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Thursday, 22 April 2010

Belgium should set an example as current holder of the EU Presidency

Adequate and effective development aid: Belgium should set an example as current holder of the EU Presidency. At their meeting in Gleneagles, Scotland, in 2005, G8 members stated their intention to eliminate poverty and to double aid to the world’s poorest countries. Five years later, at a time when the United Nations is about to evaluate progress made in achieving its Millennium Development Goals (MDG), budgets for official development assistance (ODA) remain inadequate, and fall below the promises and commitments made previously. The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) has just published the ODA figures for member countries in 2009, and the results are rather mixed. European aid as a whole has decreased to 0.44% of gross national income (GNI) and is too low to meet the 2010 objective of 0.56% of GNI. Only five states out of twenty-three OECD member states achieved or surpassed the objective of 0.7%. In terms of percentage change from 2008, ten countries have increased their ODA/GNI ratio, including Belgium with 11.5%. Regarding Africa, which had been identified as a priority objective, it is clear that the continent will in fact receive less than half of the aid promised in 2005. With only five years to go before the deadline fixed for completing the MDGs, discussions remain over the amounts of aid and how best to deliver and organize assistance. However, the challenges of various ongoing crises (food security, climate change and financial stability) and global public goods are such that there is a good chance that ODA will remain insufficient. This is why there are regular calls for innovative financial levies, for example, by introducing a tax on financial transactions, raising additional funds to combat climate change, or tightening regulations so that transnational businesses respect social and environmental standards wherever they are operating. The National Centre for Cooperation and Development (CNCD-11.11.11) calls on Belgium, as holder of the EU Presidency in the second half of 2010, to continue its aid increase and to advocate improvements in the quantity and quality of aid at the European level. The forthcoming six-month Belgian presidency is a historic opportunity for Belgium to press the international community to introduce effective measures to ensure it can achieve its own development goals.

Source: Centre National de Coopération au Développement