The Luxembourg Minister in charge of relations with the European Parliament during the Presidency of the EU Council, Nicolas Schmit, spoke on 7 July 2015 in Strasbourg to MEPs during a plenary debate on the United Nations International Conference on Financing for Development to be held in Addis Ababa (Ethiopia) from 13 to 16 July 2015.
The 3rd International Conference on Financing for Development will assess progress on the implementation of the Monterrey Consensus (2002) and the Doha Declaration (2008). It will also address new and emerging issues, taking into account, inter alia, synergies among the funding objectives on sustainable development - economic growth, social equity and environmental protection - including the need to support the United Nations Development Programme post-2015 which will be the subject of the New York Conference in September 2015.
The results of the conference "must provide the means to implement future Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and define the financial framework, as well as the transfer of skills and technology by stepping up the ability to implement the new sustainable development goals." This wish was expressed by the Luxembourg Presidency in its programme.
A common position of the EU and the Member States had already been elaborated in the conclusions following the Council of "Foreign Affairs/Development" of 26 May 2015.
Nicolas Schmit recalled the aim of the Addis Ababa conference in his speech: "establishing a new global partnership to address the interrelated challenges of eliminating poverty and sustainable development . According to the minister, this partnership will be guided by "the principles of universality, shared responsibility and mutual accountability", by taking into account the capacity of each individual and combining multiple actors. It should also "promote human rights, equality, non-discrimination, democratic institutions, good governance and the rule of law ". It should also "enable everyone to participate actively and ensure environmental sustainability, besides respecting the limits of our planet". Another important aspect: the rights of women, gender equality and the empowerment of women and girls, "which are an end in themselves, are also an essential means of implementation and should be encouraged at all levels ".
According to Nicolas Schmit, "national public funds represent the largest source of stable funding directly available to most governments and thus constitute the core of sustainable development financing." The minister once again stated that National governments have a major responsibility to mobilize and make best use of public resources.
According to Minister Schmit, the conference in Addis Ababa should lead to "an integrated approach to the implementation and financing of the new partnership". He further stated that "a strong balance should be identified between the three sectors - economic, social and environmental - of sustainable development", that policy coherence should be encouraged and that commitments and the results that all stakeholders should attain will have to be clarified.
In this sense, according to the minister, the outcome of the Addis Ababa meeting will represent the "implementation means" of the programme for post-2015 which will be adopted in New York in September 2015. Moreover, Nicolas Schmit also stated that the results of the Summit will also provide a solid basis for the Conference of Parties (COP-21) at the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change to be held in Paris in December 2015.
If, according to the minister, financial resources such as national public funds, private funds, innovative financing and international assistance - are important, then "non-financial means of implementation ", such as a favourable policy framework, institutional development, fostering trade and investment and support for science, technology and innovation, are also important. Furthermore, Nicolas Schmit highlighted that a "strong framework for monitoring, accountability and evaluation" will also form part of the programme for post-2015. Finally, he said it will "include national, regional and international institutions including all stakeholders, both governmental and non-governmental, for its implementation".
Nicolas Schmit then detailed the Council's position adopted on 26 May 2015 on official development assistance (ODA), reaffirming the collective commitment of the Union and the Member States to achieve the target of 0.7% of Gross National Income (GNI) spent on ODA by the deadline set in the program for post-2015, as well as their priority commitment for the Least Developed Countries (LDCs) at a rate of 0.15 to 0.20% of GNI. According to the minister, this position should "facilitate the effective and unified participation of the European Union and its Member States in the ongoing international negotiations and contribute to their success.
He was congratulated because Luxembourg exceeds the 0.7% of GNI for ODA and, as the country holding the Presidency, is strongly committed to the new ODD's, Nicolas Schmit then thanked the MEPs for a debate he defined as an "important contribution to preparations for the meetings in Addis Ababa and New York". He highlighted that for the EU and its Member States, "Addis Ababa is not a conference on 'Official Development Assistance (ODA)". The EU wants "an integrated approach to all the means of implementation, financial and otherwise . And furthermore: "it is clear that ODA is still an important source of financing, especially for the least developed countries and fragile states. ODA is also an important catalyst to mobilize domestic resources ". In concluding, the minister promised that the Presidency would do its utmost to ensure that the Addis Ababa conference results in a true international partnership.