African, Caribbean, Pacific, EU Leaders Meet To Discuss Maternal Mortality, Climate Change, Other Issues

Leaders from the African, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) group of nations and the European Union launched “wide-ranging talks” in Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of Congo, on Thursday, Agence France-Presse reports. Approximately 450 lawmakers from 110 countries attended the opening.

“Global warming, mortality in childbirth and conflict in central Africa were all on the agenda, according to organisers. … The co-presidents of the ACP-EU assembly, the Zambian David Matongo and the Belgian Louis Michel both stressed the importance of the themes set down for debate, including climate change, insecurity in the Sahel, maternal mortality and the situations in DR Congo and central Africa,” the news service writes.

Burkina Faso’s President Blaise Compaore is expected to highlight maternal mortality, organizers said. “Delegates will also give an international award, the Jean Rey prize, to the Congolese gynaecologist Denis Mukwege, founder of the Panzi hospital at Bukavu in the southwest Sud-Kivu province, a specialist in caring for women who have been the victim of multiple rapes,” AFP notes (12/2).

The Economist Looks At Attitudes Affecting EU Foreign Aid

In related news, The Economist examines EU foreign aid. “There is a lot of financial aid sloshing around inside the European Union. But there will soon be less of it flowing out,” the Economist writes. “Germany, Italy, Spain and the Netherlands have all trimmed or plan to trim aid … France’s aid is unlikely to grow. The big exception is Britain, where the coalition government has pledged to meet” a the G8 Gleneagles summit target of devoting 0.7 percent of GNP to aid by 2013.

“Some development NGOs fear that EU aid could drop by a fifth. … Some countries employ creative definitions of aid, including such things as the cost of repatriating illegal immigrants,” the magazine writes, adding that there is a “rising scepticism about the effectiveness of aid” that is challenging “the Gleneagles more-is-better approach.” The Economist cites Dambisa Moyo’s book, “Dead Aid” and the Rwandan president’s desire to “wean his country off foreign aid” as examples. Last month’s European Commission green paper on development that said, “Aid alone will never succeed in pulling millions of people out of poverty,” is yet another example of this attitude.

“Some fear that the goal of reducing poverty may be lost. ‘Economic growth alone will not alleviate poverty,’ says Franz Berger of Concord, a Brussels-based grouping of development NGOs. ‘It depends how the proceeds of that growth are distributed.’ Others simply want rich countries to keep their promises,” the magazine writes (12/2).

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