The Right to a Better Life: Strategy for Denmark’s Development Cooperation, June 2012
Poverty must be fought with human rights and economic growth. This is the strong message from the strategy for Denmark’s development cooperation: The Right to a Better Life.
Universal and fundamental human rights serve as a powerful means of redistribution. By securing all people the right to food, all children the right to go to school and all persons affected by disease the right to essential treatment, prosperity and welfare are distributed much more broadly. By promoting women’s rights and protecting people’s right to express and organise themselves as well as take part in developing their own societies, power and influence are distributed to many more.
Major changes stem first and foremost from local populations, created as they are from the inside and from the bottom up. We need the courage to fight for the full range of human rights, but also to set priorities and allow the countries’ own plans and policies to take centre stage. We must let the world’s poor people spearhead the fight against poverty.
At the same time, there must be more to share. Fighting poverty requires years of solid economic growth. As natural resources become scarcer and our planet ever more fragile, new forms of sustainable growth are required. Therefore, inclusive and green growth is at the very heart of the new strategy. This will help create jobs for the millions of young people who declare themselves ready to make a contribution every year. They deserve to get their chance.
The good news is that growth is on the way. A number of poor countries, including many of the countries with whom Denmark has long-established cooperation, are recording high growth rates. They build upon an increasingly solid foundation of education, health, infrastructure, and good governance. This creates results. New forms of financing are emerging.
Development cooperation is increasingly serving as a catalyst for trade, investments, higher tax revenues and new sources of financing. New partnerships are flourishing everywhere.
The strategy is ambitious and full of optimism. It can be achieved. Much is happening. However, the strategy is also realistic. In many places, there is a long way to go. There are fragile and failed states where hope and optimism are in short supply. Countries where people – women, men and children – are faced with extreme poverty and brutal oppression. This is unacceptable and something we must address.
When development cooperation succeeds, it benefits those millions of people who have the right to a better a life, yet are still only dreaming of it. It is, however, also in our own interest. Denmark’s development cooperation is an investment – in peace and fewer refugees, in combating crime, degradation of our natural resources and climate change, and an investment in growth, employment and new opportunities in Denmark and in Europe. It is an investment in global influence. This we must acknowledge and stand by. It is, however, first and foremost an investment in a more just world. In the right to a better life.
To the numerous people who contributed to the strategy, thank you!
Christian Friis Bach, Minister for Development Cooperation