EU Development Ministers (Informal Meeting)

International Development written statement – made on 8th March 2007.

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Photo of Hilary Benn Hilary Benn The Secretary of State for International Development

I shall be representing the UK at the EU Development Ministers' informal meeting in Bonn on 12-13 March 2007.

The agenda items are as follows:

Monday 12 March

Over dinner Development Ministers will discuss the issues around "Investing in Africa" and "Reconstruction in the Great Lakes Region". World Bank President Paul Wolfowitz and Dr. Michael Otto (Chairman of the Board of the Otto Group and founder of the "Cotton made in Africa" initiative) will attend as guest speakers to share their experience of investing in Africa. President Joseph Kabila of the Democratic Republic of Congo and Roland van der Geer, EU Special Representative for the Great Lakes, have been invited to discuss the political, economic and social challenges presented by the reconstruction in the Great Lakes Region.

Tuesday 13 March

Energy and development:

Energy and development is one of the priorities for the German EU Presidency. Discussion will be focused around Presidency paper questions on how the EU and African partners can work together on energy security and access to energy, as well as on mitigating the negative effects of climate change.

Division of labour (Aid Effectiveness):

This discussion follows-up agreement at the October 2006 GAERC. In their discussion paper the Presidency have asked three questions around how to start implementing the operational guidelines and how to better balance the geographical focus of EU donors' development work.

UN Reform

Development Ministers will discuss reform of the United Nations development institutions over lunch. UN Deputy Secretary General Asha-Rose Migiro has been invited as guest speaker for the session.

Economic Partnership Agreements (EPAs):

Negotiations on Economic Partnership Agreements with Africa, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) countries are due to be completed during 2007. There will be an EU Development Ministers session on EPAs in the morning in preparation for a joint EU-ACP Ministers discussion in the afternoon. Approximately thirty ACP Ministers are expected to attend. The sessions will focus on how to ensure the Agreements are development-friendly and EPA-related support for ACP countries.