The newly published 2009 annual report on the European Community’s development and external assistance policies and their implementation in 2008 shows that the European Union continues to be the world’s leading development aid donor, accounting for 60% of world aid in 2008. The Commission alone committed EUR 12 billion, more than a fifth of the EU total. At the same time the quality and effectiveness of aid are improving, as are transparency and the monitoring of results. The Commission has continued its efforts to make its aid more effective by working more closely with other international donors and by simplifying its procedures. Considerable efforts have also been made to channel aid through national systems in order to strengthen ownership at local level and reduce transaction costs for the partner countries. In 2008 the Commission also stepped up its efforts to mainstream such issues as gender, the environment, and the rights of children and indigenous people in the development process. Source: RAPID http://tinyurl.com/yd4aodv
The European Commission has adopted a communication on the role of Fair Trade and non-governmental trade-related sustainability assurance schemes. The communication recognises the significant development of the Fair Trade movement and the significance of a European market now worth EUR 1.5 billion per year. The communication also lays out new policy areas where Fair Trade and other schemes can contribute to European sustainable development objectives. It also sets out main principles and definitions and the fundamentals for public procurement of sustainable goods and services. Source: European Commission, http://trade.ec.europa.eu/doclib/docs/2009/may/tradoc_143089.pdf
The European Commission presented a Recovery Plan based on short-term measures to boost demand, save jobs and help restore confidence, and also on ”smart investment” to yield higher growth and sustainable prosperity in the longer-term. The Plan calls for a timely, targeted and temporary fiscal stimulus in 2009-2010 of EUR 200bn, or 1.5% of EU GDP, with every Member State taking major measures good for its own citizens and good for the rest of Europe. ”If Europe acts decisively to implement this Recovery Plan, we can get back on a path of sustainable growth and pay back short-term government borrowing. If we do not act now, we risk a vicious recessionary cycle of falling purchasing power and tax revenues, rising unemployment and ever wider budget deficits”, warned president Barroso. http://tinyurl.com/6gyhon
Over the next three years, at least 30 projects will be implemented in more than 12 Asian countries to provide financial services for small and micro enterprises. In the context of this initiative more than 30 projects with a total investment volume of up to EUR 800 million are to be jointly implemented by the IFC, KfW and other investors in over 12 Asian countries in the next three years. A broad range of promotional methods is being used. The main focus of the Microfinance Initiative is on the built-up and expansion of first-class microfinance institutions and on linking them to the local and international financial markets via microfinance investment funds.