It’s a welcomed development given that last year the EU's aid level decreased to 0.4% of EU Gross National Income (GNI), meaning the EU is still far from meeting the intermediate collective target of 0.56% of GNI by end of 2010.
Action to increase aid
The action plan sets out a possible EU position ahead of the important UN Summit on MDGs in September, where progress will be assessed. The plan proposes ways to ensure the member states increase their aid and support the need for innovative sources of financing.
President Barroso of the European Commission said: “2010 is a year of opportunity for the EU to review its commitment towards the Millennium Development Goals. …We have a chance to make this a new decade for development and I am personally committed to push this agenda at a global level during this year’s G8 and G20 summits and in the UN MDG Review meeting.”
The12 action points include asking member states to establish verifiable annual action plans for reaching their individual targets, and to publish their plans before September 2010.
More effective aid
Attention is also paid to increasing aid effectiveness through better coordination of national aid programmes at EU level, which it is estimated could save around 3 to 6 billion euros per year. The MDGs most off-track will come under particular scrutiny, which is good news for health and gender issues.
The HIV MDG
Overall the number of new HIV infections may have decreased but the total number of people living with HIV continues to grow, partly due to the increased survival because of increased coverage of anti-retroviral treatment. It now stands at 33.4 million people living with HIV, with Sub-Saharan Africa the worst affected.
The EU is a major contributor to the Global Fund and assists many HIV projects around the world, including supporting Banceuy Narcotics Prison in Bandung, Indonesia where Alliance partners Rumah Cemara have an outreach project with HIV positive prisoners.
The re-commitment by the European Commission to tackling the MDGs is important. Now, words on paper need to translate into political and financial action.