News / Asia

Report: EU Policies Hurting Efforts to Reduce Poverty in Developing Nations

In Busan, members from Save The Children and World Vision stage a demonstration urging donor countries to fulfill their aid commitments.
In Busan, members from Save The Children and World Vision stage a demonstration urging donor countries to fulfill their aid commitments.
Lisa Bryant

As international officials gather for a key aid meeting in South Korea, relief groups fault the world's biggest donor, the European Union, for policies they claim hurt some of the poorest nations.

A new report claims the European Union's policies on agriculture, trade, energy and migration can hurt African and other poor nations, and work against the EU's own aid objectives.

Blandine Bounioul is policy coordinator for Concord, a Brussels-based confederation of aid agencies that released the study. "In some areas…there are major issues, and with these policies the EU is actually worsening the poverty situation or the human rights situation in some developing nations," she said.

A case in point, Bounioul says, are subsidies for European farmers under the bloc's Common Agricultural Policy. "Local farmers in Africa, they cannot compete with European products which, because of the subsidies that European farmers can have, those products end up being sold to African consumers at far lower prices than the local food products."

European Commission spokeswoman for development Catherine Ray says the EU is taking the report seriously. But she described key reforms in recent years, including axing many agricultural subsidies. The EU is also a leading importer of agricultural products from developing nations, even as it promotes self-sufficiency.

"It's obviously important that these countries are able to export in our markets. But traveling in Africa, what we see is before they are able to export, they have to be able to produce for their own community, for their country. And then to come at the global level," she said.

The concerns raised by the Concord study will likely be taken up at an aid summit in South Korea this week. The goal is to make development assistance more effective.

Former British Prime Minister Tony Blair spoke with VOA's Victor Beattie about reforming the way aid is given.

Former British prime minister Tony Blair told VOA that is more important than ever, as donor nations struggle to balance their international aid commitments with domestic economic concerns.

"It’s a tough challenge for governments to maintain those now, and as you rightly said, how that aid is then used is a big part of whether you get the public consent to carry on giving it. And that’s why I think this conference is very timely because it is focusing specially on aid effectiveness. In other words, how do we make sure that for every dollar we’re spending we’re getting something out of it," he said.

The EU invests about $71 billion in development programs, making it the world's biggest donor. Despite stagnant growth and the eurozone crisis, Catherine Ray says EU nations are generally making progress in meeting their pledge to earmark 0.7 percent of their income for development assistance by 2015.

You May Like

Turbulent Transition Imperils Tunisia’s Arab Spring Gains

Critics say new anti-terrorism laws worsen Tunisia's situation while others put faith in country’s vibrant civil organizations, women’s movement More

Burundi’s Political Crisis May Become Humanitarian One

United Nations aid agencies issue warning as deadly violence sends tens of thousands fleeing More

Yemenis Adjust to Life Under Houthi Rule

Locals want warring parties to strike deal to stop bloodletting before deciding how country is governed More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Seoul Sponsors Korean Unification Fairi
X
Brian Padden
May 29, 2015 1:27 PM
With inter-Korean relations deteriorating over the North’s nuclear program, past military provocations and human rights abuses, many Koreans still hold out hope for eventual peaceful re-unification. VOA’s Brian Padden visited a “unification fair” held this week in Seoul, where border communities promoted the benefits of increased cooperation.
Video

Video Seoul Sponsors Korean Unification Fair

With inter-Korean relations deteriorating over the North’s nuclear program, past military provocations and human rights abuses, many Koreans still hold out hope for eventual peaceful re-unification. VOA’s Brian Padden visited a “unification fair” held this week in Seoul, where border communities promoted the benefits of increased cooperation.
Video

Video Purple Door Coffeeshop: Changing Lives One Cup at a Time

For a quarter of his life, Kevin Persons lived on the street. Today, he is working behind the counter of an espresso bar, serving coffee and working to transition off the streets and into a home. Paul Vargas reports for VOA.
Video

Video Modular Robot Getting Closer to Reality

A robot being developed at Carnegie Mellon University has evolved into a multi-legged modular mechanical snake, able to move over rugged surfaces and explore the surroundings. Scientists say such machines could someday help in search and rescue operations. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Shanghai Hosts Big Consumer Electronics Show

Electronic gadgets are a huge success in China, judging by the first Asian Consumer Electronics Show, held this week in Shanghai. Over the course of two days, more than 20,000 visitors watched, tested and played with useful and some less-useful electronic devices exhibited by about 200 manufacturers. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Forced to Return Home, Afghan Refugees Face Increased Hardship

Undocumented refugees returning to Afghanistan from Pakistan have no jobs, no support system, and no home return to, and international aid agencies say they and the government are overwhelmed and under-resourced. Ayesha Tanzeem has more from Kabul.
Video

Video Britain Makes Controversial Move to Crack Down on Extremism

Britain is moving to tighten controls on extremist rhetoric, even when it does not incite violence or hatred -- a move that some are concerned might unduly restrict basic freedoms. It is an issue many countries are grappling with as extremist groups gain power in the Middle East, fueled in part by donations and fighters from the West. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London.
Video

Video 3D Printer Makes Replica of Iconic Sports Car

Cars with parts made by 3D printers are already on the road, but engineers are still learning about this new technology. While testing the possibility of printing an entire car, researchers at the U.S. Department of Energy recently created an electric-powered replica of an iconic sports roadster. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Al-Shabab Recruitment Drive Still on In Kenya

The al-Shabab militants that have long battled for control of Somalia also have recruited thousands of young people in Kenya, leaving many families disconsolate. Mohammed Yusuf recently visited the Kenyan town of Isiolo, and met with relatives of those recruited, as well as a many who have helped with the recruiting.
Video

Video A Small Oasis on Kabul's Outskirts Provides Relief From Security Tensions

When people in Kabul want to get away from the city and relax, many choose Qargha Lake, a small resort on the outskirts of Kabul. Ayesha Tanzeem visited and talked with people about the precious oasis.
Video

Video Kenyans Lament Losing Sons to al-Shabab

There is agony, fear and lost hope in the Kenyan town of Isiolo, a key target of a new al-Shabab recruitment drive. VOA's Mohammed Yusuf visits Isiolo to speak with families and at least one man who says he was a recruiter.
Video

Video Scientists Say Plankton More Important Than Previously Thought

Tiny ocean creatures called plankton are mostly thought of as food for whales and other large marine animals, but a four-year global study discovered, among other things, that plankton are a major source of oxygen on our planet. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Kenya’s Capital Sees Rise in Shisha Parlors

In Kenya, the smoking of shisha, a type of flavored tobacco, is the latest craze. Patrons are flocking to shisha parlors to smoke and socialize. But the practice can be addictive and harmful, though many dabblers may not realize the dangers, according to a new review. Lenny Ruvaga has more on the story for VOA from Nairobi, Kenya.

VOA Blogs