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Germany makes or breaks the summit

Interview with Eveline Herfkens

Germany makes or breaks the success of the UN Summit in September

W&E: What is at stake in the actual stage of Millennium+5-Summit preparations?
Eveline Herfkens: This Summit will particularly focus on Goal 8, the goal regarding action from rich countries in order to help poor countries achieve the first seven goals. It is crucial that by now also for Goal 8, consensus be reached for concrete targets and deadlines. First and foremost this would entail achieving concrete annual increases in ODA, sufficient to achieve the 0.7% well in advance of 2015 as ODA is the input for developing countries to achieve the output of the first seven goals.

W&E: Why Germany's role is so crucial?
Eveline Herfkens: Presently, the majority of the EU-15 has either achieved the 0.7% or has set a timetable to do so well in advance of 2015. Germany has not done so and its present ODA (0.28% of GNI) is well below the EU average. The EU presidency, supported by the majority of the EU-15, has suggested that each of the member states of the EU-15 would as a minimum achieve 0.51% in 2010 while setting a deadline for 0.7% in advance of 2015. Only Austria, Greece and Portugal are actively opposing this proposal. However, for Germany to join the consensus, the government, including the finance minister, has to agree that Germany proper would in fact commit to this timetable. If not, it would be difficult to envision European consensus on this proposal. Thus, Germany breaks or makes the position the EU can take at the Summit in September.

W&E: It sounds as if the summit as such is dependent on Gemany’s position ....
Eveline Herfkens: In the meantime, it is Europe that has to blaze the way for success at the UN Summit, as other rich countries are lagging. A generous European position can create, as it did at the Financing for Development Conference in Monterrey, a "competition in compassion" which will spur increased commitment by other rich countries. Thus, Germany's position in the coming weeks not only breaks or makes the European position but also makes or breaks the success of the UN Summit in September.

Interview by Rainer Falk

Eveline Herfkens is the UN Secretary General's Executive Coordinator to the
Millennium Development Goals Campaign. See >>> UN Millennium Campaign.

(Posted: 5 May 2005)

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