Dods EU Briefing: Post-2015 development agenda: Challenges and opportunities of a global debate

Development committee and NGOs discuss post-2015 development agenda

By Dods EU monitoring

04 Sep 2014

Please note that this does not constitute a formal record of the proceedings of the meeting. It is dependent on interpretation and acts as an unofficial summary of the debate.

The DEVE committee yesterday held a debate with invited guests on the post-2015 development agenda. Speakers representing the UN, NGOs and the business community were invited to discuss the issue with MEPs who were keen to see greater cooperation with the African Union and a more focussed approach to the next set of goals post 2015.  

Linda McAvan (S&D, UK) the new committee chair explained the background to the discussion for those that were new to it and to the committee. The UN and the world community are looking at what should replace the MDGs post-2015 and the EP needs to be involved in the debate. The committee coordinators agreed to put together an Own Initiative report before the council agrees its position. The aim for the debate today is to begin discussions on the matter, she said. The topic is something that will dominate the work of the committee for some time. Finally she asked speakers to be sensitive to new members and avoid using too much jargon in the discussion. 

H.E. Thomas Mayr-Harting, EU Ambassador to the UN was the first speaker to take the floor and by saying that much still needs to be done on the MDGs. A new initiative doesn’t diminish existing efforts, he said. He welcomed how the EU had worked at the last event in September saying that it was very challenging to speak with one voice but it did work and avoided block-building tendencies. The diversity of views among the 77 countries is interesting as it includes emerging powers and developing countries but the result was good and 17 goals were proposed along with over 170 targets (click here for full list).

On the outcome he said it was important that the three dimensions of development were captured and kept together, environment, development and social matters were kept together. However, he said some aspects that deal with governance (goal 16) need to be better represented. Work also needs to be done on gender, he said, as some are working on a conservative approach.

Prior to the summit in 2015 he insisted that the opinion of all stakeholders needs to be included but admitted that this was not always an easy argument to make.

Aside from the working group others will have important input to make including the high level panel on which Commissioner Piebalgs was a participants and the Secretary General himself will deliver a synthesis report. Kofi Annan previously played a core role here, he said. The President of the General Assembly will also play an important role and this will be the president of Uganda until the President of the Danish Parliament takes over later in 2015. The EU has offered to provide support to the PGA in the run-up to the event.

On climate change he said it was a crucial aspect but it’s important not to interfere with the UNFCC meeting in Paris in Dec 2015 which has priority on the issues. He said it was a collective endeavour and it is important to work closely with the African Union as the greatest ‘demandeur’ in sustainable development.

H.E. Ajay Kumar Bramdeo, Ambassador of the African Union to the EU then took the floor. He welcomed the fact that the post-2015 exercise is in line with the Common African Position adopted in 2014. He said that much has ben incorporated into the open working group report and the challenge will lie in the willingness to implement the actions. He said lessons should be learned from the financial crises and the absence of a regulatory framework along with weak institutions as well as a lack of political will and the desire to become wealthy by any means.

He said the issue of holding free and fair elections continues to be important and should be rewarded with an improvement in quality of life. Accountability by governments here is imperative, he said.

A continuous review of how to address instability and fighting against poverty should be pre-emptive intervention and through trade and investment rules conducive to sustainable development, he said. There needs to be a difference drawn between development agenda and wealth creation agenda.

The African Union, the UN and the EU must reach an understanding on how to intervene in different circumstances he said. The EU has been an important partner of Africa to bring about peace, stability and development and he called for this relationship to be further deepened.

On the issue of climate change and the negative impact being felt in Africa he said that all countries of Africa will require adaptation and mitigation. The EU has been important partner to Africa and can’t extricate itself from feeling impact of climate change on Africa, he said.

To conclude he called for innovative ways of financing including looking at the recovery of stolen assets and mutually beneficial partnerships for trade. The goal for Africa is to raise intra-African trade by 30 percent by 2030.

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