Sumario: 16 April 2008, New York - Statement by by H.E. Fernando M. Valenzuela, Head of the Delegation of the European Commission to the United Nations; Preparation for the Follow-up International Conference on Financing for Development to Review the Implementation of the Monterrey Consensus; Informal review session of the General Assembly on Chapter IV of the Monterrey Consensus: "Increasing international financial and technical cooperation for development"
I would first like to thank you for organizing this series of most interesting and useful sessions in preparation for the Doha Conference on Financing for Development. We had the privilege yesterday to listen to a prestigious panel, whose contribution to the reflection on "Increasing international financial and technical cooperation for development" was most valuable.
The European Commission would also like to contribute to this crucial debate. Our statement comes in complement to that of Slovenia on behalf of the European Union. Our aim is to inform participants about the policy document adopted by the Commission on April 9 and entitled "The EU - a global partner for development: Speeding up progress towards the Millennium Development Goals".
We have all been disappointed by the latest ODA figures. The EU's collective aid has also decreased in 2007, although several EU Member States have continued to substantially increase their aid volumes. It is the European Commission's view that 2008 will present the EU with a credibility test regarding its ODA commitments. The Commission has therefore submitted to EU Member States a series of proposals that aim to put the EU back on tracks.
I would briefly like to summarize these proposals:
First, regarding ODA, we ask EU Member States to reconfirm their 2005 commitments. In addition, we propose that EU Member States establish multi-annual calendars for the period 2010-2015 regarding the implementation of their commitments. This would improve aid predictability for developing countries.
Second, many donors focus on the same countries and the same sectors. As a result - and this was mentioned yesterday - some developing countries are donor orphans, whilst others receive aid that it is too concentrated on few sectors. This is why the Commission had proposed a Code of Conduct on the Division of Labour which was adopted in May 2007 by EU Member States. It has already produced good results and its use should now be generalized.
Third, it is no longer possible to ask developing countries to manage hundreds of projects in parallel - the resulting strain on their capacity was also emphasized yesterday. Budget support is a modern concept based on the principles of ownership and governance. It allows to move from paternalistic aid to constructive aid. Some 47% of the 10th European Development Fund will take the form of budget support.
Fourth, most "internal" European policies have a direct impact on the development policy. Take for instance climate change: developing countries will suffer most even though their responsibility is smaller. This calls for three types of action: first, to prevent the negative effects of internal policies; second, to correct unavoidable negative effects, for instance of the agriculture or fisheries policies; and third, to develop synergies, for instance between development and the research, health and environment policies.
Fifth, economic growth is the most powerful weapon against poverty. The European aid for trade aims to give developing countries the means to deepen their regional integration, thereby facilitating their insertion into the global economy.
To summarize, what the European Commission is proposing is an ambitious collective EU vision for development based on the principles of solidarity, efficiency and coherence.
I thank you for your attention