Development ministers discussed the reform of development funding
The EU Foreign Affairs Council (Development) met in Brussels on 25 November. Ministers discussed, among other things, the structure of development funding, support for developing countries in transition and challenges of education in Africa from the perspective of gender equality.
The Foreign Affairs Council is chaired by High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Federica Mogherini. Minister for Development Cooperation and Foreign Trade Ville Skinnari represented Finland at the meeting.
Focus on reforming the structure of development funding
The Foreign Affairs Council discussed the reform of the EU’s financial architecture for development. Growing financing needs in Africa, population growth, poverty and climate change and related social unrest and migration cause significant investment needs. During its Presidency of the Council of the EU, Finland has actively promoted the discussion between the member states on the different options for reforming the structure of development funding.
From the perspective of the EU’s Common Foreign and Security Policy, reforming the financial architecture for development is a very important political issue. Funding and aid must be able to better support our common political objectives. That is the only way the EU can respond to geopolitical and global challenges.
– Finland’s Minister for Development Cooperation and Foreign Trade Ville Skinnari
Education in Africa from gender equality perspective
Other priorities of the Finnish Presidency in development policy have included gender equality and partnership with Africa. At Finland’s initiative, development ministers held a lunch meeting to discuss education in Africa from the perspective of gender equality. Ethiopia’s Minister of Education Tilaye Gete participated in the meeting.
The development ministers also discussed the implementation of the recently adopted Council conclusions on democracy in partner countries as well as the EU’s support for the Ethiopian economy and the transition phase in Sudan. The ministers were also briefed on the progress in negotiations for a future partnership with African, Caribbean and Pacific countries, as the Cotonou Agreement will expire in 2020.
At the initiative of Finland, the Council adopted conclusions on humanitarian assistance and international humanitarian law for the first time in ten years. The strong commitments in the conclusions, including the protection of those in the most vulnerable positions, such as persons with disabilities, are an important political message from the EU.