France’s development policy is part of a renewed framework which combines the fight against poverty and the three aspects of sustainable development: economic, social and environmental. This definition was subject to extensive discussions with all French development actors. It helps to further France’s cultural, diplomatic and economic influence and places special emphasis on the Francophonie.
French cooperation policy aims to address four mutually-supportive issues, whose controlled development is important both to France and its partners:
- Promoting peace, stability, human rights and gender equality
- Equity, social justice and human development;
- Sustainable, job-rich economic development
- Protecting the environment and global public goods
The Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) helped to mobilize the international community towards universal access to a series of essential social services: food, education, health, drinking water, sanitation, decent housing. Major progress has been made, mostly due to the economic growth of the countries themselves but also as a result of support from the international community. However, we still have to find ways and means of achieving widespread and sustainable progress as many challenges remain.
France recalls the importance of building human capital in the development process and the central aspect of well-being and the rights of individuals within the development objectives.
France places economic development at the core of its international solidarity policy and believes that improving infrastructure in the water, energy and transport sectors in particular is an essential tool, as is strengthening regional integration and developing the private sector, particularly SMEs-SMIs and medium-sized firms, firms from the social and solidarity economy (including associations and cooperatives) as well as an efficient and universally-inclusive financial sector.
Green and inclusive growth remains a vital driver for social progress, especially in developing countries. The key is to promote high-quality, job-creating growth based on the right balance between physical, human and natural capital and which does not result in social or ecological dumping. Development policy must therefore encourage the convergence of economic, social and environmental standards, which helps to improve living conditions in developing countries and maintains the economic fabric of countries which already have good social and environmental standards.
The major contemporary collective issues include limiting global warming to 2°C above pre-industrial levels to prevent serious climate disruption, combating the erosion of biodiversity, ensuring the protection of natural environments and terrestrial and marine ecosystems, improving protection against health and environmental risks, preventing the emergence and spread of contagious diseases and improving global financial stability. Today, neither the markets nor States are doing enough to protect these global public goods. The investments required to protect them do not solely benefit the investors and do not necessarily yield any commercial profits. It is thus up to the international community to provide governance and innovative financing solutions.
Freedom and the protection of individuals, as well as the long-term economic and social development of partner countries, can only be achieved by an approach based on recognizing rights and strengthening the rule of law. This is particularly important to France.