Wien, 16. December 2008 Press release

Spindelegger: "Austria remains a reliable development cooperation partner"

Vienna, 16 December 2008 - The three-year programme for 2008 to 2010, which constitutes the strategic basis for Austrian Development Cooperation (ADC) programmes, was adopted today by the Council of Ministers. It is a comprehensive guide for all actors involved in Austria’s development policy and is based on international objectives pursued by the EU, UN and OECD. "With this programme, we have got a solid work basis for the Austrian Development Cooperation. The issue now is to implement it, as we have done successfully in the past, by realising concrete projects in cooperation with our Austrian partners such as NGOs, associations or private initiators," explained Foreign Minister Michael Spindelegger.

"The signal is clear: Austria remains committed to development cooperation as a reliable partner, even in economically difficult times. We shall continue our efforts without interruption. Our goal still remains the same, i.e. spending 0.51% of the gross national income on development cooperation programmes by 2010. We are particularly keen to continuously raise the funding for specific ADC projects and programmes step by step within the next four years. Indeed, in a difficult economic situation it is especially important to demonstrate international solidarity and act in a coherent manner," continued Spindelegger.

"A special concern of mine is increased cooperation with Austrian non-governmental organisations, at interministerial level and with Parliament. Austria’s development policy should increasingly become a pan-Austrian concern," stated the Foreign Minister.

"Our commitment to development cooperation shows impressive bandwidth in terms of both content and geography. The major themes of ADC remain the reduction of poverty, peacekeeping, safeguarding human security, preservation of the environment and the protection of natural resources. As for content, the ADC continues to focus on those thematic fields in which it has a lot of expertise and which have contributed to its international standing such as water and sanitation, rural development, renewable energy, private sector development and education, as well as the rule of law, human rights and peacekeeping. From the geographical point of view, it is important to me that we place a strategic focus on the poorest countries south of the Sahara, a strategy which is part of the partnership between the European Union and the African Union," stated the Foreign Minister. The priority regions will continue to be eastern Africa, southern Africa and west Africa, but also the Himalaya-Hindu Kush region, Central America, south-eastern Europe, the southern Caucasus and the Palestinian Territories.

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