Lopatka: Additional 6.6 million for development cooperation in 2013
Vienna, 19 September 2012 – “In 2013, additional funds in the amount of 6.6 million euros will be earmarked for development cooperation. With this increase, the Austrian Government illustrates the importance it attaches to development cooperation and shows how seriously we take development policy”, State Secretary Reinhold Lopatka said on the occasion of today’s informal meeting held with the leading development cooperation NGOs at the Foreign Ministry.
Following negotiations between Foreign Minister Michael Spindelegger, Minister of Finance Maria Fekter and State Secretary Andreas Schieder, the 77 million euros for operative development cooperation are secured for 2013, so that the same amount of funds will be available for operative development cooperation in 2013 as in 2012.
“After the trend of continuously increasing development cooperation funds was briefly interrupted due to the financial crisis and our austerity measures, this increase is to be seen as a token of our commitment to increase funding for development cooperation again as from 2015. The Government aims to provide 0.7% of the GNP for development cooperation”, Lopatka said.
“A working group has been established at the Foreign Ministry to draw up a concept together with the other ministries in charge, that will serve as the basis for decision-making in development policy in the coming legislative period”, the State Secretary said.
“I would also like to continue the good talks we have had with the organisations involved in development cooperation. Regular exchange of opinions is important to me; I greatly appreciate the commitment of our civil society and I am open for talks“, Lopatka said at the sidelines of today’s meeting. In a campaign last week, aid organisations had pleaded for more funds to be made available by the Federal Government for global development cooperation.
“At the moment it is impossible to make any well-founded prediction about the height of the development cooperation quota 2013. This will certainly depend on debt relief – for example for Sudan”, the State Secretary said. “It must be our shared goal to earmark more funds for operative development cooperation”, Lopatka said and confirmed his statement later on in his inaugural address to the Parliament.
“It is also planned that the Austrian Development Agency will handle more development cooperation projects of the European Commission”, said Lopatka who has already contacted EU Commissioner Andris Piebalgs about this matter.
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