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.