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Brussels, 14 November 2008

The Commission launches a development appeal to the G20

On the eve of the G20 summit in Washington, the European Commission is launching an appeal for development to be given a place in the new "Bretton Woods II" architecture.

In the run-up to the European Development Days (EDD) to be held in Strasbourg (France) at the same time as the G20 summit, Louis Michel, European Commissioner for development and humanitarian aid, said: "Poverty is the most urgent crisis facing the world. The "Bretton Woods II" summit in Washington offers a crucial opportunity to integrate the development dimension into the new international financial architecture. The time has come for the financial system to play its part fully and help lift millions of people out of poverty. The three days of discussion at the EDD in Strasbourg will yield many valuable proposals. From 15 to 17 November Europe will be listening to leading figures from the South, and the G20 must also make it one of its central priorities to address poverty."

Several opinion pieces published today in leading newspapers such as the International Herald Tribune, the Financial Times and Le Monde draw attention to the link between Washington and development.

During the European Development Days the European Commission and the Presidency of the Union will collect the opinions of State and civil society representatives from the northern and southern hemispheres and pass them on to the G20 so that these voices may be heard.

The twenty-first century needs consensus and the Commission hopes to bring about a pro-development consensus at the level of the G20 and beyond.

The background:

Following the EDD events in 2006 (on governance) and 2007 (on climate change) the EDDs have become a regular high-level event on the European and international calendar. Every year since 2006 they have brought together around 3000 participants from all continents, representing some 100 development organisations.

A natural platform for discussing the major issues in development cooperation and launching new initiatives, the event gives everyone a say: public administrations, parliaments, local authorities, civil society, international organisations, academics, development agencies, the private sector and the media.

The EDDs are not just key institutional gatherings - they also aim to raise public awareness of development cooperation issues. To this end, a number of events will be organised for the general public, including exhibitions, festivals, concerts, workshops and fairs.

The EU is the leading donor of development aid, accounting for 56% of the worldwide total, with a contribution of EUR 46 billion in 2007. This will rise to EUR 66 billion in 2010 and EUR 90 billion in 2015. The European Union is also the developing countries' main trading partner.

At the informal European Council of 7 November 2008 the European Union adopted a number of specific principles and guidelines for the G20 summit, for example (point 6):

"At the Washington summit the opportunity must be taken to integrate this reform of the international financial system into the full range of challenges facing us in the twenty-first century, challenges which we are determined to meet: food safety, combating poverty and climate change and promoting free trade by rapidly completing the Doha round."

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