Top United Nations officials today praised the European Union's agreement to substantially boost its official development assistance (ODA) over the next decade, with half of the increase going to Africa.
A spokesman for Secretary-General Kofi Annan, in a statement released in New York, said, "The Secretary-General notes that the EU decisions are well in line with the recommendations in his report 'In Larger Freedom,' and that they send a valuable message about the importance the EU attaches to the global partnership for development."
That 50 per cent of the EU's agreed ODA increase will go to Africa "will make a real difference for millions of people on the continent, and provide a significant boost to efforts to reach the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) by 2015," the spokesman added.
The statement said that all Member States which joined the EU before 2002 will reach the 0.7 per cent target for ODA as a percentage of gross national income by 2015, with an intermediate target of 0.51 per cent by 2010. Member States which joined the EU after 2002 will reach a 0.33 per cent target by 2015, with an intermediate target of 0.17 per cent by 2010.
According to the statement, the Secretary-General also praised the EU's agreements on debt relief, targets for improving aid effectiveness and the Doha trade negotiations.
In a separate statement today, Mark Malloch Brown, Administrator of the UN Development Programme (UNDP), welcomed the agreement, calling it "an extraordinary advance for the development community."
"As we approach the 2005 UN Summit in September," he added, "it's clear that there are real opportunities, choices and momentum to take the necessary decisions and reforms that can break the back of extreme poverty once and for all."