Knapen: new times call for new international approach to development

‘Official development assistance makes up no more than 15% of the total financial flows to developing countries. It’s important to see if we can ensure that other 80-85% is spent sustainably and with regard for corporate social responsibility.’ This was the message from the Minister for European Affairs and International Affairs, Ben Knapen, in the parliamentary debate Thursday on EU development cooperation after 2015.

New ball game

‘The context of international cooperation is changing radically. It’s essentially a whole new ball game, with new players, a shifting balance of power, changed financial relationships and flows, changing patterns of poverty and a growing role for global public goods. I think it is important, as part of this discussion, that we consider development aid from a broader, more modern vantage point,’ Mr Knapen said. In its own development policy, the Netherlands has already taken this step.

New development goals
Currently, international efforts in developing countries are guided primarily by the Millennium Development Goals for 2015. The Netherlands advocates new, broader, international development goals that go beyond poverty reduction and focus more strongly on economic development, peace and security, and human rights. As agreed at the summit in Rio de Janeiro in June, sustainability should be integral to the new approach to development. The private sector and emerging economies such as Brazil, China and India also need to become involved in this process.