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European Commission - Press release

Commissioner Piebalgs welcomes Development Ministers' endorsement of the Agenda for Change

Brussels, 14 May 2012 – EU Commissioner for Development, Andris Piebalgs welcomes European Ministers for Development' conclusions on the proposals of the Commission for a new orientation of EU development policy through the Agenda for Change.

EU Commissioner Piebalgs stated: "Today's decisions will enable the Commission to move ahead in its objective of making EU aid more strategic, targeted and results-oriented. While we've made good progress in the fight against poverty over the last ten years, the world has changed, new donors have emerged, and new challenges are facing developing countries. I will now work towards the implementation of the Agenda for Change with our partner countries in respect of ownership and mutual accountability principles. The promotion of Human rights, democracy, good governance and of inclusive and sustainable growth will be the two pillars of our policy. I want EU aid to be focused on the most strategic and growth-oriented sectors, such as agriculture / food security and energy, while ensuring it is inclusive by allocating at least 20% of EU aid to social protection, health and education. It will also go to most in need countries so that we can really make a difference". He added: "I'm also very satisfied that Member States endorsed our proposal for an updated use of budget support, one of EU aid modality. We will work under a contractual approach between the EU and partner countries, setting out clear criteria and objectives to help progress towards eradication of poverty"

EU development aid targets

The Development Council also discussed EU development aid targets. Commissioner Piebalgs reminded that with €53 billion of development aid in 2011, the European Union and its 27 Member States remains the world biggest donor, providing more than half of global official aid. EU official development aid reached 0.42% of EU GNI, which exceeds the efforts of other major donors." However, efforts are still needed to reach the agreed target of 0.7% EU GNI by 2015. Development aid is both solidarity and an investment to make the world safer and more prosperous", said EU Commissioner Piebalgs.

Support to EU initiatives for Resilience in Horn of Africa and Sahel

EU ministers for Development agreed on the Commission's proposals to strengthen resilience to crisis in the Horn of Africa and Sahel. Commissioner Piebalgs commented: "I'm very happy that Ministers agreed on the Commission moving ahead on the "Supporting Horn of Africa Resilience" (SHARE) initiative. We will allocate an additional €250 million to affected countries of the Horn of Africa, id est Ethiopia, Kenya and Djibouti. The funding will support people to recover from the recent drought and strengthen the regional economy to better withstand future crisis. We've also announced additional support worth €164,5 million to increase food security in the Sahel countries. More generally, the Commission is working on a new proposal to strengthen resilience of the poorest countries to crisis".

Burma/ Myanmar

"During my visit to Burma/ Myanmar in February 2012, I announced a €150 million aid package to the country. Today, we wish to support the momentum for change. We are now intensifying engagement in line with the decision to suspend sanctions. I reminded that donor coordination is vitally important to minimise the burden on the authorities and ensure a coherent EU and donor response, calling for EU to embark into a joint programming of aid exercise. The needs are significant and we must step up our support to the key areas of health, education and livelihoods", said Commissioner Piebalgs.

For more information

IP/11/1184 – EU development policy: Commission to increase aid impact, concentrating on fewer sectors, focusing on countries most in need

IP/11/410 – Commissioner Piebalgs calls for EU to maintain its leadership on official development aid as new figures reveal it spent a record €53.8 billion in 2010

IP/12/115 – Commissioner Piebalgs to visit Burma/Myanmar to pledge new support for democratic and economic reform

IP/12/440 – Commissioner Piebalgs in Kenya to boost EU response to food insecurity in the region

IP/12/304The European Union strengthens food security and fights hunger in the Sahel region

Website of EuropeAid Development and Cooperation DG

Website of the European Commissioner for Development, Andris Piebalgs:

Contacts :

Catherine Ray (+32 2 296 99 21)

Wojtek Talko (+32 2 297 85 51)

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