Posted by: APO | 9 April 2008

It’s now or never for the Millenium Development Goals, European Commission told

It’s now or never for the Millenium Development Goals, European Commission told


Brussels, 9 April 2008 –
Reacting to the launch of a communication on the Millenium Development Goals by the European Commission today, ActionAid expressed its concern that the EU’s poverty targets will be missed unless urgent action is taken.


The purpose of the Commission’s package is to review efforts and to get the EU back on track towards achieving the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). At the halfway point between the setting of the goals and the 2015 deadline, ActionAid considers that the EU still has a long way to go before it can make the kind of contribution to achieving the MDGs that European and global citizens expect.


“The ambition expressed in the European Commission’s package is welcome, but there is still an urgent need for measurable and concrete targets at EU level,” said ActionAid’s EU Representative Joanna Maycock.


“Effective and adequate aid is one of the essential elements in achieving the MDGs, but to date there has been inadequate progress on aid quantity and quality,” said Jesse Griffiths, policy officer at ActionAid. “In this respect we join civil society globally in deploring the decrease in overall European ODA from 2006 to 2007 announced last Friday.”


The effectiveness of aid is the subject of one of the four communications released today. In this respect, the European Commission’s steps to make aid more predictable are welcome. However in the run-up to the aid effectiveness forum in Accra this September, it still needs to demonstrate leadership and set higher standards for EU member states and other donors. This includes setting measurable targets [untying aid] and pushing through proposed reforms to technical assistance.


“European donors should be accountable to the citizens of developing countries as to their own. They also need to become more transparent about the decisions they take which affect the lives of real people” added Jesse Griffiths.


However aid alone cannot lift people out of poverty and seal the lid on the MDGs. Europe needs to achieve internal coherence between its policies, including those on trade, agriculture and fisheries which have a direct impact on third countries. It also needs to rethink its efforts on goals that are at serious risk of failing, such as the goal on poverty and hunger.


“The current food crisis serves as a reminder of how far we are from delivering the goal on halving hunger by 2015. In Africa, hunger is actually rising. More than 40 per cent of Africans cannot even get enough food on a daily basis. If Europe is serious about the MDGs, it needs to prioritise hunger,” said Ivy Kakiiza, ActionAid’s European Campaigns Officer.


Addressing hunger is fundamental. The European Commission has a strategy called ‘Advancing African Agriculture’ which focuses on support to the commercial sector and the green revolution, but not to poor farmers. 70% of people in Africa are farmers, most of whom are women engaging in subsistence agriculture.


“We would like to know how much impetus the EC and EU Member States are willing to really put into the fight against hunger?” added Ms. Kakiiza. “If the EU’s policies and practices do not target poor farming populations, its efforts to meet the MDGs will ultimately fail.”


“People in Africa are confused about the EU’s approach. How can it support poor countries with food aid and then undermine these same efforts by providing huge subsidies to European agri-business and allowing the dumping of subsidised EU produce on fledgling African markets?” said Joanna Maycock.




Notes to Editors:


  • ActionAid is an international anti-poverty agency working in over 40 countries, taking sides with poor people to end poverty and injustice together.
  • In 2000 189 governments worldwide signed up to 8 Millenium Development Goals (MDGs) towards putting an end to poverty.
  • The package from the Commission takes stock of the EU’s activities towards achieving the MDGs.
  • ….In 2006 the European Development Consensus reaffirmed the EU’s commitment to the MDGs….
  • European ODA fell for the second consecutive year in 2007 as revealed by the OECD on April 4 2008
  • The effectiveness of aid is also a major outstanding issue, particularly relevant in 2008 in light of the High Level Forum in Accra, Ghana in September.
  • ActionAid has produced a list of ten key demands on aid effectiveness which can be found…
  • MDG One aims to halve hunger by 2015……
  • The Right to Food is
  • FAO Report (2006) on the State of Food Insecurity in the World
  • Women are particularly affected by food insecurity….

Last week the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development disclosed figures on overseas aid revealing a fall in European aid for the second consecutive year.

The number of people experiencing hunger has risen substantially from 169m to 206m since 1990.

Fall in 0.41% to 0.38% of Gross National Income


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