PRESS RELEASE: ACP Group calls on EU Council to honour commitment to world’s poor
Paramaribo, Suriname, 29 November 2012/ ACP: The Secretary General of the Group of African, Caribbean and Pacific States Dr Mohamed Ibn Chambas has expressed profound regret at the European Council’s proposal last week to cut development aid funding by more than 7%, compared to figures put forward by the European Commission. This includes a disproportionate 11% slash to the European Development Fund (EDF), which benefits 930 million people in ACP countries.
“While we appreciate the fiscal challenges that some of our European partners are facing, we do not believe that now is the time to be cutting back on development finance. To do so is rather short-sighted. Vulnerable communities in ACP countries are the worst hit by the global economic crisis – we should all show solidarity and responsibility with the world’s poorest during these times of need, rather than attempt to balance budgets at the cost of millions of lives,” stated the Secretary General.
“With the Council’s proposed figures, I fear we would be falling far short of achieving the internationally agreed targets for halving the number of people living in absolute poverty under the Millennium Development Goals for 2015. Our partners also still need to honour their commitments of 0.7% of GNP for development assistance. There are new global challenges of climate change, food security, universal access to energy, and ensuring peace and stability for societies in serious political upheaval, which require global collective action.”
The Secretary General welcomed the stance of European Commission President José Manuel Barroso and his Commissioner for Development Cooperation Andris Piebalgs, who proposed at least €30 billion for EDF-11 covering the period 2014-2020, following the €22 billion under EDF-10 for the period 2008-2013. However, the Council are proposing €26.9 billion under EDF-11, which amounts to a reduction in real value terms.
“The ACP Group urgently calls upon the European Council to reconsider their proposed cuts to Heading 4 of the EU budget, including the severe weakening of the European Development Fund, which has been a crucial development instrument for our countries and a symbol of the historic relationship of cooperation between Europe and the developing world.”
The Secretary General emphasised that "to let the proposed cuts stand will be a retreat by Europe from its long-standing commitment to Development Cooperation".
The ACP Group is made up of 79 member countries (with South Sudan soon to be its 80th member), 40 of which are classified as Least Developed Countries, and 36 (of total members) are Small Island Developing States. Under the Cotonou Accord, the ACP Group enjoys a privileged relationship with the European Union based around trade relations, development cooperation and political dialogue.
(Photo: ACP Secretary General Dr Mohamed Ibn Chambas)
- ACP Press