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EU commitment to the Millennium Development Goals - milestones

04 April 2008
by eub2 -- last modified 30 May 2019

At the half-way stage of the Millennium Development Goals timetable, 2008 is a crucial year on the international stage as regards the development agenda. In 2000 the international community set eight Millennium Development Goals to be achieved by 2015.



United Nations Millennium Summit in September 2000. Adoption of the Millennium Declaration, which committed the international community to sparing no effort to reduce extreme poverty in its various forms by setting eight Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) to be reached by 2015.

  • eradicate extreme poverty and hunger
  • achieve universal primary education
  • promote gender equality
  • reduce child mortality
  • improve maternal health
  • combat HIV/AIDS and other diseases
  • ensure environmental sustainability
  • develop a global partnership for development

Goals and indicators

Monterrey Conference on Financing for Development on 18-22 Mars 2002. The international conference on financing for development resulted in a consensus on the financing of global development in developing countries. The EU, which provides more than 50% of official development assistance worldwide, played a major role in making the conference a success.

Monterrey Consensus (pdf)

The EU had already prepared its contribution to the Monterrey Conference at the Barcelona European Council in March 2002. In Barcelona, the EU undertook to:

  • increase average official development assistance (ODA) from the European Union from 0.33% of gross national income (GNI) in 2002 to 0.39% by 2006 as a step towards the 0.7% target set by the United Nations;
  • improve aid effectiveness through a process of coordination and harmonisation and put it into practice before 2004;
  • take measures to untie aid for Least Developed Countries (LDC);
  • increase trade-related assistance;

Translating the Monterrey Consensus into practice

Also in 2002, the Council asked the Commission to report annually on the EU's progress in financing for development.

Adoption of the Paris Declaration on Aid Effectiveness in March 2005. 12 indicators of aid effectiveness were agreed in Paris in order to track and encourage progress towards the major partnership commitments. Targets for the year 2010 were set for 11 of these indicators, which were designed to track and encourage progress at global level among the countries and agencies that have signed up to the Paris Declaration.

The Paris Declaration

2005 (continued)

Adoption of two communications and one declaration by the European Union:

a communication on policy coherence for development, i.e. on how other EU policies can contribute to development. 11 areas were identified: trade, the environment, security, agriculture, fisheries, the social dimension of globalisation, migration, research and innovation, the information society, transport and energy.
a communication on financing for development, covering the volume of aid, but also the effectiveness and quality of aid.

24 May 2005: The General Affairs Council adopted the communications and set a new intermediate collective target for official development assistance/Gross National Income of 0.56% in 2010. This commitment would generate an additional EURO 20 billion by 2010, enabling the target of 0.7% of GNI set by the UN to be reached by 2015. It should be noted that the Council approved these objectives in June 2005.
the European Consensus on Development was signed on 20 December 2005 by the Council, the European Parliament and the Commission. For the first time in fifty years of development cooperation, the two-part Declaration sets out a framework of common principles within which the EU and its Member States will implement their development policies in a complementary manner.

Two other major international events in 2005:
G8 Summit (Gleneagles) in July 2005 on the financing for development for Africa. The Gleneagles Summit changed the terms of the debate on Africa and Climate Change. 2005 saw an unprecedented level of attention given to Africa, with the most important achievement being the commitment of the international community to give an extra US $25 billion a year to the continent by 2010.

United Nations Summit of September 2005 on the MDGs,


April 2006: Communication "EU Aid: Delivering more, better and faster"
The action plan set out in this Communication comprises nine time-bound measures ("deliverables") to be implemented jointly by the Commission and Member States. Some of them, like the mapping of EU assistance through regional donor atlases, the support of local coordination processes and the development of a common framework for programming of assistance, may be launched immediately. Others, such as the proposed cofinancing mechanism for EU funds, may be implemented within the next four years.


Adoption of an EU Code of Conduct on Division of Labour in Development Policy. The objective of this communication is to enhance complementarity and the division of labour amongst EU donors (Community and Member States) in developing countries. The Code is composed of eleven guiding principles including:

encouraging the establishment, in each priority sector, of a lead donorship arrangement responsible for coordination between all the donors in the sector, with a view to reducing transaction costs;

designating a limited number of priority countries for each donor through dialogue within the EU;

granting adequate funding to the countries which are overlooked as far as aid is concerned and which are often fragile countries whose stabilisation would have a positive spill-over effect for the region as a whole;

analysing and expanding areas of strength: the EU donors should step up evaluation of their comparative advantages with a view to greater specialisation;
deepening the reforms of the aid systems: the changes suggested by the Code require reforms of a structural nature and in terms of human resources.

Source: European Commission

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