Tajani calls for "real change" to help the poor in Africa

President of the European Parliament Antonio Tajan says “pragmatic, forward-looking solutions” are needed to generate “real change” in Africa.

Speaking at the opening of European Development Days in Brussels, the Italian MEP also called for a “true Marshall Plan” for Africa.

This year’s event will focus on gender equality and women’s empowerment.The 3 day gathering is the EU’s showpiece event for development aid.

In a keynote address, Tajani said, “We have to work with our African partners to address the root causes of migration flows. A true Marshall Plan needs to be part of the next EU budget in order to attract investment, infrastructure and to develop an industrial base while creating hope and prospects for the next generations.

“Investing in the empowerment of girls and women by promoting their access to education, finance, jobs, political and social leadership are essential levers for both economic growth and the fight against abuse and social exclusion. By galvanising population segments most affected by climate change, the foundations for a more fair and equitable society will be laid.”

Meanwhile, a group of civil society organisations says that EU countries must “step up” to implement gender-responsive climate change policies.

The message was also timed to coincide with “World Environment Day” .

The call was made by six groups: CARE International, CIDSE, Climate Action Network (CAN) Europe, ACT Alliance EU, WWF and GenderCC-Women for Climate Justice.

They all urged the European Union to “step up its ambition” in climate action, highlighting the need to pursue the Paris Agreement’s goal of limiting global temperature rise to 1.5°C.

The groups say this is in line with this year’s EDD’s theme, “Women and girls at the forefront of sustainable development.”

A statement issued on the eve of EDD says, “Achieving this goal, globally, would substantially reduce harmful climate change impacts which exacerbate gender inequality and cause huge economic losses, impeding sustainable development efforts.

“Transforming existing power structures is key to effectively combatting climate change and to entering a gender- and climate-just future.”

The six organizations say, “Climate change impacts, such as droughts, floods, and heat waves, already exacerbate poverty and gender inequality, with millions of women and girls suffering despite current action to cope with these impacts. The present EU emission reduction targets are insufficient to prevent a temperature rise above 1.5°C.

“Additionally, current solutions, such as the rapid acceleration of renewable energy use and protecting ecosystems, must be gender-responsive and deliver substantial sustainable development benefits, particularly for the poorest people."

"We urge the political leaders of the EU and its member states in their ministerial and leaders’ meetings in June to commit to move beyond the current target of 40% CO2 reductions by 2030.

“Leaders must also nationally implement the recently adopted UNFCCC Gender Action Plan and increase financial support in developing countries for women and girl’s efforts to adapt to and mitigate harmful climate change impacts.”

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Martin Banks

Martin Banks

Martin Banks is a highly qualified journalist with many years experience of working within the EU institutions. He is an occasional, and highly valued, contributor to EU today, writing on a wide variety of issues.

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