Thursday, July 16, 2009

Swedish NGO Network outlines development challenges for EU Presidency

CONCORD Sweden is a joint platform of 38 Swedish NGOs with the task of monitoring and influencing the EU development policy. In the light of the beginning Swedish EU Presidency the network outlines the development program for the second half of 2009.

Policy coherence

According to Concord Sweden trade agreements should meet the requirements as laid down in the document EU Policy Coherence for Development. Negotiations should be flexible enough to allow developing countries to protect local food production and small-scale farmers. Furthermore regulations for foreign investments should consider human rights demands and the need of the poor. Also, Europe should take stringent measures to fight capital flight and tax havens.

Poverty eradication

Sweden should use its good reputation in the development aid context to convince member states to uphold their pledges of increased aid budgets and better quality. Aid should be demand-driven and owned by national governments with broad participation of parliaments, civil society and the media. Furthermore the network demands better coordinated, un-tied, climate-proofed and sustainable aid with a stronger emphasis on rural development and agriculture. Special attention should also be given to the rights of children including issues of sexual and reproductive health and rights.

Climate negotiations

Sweden should lead the way in bringing a just and development-friendly climate agreement that greatly reduces greenhouse gases and secures resources for the development of poor countries. Additional to the aid budgets European member states should take concrete steps to finance climate adaptation, support technology transfer to developing countries and take measures for forest protection. Also, they should commit themselves to reduce their emissions to at least 40% by 2020.

Human rights

Sweden stands for a rights-based approach in development cooperation and should therefore pursue the integration of human rights into all policy areas. Besides the support for democratization Concord Sweden demands a holistic human rights perspective, including economic, social and cultural, civil and political rights.

In a Calender on their website Concord Sweden lists information about seminars, events and meetings during the Swedish EU Presidency 2009, organised by CONCORD Sweden and its member organisations.

by Martin Behrens

See the Euforic EU Presidency newsfeed, as well as the newsfeed and dossier on Swedens development cooperation