Main Theme: Supporting Inclusive and Sustainable Growth
Europe has been one of the major providers of aid to developing countries since the 1950s and will continue to do so in order to fight poverty worldwide in accordance with its international commitments. With the 2015 target approaching, it is urgent to accelerate progress towards the internationally agreed Millennium Development Goals.
In this respect, the communication on 'Increasing the impact of EU Development policy: an Agenda for Change' adopted by the European Commission in October 2011 - that aims at increasing the impact of EU development policy - underlines two main strands for EU action in the years to come. Firstly, the EU will pay more attention to the issue of governance, democracy, and human rights, and secondly, the EU will increase its support for the promotion of economic growth that is both inclusive and sustainable.
Inspired by the 'Arab spring', and under the general theme of 'Development and Democracy', the 2011 edition of the EDDs held in December 2011 inWarsaw, explored in some detail the first priority of EU policy. Almost one year after the adoption of the 'Agenda for Change' Communication and ahead of the implementation of the main changes presented, the EU will take the opportunity to discuss with a wide range of private and public stakeholders how to more closely towards the common objective of achieving inclusive and sustainable growth in our partner countries in the South.
After the recent economic and financial crises, it has become even clearer that neither Official Development Assistance nor public interventions, as essential as they are, can eradicate poverty alone. In light of this, the Agenda for Change recognises in particular the importance of making the private sector a partner in development to create jobs and income opportunities for the poor, and leverage additional funding through blending for achieving sustainable and inclusive growth. EDD12 will be a forum for discussion of innovative models and new approaches to private-public collaboration that can help create direct economic opportunities for the poor by increasing their participation in the economy in terms of jobs and access to basic social services, infrastructure, goods, and markets. At the same time, this discussion will also be relevant for stimulating the debate on the role of the private sector in the transition to a green economy that will follow the Rio+20 Conference in June 2012.
The Earth Summit in Rio is also expected to reinforce other priorities set out in the Agenda for Change, notably the importance of investing in sustainable agriculture. The agricultural sector will be paid special attention at EDD12 because of its great potential to make growth inclusive by providing income opportunities to the poor, and because of its potential contribution to environmental sustainability and climate change prevention and adaption.
Finally there are also a number of other factors that can empower people to contribute to, and participate in economic growth, and that will therefore be addressed at the EDD12. These factors include political stability; good governance; security; the respect of human rights; a conducive regulatory and business environment; a well educated, healthy and creative population; the sustainable use of scarce natural resources; economic infrastructure; the implementation of core labour standards; effective and beneficial participation in international trade etc.
Sub-themes for EDD12
The Agenda for Change highlights the crucial role of inclusive growth in long-term poverty reduction, in particular underlining the contribution of the agricultural sector, promoting private sector development, and ensuring that every citizen is able to contribute to and benefit from economic growth. As a result, EDD12 encompasses three main sub-themes:
- Development, agriculture and food security
- Engaging the private sector for development
- Empowering people for inclusive growth