Video guest: Josephine Mwangi

January 2018
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EDITO
Tuesday, 23 January 2018
Invited as a panel speaker in today’s hearing in the European Parliament on the Millennium Development Goals, Christiane Overkamp, Secretary General of CIDSE (International Cooperation for Developmentand Solidarity), underlined that despite the impressive headline figures of recent announcements by the EU and the G-8 on increasing aid and on debt relief, the EU will need to bring a broader package of measures to the table at the Millennium +5 Summit if its claims to leadership are to be credible. “If the EU is to fulfil the leadership role it has claimed for itself in the context of the UN Millennium +5 summit in September, it will need to bring to the summit a package of measures which make real progress in ALL areas key to the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals: finance and the reform of aid, trade, participation, and reform of global institutions. This will determine whether Europe can qualify as a true global partner for development,” said Ms. Overkamp in her presentation.
The European Economic and Social Committee, representing the economic and social components of organised civil society in the European Union, organised the 24th meeting of ACP-EU economic and social interest groups in Brussels, Belgium, in accordance with the mandate conferred on it by the Cotonou Agreement. Under the aegis of the ACP-EU Joint Parliamentary Assembly, this meeting brought together delegates from the economic and social interest groups of most ACP countries, members of the European Economic and Social Committee and representatives of the Economic and Social Councils of EU and ACP countries. Representatives of the ACP-EC Council of Ministers, the ACP-EU Joint Parliamentary Assembly, the European Commission, the General Secretariat of the ACP Group of States and European and international socio-professional organisations also attended.
The representatives of the ACP-EU economic and social interest groups adopted the following declaration (summary):
ACP-EU Economic and Social Interest Groups note the continued challenges to the development of ACP countries and stress the necessity to rapidly address the low levels of investment, education/vocational training and employment in ACP countries. The participants welcome the revisions to the Cotonou Agreement signed at the meeting of the ACP-EC Council of Ministers on 24 and 25 June 2005. Within this context, the delegates stress the following:

In relation to the implementation of the Cotonou Agreement by non-state actors
- The importance of institution-building or structuring of non-state actors
- The necessity for more information on the Cotonou Agreement
- The limited consultation to date
- The fundamental need to increase the capacity of non-state actors, particularly economic and social actors, through enhanced access to funding and reinforced dialogue among actors

With regard to the negotiations on the Economic Partnership Agreements
- The negotiations are welcome, under certain conditions, particularly of a social nature
- Economic and social interest groups must be regularly informed and consulted at all stages of the negotiations of the Economic Partnership Agreements
- Trade liberalisation should not be an end in itself, but must foster development, the establishment of regional markets and must also contribute to poverty eradication

On the topic of regional integration and sustainable development, the delegates stressed that priority should be assigned to the following:
- The promotion of sustainable rural development
- The opportunities of sustainable tourism
- The threats of global climate change
- The necessity for the sustainable use of natural resources
- The challenge of HIV/AIDS, malaria and tuberculosis
- The importance of education and human resource development
- The promotion of gender equality
Speech by Ben Bradshaw (UK Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Nature Conservation and Fisheries), the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs), President of the Council, before the Fisheries Committee of the European Parliament.
Some extracts of interest for the ACP countries:
The British Presidency has 3 aims :
Firstly, on fish stocks to:
- promote appropriate and effective measures to restore and maintain healthy fish stocks, especially through their long-term management; and
- protect vulnerable marine species and habitats, especially by promoting the further integration of environmental considerations into fisheries management.
Secondly, to improve decision-making under the Common Fisheries Policy with greater involvement of partners and a more regional focus, including by promoting the work of the new Regional Advisory Councils.
Thirdly, on legislation to :
- simplify fisheries legislation in ways that are consistent with environmental and international development objectives, and
- promote fair, consistent and effective enforcement particularly within the opportunities provided by the new Community Fisheries Control Agency and the Commission's communication on the simplification of the Common Fisheries Policy.
Particular importance to fisheries partnership agreements with third countries is given, which account for over half of the funding in the above proposal. These agreements are very much as a litmus test of the European Union's commitment to meeting our international objectives on sustainable development and to ensuring policy coherence towards developing countries, especially in Africa.
Poverty eradication for all developing countries in line with the UN Millennium Development Goals will be the core of the European Union development policy, according to proposals announced by the European Commission. Under plans for the bloc's new development policy, the European Union highlights the importance of the partnership with developing countries and the promotion of good governance, human rights and democracy. It also stresses the role of civil society and tackles conflict situations and failed states. The European Commission, the executive arm of the European Union (EU), sets development as a key element of the EU's external action along with the common foreign and security policy and trade policy, and explores links with these and other related policy areas such as migrations, environment and employment. The Commission says the proposals also recognise that the EU's relations with each external partner are ”unique” and require an individual ”policy mix” of aid, trade and other policies “tailored to the needs of each partnership.”
“Last month, the European Council reached an important agreement on the Commission's proposals to increase our development aid. To do more is essential, but we also need to do better. Since development is an area where competence is shared by the Union and its 25 member states, this requires a strategy based on coordination and harmonization. If we really want to make poverty history, we have to act together,” Michel said. Michel also favors a system which would allow the aid activities of several member states to be merged, with one of them taking the lead.
EU Development Commissioner Louis Michel told reporters the Commission would finalize its proposals after a meeting with the African Union in October and seek to have them approved by European governments the following month. He said the EU also needed to link its development aid more to promoting good governance, human rights and democracy. Relations with developing nations should also focus more on security, migration, trade and environmental protection, the EU said.
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Report of the Conference on Public Awareness Raising and Development Education for North-South Solidarity is now available. The importance of Development Education (DE) as a means of promoting the essential EU values of tolerance and solidarity in an increasingly global, interdependent and multicultural society, was emphasised. Most speakers insisted on the need for DE to build solid support for the increase in public expenditure on development aid -necessary if EU Member States are to achieve the Millennium Development Goal (MDGs) of halving extreme poverty by 2015.
Suggesting that 2005 could be considered the international year for development, Commissioner Louis Michel and Minister Schiltz recalled other major milestones for the EU and international development cooperation policy this year: (i) the recent publication of three communications by the European Commission (EC), addressing, among other issues, the need for EU Member States to increase their budget allocation to development co-operation - with intermediate targets to be reached by 2010 – in order for the EU to move in the direction of the stated average target of 0.7% of ODA by 2015 and 0.33% for the EU-10; (ii) the public debate on the revision of the EU development co-operation policy priorities and the subsequent reformulation of the Development Policy Statement, to take into account the MDGs; (iii) the meeting of the Council of General Affairs and External Relations, gathering Development Ministers and addressing some of those points, two days after the conference; (iv) the G-8 Summit in July, addressing the issue of poor countries’ debt cancellation. Some immediate outcomes materialised in the wake of the conference and promising initiatives were launched. Within official circles,EU Directors- General for Development Co-operation took good note of the conference recommendations at their meeting of 2-3 June 2005. The Task Force “Enlargement & Development”, coordinated by the EC, endorsed the conference recommendations at its meeting on 10 June 2005. Besides, this Task Force has proposed that discussions take place at the level of CODEV, the working group within the EU Council in charge of development issues. The issue of Development Education was introduced in the new Development Policy Statement of the EC. A group of representative stakeholders is about to be established to ensure the follow-up of the conference and possibly organise further meetings and discussions. The Chair of the EP Development Committee has offered to draft in 2006 an own initiative report on “Public Awareness and Development Education for North-South Solidarity in the European Union”. Stefano Manservisi, Director-General of the EC DG-Development concluded the conference debates by reiterating his support for the process and highlighting the recommendations, which he was prepared to implement.