12-04-13

EU Calls for New Plans Past the MDGs

The European Commission has unveiled a blueprint for global development aid and called on world leaders to replace the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) with an international aid framework based on sustainable and inclusive development tackling poverty at its roots.

While praising how the UN’s Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) had “inspired an unprecedented global movement for development,” the European Report on Development 2013 – an independent report commissioned by European states and setting out recommendations for the post-MDG aid agenda – said its replacement would need to go much further to provide help for poor nations.

Speaking at a conference in Brussels as the report was released Tuesday, European Commissioner for Development Andris Piebalgs said: “Efforts to end poverty in the post-2015 world must go hand in hand with sustainable development. It is vital that aid is used in the best way to make effective change.

“Aid alone is not sufficient. We need to look beyond just financing.”

The independent report was prepared by the Overseas Development Institute (ODI), German Development Institute/Deutsches Institut für Entwicklungspolitik (DIE) and the European Centre for Development Policy Management (ECDPM). The European Commission (EC) stresses that it is not a reflection of any policy it may have on post-2015 aid and is designed to add to current debate on global development aid.

Pedro Martins of ODI told IPS: “What the report is trying to do is to look at some of the things that are not being so widely talked about – sustainability, social inclusion, inequality – in the global development debate and give a voice on those issues. We don’t think it is the final answer, just a contribution to thinking.”

Piebalgs said though that the report “complemented and supported” the EC’s aid work.

The report identified a number of key failings with the MDGs which its authors say must be fixed in any future global aid programme.

The MDGs mask inequalities and omit some issues of key importance to development, including the need for productive employment, issues related to climate change, governance, migration, conflict, security and disability, according to the report.

It also criticised rich countries for not fully honouring MDG commitments and said that there was often a mismatch between national policy needs and MDG targets which meant that some aid was essentially squandered.

Third sector groups monitoring development aid and its effective use have previously been critical of the fact that in a bid to meet targets or specific aims projects have been undertaken which, while well-intentioned, have been poorly thought through and resulted in ‘white elephants’ or been virtually useless to the people who they are aimed at.

But its authors stated that, crucially, the biggest failure was that the international community had not reached an agreement on key issues such as climate change and trade, nor had it managed to create a stable and transparent international financial system.

Since the UN set up a High Level Panel (HLP) to draw up a successor to the MDGs, independent development aid groups and representatives of some of the world’s poorest countries have said that these issues are arguably the chief barriers to eradicating extreme poverty.

There is concern that states in Africa – one of the world’s richest continents in terms of natural resources, but its least developed – for example, are losing precious revenues as corporations manipulate tax regimes and use offshore financial havens as well as taking advantage of unfair royalty agreements on commodities to pay little or nothing in taxes and fees to governments.

Meanwhile, some of the world’s poorest and most underdeveloped nations continue to be blighted by environmental disasters robbing them of essential crops and foodstuffs and exacerbating existing problems.

Dr Shamshad Akhtar, UN Assistant Secretary-General for Economic Development, speaking at the report’s launch, said: “The economic course adopted by some countries which has allowed them to become some of the most developed in the world has also led them to being some of the highest greenhouse gas emitters in the world as well.

“The economic development of some countries is indeed on a collision course with the need to protect the environment and climate in a sustainable way.”

The ERD clearly states that richer countries, such as those in the EU, need to extend collective action in all areas important to development, including drawing up international financial regulation, beneficial agreements in trade, helping deal with problems connected with migration, including improving conditions for economic migrants, as well as climate change.

They also say there is a need for a new understanding of poverty to address issues of relative poverty incorporating aspects of social inclusion and inequality.

By doing this, the report’s authors argue, global aid can grow to include a wider range of instruments than simply official development assistance – the main tool of the MDGs – and encourage the foundation of a new approach to development assistance.

However, Jan Vandemoortele, a co-architect of the MDGs and now an independent author and lecturer, warned that while it was quite right to look at including issues such as climate change, social inclusion, new definitions of poverty and others, it would be impossible to produce a global aid framework to satisfy everyone.

“It’s not possible to have a concise, global aid framework that is also completely comprehensive and that gives a clear list of targets while at the same time covering all the complexities of development,” he told IPS.

 
 

Source : IPS

 

17:24 Gepost door Martina Roels | Permalink | Commentaren (0) |  Facebook |

Honduras: Rio Blanco communities take action to defend rivers, territory, and life

At 5am on the first of April, the indigenous communities of Rio Blanco, Honduras, with coordination of COPINH (Consejo Cívico de Organizaciones Populares e Indígenas de Honduras), gathered on the main access road leading to the proposed "Agua Zarca" hydroelectric dam, blocking access to the construction that has already begun. On the second of April they issued an ultimatum to the company, demanding the immediate removal of construction equipment and permanent abandonment of the project.

 

The communities of Rio Blanco, as well as many communities down stream of the river Qualcarque, were not adequately consulted nor allowed to participate in the process leading to the project, as is international law. Only the mayor of the municipality and some well-compensated individuals of lesser affected communities ratified the project. The right of indigenous peoples to determine their own process of development is guaranteed by ILO convention 169. The construction and completion of this dam will cause widespread environmental destruction, flooding inhabited and utilized areas, restricting the access of water to many thousands of people in Rio Blanco and downstream, cause the degradation of pristine natural areas, produce huge quantities of greenhouse gases through the decomposition of submerged biomass, and cause water and land contamination as a result of the construction. Simply put, this dam is a death sentence to the indigenous communities that have lived here for generations.

 

This type of so called "green development" has been greatly accelerated after the 09' coup, where ex-president Zelaya was disposed by the military and elite classes largely as a result of his proposed social and land reforms that favored landless and marginalized communities. Since the coup, the flood gates have opened to transnational and neo-liberal exploitation of natural resources (there have been around 360 development concessions, 30% of which are on indigenous lands). Within this neo-liberal framework, dam projects secure a dual purpose. SIEPAC (Central American Electrical Interconnection System)--part of the Mesoamerica Project (previously called Plan Pueblo-Panama)--connects the electrical grids of all Mesoamerica allowing cheap energy to be transported to the energy hungry USA. In addition, dams are necessary to redirect the enormous quantity of water needed for mining operations. For these reasons resistance to the Agua Zarca hydroelectric dam (and dam projects in general) is extremely important because they open the door to exponentially worse environmental degradation and exploitation of indigenous cultures.

 

The amount of danger the communities of Rio Blanco face can not be understated. For example, the land reclamation action 3 years ago in Bajo Aguan has seen the murder of over 100 participants and counting. International solidarity plays an extremely important role in defending the human rights of those in defense of mother earth and indigenous culture. In addition to any form of solidarity action imaginable, the communities of Rio Blanco and COPINH are asking for email and twitter denouncements addressed to President Pepe "Lobo" (Twitter, facebook), Presedente de congreso national, minstro de serna and (INA) National Agocia Intitute.

 

source : info@intercontinentalcry.org

 

 

 

 

 

17:13 Gepost door Martina Roels | Permalink | Commentaren (0) |  Facebook |