DEVE (Development) policy paper for development and humanitarian aid priorities 2014-2019

S&D as a group has been at the forefront of the global fight against poverty, discrimination and inequality. We’ve fought hard to ensure adequate funding has been maintained for development in spite of economic difficulties and political resistance by some groups. Despite achievements, a lot more needs to be done. Poverty eradication remains the biggest global challenge, and it’s often intertwined with people’s lack of political power and vulnerability to environmental and man-made crises. Increased efforts are needed to tackle growing income disparities and climate change. To achieve genuine results, Policy Coherence for Development (PCD) is essential as development  values  are  to  be  implemented  horizontally  across  both  external  and  internal European policies.

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INTRODUCTION

S&D as a group has been at the forefront of the global fight against poverty, discrimination and inequality. We’ve fought hard to ensure adequate funding has been maintained for development in spite of economic difficulties and political resistance by some groups. Despite achievements, a lot more needs to be done. Poverty eradication remains the biggest global challenge, and it’s often intertwined with people’s lack of political power and vulnerability to environmental and man-made crises. Increased efforts are needed to tackle growing income disparities and climate change. To achieve genuine results, Policy Coherence for Development (PCD) is essential as development  values  are  to  be  implemented  horizontally  across  both  external  and  internal European policies.

The   upcoming   legislature 2014-2019   is   especially significant.  The   European Year   of Development 2015 is a possibility to raise awareness and build legitimacy among EU citizens for development cooperation. It coincides with the expiry date of the MDGs and the formulation of new global sustainable development targets. The framework of the EU-ACP cooperation is to be redesigned as the Cotonou agreement is coming to a close in 2020. The first-ever World Humanitarian Aid Summit scheduled for 2016 and the ongoing consultation process bring together different stakeholders in order to improve global response to future humanitarian needs. Overarching principles are to be incorporated in these future models, and with the chair of Development Committee and also the Commissioner for International Cooperation and Development as well as the HR/VP as the leader of EU’s external policies coming from our political family, we have a strong role to play in ensuring that the EU speaks with one strong voice in the coming years, for our values and for all people.

 

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1 FIGHTING INEQUALITY

The world has seen significant progress regarding poverty reduction but at the same time inequalities between and within countries have increased. Fighting inequalities must be a key priority in the new framework, alongside poverty eradication and sustainable development, as a matter of social justice and sustaining long-term economic growth. Targeted support for the most vulnerable, building social protection systems, providing universal access to health care and education are ways in which development policies can contribute to more inclusive economic growth - this is why we will continue to advocate and monitor that 20% of EU funding goes to basic social services. Fighting inequality has implications not just for development, it’s also the most effective way to improve global security and to tackle the root causes of immigration. Tax evasion and tax avoidance are both a cause and a symptom of global inequality on which the group has taken a zero tolerance approach. From the development perspective it is not just a question of increasing revenues, but also an issue of justice, good governance and human rights. Supporting governments in setting up sustainable tax justice systems and ensuring transparency of the activities of EU companies in developing countries are key.

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2 HUMAN RIGHTS BASED APPROACH

The fight against all forms of discrimination and promoting human rights has to be a cross- cutting ideology guiding all EU policies. As outlined in EU Action Plan on Gender Equality 2010-2015, also to be reviewed in the following year, women’s rights need to be at the centre of the EU’s development policy as they are to be seen as a crucial aspect of poverty reduction and sustainable development. Elimination of all forms of violence and discrimination against women, guaranteeing sexual and reproductive health and rights for all, and ensuring equal access to health and education should be at the forefront of our efforts. We also need to keep expressing clearly pronounced support for LGBTI rights. Respect for human rights in developing countries has to start at home as tighter regulation is needed for multilateral businesses for improved corporate responsibility in terms of human rights to tackle problems devastating local communities such as land grabbing and appalling working conditions. Promoting good governance through technical assistance and support for democratic processes is crucial for overall development, and can be contributed to by improving human rights conditionality mechanisms in EU’s agreements. Clauses already exist but are lacking coherent means of implementation.

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3 FINANCING DEVELOPMENT

Domestic resources are the main source of development financing. In order to support the build- up of a stable tax base, strong measures to fight tax evasion, tax avoidance and corruption are needed; as well as measures making international corporations more accountable to countries they operate in. Vast natural resources need to be turned from a curse to a source of national wealth by incorporating strict transparency requirements for extractive industries into bilateral agreements, and  by  improving cooperation between countries,  financial institutions and the private sector, which needs to be carefully regulated. New forms of financing development are to be encouraged, such as FTT with gathered funds earmarked for development. Combining public and private capital through blending mechanisms can be efficient, but needs to be thoroughly analysed in terms of development impacts, and is to be treated with caution to ensure accountability and transparency. The flow of external aid has to be predictable and sustainable in order to be effective. This includes renewed commitment and fulfilment of the 0,7% target as well as improving aid effectiveness by targeting money where it can have the greatest impact in terms of poverty reduction. A balance needs to be reached between increased scrutiny of aid in order to make aid transparent, eliminate corruption and ensuring donated funds are having a concrete impact, and the need to keep administrative costs and burden on the ground as light as possible for civil society.

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4 ENGAGING CIVIL SOCIETY

Poverty is not just a matter of lack of income, but as an experience is strongly related to feelings of powerlessness and voicelessness, vulnerability and fear. Empowerment of people is essential for building good democratic governance in which civil society has the ability to function as a check mechanism for state power ensuring transparency of the use of resources whether national or external. We collaborate with NGOs, trade unions and UN agencies, and support cooperation between civil societies globally to share information and exchange best practices. Civil society is crucial for building social resilience enabling communities to cope with hardships and adapt to future challenges.

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5 SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT

Alongside societal and economical aspects of development, sustainability requires respect for the ecological boundaries. Environmental sustainability calls for awareness of the limits of natural resources, preservation of biodiversity and fighting deforestation, pollution and climate change. To   achieve   this,   we   need   to   encourage   international  environmental  cooperation,   new technological  innovations  and  provide  incentives  for  governments  taking  steps  towards progressive environmental policies. We need to make sure that the global community equally shares the burden caused by climate change. In the long run, commitment to sustainability is the best and only way to tackle the growing number of natural crises that are devastating local communities, and forcing them to abandon their land, especially in the most vulnerable poverty- stricken areas.

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6 HUMANITARIAN AID

The world is facing an increasing number of simultaneous natural and man-made crises on a scale the global community has been unable to predict, such as current humanitarian disasters caused by Isis and Ebola. S&D has been calling for the Council Regulation 1257/96 on humanitarian aid dating back to 1996 to be renewed in order to better reflect today’s challenges. Investments in disaster resilience of communities, scaling up the EU’s preparedness to provide aid, and better coordination among different aid providers are necessary steps towards efficient humanitarian crisis management. Increased attention has to be paid to the safety of aid workers, best guarantee of which is to maintain humanitarian aid needs-based, impartial and independent; values sometimes blurred in the eyes of the aid recipients in complex situations. Ensuring effective linkage between humanitarian aid and development cooperation is essential for ensuring people suffering especially from long-term political conflicts gain sufficient support in order to regain ownership of their future.