Press Release 233/2012
12 October 2012
Minister for International Development Heidi Hautala will attend the EU Foreign Affairs Council Meeting of Development Ministers in Luxembourg on 15 October. The topics to be discussed at the meeting include global development goals after 2015, the EU’s support for transition societies as well as the continuum of humanitarian assistance and development cooperation in areas prone to natural and man-made disasters.
With regard to the post-2015 development goals, Finland emphasises clarity, definability and measurability, as well as the importance of developing countries’ own views. It is already clear that the UN’s Millennium Development Goals will not be achieved in full by the deadline in 2015. Therefore, the reduction of poverty will remain a key challenge.
As to societies in transition, the issue involves the EU’s possibilities to support the internal change processes underway in these countries. Here Finland stresses the strengthening of equality in society and the focusing of support on women, young people and vulnerable groups. The initiative is linked with the social movements in North African and Middle East countries, in result of which the EU has revised its neighbourhood policy.
The ministers will also discuss the continuum between humanitarian assistance and development cooperation in strengthening the resilience of partner countries. Resilience refers to the ability of an individual, economy, community, country or region to withstand, adapt or cope quickly in crisis situations, which may be caused by drought, conflict or natural disasters. Finland considers it important that cooperation between the various forms of activity is close so that, alongside urgent humanitarian needs, it is possible to delve into the causes of problems and to reduce the vulnerability of societies.
At their meeting the ministers will also adopt conclusions that deal with the role of civil society in development cooperation, as well as social protection. The conclusions dealing with civil society emphasise the importance of civil society organisations from both the EU and partner countries: these organisations are seen as strategic actors who should participate in decision-making and as forces able to convey messages for example about the situation of different population groups. The conclusions on social protection, in turn, pertain to social systems that support the position of the most vulnerable groups, the poor and the marginalised. These are often the most effective means for addressing internal inequalities in countries.
From Luxembourg, Development Minister Hautala will travel to Brussels, where she will participate in the European Development Days, arranged each year by the European Commission. The theme for the event this year is “Sustainable and Inclusive Growth for Human Development”. Minister Hautala will participate in two debates, one of which deals with innovative women’s entrepreneurship in the Middle East and North African Region and the other the position of the working poor. The European Development Days is attended by Ministers from EU countries and partner countries, influential figures in international development policy, and representatives from a broad spectrum of civil society organisations.
Additional information: Milma Kettunen, Press Attaché to the Minister for International Development, mobile tel. +358 40 522 9869, and First Secretary Katja Ahlfors, Unit for General Development Policy and Planning, tel. +358 9 1605 6272