2015 - The European Year for Development

2015 – The European Year for Development

Julie is supporting 2015 as the European Year for Development, showing her commitment to tackle poverty, inequality and climate change at home and abroad by helping Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to be met.


‘Climate change and global poverty may not be as fashionable as they once were - but they matter more than ever’ – Ed Miliband (16 January 2015)

Ed Miliband helped launch action/2015 in January with a commitment that the next Labour government will seek to raise global ambitions for combating extreme poverty, inequality and climate change.

Speaking to an audience of young people at Queen’s Park Community School, London, he declared that 2015 is the biggest year for global action in half a century with a series of summits and conferences that can shape our future.

These include the New York summit in September to renew the Millennium Development Goals on tackling poverty and inequality – and the Climate Change conference in December where, at last, there is a chance to achieve a binding agreement on the greatest threat to our planet.

Mr Miliband acknowledged that these great causes may not be as fashionable as they were a few years back but, emphasising that they go to the heart of his beliefs, he said they are more important than ever.

He will commit the next Labour government to use these talks to fighting for:

·         An end to extreme global poverty (people living on $1.25 a day) by 2030

·         Tackling inequality must remain at the heart of the post-2015 development agenda, with a focus on securing equal access to healthcare and protecting the rights of women, children and workers.

·         A separate development goal on climate change and a binding international agreement on climate change leading to zero net carbon emissions by 2050 with the UK leading the way by decarbonising electricity supply by 2030

Linda McAvan, MEP said ‘2015 is the European Year for Development, and provides an opportunity to show our commitment to tackle poverty, inequality and climate change at home and abroad. World leaders will gather for two vital summits later this year to address these urgent challenges. In September in New York, a new global development framework will be agreed as the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) reach their target year. And then in Paris in December leaders will aim to reach a global agreement on reducing greenhouse gas emissions to combat climate change. In the European Parliament, I will push for this to be given more prominence as Chair of the Development committee, and seek to cooperate with a range of NGOs.

Facts and figures about the MDGs and the SDGs

The Millennium Development Goals were set at a UN summit in 2000, and aimed to guide the international community’s development policy between 2000 and 2015.

The MDGs have achieved a lot to eradicate extreme poverty and provide basic services.

Some examples are:

  1. Extreme poverty has been cut in half (measured as those living on less than $1.25 a day) – 700 million people have been lifted out of extreme poverty
  2. Access to an improved drinking water source became a reality for 2.3 billion people
  3. Malaria treatment saved the lives of 3 million young children between 2000 and 2012

But there is unfinished business. Some examples are:

  1. About one in five people in developing countries live on less than $1.25 a day
  2. 58 million children were out of school in 2012
  3. 748 million people were still relying on unsafe drinking water sources

Progress on many of the Goals (including on extreme poverty) is still slow in sub-Saharan Africa in particular. (The only goal clearly achieved in sub-Saharan Africa is the one on HIV/AIDS - to halt and reverse the spread. The rate of new infections has been cut in half.)

To add to these challenges, by the end of 2013, a record high of 51 million people were forcibly displaced due to persecution, conflict and human rights violations. Developing countries, many of them poverty stricken, continue to shoulder the largest burden (currently 86% of refugees).

The draft Sustainable Development Goals seek to build on this progress with targets to be achieved by 2030. Some of the key draft goals are:

- Eradicate extreme poverty (measured as those living on less than $1.25 a day)

- Eradicate extreme hunger

- Ensure all children complete primary schooling and all have access to secondary education

- Prevent and eliminate all forms of violence against girls and women

- End child mortality of those under five

- Reduce maternal mortality by at least two thirds on the current level

- End the epidemics of AIDS, tuberculosis, malaria and other diseases

- Provide access to safe drinking water and sanitation for all

- Take urgent action to combat climate change and its impacts (to complement the overall climate negotiations in Paris), and manage natural resources sustainably

- Reduce inequality within and among countries

- Ensure good governance, justice and the rule of law and peaceful societies

The UN Secretary General has proposed to group the goals into six essential elements to facilitate the negotiations taking place between now and September:

1) Dignity - ending poverty and fighting inequalities

2) People - ensuring healthy lives, knowledge, and the inclusion of women and children

3) Prosperity - growing a strong, inclusive, and transformative economy

4) Planet - protecting our ecosystems for all societies and our children

5) Justice - promoting safe and peaceful societies, and strong institutions

6) Partnership - catalysing global solidarity for sustainable development

Over the coming months, different countries will establish their position to take into the negotiations. The intergovernmental negotiations themselves are expected to take place in June and July, and the goals will be adopted at a UN summit on 25-27 September 2015 in New York, as a high-level plenary meeting of the UN General Assembly

The EU is seeking to coordinate the position of European governments in these negotiations to ensure consistency and a strong and ambitious voice.

What are the aims of the European Year for Development?

The European Year for Development gives us an opportunity to raise awareness and instigate a public debate about development issues, what has been achieved and what more needs to be done.

We want to show firstly that development policy works. The Millennium Development Goals have helped ensure extreme poverty has been cut in half. Millions have been lifted out of poverty, millions more children have gone to school, been protected from malaria and over 2 billion people have been given access to clean water and sanitation.

But unless upcoming global talks in 2015 are successful, and matched by spending commitments and the right policies, we won’t achieve our objective of eradicating extreme poverty by 2030 and progress could be lost. The year provides an opportunity for the EU and European governments to play a leading role in these talks along with international partners. It must be a European year of action.

Why is 2015 an important year for international development?

2015 is the biggest year for global action in half a century with a series of summits and conferences that can shape our future.

In September in New York, world leaders will agree the new Sustainable Development Goals. And in Paris in December leaders will come together again to seek a deal on combatting climate change

What are we calling for?

Labour is fighting for action to combat extreme poverty, inequality and climate change. We must do this in the UK, in Europe and at a global level. Poverty will never be history unless we tackle climate change. At the UN climate talks we need a deal to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, to avert run away climate change that is already hitting the poorest the hardest.

We need a deal for the world’s poorest and for a sustainable future for the next generation

Labour MEPs are calling for:

- All EU countries to reach the target of 0.7% of their national income to be spent on development aid, a target reached by the UK and championed by Labour.

- The EU and national governments to commit to end extreme poverty by 2030.

- The EU and national governments to deliver a concrete new plan on gender equality, to end the scourge of violence against women and girls.

- Concrete sustainable development goals to deliver a decent life for all on this planet, ensuring access to education, food, water, sanitation and healthcare.

- Global targets to reduce carbon emissions and tackle climate to be championed by the EU and national governments and secured at the Paris climate conference.

On the launch of the international campaign action/2015, Linda McAvan said: ‘2015 presents a unique opportunity in the fight against extreme poverty. Eradicating extreme poverty is within our sights, if the political will is there to meet this goal.  I am extremely pleased to see the involvement of young citizens in Europe and across the world in this campaign. Sustainable development for all on our shared planet is our common aim and it is the next generation who will go on to lead in tackling these challenges. 2015 must be a year of action, not just warm words, and I am delighted that so many civil society organizations have come together to campaign in this crucial year ahead.’

Resources and social media

European Year for Development website: https://europa.eu/eyd2015/

Twitter @EYD2015

Hashtag #EYD2015

Action 2015 campaign: http://www.action2015.org/

Twitter @action2015 and @action2015uk

Monthly themes for the European Year for Development

January – Europe in the world

February – Education

March – Women and girls

April – Health

May – Peace and security

June – Sustainable green growth, decent jobs and businesses

July – Children and youth

August – Humanitarian aid

September – Demography and migration

October – Food security

November – Sustainable development and climate action

December – Human rights and governance

Facts and figures on international development and the EU

Collectively, the EU and its Member States are the world’s largest aid donor

In 2013 total world Official Development Assistance (ODA) stood at $134.8 billion

The contribution of EU Member States combined was around $72 billion

The contribution of the EU Institutions was $15.9 billion

In total that means about 65% of global aid spending (OECD-DAC data)

The EU has played a major role in the current global framework for development

In 2010 the EU set up a €1 billion MDG Initiative to target the MDGs needing the most extra support before their expiry in 2015

It is playing a leading role in the post-2015 framework for Sustainable Development Goals

Since 2004, EU funding has facilitated: vaccinating 18.3m children against measles; distributing 18m insecticide-treated bed nets; 37,000 schools built or renovated; and technical and vocational education and training for 7.7m people.

Key survey figures on attitudes to development in the UK

Taken from the recent Eurobarometer study available here: http://ec.europa.eu/public_opinion/archives/ebs/ebs_421_en.pdf

82% agreed that it is important to help people in developing countries (EU average was 85%)

62% agreed that tackling poverty in developing countries should be one of the main priorities of the EU (EU average was 64%)

69% agreed that tackling poverty in developing countries has a positive influence on EU citizens as well (EU average was 69%)

70% agreed that tackling poverty in developing countries is a moral obligation for the EU (EU average was 73%)

52% of people said they are involved in helping developing countries (whether through donations to charity, volunteering or political involvement) (EU average was 34%)

64% agreed that official development aid is effective in helping to reduce poverty in developing countries (EU average 66%)

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