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Millennium Development Goals: Will the EU meet its commitments?


06 May 2010


Social Europe & Jobs

Press information. Brussels, 04 May 2010 - European governments have promised the world’s most vulnerable people that they will meet the UN’s Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) by 2015. Will the EU meet its commitments? With 5 years to go to meet this deadline, successes are unevenly spread out and there is still much to do. However, Caritas believes that this is possible.  

In a new position paper, dated 27 April, and a recent open letter to EU Governments, Caritas Europa outlines a number of achievable recommendations for EU governments. These recommendations welcome a large amount of what was proposed in the European Commission’s Communication on MDGs that was released on 21 April 2010.  

Nevertheless, Caritas hopes to see certain elements improved upon by EU governments when the Communication will be discussed at the Foreign Affairs Council on 10-11 May and again on 14-15 June. These upcoming Foreign Affairs Council meetings come at a particularly significant time as they will shape the EU’s approach to the crucial UN Summit on MDGs on 22-24 September. 

The EU is the global leader in Official Development Aid (ODA), providing over half of the total global aid budget. It is all the more important that the EU continues to advocate for strong assistance in solidarity with the developing world. Concerning the EU’s MDG Action Plan, Caritas believes that the EU should:

Demonstrate respect and promotion of human rights, responsiveness to the actual needs of the poor and inclusiveness of the poor themselves. Caritas Europa therefore urges the Council to highlight the need to focus MDG-related actions on people and areas on needs-based criteria, before any other (geo-political or trade) considerations are taken into account 

Include concrete actions towards enhancing food security, empowering women, halting the spread of HIV & AIDS and other diseases, ensuring environmental sustainability and implementing a genuine partnership for development. Caritas Europa therefore calls on the Council to ensure that environmental sustainability is integrated in all EU policies, and that the impact of migration on achieving the MDGs is also taken into consideration

Accompany the EU MDG Action Plan with a financial strategy which includes ODA and other instruments to leverage finance for development. Caritas Europa therefore calls on Member States to establish pluri-annual action plans for their individual ODA delivery targets and to adopt binding legislation in this regard

Recognise the added-value of an active and effective civil society. Caritas Europa therefore invites the Council to introduce specific language and actions to promote social participation and enhance the effectiveness of Civil Society Organisations 

Ensure policy coherence for development (PCD) at all stages, in order to guarantee that taxpayer funded aid can have the maximum impact to reach its development objective of reducing poverty. Caritas Europa therefore underlines that solid PCD institutional mechanisms in and between the EU institutions and the Member States must be established for this purpose.

“These recommendations”, says Marius Wanders, Secretary General of Caritas Europa, “are based on Caritas’s extensive global experience helping some of the world’s most vulnerable people. For these people, the MDGs are not a matter of the EU’s credibility in keeping its commitments, but a matter of basic survival.”

To read Caritas’s open letter, its full list of recommendations and its position paper, please click on the links below.

For more information, please contact:

Blandine Bouniol

Policy Officer for International Cooperation

Tel: +32 (0)2 235 26 55