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GUE/NGL Study days in Cyprus : Millennium Development Goals: We have to keep our promises to developing countries

Date

14 Oct 2010

Sections

Social Europe & Jobs

Nicosia, 13/10/10

 

The GUE/NGL Study Days morning session focused on the need for urgent implementation of the UN Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).

 

MEP Joao Ferreira (Portugal) opened the session on the MDGs, outlining each of the eight goals and the EU's role in assisting countries in realising those goals. He recalled that many policy areas are interlinked, whether in the areas of development, public aid, sectoral development, trade or agriculture. The situation of developing countries, in relation to debt, was reinforced several times, as often development aid is returned from receiving countries in payment for those debts.

 

Ms Lisa Buttenheim, the UN Secretary-General's Special Representative and Head of the United Nations Peacekeeping Force in Cyprus (UNFICYP) reminded us that we are nearly at the end of the road towards the 2015 deadline for the implementation of the MDGs. She stressed that the UN urges the full implementation of the MDGs and reinforced the UN Secretary General's statement that otherwise history will judge us. "We have to keep our promises to developing countries" she said.

 

Adding to the debate, Benedict Anthony Duke Martins, MP, Chairperson of the Portfolio Committee on Home Affairs and member of the Political Bureau of the South African Communist Party, underlined the struggle of the African people to overcome the fatal legacy of apartheid. He outlined the five primary goals of the African government for education, health, housing, economic empowerment of black people and the need to tackle crime. He mentioned the decrease in foreign aid, calling for continuous assistance in the African people's struggle.

 

MEP Willy Meyer (Spain) said it is paramount when tackling poverty and climate change, not only to manage the effects of such phenomena but to address and combat their root causes.

 

"EU Governments should contribute 0,7% of their national budgets to developing countries" said Sitaram Yechury , Member of Rajya Sabha (Upper House Indian Parliament), Leader of CPI Parliamentary Group. He called for the control of current speculation of financial markets by the EU along with the contribution of the European Parliament. He reminded listeners that USA energy consumption is twenty times larger than that of India, and called for the termination of the liberalisation in agricultural production, as it is implemented by the WTO.

 

German MEP Sabine Losing recalled that only 1% of the military budget of all countries would be enough to eradicate poverty in the "South". "We should not only try to limit the consequences of neoliberal politics but work together with progressive movements in developing countries to reach political change".

 

In the second panel, Swedish MEP Eva-Britt Svensson highlighted the gender inequality issues within the MDGs. She mentioned that out of the eight MDGs only one concentrates on the disparities between men and women, and only in relation to employment. She mentions that the health of new mothers is fundamental to development; however there is no mention of sexual and reproductive health, which is central to development, yet is excluded from the goals.

GUE/NGL PRESS CONTACT
Nicosia:
Gianfranco Battistini + 32 475 64 66 28
Brussels:
David Lundy + 32 485 50 58 12
Gay Kavanagh +32 473 84 23 20
Sonja Giese (DE) + 32 486 94 50 21
www.guengl.eu

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