March 21, 2018

Keynote Speech by the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Dr Erato Kozakou-Marcoullis, on “The Post 2015 Development Architecture” at the Forum 2012 European Development Days, Brussels, October 17, 2012

Distinguished Guests,
Ladies and gentlemen,

As we are approaching the end of our European Development Days I would like to congratulate Commissioner Piebalgs and his team for a very successful event. I am honoured to address such a distinguished gathering.

Throughout the EDDs a wealth of ideas and perspectives have been expressed on important challenges which face the international development agenda.

I would like, in my turn, to share some thoughts on how Europe can strengthen its role as a leader in development cooperation in a rapidly changing world. As many speakers and participants have pointed out during the past two days, maintaining the status quo is not an option. Changes are needed. We have to avail of the opportunities which lie ahead of us and to shape the future of development cooperation.

The EU Foreign Affairs Council which met earlier this week addressed some of these issues including the future development architecture. We all agreed that achieving the MDGs and designing a post-2015 development framework should be our foremost priority.

To achieve this, I believe that we need to ask ourselves two questions, namely, how do current global shifts affect the future of international development cooperation and how can the EU strengthen its development apparatus so as to lead these changes?

Distinguished audience,

Your discussions here at the European Development Days have emphasized how different the world is today compared to the beginning of the new Millennium when the MDGs were launched.

We are witnessing major political and societal transitions in North Africa and the Middle East. The world economy is undergoing great stresses and structural changes whilst many developing countries are experiencing impressive growth rates.

We continue to face increasing challenges; fragile States, climate change, sustainable management of natural resources and other global concerns, which require our immediate attention.

It is quite disheartening, however, to see that, despite renewed commitments, existing trends in traditional development finance show that Overseas Development Aid is in decline in both absolute and relative terms.

At the same time, we are also exploring new innovative sources of financing for development. Remittances, trade and foreign direct investments are steadily growing, a trend which is expected to continue. Other financial pledges for global common goods such as climate change, environment and biodiversity are also on the rise.

Moreover, additional development actors such as civil society, the diaspora, private foundations, corporate and other forms of philanthropy are increasingly taking centre stage in our common efforts to create sustainable development. There is also increasing South-South cooperation.

Distinguished Hosts and Guests,

It is in the context of these new international realities that we must design the post-2015 development framework. The work of the United Nations High-Level Panel has started its mission and every region around the world should engage in our common endeavour.

I believe that the EU should make its mark in this process. I think that there is a growing consensus among many EU Ministers that the future architecture should continue to focus on poverty and inequality while addressing universal challenges that influence the lives of all countries and peoples.

I therefore propose that Europe’s vision should be based on three pillars:

Firstly, ‘an MDG+ pillar’ with poverty eradication at its core, backed up by a set of minimum social protection mechanisms that every citizen can expect and demand from their government.

Secondly, ’a human dignity pillar’ anchored in social equity, justice and human rights.

Thirdly, a ‘sustainability pillar’ focused on good management of natural resources.

I also believe that one of the main challenges for the post-2015 Development Framework is to connect the two ongoing processes, namely, the Millennium Development Goals and the Sustainable Development Goals, which were agreed at the RIO+20 Conference earlier this year. Europe should take the lead in bringing these two sets of goals together while making a firm commitment to eradicate poverty and foster development in the most vulnerable countries.

Dear Guests,

Europe is in a good position to be a trend-setter as we are the world’s largest donor and a staunch supporter of the MDGs both in terms of aid, as well as, duty-free and quota-free market access. However in order to ‘punch according to our weight’, I believe that we need to proceed with the following structural changes:

Firstly, strengthen the ‘MDG+policy,’ by including global public goods within the legal framework that will guide EU development policy until 2020.

Led by Commissioner Piebalgs, we have already put EU development policy on this track, earlier this year, with the adoption of our Agenda for Change. Under the Cyprus Presidency we are following up on these decisions in the context of development-related instruments of the Multi-Financial Framework 2014-2020.

Secondly, establish a comprehensive EU approach to financing poverty and inequality within a broader framework of Global Sustainable Development. We need one framework that brings together Poverty/ODA, RIO+20, Climate and Aid for Trade financing.

Thirdly, it is time to seriously consider bringing poverty eradication, sustainable development and climate issues under the same roof. A new Ministerial Council on Global Sustainable Development within the Council of the European Union would strengthen the EU and match international developments in this direction. Such a Council would effectively bring together all of the important EU capabilities and enable Europe to act internationally in unity with development policy at its core.

Dear Commissioner and Distinguished Guests,

2013 is going to be a pivotal year for EU Development Policy.

Cyprus is working very closely with our Irish and Lithuanian partners, as well as, all EU Institutions to ensure that the EU remains the world’s best development actor.

The European Union should lead global efforts for our new development architecture.

Thank you.