Informal Meeting of European Development Ministers (Montpellier, 6-7 March 2022)

The scale of the humanitarian crisis in Ukraine and neighboring countries, at a time when more than 1.5 million people have already left the country to flee the war, is a cause for concern and full solidarity on the part of the European Development Ministers with the civilian populations affected by the Russian military offensive. The mobilisation for Ukraine and Ukrainians and the need for a more geopolitical development policy dominated the meeting of the Foreign Affairs Council in its Development format on Monday 7 March in Montpellier.

The Μinisters discussed the geopolitical dimension of EU assistance, and agreed that development policy requires “clarity, unity, firmness, and credibility”. The Ministers also discussed the strategic orientations and the implementation of EU’s international development cooperation policy and Europe’s contribution to the aftermath of the two landmark events, the EU-AU Summit and the Indo-Pacific Cooperation Forum.

During the working lunch, the discussion focused on the fight against climate change, the prevention of pandemics, access to water and the development of sustainable food systems, particularly through agricultural research and development in order to reach the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Particular emphasis was placed on the need to address biodiversity loss and its relationship to climate change mitigation. The continuation of green policies in EU external action, as well as the doubling of external funding related to biodiversity protection, was agreed upon. There are currently 25 national initiatives (Team Europe Initiatives/ TEIs) and several more regional ones such as “NaturAfrica” and the “Great Green Wall” that deal specifically with biodiversity.

At the meeting, Greece was represented by the Ambassador of Greece in Paris, Mrs. Aglaia Balta.