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Ian Hudghton
Scottish National Party
Member of the European Parliament

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November 2003


12 November 2003

A high-powered group representing Scottish aid agencies and international development charities visited Brussels to lobby both the European Commission and the European Parliament for a timetable for meeting the UN target of 0.7 per cent of wealth on aid.  The agencies also called on Scotland’s political parties to include a pledge on the issue in their manifestos for the 2004 European Elections.

The group, which included representatives from Oxfam in Scotland, NIDOS (Network of International Development Organisations in Scotland), the UN Association Scotland and the Conference of European Churches met with European Commission officials and with MEPs from across the political spectrum, including Ian Hudghton MEP (pictured)

The 0.7% UN target, first agreed almost thirty years ago, was reaffirmed by the governments of the world at the UN Millennium Summit in September 2000. At that meeting 189 governments signed up to eight Millennium Development Goals, including policy change to increase aid.

At present only four EU countries meet the target (Denmark, Luxembourg, Netherlands and Sweden) and it is envisaged that by 2006 only Ireland will join that group.   At present the UK’s aid budget is only 0.33% and is estimated to rise to only 0.40% over the next three years.

Commenting Dr Eilidh Whiteford from Oxfam in Scotland said:

“ Aid remains one of the key components in any strategy to meet the internationally agreed targets for poverty reduction throughout the world. However at the current pace the EU is far short of meeting the 0.7% target needed to implement the Millennium Development Goals.

“ That is why we are calling on both the European Parliament and the European Commission to inject more political urgency on this issue.  Every month and year that passes without meeting what is a basic and long-standing target, means that millions of people remain in grinding poverty throughout the world, with little or no prospect of escaping that poverty.”

Dr Fiona Chalamanda, from NIDOS added: 

“ We are also calling on each of the political parties to include commitments to meeting the 0.7% objective in their European Election Manifestos. 

“ Scots have a long history of social responsibility and concern for those in need. This is an issue that many people in Scotland care strongly about.  As the UK considers itself to be a world leader in international affairs it must continue to improve the percentage of wealth targeted on aid.

“ By including a commitment to the 0.7% target in their European manifestos, politicians would put down a marker that they are serious about working to achieve change, not just agreeing that it is a good thing.” 

Dr Alec Gaines, from the UN Association, Scotland, concluded saying:

“ We are hopeful that speedier progress can be made towards the aid targets.  The 0.7 per cent target has been missed for too long.  When we meet MEPs from across the Scottish political spectrum we will be asking them to take this issue forward through their European Parliament political groupings, which include MEPs from across the EU.”

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