Press Release: Greek debt crisis is proof that a strong and binding agreement at the Financing for Development Summit is crucial to avoid similar economic catastrophes

14 july 2015


The Irish Association of Non-Governmental Development Organisations


14 July 2015

Greek debt crisis is proof that a strong and binding agreement at the Financing for Development Summit is crucial to avoid similar economic catastrophes

The Greek debt crisis has shown that debt is a real obstacle for governments and for economic development. Unfortunately, Greece is not the only country struggling with debt and in need of financial assistance. While a deal has been brokered for a Greek bailout, a crucial summit in Addis Ababa struggles to agree a critical deal for global development.

The Addis Ababa Action Agenda seeks to reach agreement at a global level for financing a new development framework which will support the Sustainable Development Goals – an ambitious and universal plan to end hunger, extreme poverty and climate chaos by 2030.

Speaking from the summit in Addis Ababa, Hans Zomer, Director of Dóchas, the Irish umbrella group of Non-Governmental Development Organisations, said, "the Greek debt crisis has shown that the fate of one country is completely linked to other societies and that decisions far away affect citizens everywhere. And it has also shown that we need to ensure social and political considerations, not book-keeping ones, determine our common future."

"The Addis Ababa summit is trying to ensure Governments of the world agree on the principles that should determine how the international community deals with global finance.

"In Greece, we see the effects of fire fighting, of coming down to the wire; in Addis, we have the opportunity to plan ahead and build solid foundations around the world. Through Addis we can avoid other Greek style economic catastrophes and build the infrastructure needed to channel investment in an equitable and just world."

"So far, however, it would seem that this ‘is an action agenda without action.' Too many of the statements in the draft negotiation text are left open, without clear deadlines, responsibilities and follow-up mechanisms."

Zomer says that "in order to achieve real and effective change, there needs to be binding agreements and accountability on the issues of overseas aid, tax injustice and private sector compliance. Without clear accountability for governments and private sector investors there is no solid assurance that this programme can be delivered to the highest quality standards, within the timeframe of fifteen years. At present, the most important way for the Irish government to contribute to this process is to fulfil its commitment to spend 0.7% of GNP on overseas aid and to formulate a credible plan and timeline to achieve this."

Zomer continues, "We have seen the effects of the Greek debt crisis on the world markets and on economic stability in the region. At the same time, we have seen the migrant crisis in the Mediterranean continue to unfold. Therefore, there has never been a more pertinent time to invest in long term sustainability, stability and security. Never has there been more proof that we need to invest in the building of strong, educated and self-reliant communities and economies North and South of the Equator which will create a more viable and productive economic structure for the world."


Hans Zomer, Director of Dóchas, the umbrella group of Irish Development Organisations, available for interview live from Addis Ababa

Media Contact                                                                                                                                                                     

To arrange interviews or for more information contact: Naomi Linehan, Media Officer for Dóchas and the European Year for Development: 01 405 3801/ 086 1077079

Notes to the Editor