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Opening remarks from the EU
Korea’s 11th Seoul ODA International Conference
Ladies and gentlemen,
I would like to thank the organisers of Korea’s 11th Seoul ODA International Conference for inviting me today because the European Union and our Member States remain fully committed to implementing the 2030 Agenda at home and internationally and we welcome all opportunities to supporting our partners’ efforts. For us, the 2030 Agenda is not optional – or reversible. The Sustainable Development Goals are currently mainstreamed in our internal and external policies.
We remain the largest provider of Official Development Assistance in the world. In 2016 collective EU development assistance increased for the fourth consecutive year - reaching EUR 75.5 billion. This is our highest ever level representing close to 60% of total global ODA efforts. In 2015 ODA from the EU Member States (including their multilateral contributions) to LDCs were notably above the DAC average, although we must still do better.
Today, I first want to introduce our new framework, the new European Consensus on Development, and then give some inputs for the discussion on the renewed role of ODA in this framework – both as a key instrument for poverty reduction and a catalyst to mobilise additional resources to implement the SDGs. Last, I will give a few illustrations from our current practice.
I. The new European Consensus on Development: a comprehensive framework in the line with the 2030 agenda
A very important milestone for EU development policy was the adoption in June of the new European Consensus on Development. It represents a new joint vision for development policy for the EU and its Member States and signals a new era of closer, more coordinated EU collaboration, working together with our partner countries.
Like the 2030 Agenda, the European Consensus on Development is comprehensive. It is founded on our commitment to a rules-based global order, with multilateralism as its key principle and the United Nations at its core.
It is framed around the 'five Ps' of People, Planet, Prosperity, Peace and Partnership - and it seeks to support the achievement of all 17 Sustainable Development Goals in an integrated way.
It approaches development cooperation from a much broader perspective, so that it also helps to address other challenges such as humanitarian action, security, migration and climate change.
It also highlights a range of cross cutting elements with high potential to achieve sustainable development and accelerate transformation, such as: youth; gender equality; mobility and migration; sustainable energy and climate change; investment and trade; good governance, democracy, the rule of law and human rights; innovative engagement with more advanced developing countries; and mobilising and using domestic resources.
We will continue to target our assistance to the least-developed and conflict-affected countries. Our efforts will be targeted towards eradicating poverty, reducing vulnerabilities and addressing inequalities to ensure that no one is left behind.
But the European Consensus on Development also underlines our intention to work more strongly and effectively with all our partners – including by forging new relationships. This includes countries at all stages of development.
II. The role of ODA in the European Consensus on Development: no contradiction between "traditional role" and role as catalyst
The European Consensus on Development integrates a comprehensive approach to implementation, drawing on the framework agreed in the UN's Addis Ababa Action Agenda. This means working to mobilise and make effective use of all resources, financial and non-financial, public or private, domestic or international.
ODA will be used to make a better use of other means of implementation, such as private investment, trade, policy coordination and technological cooperation. It will remain crucial for LDCs, which lack so far the capacity to raise other sources.
This requires combining aid with other resources, such as from the private sector, and with sound policies and institutions, to achieve the SDGs.
We know that, although ODA is quantitatively small for developing countries as a whole, it is a major source of finance for the poorest countries and LDCs, which lack domestic capacity to raise finance from other sources.
We also know that ODA can help leverage other means of implementation, in particular public domestic financing and private sector investment, but also science, technology and innovation.
The EU will continue to develop its innovative instruments to bring partners together and improve synergies. These include Trust Funds, budget support and blending.
For our development assistance, the development effectiveness principles reaffirmed most recently in Busan remain of central importance.
We will promote more joint working both with our Member States and other partners, to improve efficiency and effectiveness.
III. A few examples from our current practice
We are already starting to put our commitments under the new European Consensus on Development and the 2030 Agenda into practice.
As a prime example of our innovative approaches, we will shortly launch our European External Investment Plan, which aims to boost investment in sustainable development in Africa and the European Neighbourhood.
It includes financial, technical and policy support to lower the risk of investing and to increase financial flows, particularly from the private sector, to sectors and areas where it would otherwise not go.
Proposals presented last September for a new EU External Investment Plan will do just that; with just over EUR 4 billion from the EU budget we hope to generate as much as EUR 88 billion of additional investment in developing countries.
The Plan includes a new European Fund for Sustainable Development, provisions for technical support and a focus on improving the investment climate through EU policy dialogue and cooperation. It should become operational this autumn.
As another example, we are teaming up with the United Nations as part of a major initiative to eliminate all forms of violence against women and girls - to be officially launched in September in New York, during the week opening the 72nd Session of the UN General Assembly. We will make the most of our respective expertise and capacities, and engage in renewed policy dialogues with partner countries, with dedicated financial support.
Implementation of the 2030 Agenda requires as robust global monitoring and review process, which will allow us to take stock and adjust our approach as needed. We see the UN High-Level Political Forum as a critical element of this.
To be effective, all cooperation, including ODA, must vary according to the capacities and needs of the participating countries. This requires differentiated approaches and appropriate instruments, in order to reflect the diverse circumstances of partner countries.
Partnerships could encompass, and go beyond, traditional development cooperation and financial assistance, to involve political engagement, security, trade and economic diplomacy, technology and mutual learning.
In this context, we have and will be promoting policy dialogues that can promote mutual interests and identify common priorities, partnerships and principles for cooperation for the implementation of the SDGs providing a common and integrated framework for cooperation.
With Korea we have already a long standing and successful development dialogue which. The last meeting, in June 2017, was a unique opportunity for mutual exchange information on implementation of the 2030 Agenda and its SDGs and our respective development priorities, policies and instruments including and our approaches to ODA that could pave the way for further cooperation in the future.
We look forward to work in partnership with you to support achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals across the globe.
I thank you for your attention !