Informal meeting of Development Ministers: Remarks by High Representative/Vice-President Josep Borrell following the meeting

(Source: EEAS)

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Today, with Foreign and Development Ministers, we concluded important exchanges on two issues: how to engage more strategically with Middle Income Countries, what we call “Development in Transition” countries; and we also focused on Human Development, discussing concrete ways to boost this part of Human Development.

On the cooperation with Middle Income Countries, this debate was very timely because only last week we adopted the new Neighbourhood, Development and International Cooperation Instrument, the so-called NDICI – Gobal Europe.

This instrument will allow for a more integrated approach of our cooperation with Middle Income countries, which have been heavily affected by the COVID-19 crisis and we also exchanged views on how to further support their recovery plans and shared our vision for a green and sustainable recovery, which are underpinning our efforts.

Then on human development, this issue has regained a central role in the context of the pandemic and our recovery efforts have to be addressed in the context of global vaccine action and concrete ways to drive development and innovation.

We need an effective recovery. To have this effective recovery we have to step up our support, mainly for education and health; and education and health especially for women and youth. They are the key agents for change.

That is why we agreed to reach an ambitious target, allocating at least 20% of our Official Development Assistance spending, in the current budget period, for human development and social inclusion.

And we will do that working together as Team Europe, European institutions together with Member States, to maximise our collective impact. This is going to be crucial for our contribution to enhance development results globally.

And certainly vaccines, and the vaccination process, has also been an important part in our discussions, we discussed how to further support COVAX. Let me remind you that the European Union is one of the lead contributors to COVAX, since the beginning. This is a way to ensure safe, fair and equitable access of vaccines for all and it is very important because until now the vaccination process is very unbalanced.

In Africa, for example, less than 1% of the population has been vaccinated, and in some Latin American countries, the situation is very bad. So, we have to increase our efforts – not only by donating, but by increasing the manufacturing capacity. And the manufacturing capacity strengthens the health system in partner countries – not just importing, but producing.

Another way is the Team Europe’s initiative announced by the President of the Commission [Ursula von der Leyen] at the last conference on Financing African Economies [G20 Global Health Summit], mobilising €1 billion to increase this manufacturing capacity in order to provide access to vaccines, medicines, and health technologies in Africa. We have to think about how we can extend this initiative to other parts of the world, especially in Latin America.

This has been the discussion today. Very timely and related to very important questions. 

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