Blog | Vlaďka Jelínková

False promises

Czech Republic won't achieve its goal to give 0.17% of GDP to development aid in 2010. However it's not the only one European country that will brake its promise.

It’s more than clear that most of the EU countries won’t be able to reach the objective they set themselves at the G8 summit in Gleneagles in 2005: raise aid budgets to 0.56% of GNP by 2010 and 0.7% by 2015 (for „new“ EU members, among them also the Czech Republic, the limits are set to 0.17% of GDP in 2010 and 0,33% in 2015). There are only four EU countries that have reached this aim already in year 2009: Sweden and Norway with more than one procent of GNP and Luxemburg and Denmark. Other ones are far behind (France 0.46, Germany 0.35 and Italy only 0.16%).

„Development aid is one of our priorities. The commitment is still ahead of us and it’s right that with this tempo we probably won’t be able to reach it,“ admits Karin Bartošová from the Czech Ministry of foreign affairs while commenting the fact that the Czech Republic assigned to development aid in 2009 0,12% of GDP and also this year won’t reach the 0,17 limit set for 2010.

One could explain this neglecting of promises with the unexpected economic crisis, but such pledge has been actually made already long before 2005. For the first time it was adopted in 1970 in a General Assembly Resolution of the United Nations. Then again in March 2002 at a UN Conference in Monterrey, Mexico. So it seems that we have mouths fulls of promises, but action is far behind the words.


„Unfortunatelly we cannot force the states to keep their promises,“ says Ray. There is no binding legislation on development assistance funding. Therefore the states can talk and talk and the only thing that might harm them if they break their pledge, is that they will be marked red in statistcs. But does anyone really care about it? Since such statistics haven’t brought anything new for 35 years? And that’s when we are optimists and expect that someone will read those statistics. Most of the people don’t even now about them.

So in the nearest future the content of the 21. article of the Lisbon Treaty will probably continue to sound as nice ideals that haven’t been put in praxis yet:  „The Union shall foster the sustainable economic, social and environmental development of developing countries, with the primary aim of eradicating poverty“