The European Commission yesterday (16 July) adopted a communication proposing that all types of development aid in the post-2015 period be considered as “a whole”, with resources streamlined according to well-defined policy objectives.
The European Commission proposes to bind current major international efforts and using all their financial resources in the post-2015 period in “a new, innovative way”.
While the EU executive recently focused on “what” to put in the future development framework, it is now turning its attention on "how" to finance it, said Andris Piebalgs, the development commissioner. The "what" refers to the previous communication on a ‘Decent life for all by 2030’ (see background).
Although the emphasis of the financing communication is on developing countries, its approach can be universally applicable, the Commission says.
Political thinking recently suggests that the post-2015 United Nations’ Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) will apply universally, and not only to the world’s poorest countries. The eight MGSs adopted in 2000 have mainly applied to developing countries.
In a statement, Piebalgs calls the newest communication “another big step towards putting in place the future post-2015 framework”.
“In order to make progress in policy, we need to use all available resources and look at new, innovative and reliable ways to fund poverty eradication and achieve long term, sustainable development.”
Environment Commissioner Janez Poto?nik said the new Commission paper “binds together” the MDGs with the follow-up of the Rio+20 conference on sustainable development “into one overarching framework for post-2015”. Rio+20 was a world mega-summit held in June 2012 in Rio de Janeiro, as a 20-year follow up of a historic UN conference on sustainable development held in the same city.
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“We are completing our joint vision today by confirming that we will bring together also the financing tracks for sustainable development and poverty eradication,” Poto?nik said in a statement.
The Commission paper examines the different financial resources available – public and private, both at the domestic and international levels (from taxes to grants, private investment or philanthropy).
The Commission singles out the following “guiding principles” for post-2015 financing:
- Financing must go hand-in-hand with policy objectives. Money should go where it is most needed, but we also need to use it in an innovative an effective way to ensure the maximum results.
- All financing sources should be considered as a whole, including Official Development Assistance (ODA) for low-income countries.
- Emerging economies and upper middle income countries can contribute their fair share to assist the poorest and most fragile.
- Different policy goals need to be mutually reinforcing, so every euro spent should aim to reach several policy objectives simultaneously. For instance, better food security is essential for poverty eradication and can be achieved through better preservation of biodiversity and forests, which in turn help to combat climate change.
- Partner countries should be in the driving seat when choosing resource priorities.
The communication also calls for enhanced transparency and mutual accountability at national and global level of all finance to ensure it is used more effectively on sustainable development.
Alexandre Polack, the spokesman for Piebalgs, explained that the philosophy behind the idea of streamlining financing was to make sure countries make sufficient fiscal room to generate public resources. He said this includes for example the fight against tax evasion and transparency in the extractive industries.
Asked if the initiative was EU-related or had a worldwide scope, Polack said that this was "a world process”.
“This communication is about having an EU position into the global world position,” he said. The next step in that process, he added, will be the “special event” that will follow from the September UN meeting, which is expected to outline the post-2015 MDG framework.
The Commission issued its ‘Decent life for all by 2030’ communication in February 2013. It maps out proposed negotiating positions on the successor to the UN Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).
According to the document, the challenges of eradicating poverty and ensuring sustainability are universal and inter-related and need to be addressed together by all countries. The communication proposes a comprehensive response to the universal challenges of poverty eradication, thereby ensuring a ‘Decent life for all’ by 2030.
- 23 Sept.: High-level meeting of the General Assembly on the realisation of the Millennium Development Goals
- 25 Sept.: Special event in 2013 to follow up efforts made towards achieving the Millennium Development Goals