The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), the European Commission and the NGOs from New member states (NMS) joined their efforts to raise public awareness in the new European donor countries by organizing parliamentary debates on development cooperation and Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) in each of the 12 new member states (Bulgaria, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Malta, Poland, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia). The project was funded by the European Commission and implemented by UNDP - UNDP Bratislava Regional Centre and UNDP Country Office in Poland.
In total, the 12 new EU members contributed to global development assistance with approximately 500 million Euro last year. They have committed to increase significantly their official development assistance to 0.17 % of their gross national income by 2010, which combined should exceed EUR 1 billion.
The issue of raising public awareness of development is one of the biggest challenges in becoming a donor country. The debates had primary objectives of mobilizing public attention and national media coverage of development/MDGs topics (including MDGs mid-point assessment), and the participation of Members of Parliaments (MPs) and decision-makers in discussing development cooperation.
Over a hundred MPs from European and national parliaments and over 700 experts, politicians, ambassadors, government officials and NGO representatives participated in the debates and in some countries this was the first time that officials and politicians debated on the topic of development cooperation. The events took place around the International Day for the Eradication of Poverty (October 17) between October 15 and 22 in all capitals of the 12 new member states. Through these events, the NMS were preparing their contributions to the European Development Days 2007 held in Lisbon on November 7-9.
Find separate articles on the MDG debates in Bulgaria and Romania in this TIS issue (see "News from NGDO platforms").
Read more on the actions which took place in the NMS at the following links:
http://europeandcis.undp.org/mdgdebates/search?a=1537&type=event (short records on the debates in each NMS)
http://europeandcis.undp.org/mdgdebates/show/F0A8D982-F203-1EE9-B6FEDBCC86D6784F (list of partner NGOs in the NMS)
Press releases from UNDP on the end and the onset of the campaign:
UNDP also published a DVD containing the record of the debates.
Information provided by Jan Szczycinski, UNDP Poland