Ulla Tørnæs’ tale til Development Cooperation: Statement at the high level dialogue of the general assembly on financing for development
Mr. President, Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen, Let me start by associating myself with the statement of the Minister for Development Cooperation and Humanitarian Affairs, Jean-Louis Schiltz, on behalf of the European Union.
Intro Three years ago in Monterrey, a compact was forged between rich and poor countries in support of the objectives contained in the Millennium Declaration.
Many countries announced increased aid contributions, and many deserve credit for honouring the commitments made.
I hope that the spirit from Monterrey will prevail at today’s meeting, at the G8 Summit in Gleneagles, and at the UN Summit this September.
The case for more aid remains valid – not least in Africa.
The figures speak for themselves. Four out of ten Africans do not have enough to eat.
Only six out of ten African girls attend school. 28 million people in Sub-Saharan Africa are infected with HIV/AIDS. One million African children will die from malaria this year alone.
It is a disgrace – a scar on our conscience – that we continue to allow such human suffering.
ODA I am proud to stand in front of you representing one of only five countries honouring the international commitment to provide zero point seven pct. of GDP as Official Development Assistance. Let my key message today be an encouragement to all rich countries to do the same.
I am also proud to be a member country of the European Union.
At the EU summit less than two weeks ago, European heads of government agreed on a new, ambitious EU target for development assistance. The agreed timetable includes an ODA target of 0,56 % by 2010, leading to 0,7 in 2015.
I look forward to welcoming my EU-colleagues in the group of “Point Seventy”. And I hope that more countries will be joining us soon.
Reporting on the Millennium Challenge The commitments we made in Monterrey are closely linked to the Millennium Development Goals.
The MDGs represent the most ambitious development agenda ever established. Developing countries have pledged to ensure that national poverty reduction strategies are designed in accordance with the MDGs. And they are almost all reporting on their accomplishments on a regular basis.
We, the donor countries, are also committed by the MDGs.
Goal 8 aims to ensure increased and better aid, free trade, and access to modern technology. In 2003, Denmark as the first donor country issued a formal report on our efforts to meet these requirements.
I am pleased to submit today our third Goal 8 report. It is my hope it will serve as an inspiration for others.
Domestic resources and economic growth – national ownership A key achievement in Monterrey was the establishment of a partnership based on mutual commitments.
We agreed that in order to fully utilise the increased resource transfers, developing countries would take responsibility for their own development.
By strengthening governance, combating corruption, redirecting government revenues, increasing domestic savings, and by furthering private sector development and entrepreneurship.
No matter how much aid is put on the table, kick-starting sustainable development processes in poor countries will only be possible, if more emphasis is put on pro-poor economic growth through private sector development.
This is particularly valid for Sub-Saharan Africa. Reports from the World Bank – as well as many other analyses – have indicated that economic growth rates of at least 7 per cent will be necessary in order to reach the target of halving the number of absolutely poor people, the MDG number one.
Consequently, two of my key priorities as Danish Minister for Development Assistance are:
First, to support the creation of enabling environments for private sector development in Danish partner countries – thereby strengthening economic growth.
And second, to assist poor countries integrate more fully into the world economy – thereby maximising the benefits of globalisation.
To this end, within the next months, I will launch both an ‘Action Plan for Business, Growth and Development’ – as well as a Strategy for “Trade, Growth and Development”.
Trade – Doha There is no doubt that an open and balanced free trade regime is a precondition for growth and poverty reduction.
One of the currently most popular mantras is that the on-going Doha Trade negotiation must be a “Development Round”.
But what is behind this buzzword? What will it take to extract a real development friendly outcome of Doha?
In my view, three elements will be crucial: We all need to grant immediate duty-free and quota free access for all exports from the poorest countries to our markets.
We all need to stop insisting on reciprocity and make Doha a ‘Round for Free’ for the poorest countries. And we all need to ensure adequate attention to trade: developing countries must integrate trade aspects in their national poverty reduction strategies, and donors must provide the necessary trade related assistance.
Conclusion – In conclusion, my three main points today have been centered on the triangular relationship of aid, growth and trade – all integral elements of Danish development policy.
So let me end where I started: insisting on the case for more aid, particularly for Africa.
I welcome the many visionary proposals for innovative sources of finance.
And I hope that this High-level Dialogue will result in agreement on some of the proposals.
But I feel compelled to warn against the possible divergence of attention. We must all agree – rich and poor countries alike – that innovative sources of development finance should be additional.
They must not be a guise to mask a lack of political will to honour the longstanding international commitment of providing sufficient amounts of ODA.
Let’s make the global partnership – MDG number eight that we reaffirmed both in Monterrey and in Johannesburg – become a reality.
Thank you, Mr. President