EU Directors-General for development cooperation on Afghanistan and Ukraine
Acting Director-General of the Directorate for Development Cooperation and Humanitarian Aid Edvin Skrt participated in the meeting of EU Directors-General for development cooperation, which took place within the framework of the Swedish Presidency of the Council of the EU.
Discussions focused on Afghanistan, Global Gateway strategy implementation, and Ukraine. The senior officials also talked about the reform of multilateral development banks and the corruption that hinders development in partner countries.
As part of the discussion on Afghanistan, the Directors-General exchanged views on the situation in the country and ways to support the Afghan people in the long term and in accordance with the principles of non-discrimination. The country has long faced a very difficult humanitarian situation, with extreme poverty and hunger increasing dramatically in recent years. With regard to support for the affected population, Acting Director-General for Development Cooperation and Humanitarian Aid Skrt advocated a principled and pragmatic EU approach. He also reported on the smooth operation of the Kabul Polyclinic run by the ITF Enhancing Human Security foundation and funded by Slovenia. Despite the Taliban decree barring Afghan women from working at NGOs and international organisations, female medical staff are still allowed to carry out their work in the Kabul Polyclinic.
The Directors-General also discussed the reform of the international financial institutions in order to make available additional financial resources in a global crisis to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals and the goals of the Paris climate summit. Acting Director-General Skrt stressed the need for reform, as development aid alone will not be sufficient. He supported the efforts of the Swedish Presidency and the European Commission to formulate a united EU position.
On the implementation of the Global Gateway Strategy, the Directors-General discussed the possibility of organising joint missions in the next 6 to 12 months, the list of "flagship" projects for 2024 and how to bring together all segments of governments to implement the Global Gateway strategy, including efforts to involve the private sector. Slovenia participates in the D4D Hub flagship project for digitalisation in Latin America and Africa.
On Ukraine, the first part of the meeting focused on the implementation of the EU Action Plan on the geopolitical consequences of Russia's invasion of Ukraine on third countries. The second part addressed the support for the reconstruction of Ukraine, with Acting Director-General Skrt welcoming the implementation of the Action Plan and underlining the need to increase EU engagement in Africa, particularly on food security. Effective coordination of all donors, including within the EU, is crucial for the reconstruction of Ukraine. Slovenia is planning to be involved in the areas of demining and rehabilitation.