Uutinen 7.12.2010

Foreign Affairs Council to discuss the future of EU development policy and Haiti

Press release 355/2010
7 December 2010

Minister for Foreign Trade and Development Paavo Väyrynen will attend the EU Foreign Affairs Council Meeting of Development Ministers to be held in Brussels on 9 December. The main topics on the agenda are the Green Paper on the future of the EU’s development policy and the situation in Haiti.

The development ministers will discuss the Green Paper issued by the Commission in November, which deals with the future of the European Union’s development policy. The European Commission has launched a public consultation process on the Green Paper; the Member States, the EU partner countries, civil society, the private sector and other actors are expected to take part. The departure point of the Green Paper is to increase the impact of the EU’s development cooperation. The underlying thinking is, for instance, that development cooperation alone is not an adequate means for reducing poverty. The Green Paper emphasizes the importance of economic growth and sustainable development. Finland supports increasing the efficiency of the EU’s development policy as well as the central position of development policy in the EU’s external relations. Sustainable development and policy coherence are also central in Minister Väyrynen’s proposal on a global strategy for EU external relations.

The ministers will discuss the progress of reconstruction in Haiti and humanitarian aid owing to the cholera epidemic. Reconstruction of Haiti is getting underway, though the cholera epidemic that claimed more than 1,300 lives has proved the vulnerability of Haitians’ living conditions. Finland’s view is that the EU and the Member States must increase their support, and that the delivery of aid should be intensified. In addition, donors’ aid programmes must be coordinated and support measures must be concentrated on the operational capability of the Haitian Government and authorities.

The Council will discuss the situation in Afghanistan on the basis of the implementation of the EU action plan drawn up in 2009 and the related review report. In the opinion of Finland, the EU should act in close cooperation with the administration of Afghanistan and other international actors, in order to ensure Afghani ownership and to secure the effectiveness of aid.

The ministers will also discuss the EU’s objectives for two international development conferences to be held next year: the Fourth United Nations Conference on the Least Developed Countries (LDC-IV) scheduled to take place in Istanbul, Turkey, in May and the Fourth High Level Forum on Aid Effectiveness scheduled to be held in Busan, Republic of Korea in November–December.

Other issues on the meeting agenda are development of the effectiveness and operational approaches of development cooperation and innovative financing mechanisms.

Additional information: Päivi Nevala, Adviser to the Minister for Foreign Trade and Development, mobile tel. +358 40 753 4375, and Counsellor Sini Paukkunen, Unit for General Development Policy and Planning of the Ministry for Foreign Affairs, tel. +358 9 1605 6272