and contribute our share to mobilising the resources for putting the future agenda into practice. The council conclusions unequivocally reaffirmed the EU's collective commitment to achieve a level of official development assistance (ODA) that represents 0.7% of Gross National Income (GNI) , within the time frame of the post-2015 agenda and the need to focus these efforts on least developed countries, by meeting collectively the target of 0.15-0.20% of ODA/GNI to least developed countries in the short term, and reaching 0.20% of ODA/GNI to them within the time-frame of the post-2015 agenda. The conclusions also reiterate the EU's strong political commitment to Africa, with a view to agreeing significant international commitments for Africa in the context of the international conferences foreseen for 2015.
In a few weeks the Financing for Development conference in Addis Ababa will set out a coherent and transformative framework for implementing the new framework to be agreed at the Summit in New York. The outcome from both conferences will also have an impact on the climate change discussions in Paris at the end of this year.
The Addis outcome should become the means of implementation pillar for the post-2015 development agenda. It should mobilise action by all countries and stakeholders, at all levels. For a far-reaching new global agenda to succeed, we will all have to raise our level of ambition. The EU's efforts on their own will not be enough; despite representing less than 20% of global Gross Domestic Product the EU already contributes more than half of global ODA. All high-income countries (not just the EU) must also commit themselves to an equivalent target (0.7% of ODA/GNI within the time frame of the post-2015 agenda) and, in a changing world context, upper-middle income countries and emerging economies must also provide their fair share to support poorer countries in reaching internationally agreed objectives.
However, the question of financing for development cannot be addressed in isolation – this is not just about donor funding. The Addis conference should address the full range of means of implementation, starting with a conducive policy environment. Good governance and effective institutions will be fundamental for progress and success.
Unleashing the potential of the private sector is key. The EU has already been using tools such as blending, to unlock investments with an estimated volume of €40 billion in our partner countries - and we stand ready to substantially increase the impact of our grant capacity.
The conference at Addis should give a push for further cooperation with public and private financial institutions, public-private partnerships and private investments for development. It should also unlock the full potential of science, technology and innovation.
At the same time, the conference should keep the focus on domestic resource mobilisation. Putting in place transparent and efficient tax systems should be a priority for all – as well as tackling illicit financial flows. The effective use of domestic resources is also key.
Trade is one of the most powerful means at our disposal to promote sustainable development and growth. The European Union is the world's leading provider of Aid for Trade and already grants significant unilateral trade preferences, in particular to countries most in need. The 'Everything but Arms' initiative gives duty-free and quota-free access to the EU market to all products from all least developed countries, except arms or ammunition. We would like to see all developed countries and emerging economies move in the same direction.
We also need to harness the positive effects of migration, which can have a powerful impact on poverty eradication. And finally, we will need a strong framework for monitoring, accountability and review.
I believe yesterday's council conclusions are an excellent EU contribution to Addis and beyond. The EU will continue to play a leading role in making sure that we agree on an ambitious, transformative and universal agenda that delivers poverty eradication and sustainable development for all, backed with adequate and credible means of implementation.