MEPs set priorities for a new impetus in development
The EU’s development policy needs new impetus to tackle new climate change, migration and security challenges, Development Committee MEPs say in a resolution voted on Wednesday.
MEPs also call for better coordination and better targeting of development policy and stress that aid money must be used to eradicate poverty, not to stop refugees.
Co-rapporteur Bogdan Wenta (EPP, Poland) said before the vote “The revised EU external cooperation framework creates the momentum that we have to build on. Our resolution puts the Sustainable Development Goals and the economic, social and environmental dimensions of development at the very heart of the Consensus. We call for further efforts by the EU and its member states towards joint programming and efficient implementation in order to improve aid effectiveness and promote country ownership”,
Co-rapporteur Norbert Neuser (S&D, DE) added: “With the tough challenges we face, effective European development cooperation is more important than ever. With this resolution we make sure that our essential values guide us in our fight against poverty, and for the dignity and wellbeing of people."
The resolution, approved by 21 votes to 1, with no abstentions, is the basis for negotiations with the Council and Commission for the revision of the European Consensus on Development, a joint policy statement setting out the EU’s common values, principles and objectives for eradicating poverty in the world.
MEPs list a number of key demands, inter alia:
- new challenges linked to climate change, migration and security necessitate need an overhaul of policies, but poverty eradication must remain the primary objective of the EU’s actions,
- development effectiveness requires better cooperation between member states. Joint programming and implementation is a must,
- funding to tackle the root causes of migration is meant to help social development, not to stop refugees. Parliament needs better oversight of the EU’s Trust Funds and External Investment Plan,
- further cooperation with the private sector is encouraged, but must stay in line with social, environmental and human rights standards,
- non-governmental organisations, national parliaments and local authorities need further recognition and support to improve effectiveness, transparency and accountability, and
- development policy must be an integral part of the EU’s external policy.
The full House will vote on the committee's resolution in February.
The reform of the EU’s current development policy statement is linked to new global challenges and to the adoption of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development at the UN Summit in September 2015. The current Consensus dates from 2005. While the number of people living in absolute poverty has fallen by 600 million since 1990, less progress has been made in other areas, such as reducing the number of deaths of mothers and babies during childbirth and providing access to clean drinking water. Over half of global development aid comes from the EU and its members, making them collectively the world's largest aid donor.