The Green Party stands for a large and effective aid where the resources benefit the most vulnerable people. International development cooperation is vital, at the same time as the work for a sustainable world cannot and should not depend on development aid. All parts of society must deliver if we are to succeed, writes the Green Party's spokesperson Isabella Lövin.
We live in a dramatic time. In many parts of the world, the most fundamental values and human rights are challenged by conservative forces. The number of women and men, girls and boys affected by disasters is increasing every year. The protracted conflicts in Syria, Afghanistan, Yemen, Myanmar and the Horn of Africa, among others, are the main reason for this. At the same time, climate change is here to stay. The earth has a fever and the sea ice is melting. Extreme weather events always hit those with the least resources the hardest.
We must have a solidary distribution of resources
International development cooperation is vital and I am proud that I presented the largest development assistance budget ever in Sweden last year. The 1% target is important for several reasons. Many countries are reducing their aid, despite the fact that both conflicts and humanitarian needs have increased in recent years. I believe that we must have a solidary distribution of resources around the world.
The Green Party stands up for effective aid. This means that the resources benefit the most vulnerable people by Sweden supporting developing countries as much as possible to take responsibility for their own development.
Everything is connected. In a sustainable society, the social, economic and environmental aspects are woven together. Working with the Global Goals is a high priority. There are twelve years left until we together - the world - should have achieved Agenda 2030. It is a short time, and we have a great deal of work ahead of us that cannot or should not be dependent on development aid. The entire economic system, civil society, local communities, companies and politics must deliver if we are to have the slightest chance of success. And we must succeed.
"Women's right and opportunity to participate in the rooms where decisions are made is the highest priority"
Oppression, discrimination and sexual violence against women and girls occur all over the world. We also see setbacks for women's rights activists, not least with the shrinking democratic space. We will continue to stand up for freedom of expression, for those who defend human rights and for dissent and pluralism in civil society. We will continue to defend everyone's right to their own body and sexuality. Women's right and opportunity to participate in the rooms where decisions are made is the highest priority. As Minister for International Development Cooperation, I have, among other things, increased support for sexual and reproductive health and developed a new global strategy for gender equality in development cooperation with a focus on, among other things, support for women's organizations.
Today we see that poverty is concentrated in failing and conflict-ridden countries. The conflicts are also more protracted than before. The work for peace is about resolving the conflicts that are going on - but also about the long-term and preventive work so that the conflicts will not be able to take root. In that work, it is necessary to counteract climate change and the lack of resources that a changed climate provides. It is not only at home that the extreme weather has had severe effects on, for example, agriculture and animal husbandry. Where resistance to extreme weather events and weeds is weak, society as a whole is affected. Without a job, food or shelter, the young generation is an easy prey for extremist movements. Many are forced to flee their homes.
Aid crowns do the most good where they are needed most
In order to seriously address the root causes of poverty and conflict, a holistic approach to both humanitarian and long-term efforts is needed. And they need to be better coordinated. Here, the UN has an important role to play. In addition, multilateral and international cooperation is needed as a counterforce to the protectionist and nationalist currents that affect the entire world community. Sweden is a major donor to the UN. This means that we also have the opportunity to influence how the UN agencies are to prioritize.
We demand that the UN, the institutions and the member states prioritize and coordinate better. We work actively for more efficient, transparent and inclusive humanitarian aid, including within the framework of the Grand Bargainwhere Sweden leads the discussions on increased non-earmarked humanitarian support. Coordination and preparedness are in place and each development assistance crown can do more good where it is needed most.
I am proud that Sweden stands up for the effectiveness and integrity of development assistance, with a clear mind about sustainable results, at a time when many countries are pushing to erode the definition of development assistance so that resources can be sprinkled on other policy areas. We have a large and strong development assistance budget. With wisdom and competence, that money should be used well and give sustainable results. We are supported by Agenda 2030 and the policy for global development, PGU. We must never forget our vision of a peaceful and sustainable world. That is the goal of our international development cooperation.