EU Development Ministers meet in Dublin Castle
Mr Tom Kitt T.D., Minister of State for Development Cooperation and Human Rights, today chaired an Informal Meeting of EU Development Cooperation Ministers in Dublin Castle. Ministers were joined by Bono for a working lunch, where they discussed issues related to Africa.
Speaking after the meeting Minister Kitt said:
“We had a very useful meeting today on a number of issues of relevance to the global development debate. The EU and its Member States are the largest provider of aid worldwide. With an EU population since enlargement of 450 million people, we are now in an even stronger position to make a real difference to the lives of poor people in the developing world. To do that we have to use our aid effectively and implement coherent policies that will contribute to poverty reduction.
At the beginning of Ireland’s Presidency, we said that poverty eradication should be the central objective of the Union’s development policy. In the long run, meeting the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) will be the yardstick for our performance.”
Ministers discussed a number of issues which would help to advance those priorities, including:
• the need for greater aid effectiveness, to ensure that development cooperation is well managed and that EU aid quality continually improves. They also stressed the importance of a strong voice for development within the European Commission.
• the relationship between development and security. Ministers recognised that there can be no long term development without creating secure environments, but equally, that long term security is dependent on sound development. “The EU needs to ensure that the two policy areas are complementary, and that development cooperation and security do not have to compete for the same limited funds.”
• the appalling humanitarian situation in Darfur, Sudan. Minister Kitt, who will co-chair a donor meeting on Darfur in Geneva on 3 June, said that “the EU needs to send a strong message on the need to assure internal security and access to vital humanitarian assistance. We need to act decisively to prevent this tragedy from worsening.”
Bono joined Ministers at lunch for a discussion on debt and trade issues. Ministers agreed that developed countries need to intensify their efforts if Africa is to have a chance of reaching the Millennium Development Goals. Speaking after the lunch, Minister Kitt said: “We were fortunate to be joined by Bono as his presence added a dynamic dimension to the debate, and his engagement in international development helps to boost the profile of these issues with global audiences.”