Vienna, 19 December 2007 - "Development policy and the concrete measures of development cooperation represent an indispensable dimension of foreign policy. They make a major contribution to peace and prosperity, and enhance human security in Austria, Europe, and the rest of the world", said Foreign Minister Ursula Plassnik on the adoption of the three-year programme 2007-2009 for Austrian development cooperation in today’s Council of Ministers.
"Next year Austria will dedicate 0.5% of its Gross Domestic Product for development cooperation - far more than the 0.33% demanded by the EU and another clear expression of Austria's engagement in the fight against worldwide poverty", Plassnik continued.
The three-year programme constitutes the foundation of the Austrian development cooperation, and now must be implemented in concrete projects together with the Austrian partners, such as non-governmental organizations, associations, or private initiators. The Foreign Minister thanked the partners: "Concrete progress is only possible with their idealism, commitment, and professionalism."
Geographically, the Austrian development cooperation will continue to focus on the priority regions of East Africa, Southern Africa, West Africa, Himalaya-Hindu Kusch, Central America, South East Europe, Palestine, and Moldova. The thematic focus will be on the areas of water and settlement hygiene, rural development, energy, private sector development, education, as well as the rule of law, human rights, and peacekeeping: The engagement of the Austrian development cooperation shows an "impressive bandwidth".
Particular attention is given to the equal treatment of women. "I want to win over women as partners and promote them with targeted measures. Every project is examined as to whether it considers the issues and interests of women", said the Foreign Minister. There are, for instance, concrete projects relating to enhanced participation of women in political life, especially in post-conflict situations and peace processes, to support in the reconstruction of functioning economic structures, and to fighting violence against women.
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