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Developing Countries: Children

Volume 477: debated on Thursday 19 June 2008

To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what steps his Department plans to take to support progress on Millennium Development Goals 4 and 5, relating to child mortality and maternal health, at the June European Council. (211885)

In response to UK lobbying, the EU agreed at the recent General Affairs and External Relations Council (GAERC) to prepare an EU “Agenda for Action” on the MDGs for the June European Council. The UK has been working hard to secure an ambitious document with specific targets, milestones and financial commitments in key areas including health. This agenda is now nearing finalisation and the current text includes several EU targets on maternal health and child mortality, including ensuring 21 million more births are attended by skilled personnel by 2010.

We will be urging EU member states to endorse the Agenda for Action at the June European Council, and for this to be reflected in the Council Conclusions. By setting a high standard at the Council, the EU will create the momentum for other countries to do more at the G8 and UN meetings later this year, particularly the UN Secretary-General's MDG summit in September.