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Procedure : 2010/2037(INI)
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Document selected : A7-0165/2010

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PV 14/06/2010 - 19
CRE 14/06/2010 - 19

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PV 15/06/2010 - 7.15
CRE 15/06/2010 - 7.15
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Tuesday, 15 June 2010 - Strasbourg
Progress towards the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals: mid-term review in preparation of the UN high-level meeting in September 2010

European Parliament resolution of 15 June 2010 on progress towards the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals: mid-term review in preparation of the UN high-level meeting in September 2010 (2010/2037(INI))

The European Parliament,

–  having regard to the United Nations Millennium Declaration of 8 September 2000,

–  having regard to the European Council meeting on 17 and 18 June 2010 focusing on the MDGs,

–  having regard to the commitments on aid volume, aid to sub-Saharan Africa and aid quality made by the G8 at the 2005 Gleneagles Summit and all subsequent G8 and G20 meetings,

–  having regard to the G20 summit held in Pittsburgh on 24 and 25 September 2009 and the G20 summit held in London on 2 April 2009,

–  having regard to the G8 summit held in L'Aquila, Italy, from 8 to 10 July 2009,

–  having regard to the European Consensus on Development(1) and the EU Code of Conduct on Complementarity and Division of Labour in Development Policies(2),

–  having regard to the Monterrey Consensus, adopted at the International Conference on Financing for Development held in Monterrey, Mexico, from 18 to 22 March 2002,

–  having regard to the Paris Declaration on Aid Effectiveness and the Accra Agenda for Action,

–  having regard to the Addis Call to Urgent Action for Maternal Health, the Berlin Call to Action and the Strategic Options for NGOs, the latter two documents having been issued to mark the 15th anniversary of the International Conference on Population and Development (ICPD/15),

–  having regard to Article 208 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the EU, which stipulates that ’the Union shall take account of the objectives of development cooperation in the policies that it implements which are likely to affect developing countries’,

–  having regard to the Commission communication of 12 April 2005 on policy coherence for development(3),

–  having regard to Regulation (EC) No 1905/2006 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 18 December 2006 establishing a financing instrument for development cooperation(4) (the ’Development Cooperation Instrument’ (DCI)),

–  having regard to Article 7 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (Lisbon Treaty), which reaffirms that the EU shall ensure consistency between its policies and activities, taking all of its objectives into account,

–  having regard to the ILO Decent Work Agenda and to the ILO Global Jobs Pact adopted by global consensus on 19 June 2009 at the International Labour Conference,

–  having regard to the July 2009 report by the UN Secretary-General on the implementation of the Millennium Declaration,

–  having regard to the UNDP report entitled ’Beyond the Midpoint: Achieving the Millennium Development Goals’, published in January 2010,

–  having regard to the Commission communication to the European Parliament, the Council, the European Economic and Social Committee, and the Committee of the Regions entitled ’A twelve-point EU action plan in support of the Millennium Development Goals’(5),

–  having regard to the Council conclusions on Progress on the European Programme for Action to confront HIV/AIDS, Malaria and Tuberculosis through External Action (2007-2011),

–  having regard to the Court of Justice judgment of 6 November 2008 on the external lending activities of the European Investment Bank (EIB)(6),

–  having regard to its resolution of 6 April 2006 on aid effectiveness and corruption in developing countries(7),

–  having regard to its resolution of 20 June 2007 on ’the Millennium Development Goals – the midway point’(8),

–  having regard to its resolutions of 4 September 2008 on maternal mortality(9), of 24 March 2009 on MDG contracts(10) and of 25 March 2010 on the effects of the global financial and economic crisis on developing countries and on development cooperation(11),

–  having regard to Rule 48 of its Rules of Procedure,

–  having regard to the report of the Committee on Development and the opinion of the Committee on International Trade (A7-0165/2010),

A.  whereas reducing and eradicating poverty is the EU's primary development policy objective under the Lisbon Treaty, as well as being both a moral obligation and in the EU's own long-term interests,

B.  whereas both the EU, as the world's largest donor, and its Member States need to play a leading role at the September MDG meeting and adopt an ambitious, united position that can work as a driving force with a view to achieving the MDGs on time,

C.  whereas the EU is currently some EUR 20 billion short of its MDG spending commitments,

D.  whereas some EU Member States are scaling back their aid budgets,

E.  whereas the value of global financial transactions has attained 70 times world GNI,

F.  whereas unpredictable aid can be detrimental to recipient countries, and whereas better quality aid could release an extra EUR 3 billion a year for the development budgets of the EU and of its Member States(12),

G.  whereas 82% of new IMF lending has gone to European-area countries, while least-developed countries (LDCs) would benefit from receiving a greater amount of new IMF lending,

H.  whereas, although the G20 is more representative than the G8, the UN remains the most inclusive forum for addressing global governance issues,

I.  whereas inconsistencies in EU policies must not undermine the impact of development funding,

J.  whereas remittances contribute at least USD 300 billion a year to developing countries’ economies(13),

K.  whereas, although there has been encouraging progress on some MDGs, all eight MDGs are currently off-target and only a resolute display of political will can enable the MDGs to be met in the five years remaining before the 2015 deadline,

L.  whereas some LDCs are on track to meet no MDGs,

M.  whereas the recent food and fuel crises, coupled with the global economic downturn and climate change, have led to set-backs in relation to the last decade's progress on poverty reduction,

N.  whereas land ownership creates incentives for individuals, families and communities to take control of their own development and ensure food security at a local level,

O.  whereas mitigating climate change in developing countries could cost around USD 100 billion a year by 2020(14), and the economic downturn at least as much again(15),

P.  whereas the situation in ’middle-income’ developing countries should not be overlooked when reviewing the MDGs, since these countries continue to require assistance on the way to reaching their full development potential,

Q.  whereas industrialised nations are mainly responsible for climate change and the financial and economic crisis,

R.  whereas the numbers of working poor and those in vulnerable jobs are on the rise,

S.  whereas a lack of peace and security, democracy and political stability often prevents poor countries from fulfilling their full development potential,

T.  whereas corruption destroys productivity, creates instability and deters foreign investment,

U.  whereas illicit capital flows from developing countries are estimated at USD 641 billion to USD 941 billion, and whereas these outflows undermine developing countries’ capacity to generate their own resources and allocate more funds to poverty reduction(16),

V.  whereas, although major progress has been made towards some of the health MDGs, the three health MDGs – and in particular maternal mortality – are the most off track,

W.  whereas 13% of all maternal deaths in developing countries are due to unsafe abortions, and whereas this figure is much higher in Africa(17),

X.  whereas funding for family planning on a per-woman basis has fallen away sharply over the last decade,

Y.  whereas, even if we achieve all the MDGs, there will still be poverty-related challenges and suffering in poor countries,

Z.  whereas failing to meet our MDG promises will mean continued suffering for millions of poor people, and will seriously erode trust between north and south,


1.  Expects the June 2010 European Council to agree on an ambitious, united EU position ahead of September's UN MDG meeting, and to lead to new, results-oriented, additional, transparent and measurable commitments;

2.  Calls on the Member States to meet the obligations to which they agreed as part of the European Consensus on Development;

3.  Points out that achieving the MDGs must remain a key objective for the European Union; emphasises that poverty reduction through the achievement of the MDGs must be recognised unambiguously as the overarching framework for EU development policy and that this must be reflected clearly in all relevant policy – including trade policy – and legislative proposals; believes that the MDGs should not be seen as a technical matter which will be resolved simply by providing more money or trade opportunities without identifying and tackling the underlying causes of poverty;

4.  Stresses that the figures given in the recent UN report entitled ’Rethinking Poverty’ are not only alarming, but a clear indication that the risk of not meeting the Millennium Development Goals is real;

5.  Calls on all the Member States to meet their 0.7% aid promises by 2015 at the latest;

6.  Calls on the EU and the Member States to introduce enhanced accountability measures concerning their commitment to give 0.7% of GNI as aid by 2015, including setting up an ’ODA Peer Review’ process which would, within the Foreign Affairs Council, assess progress towards the 0.7% target by 2015, culminating in a report to the European Council and the European Parliament;

7.  Calls on all the Member States to introduce development aid measures and issue multiannual timetables for meeting the MDG targets; asks the Commission to ensure that official development assistance (ODA) is fully transparent, and accordingly asks it to publish the amounts spent on ODA by the Member States;

8.  Calls on the EU and the OECD not to broaden the definition of development aid (ODA) or count debt cancellation or other non-ODA financial flows as aid spending;

9.  Calls on all the Member States actively to crack down on tax havens, tax evasion and illicit financial flows, within the G20 and UN framework, and to promote greater transparency, including systematic disclosure of profits made and taxes paid and a country-by-country reporting system to enable developing countries to keep their own resources for their development;

10.  Calls on the EIB to review its policy on offshore financial centres on the basis of more stringent criteria than the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) listing for the definition of prohibited and monitored jurisdictions, and to ensure its implementation and provide annual reports on progress;

11.  Calls on all the Member States and the international community to take action to make remittances cheaper;

12.  Calls on all the Member States to support UN initiatives and take measures to increase lender and borrower responsibility in the context of sovereign debt transactions;

13.  Calls on all Member States and the international community to make renewed efforts to ease the debt burden of LDCs with a track record of accountability, transparency and good governance;

14.  Calls on the EU to provide significant funding to help poor nations fight the effects of climate change and the economic crisis; insists that these funds be genuinely additional to existing aid commitments;

15.  Calls on all the Member States to commit to allotting significantly more resources to development cooperation and emergency aid under the next Financial Perspective and European Development Fund;

16.  Calls on the European Commission to use its existing instruments of cooperation with developing countries, including the ENP Action Plans, the Eastern Partnership, GSP and GSP+, further to define and implement practical steps designed to facilitate the achievement of the MDGs;

17.  Calls on all the Member States significantly to increase the amount of aid provided through budget support, particularly via MDG contracts, but insists that democracy, human rights, governance and other essential criteria be met and that there be more and better monitoring and audits;

18.  Calls on all the Member States to ensure that the EU continues to work through a wide array of existing financial instruments at global and country levels in addition to budget support, including the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, and through other relevant organisations and mechanisms, in particular civil society organisations and communities;

19.  Calls on all the Member States to continue to improve donor coordination by untying all their aid, in accordance with the Paris and Accra declarations, thereby reducing the over-fragmentation of aid budgets qui est impératif à la cohérence et au déliement de l'aide; also recognising that different Member States can offer expert knowledge in various geographical areas and development sectors;

II.  Policy coherence for development

20.  Calls on the European Commission and the Member States to ensure that primary responsibility for programming development funds and setting priorities remains within the remit of the Development Commissioner in the EU's new institutional set-up;

21.  Calls on the EU to take concrete action against poverty by adopting a coherent policy encompassing the areas of trade and development cooperation as well as its common agricultural and fisheries policies, in order to avoid direct or indirect negative impacts on developing countries’ economies;

22.  Calls on the EU to uphold the principle of food security in developing countries and to urge all players to comply with this principle during the current WTO negotiations;

23.  Believes that achieving the Millennium Development Goals requires measures to foster access to land, water and biodiversity resources and measures to foster a policy of local support for sustainable smallholding agriculture;

24.  Calls on the EU to ’development-proof’ its fisheries agreements so that they take full account of social and economic impacts on local communities, notably through long-term EU sectoral support and a mechanism whereby ship-owners cover a fair share of the costs of access for the EU fleet;

25.  Calls on the EU not to pressure poor countries, through its trade policy, into opening up vulnerable market sectors when their level of development precludes them from competing fairly on the global stage, while enhancing the pro-poor focus of the EU Aid for Trade policy;

26.  Calls on the EU to fight for a timely, development-focused conclusion to the Doha WTO round;

27.  Calls for a climate change risk assessment to be systematically incorporated into all aspects of policy planning and decision-making, including trade, agriculture and food security; demands that the result of this assessment be used to formulate clear guidelines on sustainable development cooperation policy;

28.  Stresses that there is a need for an effective global response to the problem of climate change, whereby industrialised countries shoulder their responsibility and take the lead in combating greenhouse gas effects, which will threaten the MDGs if not addressed;

29.  Calls on the EU and the Member States, which are parties to the Protocol on Strategic Environmental Assessment to the Espoo Convention, to comply fully with the Protocol's provisions when helping to develop programmes and public projects in developing countries;

30.  Is convinced that trade may be a powerful engine for economic growth, although trade alone cannot solve development problems; believes that the slow progress of the Doha Round negotiations is hampering the international trading system's contribution to the MDGs; stresses that a positive conclusion of the Doha Round could contribute to delivering an economic stimulus package at global level; takes note of the host of studies by UNCTAD and other institutions showing that extensive trade liberalisation in the LDCs has seldom translated into sustained and substantial poverty reduction, and has contributed to a decline in developing countries’ terms of trade, in particular those of African countries;

31.  Stresses the importance of efforts to facilitate the integration of developing countries into the world economy; reiterates that openness to trade and support for supply capacity are important elements in any coherent development strategy, and that trade-related technical assistance initiatives represent an additional tool for tackling poverty eradication and underdevelopment;

32.  Recalls that improving the trade capacity of developing and least-developed countries may help them to acquire the trade-related skills and infrastructure needed to implement and benefit from WTO agreements, expand their trade, take advantage of new and existing trade opportunities, implement new agreements and adapt to a changing external trading environment;

33.  Welcomes existing initiatives at EU and WTO level in the area of trade with developing countries, in particular the Everything But Arms (EBA) initiative, GSP and GSP +, as well as the principle of asymmetry and transitional periods negotiated in all existing European Partnership Agreements (EPAs), and asks the Commission to consolidate this policy strategy; points out that the GSP system provides more stability, predictability and trading opportunities for its users; notes that additional preferences are granted (through the GSP regime) to countries that have ratified and effectively implemented key international conventions on sustainable development, social rights and good governance;

34.  Calls on the Commission to enhance the development content of current WTO and bilateral FTA negotiations;

35.  Recalls that the Aid for Trade strategy is aimed at supporting poor and vulnerable countries in developing the basic economic infrastructure and tools they need to harness trade as an engine of economic growth and development; welcomes the Commission's statements that the EU has already met its target of committing EUR 2 billion to trade-related assistance (TRA) by 2010, since total support for TRA from the EU and its Member States reached EUR 2.15 billion in 2008 (EUR 1.14 billion from the Member States and EUR 1.01 billion from the EU), and notes that important results have also been achieved in respect of the wider Aid for Trade Agenda – including transport and energy, the productive sectors and trade-related adjustment; calls on the Commission, nevertheless, to present detailed information (including figures) on the budget lines used to finance trade-related assistance and Aid for Trade;

36.  Urges the Commission and the Member States to pay more attention to, and to support, the LDCs in order to increase total EU funding for Aid for Trade, which has not seen substantial increases recently; takes the view that, as regional integration becomes increasingly important in the context of the EU Aid for Trade agenda, efforts to complete the ACP regional Aid for Trade packages should be stepped up; takes the view that there is room for improvement in aid effectiveness by increasing joint analysis, joint response strategies and joint delivery of Aid for Trade measures;

37.  Takes the view that the South-South dimension is becoming a fast-growing component of world trade, may become increasingly relevant in ensuring the development of the poorest countries and should be encouraged and supported;

III.  Priority MDG targets

38.  Calls on the EU to maintain an integrated, comprehensive approach to the MDGs, recognising that all individual goals and targets are interlinked and establishing minimum requirements for the achievement of poverty eradication;

Health and education

39.  Calls on all the Member States and the Commission to allocate at least 20% of all development spending to basic health and education, to increase their contributions to the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria and increase their funding for other programmes designed to strengthen health systems, and to prioritise maternal health and efforts to combat infant mortality;

40.  Calls on developing countries to spend at least 15% of their national budgets on health care and to enhance their health care systems;

41.  Calls on the EU and developing countries to promote free access to health and education;

42.  Calls on all the Member States and the Commission to reverse the worrying decline in funding for sexual and reproductive health and rights in developing countries and to support policies on voluntary family planning, safe abortion, treatment of sexually transmitted infections and the provision of reproductive health supplies consisting of life-saving drugs and contraceptives, including condoms;

43.  Asks the Commission, the Member States and developing countries to address MDG 5 (on improving maternal health), MDG 4 (on child mortality) and MDG 6 (on HIV/AIDS, malaria and tuberculosis) in a coherent and holistic way, along with MDG 3 (on gender equality and women's empowerment);

44.  Demands that Country and Regional Strategy Papers emphasise the need for legislation combating violence and discrimination against women, encourage women's participation in the decision-making process and further highlight the need for gender-sensitive policies;

45.  Reiterates that the EU should support those developing countries which use the so-called flexibilities built into the TRIPS Agreement in order to be able to provide medicines at affordable prices under their domestic public health programmes; stresses that those agreements which guarantee access to generic medicines must not be undermined by free-trade agreements;

Vulnerable groups

46.  Calls on the EU to channel at least half its aid into the LDCs and to target the neediest groups in those countries, focusing especially on women, children and people with disabilities, and to mainstream more effectively the interests of vulnerable groups in its development strategies;

47.  Supports, in this context, the Commission's proposal to reallocate funding to the most off-track countries in the framework of the 2010 mid-term review of ACP programmes;

48.  Calls on the EU and developing countries to pay particular attention to the rights of minorities and insists that the EU insert non-negotiable human rights and non-discrimination clauses into its international agreements, inter alia with regard to discrimination based on gender, racial or ethnic origin, religion or belief, disability, age, sexual orientation and towards people living with HIV/AIDS;

Freedom from hunger

49.  Calls on the EU and partner governments to increase investment in farming and food security to levels that guarantee freedom from hunger for all, looking particularly at urgent hunger needs, small-scale farming and social protection programmes;

50.  Calls on the Commission to promote land ownership as a tool for reducing poverty and guaranteeing food security, by strengthening property rights and facilitating access to credit for farmers, small businesses and local communities;

Decent work

51.  Expresses deep concern about the current acquisition of farmland (particularly in Africa) by government-backed foreign investors, which may undermine local food security and have serious, far-reaching consequences in developing countries; urges the UN and the EU to address the adverse impact of farmland acquisition (including the expropriation of small farmers and unsustainable use of land and water), by recognising the population's right to control farmland and other vital natural resources;

52.  Calls on the Member States and the Commission to step up their efforts to combat child labour, both by supporting specific programmes and through guidelines on development policies and international trade;

53.  Calls on EU and developing country governments robustly to support the ILO's Global Jobs Pact and to apply effectively all aspects of the Decent Work Agenda;

54.  Calls on the Commission to monitor workers’ social protection, social dialogue and core labour standards in developing countries and, where necessary, to offer incentives and apply sanctions through trade agreements and all other available instruments;

IV.  Governance

55.  Calls on the World Bank and the IMF to allocate a fairer share of voting rights to under-represented nations, ensuring that borrowers and lenders have equal shares of votes in the short term, and that lending does not undermine principles of ownership, as committed to in Paris and Accra;

56.  Calls on the IMF to increase low-income countries’ levels of access to its concessional facilities, and to increase Special Drawing Rights allocations for LICs according to their needs;

57.  Intends, when codeciding the upcoming revision of the European Investment Bank's external mandate, to ensure that it fulfils its development obligations, and to gear its resources more closely to the needs of developing countries, including mutually effective pro-poor lending facilities;

58.  Calls on all the Member States and the international community to ensure that the UN remains the forum of choice for addressing issues relating to global governance and poverty issues;

59.  Calls on EU and AU authorities to invest renewed political will in the Africa-EU strategic partnership, and to commit the specific resources that will enable it to achieve its full potential;

60.  Calls on the EU and the international community to promote and support democracy, peace, the rule of law and corruption-free administration in developing countries;

61.  Calls on the EU and the international community to make an exceptional effort to support public administration in developing countries, with the specific aim of fighting corruption and creating an administrative environment that is transparent, impartial and fair, while also recognising the essential role of non-state actors and of civil society;

62.  Calls on all developing countries urgently to sign the UN Convention against Corruption, to take practical steps to implement its provisions effectively, and to establish mechanisms for monitoring progress;

63.  Recognises the need for developing countries to improve international accounting standards in order to prevent tax avoidance and tax evasion practices, thereby achieving better global fiscal governance;

64.  Calls on developing countries to involve parliaments, local government, civil society and other non-state actors at all stages of policy formulation and implementation;

65.  Calls on developing countries, especially those benefiting most from EU aid, to strengthen their good governance in all public matters, especially management of the aid received, and urges the Commission to take all necessary steps to ensure transparent and efficient aid implementation;

66.  Recognises the vital link between security and development, and notes with concern the lack of progress made in achieving peaceful solutions to frozen conflicts in the EU's neighbourhood and beyond, urging the EU to review its efforts in this area;

67.  Calls on the EU to enter into an ambitious, constructive dialogue with all traditional and emerging donors in order to ensure that the MDGs are achieved and that poverty reduction remains at the top of the global agenda;

o   o

68.  Instructs its President to forward this resolution to the Council, the Commission, the governments and parliaments of the Member States and the Secretary-General of the United Nations.

(1) OJ C 46, 24.2.2006, p. 1.
(2) Council Conclusions 9558/2007, 15 May 2007.
(3) COM(2005)0134 final.
(4) OJ L 378, 27.12.2006, p. 41.
(5) COM(2010)0159 final.
(6) Case C-155/07, European Parliament v Council of the European Union, OJ C 327, 20.12.2008, p. 2.
(7) OJ C 293 E, 2.12.2006, p. 316.
(8) OJ C 146 E, 12.6.2008, p. 232.
(9) OJ C 295 E, 4.12.2009, p. 62.
(10) OJ C 117 E, 6.5.2010, p. 15.
(11) Texts adopted, P7_TA(2010)0089.
(12) ’Aid Effectiveness Agenda: Benefits of a European Approach’, European Commission, October 2009.
(13) ’Migration and Remittance Trends 2009’, World Bank, November 2009.
(14) ’Stepping up international climate finance: A European blueprint for the Copenhagen deal’, COM(2009)0475.
(15) Swimming Against the Tide: How Developing Countries are Coping with the Global Crisis, World Bank, March 2009.
(16) Professor Guttorm Schjelderup, European Parliament hearing, 10 November 2009.
(17) Facts on Induced Abortion Worldwide, World Health Organization and Guttmacher Institute, 2007.

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