Romania became a Member State of the European Union on 1 January 2007, within the established timetable, thus completing a process initiated in the mid 90's.
Romania's accession, together with the accession of Bulgaria, on 1 January 2007, concluded the fifth wave of enlargement of the Union, which had started on 1 May 2004 with the accession of eight Central and Eastern European countries, as well as Cyprus and Malta.
Regional cooperation represents a major pillar of the Romanian diplomacy.
Past experiences proved that many political, economical, cultural and security issues could be better approached and solved in a relatively homogenous framework provided, inter alia, by regional cooperation formats and initiatives, which ensure a certain cohesion, coherent dialogue and a common development experience. To this end, regional cooperation provides the proper framework for establishing cooperation mechanisms that contribute to the improvement of regional, continental and international security.
Both on the level of concepts and politics as well as on the level of specific actions of the Romanian Government's foreign policy, there is a strengthened complementarity between the regional demarches and the aspirations towards European and Euro-Atlantic integration of the countries in the Western Balkans region. Overall, cooperation and regional interdependence are useful exercises with a view to promoting the common European and Euro-Atlantic interests and pursuits.
The financial effort and the political commitment associated to developing regional cooperation instruments enhance their credibility and contribute to building common approaches and consolidating common confidence among the participants.
Democracy support is a topic of global interest. The 2005 World Summit Outcome reaffirmed that democracy is a universal value that does not belong to any one country or region, based on "the freely expressed will of the people to determine their own political, economic, social and cultural systems and their full participation in all aspects of their lives".
In December 2019, Romania celebrated thirty years from the 1989 Revolution, which marked our country's return to democracy, rule of law and full individual liberties. In this context, mention should be made also, among other activities and contributions of Romania in the multilateral field, of our dynamic and well regarded participation in cooperation and assistance initiatives such as the Community of Democracies and the Warsaw Process to Promote a Future of Peace and Security in the Middle East. The latter, initiated by the United States and Poland, includes working groups whose agenda is connected to aspects pertaining to the extended concept of democracy, such as those on human rights, humanitarian issues and cybersecurity.
Democracy support and the UN
The UN General Assembly agenda included, as an item to be debated biennially, the Support by the UN system of the efforts of Governments to promote and consolidate new or restored democracies. The resolutions adopted under this item have been stating that democracy is a universal value and that, while democracies share common features, there is no single model of democracy which belongs to a single country or region; the activities of the United Nations carried out in support of efforts of Governments to promote and consolidate democracy are undertaken in accordance with the Charter and only at the specific request of the Member States concerned.
In 2005 the UN Democracy Fund (UNDEF) has been established, whose main objective is to support processes of democratization worldwide. (Link: http://www.un.org/democracyfund/)
The UN supports and contributes to the International Conferences of New or Restored Democracies (ICNRD), a process launched in 1988 with the aim of supporting, in countries of all continents, the efforts to rebuild or strengthen democracy.
The Community of Democracies (CD) is another major global initiative in this field, launched in June 2000 by the organization, in Warsaw, of the first edition of the Ministerial Conference of the CD; (http://www.community-democracies.org/)
Starting with 2008, every year, the International Day of Democracy has been celebrated on 15 September, according to the provisions of Resolution 62/7 of the UN General Assembly.
Romania and democracy support
During 2000 - 2015 Romania has initiated a series of resolutions on democracy, rule of law and human rights in the UN General Assembly, former Human Rights Commission and Human Rights Council.
Romania has initiated, together with other member states, resolution 19/36 (2012) and 28/14 (2015), adopted by the Human Rights Council.
Resolution 19/36 (2012) reaffirms the intrinsic link between democracy, rule of law and respect for human rights, the importance of social cohesion in the democratization processes and the role of regional, subregional and international organizations in promoting the rule of law and building a democratic society.
The most important result of the two resolutions is the newly established Forum for Human Rights, Democracy and Rule of Law, a biannual platform for promoting dialogue and cooperation on issues pertaining to the relationship between the three areas, aiming at identifying and analysing best practices, challenges and opportunities for states in their efforts to secure respect for human rights, democracy and the rule of law. The first session`s main theme (Geneva, 21-22 November 2016) is: Widening the democratic space; the role of youth in public decision-making".
2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development
In September 2015, Romania joined the leaders of the 193 members of the United Nations, at the Summit on Sustainable Development, in adopting the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, a universal program for global action on development that promotes the balance between the three dimensions of sustainable development - economic, social and environmental. For the first time, actions are addressed to developed and developing countries alike.
Central to the 2030 Agenda are to be found the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), also known as the Global Objectives. The Global Objectives set an ambitious action agenda for the next 15 years to eradicate extreme poverty, combating inequality and injustice and protecting the planet until 2030.
1. No Poverty - End poverty in all its forms everywhere.
2. Zero Hunger - End hunger, achieve food security and improved nutrition and promote sustainable agriculture.
3. Good Health and Well-Being - Ensure healthy lives and promote well-being for all at all ages.
4. Quality Education - Ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all.
5. Gender Equality - Ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all.
6. Clean Water and Sanitation - Ensure availability and sustainable management of water and sanitation for all.
7. Affordable and Clean Energy - Ensure access to affordable, reliable, sustainable and modern energy for all.
8. Decent Work and Economic Growth - Promote sustained, inclusive and sustainable economic growth, full and productive employment and decent work for all.
9. Industry, Innovation and Infrastructure - Build resilient infrastructure, promote inclusive and sustainable industrialization and foster innovation.
10. Reduced Inequalities - Reduce inequality within and among countries.
11. Sustainable Cities and Communities - Make cities and human settlements inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable.
12. Responsible Consumption and Production - Ensure sustainable consumption and production patterns.
13. Climate Action - Take urgent action to combat climate change and its impacts.
14. Life Below Water - Conserve and sustainably use the oceans, seas and marine resources for sustainable development.
15. Life on Land - Protect, restore and promote sustainable use of terrestrial ecosystems, sustainably manage forests, combat desertification, and halt and reverse land degradation and halt biodiversity loss.
16. Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions - Promote peaceful and inclusive societies for sustainable development, provide access to justice for all and build effective, accountable and inclusive institutions at all levels.
17. Partnerships for the Goals - Strengthen the means of implementation and revitalize the global partnership for sustainable development.
The SDGs concept was born at the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development (Rio + 20) in 2012. The SDGs replace the eight Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) contained in the Millennium Declaration, which was adopted at the UN in September 2000. Countries of the world, including Romania, stood united around a commitment to reduce global poverty and save millions of lives. The Millennium Declaration was during 2000-2015 single global development agenda over which there was agreement at the highest level and that included specific targets:
1. Eradicate extreme poverty and hunger
2. Achieve universal primary education
3. Promote gender equality and empower women
4. Reduce child mortality
5. Improve maternal health
6. Combat HIV / AIDS, malaria and other diseases
7. Ensure environmental sustainability
8. Develop a global partnership for development
The MDGs made an important contribution by raising public awareness, increasing political will and mobilizing resources for the fight against global poverty. The MDGs helped focus the action, led to policy reform by incorporating development objectives and targets into national strategies and creating institutions to implement these plans effectively. For example, extreme poverty at global level was halved, the target of halving the proportion of people who lack access to improved sources of water was met, ninety percent of the children in developing states now have access to primary education and far more girls have access to education as compared to 2000.
Positive results were however not equally distributed. Since 2008, progress made had been negatively influenced by the financial and economic crisis. The weakest progress was made by countries emerging from conflict and fragile states engaged in stabilization and reconstruction, where the lack of institutional capacity negatively influenced their ability to reach the goals.
Sustainable Development Goals should complete the agenda started by the Millennium Development Goals, and leave no one behind.
Romania and the Sustainable Development Goals
Romania attaches great importance to the United Nations, an organization with a universal vocation, which is the largest multilateral framework for addressing major global issues, including long-term development objectives.
For Romania, the Millennium Development Goals represented a complementary tool to mobilize internal action in support of economic and social development.
The 2030 Agenda goes beyond the Millennium Development Goals, keeping issues on the agenda such as poverty eradication, education and health and addressing new ones such as peaceful and inclusive societies. All countries must ensure that appropriate policies are prepared to implement this 2030 Agenda. Countries should promote inclusive and effective institutions and elaborate policies based on the rule of law, human rights, women's rights, gender equality and the increased involvement of women.
Romania fully supports the idea that the 2030 Agenda must be implemented by local institutions, responding directly to citizens' needs. Their needs, interests and concerns must be addressed by formulating local and national development strategies.
Romania is committed to implement the Sustainable Development Goals at national level and reviewed the National Strategy for Sustainable Development to integrate the Sustainable Development Goals. Social exclusion is identified as a major challenge to implementing the Goals. The Romanian revised Strategy will focus on supporting the inclusion in development policies of persons with disabilities, the youth and women. Eradicating poverty requires decent employment opportunities, and preventing and eradicating social exclusion requires social cohesion policies.
As a member of the European Union, Romania contributes to the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals not only at national level, but also at international level through the support it provides to developing countries through the official development assistance. The experience gained by Romania in the transition process could be shared with countries interested to benefit from such support.
Development cooperation policy and humanitarian aid
Romania became a donor of development assistance in 2007, after joining the European Union. The Official Development Assistance (ODA) or development cooperation and humanitarian aid is complementary to Romania's foreign policy and trade relations. Romania provides development assistance to the states mentioned in the OECD/Development Assistance Committee's list of ODA recipient countries, both through its own policy and through the EU's policy and financial efforts in this field.
Romania's international commitments
Romania ranks its development cooperation efforts in the broader context of contributing to the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals. In this context, Romania has joined multilateral commitments in the following areas: financing for development (Monterrey Consensus, Doha Declaration, Addis Ababa Action Agenda), enhancing the effectiveness of development cooperation and humanitarian aid (the Paris Declaration, the Accra Agenda for Action and the Busan Partnership on effective Development Cooperation, the Declaration on effectiveness of humanitarian aid adopted at the Global Humanitarian Summit), disaster risk reduction (Sendai Conference) and climate change (Paris Agreement - December 2015).
As an EU Member State, Romania aims to implement the commitments made by Member States under the New European Consensus on Development (2017), the 2018-2021 EU Gender Action Plan and the Agenda for Change (2011). The new European Consensus on Development is the main EU reference framework for development cooperation, directly correlated with the implementation of the 2030 Agenda and its Sustainable Development Goals. Romania is aligned with the common vision and is dedicated to implementing the commitments made to eradicate poverty and achieve sustainable development.
Romania's objectives in the field of development cooperation and humanitarian aid
Romania's overall strategic objective, based on international commitments in development cooperation, is to contribute to the eradication of extreme poverty by promoting security and prosperity, through effective partnerships with the beneficiary countries, in order to support their own development goals. Romania's partner states benefiting from Official Development Assistance are those from the following categories: Least Developed Countries, Other Low-Income Countries, Lower Middle Income Countries and Upper Middle Income Countries, as mentioned in the OECD/DAC list of ODA recipient countries.
Key aspects promoted by Romania: supporting the transition processes toward EU and NATO values, governance based on these values, education, social development, adaptation to climate change, water and security, post-conflict reconstruction, peace and security, resilience. Romania considers that this approach towards development cooperation offers advantages, both to the beneficiary and to the donor country, by creating partnerships for joint collaboration and development. More attention will be given to strengthening the link between ODA implementation and economic diplomacy.
At the national level, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) is the institution responsible with the coordination and management of the development cooperation and humanitarian aid policy. In this context, the MFA aims to promote Romania's international donor profile by financial, human and technical involvement in assisting partner countries, in the political, economic and social reform processes.
The Romanian Agency for International Development Cooperation - RoAid is the national institutional mechanism dedicated to Official Development Assistance, regulated by Law no.213/2016, under the coordination of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. More information is available at http://roaid.ro/en/2382-2/.
Within the MFA, the Development and Humanitarian Policies Unit manages the development cooperation and humanitarian aid policy. The Unit operates within the Department for Inter-Institutional Relations and Projects, under the coordination of the State Secretary for inter-institutional relations.
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