Launching the European Year for Development in Madrid yesterday (16 February), the EU’s foreign policy chief, Federica Mogherini, said the bloc’s development policy was neither charity or a luxury but an “investment for peace and stability” around the globe. EURACTIV Spain reports.
The aim of the European Year for Development is to r?aise awareness about the Union’s role in addressing global challenges and providing development aid (see background).
“In all crises, development plays an essential role,” Mogherini said. She mentioned ongoing conflicts like those in Syria, Ukraine or Libya, to emphasise that poor development was the main cause of many crises and conflicts.
That is why a strong and sound EU development policy was essential to help maintain the world’s stability, Mogherini said at the launch event in Spain, held by the Spanish Agency for International Development Cooperation (AECID) and Cooperación Española.
Spaniards, committed to development despite crisis
Mogherini met King Felipe VI and Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy in Madrid. She thanked Spain for being so supportive of the EU’s development policy, despite being hard-hit by the financial crisis.
According to the last Eurobarometer, Spain was ranked among the most generous countries in terms of development aid, she told the audience in Casa de América, a centre that promotes Hispanic culture.
Mogherini also outlined the EU’s external policy priorities for 2015 and beyond, when the new sustainable and universal UN development goals should be completed.
She mentioned human rights, the fight against climate change, good governance, transparency, fighting violence and women’s empowerment. All these, she said, “were not properly addressed by the current Milennium Development Goals (MDGs)”.
The beginning of a global age
Our planet, she stated, is “a better place to live”, but also a more “conflicted place to live”. All this could – if leaders don´t take action now- jeopardise the process of creating the new Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), Mogherini said, before mentioning December’s United Nations Climate Change Conference.
At the end of 2015, the international community is expected to replace the MDGs with Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and a new global agenda, the “post-2015 development agenda”. The milestones toward this goal are the 3rd Financing for Development Conference in July in Addis Ababa, the United Nations post-2015 Summit in September in New York, and finally the talks in Paris.
“2015 can be an historic year […] the start of the global age,” Mogherini said.
Since 1983, every year has been assigned a particular topic, with the aim of to raise awareness and change attitudes of the Europeans with regard to certain issues.
The theme is proposed by the Commission and adopted by the European Parliament and EU member governments. [See the list of European years here]
The European Year of Development 2015 is expected to be a key opportunity to raise awareness of development across Europe, and to show European taxpayers that every euro spent on development benefits both people living in some of the world's poorest countries, and EU citizens themselves.
Each month, the European Year of Development will focus on a different theme:
- January: “Europe in the world”
- February: “Education”
- March: “Women and Girls”
- April: "Health”
- May: “Peace and Security”
- June: “Sustainable green growth, decent jobs and businesses”
- July: "Children and youth”
- August: “Humanitarian aid”
- September: “Demography and migration”
- October: “Food security”
- November: “Sustainable development and climate action”
- December: “Human rights and governance”
- EURACTIV Germany: Mogherini: "EU-Entwicklungspolitik ist keine Almose"