Spring til indhold

Briefing af det diplomatiske korps vedrørende den nye udviklingspolitiske og humanitære strategi

Eigtveds Pakhus den 25. april 2017

Thank you for attending today’s briefing.


As many of you may know, the role as Minister for Development Cooperation is not unfamiliar territory for me. I have the honour to come back to this portfolio which I held from 2005 to 2010 and which lies very close to my heart. When I was here the last time, we were working with the 8 MDG’s. Now, we work with the 17 SDG’s. When I was here the last time the world’s goals were really goals for the developing world. Today, the world’s goals are for a developing world. I wholeheartedly welcome this change, which symbolises a holistic approach to development.  


What has stayed the same, though, is that Denmark is only one of 6 countries that meet the common UN goal of providing 0,7 % of GNI in ODA. We have done so since 1978 and we will continue to do so. I am happy to be back. My commitment and dedication to the development agenda is as strong now as it was when I was first appointed Minister for Development Cooperation in 2005.


‘My second term’ as Minister for Development Cooperation coincided with the adoption of a new Danish strategy for development cooperation and humanitarian action. The new Danish strategy is built on the SDG’s in practice as well as in spirit. And for the first time ever, a broad political majority in the Danish Parliament has entered into a five-year political agreement on Denmark’s strategy for development policy and humanitarian action.


Our new strategy is ambitious and it is realistic. It recognises that Denmark is a small country in a big world. We know that we cannot do everything, everywhere. We must prioritize what we do and where we do it.Therefore, we will focus our effort on the activities and areas where we have the most at stake and where we can obtain the greatest influence through strategic use of our strengths, expertise and experience. The Danish focus on promoting SRHR in our development policy is an excellent example of just that. Our focus on youth and migration is another. And we are prioritising geographically. We will prioritise engagement in fragile states and regions with a direct impact on Danish interests. When I was Minister for Development Cooperation for the first time, Denmark provided ODA to 32 countries. With the new strategy we have identified 12 priority countries, where our engagement will be strong and long-term.

The Danish strategy is ambitious. So are the SDG’s. The UN has estimated that if we are to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals over the next 13 years, it will require increased global investments of between 1.9 and 3.1 trillion USD – every year. It goes without saying, that we cannot provide that kind of money solely through ODA – not even if all the rich countries met the commitment of providing 0,7% of GNI in ODA. We still need ODA. We still need all the rich countries to meet our common goal. But we also need to be innovative, efficient and to bring in the private sector. The SDG’s introduce a paradigm shift in development cooperation. Development assistance will continue to be vital, but going forward, the assistance will be increasingly catalytic. Last week I took part in the spring meetings at the World Bank. I was thrilled to feel the commitment from the bank and the donors to strengthen cooperation with the private sector. To crowd-in private companies in our development work. As such the SDGs represent a final break with the view that development is a task that first and foremost requires ODA. Development must be based on partnerships between governments, the private sector and the civil society. The SDGs also confirm that human rights are a fundamental factor for achieving sustainable development. This nexus is a central element of the Danish campaign to become a member of the UN Human Rights Council for the period 2019-2022. Our engagement in the Council will focus on the interlinkages between human rights and sustainable development, guaranteeing people their fundamental human rights and freedoms, as a way to empower them to create the life they want for themselves and their family. The SDGs have brought about a new synergy that will bring progress on both accounts. We will do our part as a member of the Council. Partnerships are the heart of the new Danish strategy and the thread through our four areas of strategic focus.


Our first area of strategic focus is security and stability. Without security and stability – no development. With the new strategy Denmark has also become the first donor country to launch a joint strategy for development cooperation and humanitarian action. As conflicts and fragility tends to grow in scale, impact and time, a new international approach is required to strengthen the coherence between peace building, humanitarian action and development cooperation. We need to dismantle barriers between immediate humanitarian assistance and more long term development efforts.Denmark will strengthen the coherence between humanitarian responses and development cooperation. We must always meet immediate needs, but also to a much greater extent adapt long-term approaches from the outset. Victims of war, armed conflict and natural disasters must be given the opportunity for a safe and dignified life without being dependent on humanitarian assistance – also when it is not possible to return home. And we must do what we can to prevent conflict, help resolve it once occurred and get fragile countries back on track towards peace and development. As the CEO for the World Bank, Kristalina Georgieva, very timely put it at a debate on Syrian refugees last week. “If we want to avoid refugees, we must avoid conflict. The Best Way to do that is development”.


Our second area of strategic focus is migration. Migration is one of the 21st century’s biggest challenges and will continue to be so, not least due to the world’s demographic development. By 2030 the world’s population is expected to grow to 8.5 billion people. In Africa alone the population is expected to grow by more than 40 percent by 2030. Compare that to an average economic growth of less than 3 pct. per year. That is simply insufficient to sustain the growing population. One of the first travels I went on after becoming Minister for Development Cooperation - this time around - was to Niger - a longstanding Danish partner going back to the 1970’s. I visited a center for migrants who had tried their luck through the dessert, had given up and now wanted to return home. There were 400 men and I had the opportunity to talk to some of them. The men I spoke to had one thing in common, they would rather have stayed in their home country, but they were forced to migrate out of desperation and in the pursuit of a better life. The visit clearly illustrated the complexity we face in addressing irregular migration. Our engagement must be based on a comprehensive approach. We must ground our efforts in genuine partnerships with the countries of origin and transit. It is a joint responsibility to ensure increased local ownership and coordination on the ground. We will continue to support local authorities in their efforts to counter human trafficking and smuggling. Assisting partner countries in enhancing the management of migration also includes a strengthened return and readmission policy with both positive and negative incentives. But first and foremost we must counter the root causes. The lack of prospects for the future and equal opportunities for children and young people are among the primary reasons why families migrate. This requires investing massively and rapidly in creating employment opportunities, gender equality, education and the advancement of sexual and reproductive health and rights for women and girls. To create hope for a better future for people where they live. This applies not least for the many young people. In a country like Niger, 50 pct. of the population is under 15 years of age and many of them face unemployment.


This leads me to the third area of strategic focus in the strategy. Inclusive growth and job-creation. If we are to reach the potential of the large generation of youth, we need jobs and inclusive growth. The world is home to the largest generation of young people ever. An estimated 1.8 billion young people - of which more than three in four are living in developing countries. The largest youth generation ever also represents the greatest opportunity for development ever. However, this will not happen by itself. The opportunity must be seized. Denmark will aim to ensure that our development cooperation is not only for young people, but also with and by young people.Young people represent an enormous potential as agents of change, as committed citizens and not least as great innovators and entrepreneurs. Denmark is committed to seizing this potential to the benefit of the young, their countries and the world as a whole.


Last but definitely not least. Our fourth area of strategic focus is on human rights and equal opportunities. This is an area that is particularly close to my heart. It is simply wrong that half of the population in many developing countries don’t enjoy basic human rights. Fighting for women’s rights is not only right. It’s also rational. Studies show that we can increase global GDP by 25% if girls and women enjoyed the same rights as boys and men. Denmark will continue to be at the forefront, fighting for gender equality and women’s rights including as a strong global advocate of sexual and reproductive health and rights.Girls and young women can only make use of their full potential if we eliminate all forms of discrimination, violence and harmful practices against them. They must be able to exercise their right to have control over their own bodies.It goes without saying, that a young woman, who cannot control if and when she has children, is seriously hindered in completing an education, maintaining decent work or starting an enterprise. I was recently in Kenya where I visited the Kakuma refugee camp. I was glad to visit the school where refugee children are pursuing an education. However, I was very sad to see that even though overall enrollment is improving, enrollment for girls significantly falls as they progress through school and by 8th grade, only 26 out of more than 300 girls were still in school. This shows that even though we have come far, we still have a long way to go to reach equality and to unlock the potential for girls and young women.


A lot of progress has been made since I held the office of Minister for Development Cooperation the first time. But many challenges remain and new global challenges have surfaced. If we are to ensure that Danish development cooperation remains among the very best and delivers the necessary results, it requires innovative thinking. With Denmark’s new strategy on development cooperation and humanitarian action we have taken a first vital step towards addressing these challenges and securing the necessary long-term political platform going forward - towards “The World 2030”. Once again thank you for attending todays briefing. I look forward to cooperating with you and the countries you represent on implementing the new strategy.


I am happy to take questions – so please feel free.