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Media release: "Muddying murky waters - SOLIDAR responds to the EC’s Communication on Policy Coherence for Development"
Brussels, 15 September 2009 - Responding to today’s European Commission’s Communication Policy Coherence for Development (PCD) – Establishing the policy framework for a whole-of-the-Union approach, SOLIDAR Secretary General, Conny Reuter said:
“The Communication admits that the current PCD approach is not working due to a lack of political will, but instead of laying out a strategy for how that will can be re-enforced it simply moves the debate into another direction,” he said.
By focusing on an exclusive number of priority areas, the European Commission forgets that some of its most damaging policies for development come from its trade and investment strategy, Global Europe¹, which puts a great strain on both the environment and decent work in developing countries.
Perhaps the most worrying part of the Communication is the rather well-hidden paragraph on the ODA (Overseas Development Assistance)-plus concept.
“In drawing attention to the fact that we need an “enabling and development-supporting policy and regulatory environment” does the European Commission mean that they intend to support the capacity of developing countries to enforce labour and environmental regulations, to orient their public procurement policies towards supporting domestic firms to create decent jobs, and to regulate European companies who currently hide their money in tax havens? Or do they mean that developing countries need to create a regulatory environment conducive to European business?”, Conny Reuter added.
In stating that the ODA-plus concept will provide for the tracking of financial resources distinct from ODA, which will “inform discussions about the next EU financial perspectives” we fear that the Commission is laying down foundations for further backsliding on internationally agreed commitments, including our 0.7% of GDP by 2015 target.
“With the ODA definition already under threat from recalcitrant governments, climate change and aid-for-trade, this Communication simply muddies the already murky waters. The current context of the financial crisis is leading to a crisis of development financing – what people in the developing world need is more, rather than less certainty about the EU’s aid commitments. What we need is a clear commitment from the Commission that only pure, clean aid money will count as ODA and that it will undertake all that is possible to change those policies which have a negative effect on development,” Conny Reuter concluded.