Video guest: Josephine Mwangi

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Monday, 18 December 2017
About 140 participants from 27 national, European and international administrations, non-governmental organisations and other actors of civil society as well as media representatives took part in the conference on public awareness and development education (DE) for North-South solidarity which took place in Brussels, May 19-20. The two-day programme comprised several plenary sessions and the following four topical workshops:
- The enlargement of the EU and the political commitments linked to awareness-raising
- Integration of Development Education in education systems
- Media and communication strategies
- Quality, impact and assessment in DE and public awareness
Mainstream topics in all working groups were Enlargement and MDGs. The issue of MDGs and how to reach them was also raised by most plenary speakers. In her intervention, Eveline Herfkens, UN Secretary-General's Executive Coordinator for the MDG Campaign, underlined that all UN material produced on this topic is available for free use for all national campaigns.
The need to raise EU public opinion awareness on global issues was repeatedly stressed. Especially in the new member states and accession countries this is of crucial importance in order to strengthen citizens' understanding of and support for development cooperation and public spending in this area. This raised awareness should in the end lead to a changing in consumer behavior and lifestyle. A very important and concrete outcome of the conference was that the EU and the member states renewed the commitment to increase ODA levels to 0.7% by 2015 and to spend at least 3% of ODA for development education and awareness raising.
Ministers from the new member states (NMS) responsible for international development cooperation have agreed to new EU collective targets for Official Development Assistance (ODA). Meeting in Brussels for the General Affairs and External Relations (GAERC) Council, the 10 new member states pledged they would strive to contribute at least 0.17 percent of Gross National Income (GNI) by 2010, rising to 0.33 in 2015. The 15 older member states accepted targets of 0.51% by 2010 and 0.7% by 2015.
Countries which have already built ODA systems, like the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Hungary and Poland, are currently spending 0.07-0.12% of GNI on ODA activities. The other NMS are further behind, allocating only 0.03-0.05% of GNI, almost all of which is their contribution to the United Nations institutions.
All NMS are expected to report small increases in ODA every year, because 4.86% of their contribution to the central EU budget is automatically counted as ODA. However, without sustained lobbying and education from civil society, NMS governments are unlikely to make the regular increases in their bilateral (direct) ODA spending that will be needed to reach the targets they accepted in Brussels on 24 May. In most NMS, ODA budgets will need to increase by at least 10% every year between now and 2015 to meet the targets!
Ministers also discussed sources of finance, aid effectiveness, debt, trade, policy coherence, and specific actions for Africa. If all 25 EU member states respect their promises, total EU aid to developing countries, including Africa, could rise from $40bn this year to $80bn in 2010.
As Ministers gathered in Brussels, the Global Call to Action Against Poverty (GCAP) coalition warned that Germany, Italy, Greece, Portugal and Hungary might undermine an agreement. The GCAP coalition is calling on developed countries to honour commitments they have made to meet the 0.7% target and set binding timetables to meet this figure.
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The PES Group (European Socialists) is organising a Conference on Fair Trade in the European Parliament building in Brussels on 22 and 23 June 2005. Around 300 participants are expected to attend the Conference. The conference aims to show how Fair trade is a successful levy for development and poverty eradication in the South and how it can contribute to redesigning the rules of the global trade agenda. Both Commissioners Mandelson (Trade) and Michel (Development) have confirmed their participation and will present their views on the role the EU has to play in promoting Fair Trade. They will be joined by Ministers from EU Member States who are supporting Fair Trade at a national level.

SERRV International is committed to an innovative plan to integrate development and alternative trade in our work with artisans and farmers.
Wednesday, 01 June 2005
At a meeting of development ministers in Brussels, this week the EU's 15 wealthiest countries agreed a target of spending 0.51% of Gross Domestic Product (GDP) on world development aid by 2010, making 2005 a key year for fighting world poverty. The declaration also stated that aid should reach the UN target of a minimum 0.7% of GDP by 2015.
By signing this deal, the member states are thus stepping up public development aid to the tune of 20 billion euros over the next five years, reinforcing Europe's role as a leading development donor and bringing EU aid from 46 billion euros in 2006 to 66 billion euros in 2010. Half of the increase in aid will go to Africa.
Such a landmark in international efforts comes after five years of a march towards the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) set at the UN Millennium Summit in 2000, the largest gathering of world leaders ever. The new aid goals will contribute directly to the key MDG of halving the numbers of those living in poverty by 2015.
Nearly half of the EU’s contribution will go to the African continent. In an ambitious strategy aimed at coping with the global challenges of the next decades, the EU proposes to back up the growth of Sub-Saharan Africa, which remains at the rear of the race for development. However, the African continent has shown its motivation and will to take charge of its own sociological, economical, political growth. Many countries have already started their transition towards democracy. Many parts of the continent have come to peace agreements accelerating the improvement of their own finances, mainly through renewed trade bonds with neighbouring countries. The emerging African Union and New Partnership for Africa’s Development (the NEPAD, a strategic framework for Africa’s renewal tackling issues such as the escalating poverty levels, underdevelopment and the continued marginalisation of Africa) have triggered a process of liberation and democratisation of Sub-Saharan political life, and the EU’s role will be to act as a motor for such initiatives in order to improve the continent’s governance and promote peace and security.

The Agriculture Council of the EU reached political agreement on a regulation that will drastically change the way in which the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) will be financed from 2007 onwards. Bringing the different existing rules together under one single regulation will considerably simplify CAP financing. The new system will reinforce and modernise management and control of CAP finances, and will strengthen budgetary discipline. It will also improve possibilities for recovering irregularly spent EU money. The new regulation creates two funds that will apply the same rules wherever possible: the European Agricultural Guarantee Fund (EAGF), and the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development (EAFRD).