Wien, 14. November 2006 Press release

Plassnik: "Three-Year Programme 2006 - 2008 forms the basis for Austria's contribution to combating global poverty”

14.11.2006

Austria's financial contribution to combating global poverty reaches a historical high of 1.2 billion euros

Vienna, 14 November 2006 - "For me, development cooperation and the unconditional fight against poverty, the promotion of peace, and the support of women and of marginal groups in society in the poorest countries of the world are major foreign policy concerns. The fact that we exceeded the one billion mark in 2005 for the first time, achieving a historical high of more than 1.2 billion euros in financial aid for our partner countries, is also an expression of our clear commitment to the UN Millennium Development Goals and the excellent cooperation with our international and European partners", said Foreign Minister Ursula Plassnik following today's approval by the Council of Ministers of the Three-Year Programme 2006 - 2008 of Austrian Development Cooperation.

The Three-Year Programme 2006 - 2008 constitutes the strategic basis for Austrian Development Cooperation, which is put into practice through concrete projects in cooperation with Austrian non-governmental organisations and many committed partners. "I should like to take this opportunity to express my thanks to our partners for their idealism, commitment and professionality. Concrete progress would not be possible without them and the contribution of many private initiatives," said Plassnik.

The Three-Year Programme 2006 - 2008 is in line with the international goals of the UN, the EU and the OECD. "We have to coordinate our programmes and objectives within the international community as far as possible on the basis of the UN Millennium Goals," said Plassnik. "One of the major concerns in our development cooperation is to enlist women as partners and to give priority to their interests," continued the Foreign Minister. "For instance, every single development cooperation project is verified to ensure that it takes account of women's concerns and special interests. I also took advantage of Austria's EU Presidency to support female human rights activists in Latin America, for instance, and to strengthen the role of women during reconstruction after armed conflicts," emphasised Plassnik.

The Foreign Minister also pointed out that within the internal EU timetable Austria would reach the UN goal of 0.7 per cent of the GNI for development cooperation by 2015.

Austrian Development Cooperation cooperates with partner countries in the six priority regions - East Africa, Southern Africa, West Africa, Himalaya/Hindu Kush, Central America and South-Eastern Europe - and with Palestine and Moldavia. Thematic priorities are water and sanitation, rural development, energy, private sector and development, education and good governance, the rule of law, human rights, conflict prevention and peacebuilding.

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