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Revising the European Consensus on Development



Introduction: Do not give up on the EU

Discussion of development cooperation in the UK since the Brexit Referendum on 23 June has focused mainly on the implications - opportunities, challenges – for the UK. There has been less discussion of the implications of Brexit for the EU. Yet, as I wrote back in July, ‘the EU will be different: a smaller aid programme, a shrunken market, reduced security assets, smaller diplomatic footprint. Will EU development cooperation necessarily become more African and neighbourhood-focused, for example? Will it have to spend more on humanitarian assistance? These are important questions for the new European Consensus on Development (consultation  open until 21 August) and for the review of financial instruments in 2017.’

Is it legitimate for me, as a UK citizen, to have a view? Absolutely. As a global citizen, as a development specialist, and also as a British national: we are, after all, still members of the EU, and likely to remain so for several years. The UK, and its Government, have a strong national interest in seeing a well-focused and successful EUEuropean Union development programme. Influence may wane, but we can hope the power of ideas will triumph. I really hope the UK development community (official and non-official) does not give up on the EU.

I suggest below 4 pointers to success in revising the Consensus, viz

  1. Dig deeper than the SDGs to focus on underlying issues
  2. Be clear about the comparative advantage of the EU
  3. Take account of possible Brexit: avoid salami-slicing
  4. The new strategy should be as granular as possible

I also conclude, however, that the new Consensus needs to be written in the real world. There are many uncertainties, not least about Brexit. There will necessarily need to be another revision when the dust clears. The current exercise is not, however, merely a holding operation. It is the opportunity to demonstrate a new way of thinking about international development.

The new EUEuropean Union Global Strategy

Overall context for future EUEuropean Union policy is provided by the new EU Global Strategy, published in June. The Executive Summary is pasted in below (Appendix 1). The overarching themes are about the world being more complex, connected and contested, creating what the document describes as ‘times of existential crisis’. Basing its approach on principles (including being a responsible global stakeholder), the document identifies five priorities: (a) the Security of the Union, (b) state and societal resilience to our East and South, (c) an integrated approach to conflicts, (d) cooperative regional orders, and (e) global governance for the 21st century. There are several references to the Sustainable Development Goals. The Union, the strategy says, needs to be more credible, more responsive and more joined up. ‘We need’, it says, ‘a stronger Europe’.

It is important that the new strategy balances hard and soft security approaches, including reference to meeting the SDGs, in Europe as well as globally. Its emphasis on responsibility and rules is welcome. However, it is disappointing that the Strategy says so little about the comparative advantage of EUEuropean Union institutions, in the world, but also in relation to Member States; and that it does not deal with specifics, like legislation, mandates, procedures, competences, staffing, budgets and accountability. In those respects, it fails the tests I set for it in March. Also, I have to say that the insistence on More Europe reads more like dogma than analysis. What, anyway, does ‘More Europe’ actually mean? More coordination? Or more joint action? We are not told. So, I think there is more work to do as implementation of the strategy begins.

Nevertheless, and despite its limitations, the new Global Strategy provides a service by ticking off the contextual analysis that is needed for all aspects of EUEuropean Union global policy-making, including with respect to the broad field of development cooperation. This should save some time when it comes to the revision of the European Consensus on Development.

Updating the European Consensus on Development

The original, it will be recalled, was agreed in 2006, and updated by a document called Agenda for Change, presented in 2011 and agreed by the Council of Ministers in 2012.  Mikaela Gavas, Sian Herbert and I wrote a commentary on A4C and identified the main differences from the original Consensus. There are a few things to know:

First, the Consensus had two parts, the first setting out principles for the EUEuropean Union as a whole, both the Commission and Member States, the second focusing specifically on the comparative advantage and priorities of the Commission.

Second, both documents had a strong focus on poverty reduction, using the Millennium Development Goals as a framework.

Third, both dealt with policy coherence as well as aid.

Fourth, both emphasised coordination and complementarity as between the Commission and Member States.

Fifth, both talked about development effectiveness, and also the need to focus aid on those most in need, a policy called ‘differentiation’.

Sixth, there were, however, some differences. In our commentary, we identified four main shifts in A4C:

  1. a higher profile for good governance and human rights, linked to greater conditionality;
  2. a higher profile for growth, with a strong focus on leveraging in private sector money;
  3. greater emphasis on the concept of differentiated development partnerships, with new allocation criteria for aid; and
  4. an attempt to boost EU joint work, through joint programming.

We concluded that there was evolution, but in the context of clear strategic consistency.

Now obviously, the context has changed since 2011. This is not least because the SDGs have been agreed. There has also been a series of consensus-building international conferences, on disasters, financing for development, climate change and humanitarian issues. The external context has changed, as detailed in the global strategy. And the EUEuropean Union itself has experienced a decade of turmoil, including the euro and refugee crises. And now, Brexit. A new framing will certainly be needed. For an overview of EUEuropean Union development cooperation, see my brief for IDS.

The Commission’s broad approach is outlined in the consultation document and questions (Appendix 2). Current preoccupations are well reflected, including conflict, inequality, the environment, and the need for measurable indicators of progress. Brexit is not mentioned, however.

This is a worthwhile exercise. However, it seems to me there are some dangers or risks in this exercise, and some pointers to what success might look like.

Pointers to success

Dig deeper than the SDGs to focus on underlying issues

First, the Consensus will need to tell a convincing story about the state of the world and the development ‘project’ – synthesising the complex/connected/contested themes from the global strategy, and focusing on those imperatives which shape the specific field of international development. The European Think Tanks Group has had a good stab at this, and identified four over-arching global challenges that could slow, even reverse, progress towards the SDGs: managing the inequities and instabilities of globalisation; tackling climate change, and dealing with the inevitable reshaping of the world economy that will accompany decarbonisation; building peace, security, and respect for human rights, especially in fragile states; and protecting the investments needed for poverty reduction, including both economic and social aspects.

This is not the place for a disquisition on each of those topics, but note that an analytical approach of the kind proposed is not at all the same as a discourse which begins with the SDGs. One of the biggest risks in drafting a new Consensus is that the various stakeholders in Brussels and Member State capitals take a mechanical approach to implementing the SDGs, ticking them off one by one, and setting targets for EUEuropean Union contributions to e.g. income, education, or health. Such an approach risks focusing on aid spending rather than policy change, but also risks not seeing the wood for the trees. Instead, the Consensus needs to grapple with the deeper causes of poverty and inequality in the world. On previous occasions, I have talked about this analytical process as being akin to archaeology, seeking the hidden chambers at the heart of the pyramids. If those writing the Consensus keep digging, success with respect to the SDGs will follow.

Be clear about the comparative advantage of the EU

Second, an analysis of comparative advantage will be essential in framing both Part 1 and Part 2 of the new Consensus (and, yes, it is worth trying to shape overall EUEuropean Union development cooperation policy (in Part 1), as well as the future efforts of the EUEuropean Union institutions (in Part 2)). The EUEuropean Union and its Member States are actors in a highly complex, multi-donor world, in which all agencies run the risk of tripping over each other. I have written elsewhere about the comparative advantage of aid donors; and this has also been a theme of ODIOverseas Development Institute (London) work on Future Development Agencies. In the case of the EU, the original consensus did talk about comparative advantage, though only in Part 2, dealing with EUEuropean Union institutions. The relevant paragraphs (46-52) are in Appendix 3. The summary (para 46) reads as follows:

‘Within its competences as conferred by the Treaty, the Commission has a wide role in development. Its global presence, its promotion of policy coherence for development, its specific competence and expertise, its right of initiative at community level, its facilitation of coordination and harmonisation as well as its supranational character are of special significance. The Community can be distinguished by its comparative advantage and added value, which enable complementarity with bilateral policies of Member States and other international donors.’

Later paragraphs add other elements, for example size and critical mass (para 51), and experience in democracy promotion (para 53).

Many others have written about the comparative advantage of the EUEuropean Union institutions. For example, in the first report from the European Think Tanks Group, ‘New Challenges, New Beginnings’, in 2010, we talked about values, partnership approaches, economies of scale, and the combination of financial, trade and political instruments.

A4C did not contain a detailed analysis of comparative advantage. However, it did observe (Pg 3) that 

‘The EUEuropean Union is not simply the 28th European donor. While the Commission implements 20% of the collective EUEuropean Union aid effort, it also acts as coordinator, convener and policy-maker. The EUEuropean Union is an economic and trading partner, and its political dialogue, security policy and many other policies - from trade, agriculture and fisheries to environment, climate, energy and migration - have a strong impact on developing countries. It must translate this multi-faceted role into different policy mixes adapted to each partner country. To be fully effective, the EUEuropean Union and its Member States must speak and act as one to achieve better results and to improve EU's visibility.’

So, here is the question. What, in 2016, and looking to the future, is the comparative advantage of the EU, compared to its Member States, but also to the World Bank, the UN, the new multilateral financing instruments like the AIIB? Remember that comparative advantage is not just about what you are good at, but what you are better at. Is it thematic? Geographic? About the instruments available?

The Global Strategy did not exactly answer the question about comparative advantage, but there are some clues to priorities in the text, and the implicit conclusion is that if the EUEuropean Union does not have world-beating capabilities in those areas, it had better hurry up and build them. There is a strong geographical focus (countries to the East and South), a concern for fair and open global markets, a rules-based global order, and obviously terrorism, the migration crisis, and other current preoccupations.

Anyway, the Consensus consultation had a question about this (4.5 in Appendix 2 below). It will be interesting to see what answers are forthcoming.

Take account of possible Brexit: avoid salami-slicing

Third, it is indisputable that Brexit, if and when it happens, will force re-calibration of EUEuropean Union development policy. As ODIOverseas Development Institute (London) have pointed out, developing countries will be affected in different ways by Brexit, though pathways which include: trade, financial markets and investment, growth, aid and development finance, migration and remittances, and global collaboration. In trade, for example, the UK alone takes 5% of LDC exports, but over 10% in the case of Bangladesh and Kenya and 20% for Mauritania and Fiji. EUEuropean Union trade policy without the UK will have to adjust to commodity and geographic shifts. Another important issue will relate to oda. The EUEuropean Union currently provides about $US 16bn worth of aid per annum, to which the UK contributes about 15%: over £1.1 bn in 2014.

There are still many uncertainties about the timing of Brexit and the nature of the future relationship. The UK might, for example, continue contributing to the European Development Fund, or to the various Trust Funds run by the Commission. The future relationship with the EIB is also unclear. There might or might not be collaboration on security issues, including peace-keeping missions or border control. In the worst case, however, the Commission will find itself with significantly diminished resources.

One option for the Consensus exercise is to ignore the problem. Bad idea. Another option is simply to stick to the basic orientation and simply allocate less money to each priority area; to salami-slice, in other words. Also a bad idea. The necessary option is to rethink strategic options and budget, facing up to the disruption implied.

It is hard to say in detail where rethinking might lead. However, it is very unlikely that the EUEuropean Union will resile from its commitment to Turkey and the rest of the neighbourhood region. Nor are humanitarian needs likely to shrink. Remember that Turkey is the largest recipient of EUEuropean Union oda by far, followed by Serbia, Morocco, Tunisia and Egypt (Figure 1). Will the UK wish to continue paying its share of these expenditures or is it more likely to refocus on traditional partners, including the Commonwealth? If the latter, will the EUEuropean Union replace the funding?

Figure 1














With regard to trade, a new trade policy was published at the end of 2015. The policy is entitled ‘Trade for All: Towards a More Responsible Trade and Investment Policy’. It acknowledges debates about the uneven impact of trade on living standards and concerns about transparency. It commits strongly to a values-based approach to trade and investment, reflecting the interest of consumers in corporate social responsibility, effective regulation, and human rights. It also links strongly to the new Sustainable Development Goals and commits to supporting inclusive growth, as well as fair trade and ethical trade. These issues have all been thrown into sharp relief by the anti-globalisation mood underlying the Brexit vote. So will they lead to more rapid implementation in a post-Brexit world? Or will there be retrenchment?

On security, foreign and security policy is a ‘special competence’, outside the standard framework. However, EUEuropean Union Member States have committed themselves to a Common Foreign and Security Policy (CFSP) and European Security and Defence Policy (CSDP); and the EUEuropean Union has developed capabilities in this area, managed by the European External Action Service (EEAS). The EUEuropean Union has taken a lead role when there has been clear demand and the space for it to do so, as well as where it brings assets to the table that no other actor can, such as in the neighbourhood. In other parts of the world, the EUEuropean Union has tried to play the role of ‘best supporting actor’ to the UN, regional organisations, national authorities or civil society, often responding quickly once the crisis phase has been reached. At the end of 2015, there were some 17 police or military missions across the Sahel and the Horn of Africa, in former Yugoslavia, Palestine and Ukraine, among others. How will all this change?

Similar questions need to permeate all aspects of the Consensus revision. One implication is that the Consensus will have to look much more closely at the substance of Policy Coherence issues than previous versions: this topic is not just for anoraks.

The new strategy should be as granular as possible

Fourth, I’m always saying this, but it bears repeating: a strategy should be as specific as possible about issues like legislation, mandates, procedures, competences, staffing, budgets and accountability. In the UK, these issues are much-debate, for example by the International Development Select Committee of the House of Commons, in its work on the Future of UK Development Cooperation. Some argue that UK aid needs a new legislative framework, recognising new aid priorities, including the growing importance of global public goods. There are also debates about how to manage accountability when development becomes a cross-cutting issue across the whole of Government: the Independent Commission on Aid Impact has been seized of this problem.

For the EU, there are some tough questions to ask. For example, does it still make sense to keep development and humanitarian aid separate? Or to have such geographic overlap of humanitarian, development, neighbourhood and pre-accession instruments? Can the current structure of the Multi-Annual Financial Framework survive, let alone its concrete allocations? And how should new thinking about development priorities influence the debate about partnership arrangements (including with the ACP) that are fit-for-purpose?

Conclusion: Revising the Consensus in the real world

It is possible to discern a spectrum of options for those writing the new Consensus. At one extreme, a rather mechanical ticking off of the SDGs, with no account taken of Brexit, with minimal change to the current structure of EUEuropean Union instruments, and with no legislative or bureaucratic changes. At the other extreme, a fundamental re-think, focused on tackling big global challenges, involving all the Institutions, and leading to systematic overhaul of the entire development infrastructure and mode of operation, as well as financing instruments.

Of course, the latter option would be preferable. However, if I were the Commissioner, I would probably aim for somewhere in the middle. (A memory arrives, of an EADI meeting in Bonn, in 2005, at which I tried to persuade Louis Michel that the ACPAfrica, Caribbean and Pacific relationship should be abandoned. ‘I am a brave man’, he said, or words to that effect, ‘but I am not suicidal’. I see my presentation is online, but not the transcript of his reply).

Anyway, what we can hope for is that the Commission does not opt for the minimum. A focus on global challenges should be straightforward, referencing and building on the analysis in the new Global Strategy. At least an initial nod should be easy to the implications of Brexit. There should be a strong focus on the need for policy coherence as well as money, but providing not just lip service to PCD, but genuine new content. Some reallocation of money should be proposed. New dimensions of parliamentary oversight can be encouraged. And maybe there should be a timetable for the next review, when the next steps for Brexit are clear, and when work is beginning on the next Financial Perspectives, for the period after 2020. The current exercise is not, however, merely a holding operation. It is the opportunity to demonstrate a new way of thinking about international development.

Appendix 1

European Union Global Strategy: Executive Summary

We need a stronger Europe. This is what our citizens deserve, this is what the wider world expects.

We live in times of existential crisis, within and beyond the European Union. Our Union is under threat. Our European project, which has brought unprecedented peace, prosperity and democracy, is being questioned. To the east, the European security order has been violated, while terrorism and violence plague North Africa and the Middle East, as well as Europe itself. Economic growth is yet to outpace demography in parts of Africa, security tensions in Asia are mounting, while climate change causes further disruption. Yet these are also times of extraordinary opportunity. Global growth, mobility, and technological progress – alongside our deepening partnerships – enable us to thrive, and allow ever more people to escape poverty and live longer and freer lives. We will navigate this difficult, more connected, contested and complex world guided by our shared interests, principles and priorities. Grounded in the values enshrined in the Treaties and building on our many strengths and historic achievements, we will stand united in building a stronger Union, playing its collective role in the world.

Our Shared Interests and Principles

The European Union will promote peace and guarantee the security of its citizens and territory. Internal and external security are ever more intertwined: our security at home depends on peace beyond our borders.

The EUEuropean Union will advance the prosperity of its people. Prosperity must be shared and requires fulfilling the Sustainable Development Goalsworldwide, including in Europe. A prosperous Union also hinges on an open and fair international economic system and sustainable access to the global commons.

The EUEuropean Union will foster the resilience of its democracies. Consistently living up to our values will determine our external credibility and influence. The EUEuropean Union will promote a rules-based global order. We have an interest in promoting agreed rules to provide global public goods and contribute to a peacefuland sustainable world. The EUEuropean Union will promote a rules-based global order with multilateralism as its key principle and the United Nations at its core.

We will be guided by clear principles. These stem as much from a realistic assessment of the current strategic environment as from an idealistic aspiration to advance a better world. Principled pragmatism will guide our external action in the years ahead.

In a more complex world, we must stand united. Only the combined weight of a true union has the potential to deliver security, prosperity and democracy to its citizens and make a positive difference in the world.

In a more connected world, the EUEuropean Union will engage with others. The Union cannot pull up a drawbridge to ward off external threats. To promote the security and prosperity of our citizens and to safeguard our democracies, we will manage interdependence, with all the opportunities, challenges and fears it brings about, by engaging the wider world.

In a more contested world, the EUEuropean Union will be guided by a strong sense of responsibility. We will engage responsibly across Europe and the surrounding regions to the east and south. We will act globally to address the root causes of conflict and poverty, and to promote human rights.

The EUEuropean Union will be a responsible global stakeholder, but responsibility must be shared. Responsibility goes hand in hand with revamping our external partnerships. In the pursuit of our goals, we will reach out to states, regional bodies and international organisations. We will work with core partners, like-minded countries and regional groupings. We will deepen our partnerships with civil society and the private sector as key players in a networked world.

The Priorities of our External Action

To promote our shared interests, adhering to clear principles, the EUEuropean Union will pursue five priorities.

The Security of our Union. The EUEuropean Union Global Strategy starts at home. Our Union has enabled citizens to enjoy unprecedented security, democracy and prosperity. Yet today terrorism, hybrid threats, economic volatility, climate change and energy insecurity endanger our people and territory. An appropriate level of ambition and strategic autonomy is important for Europe’s ability to promote peace and security within and beyond its borders. We will therefore enhance our efforts on defence, cyber, counterterrorism, energy and strategic communications. Member States must translate their commitments to mutual assistance and solidarity enshrined in the Treaties into action. The EUEuropean Union will step up its contribution to Europe’s collective security, working closely with its partners, beginning with NATO.

State and Societal Resilience to our East and South. It is in the interests of our citizens to invest in the resilience of states and societies to the east stretching into Central Asia, and to the south down to Central Africa. Under the current EUEuropean Union enlargement policy, a credible accession process grounded in strict and fair conditionality is vital to enhance the resilience of countries in the Western Balkans and of Turkey. Under the European Neighbourhood Policy (ENP), many people wish to build closer relations with the Union: our enduring power of attraction can spur transformation in these countries. But resilience is also a priority in other countries within and beyond the ENP. The EUEuropean Union will support different paths to resilience, targeting the most acute cases of governmental, economic, societal and climate/energy fragility, as well as develop more effective migration policies for Europe and its partners.

An Integrated Approach to Conflicts. When violent conflicts erupt, our shared vital interests are threatened. The EUEuropean Union will engage in a practical and principled way in peacebuilding, and foster human security through an integrated approach. Implementing the ‘comprehensive approach to conflicts and crises’ through a coherent use of all policies at the EU’s disposal is essential. But the meaning and scope of the ‘comprehensive approach’ will be expanded. The EUEuropean Union will act at all stages of the conflict cycle, acting promptly on prevention, responding responsibly and decisively to crises, investing in stabilisation, and avoiding premature disengagement when a new crisis erupts. The EUEuropean Union will act at different levels of governance: conflicts such as those in Syria and Libya have local, national, regional and global dimensions which must be addressed. Finally, none of these conflicts can be solved by us alone. Sustainable peace can only be achieved through comprehensive agreements rooted in broad, deep and durable regional and international partnerships, which the EUEuropean Union will foster and support.

Cooperative Regional Orders. In a world caught between global pressures and local pushback, regional dynamics come to the fore. Voluntary forms of regional governance offer states and peoples the opportunity to better manage security concerns, reap the economic gains of globalisation, express more fully cultures and identities, and project influence in world affairs. This is a fundamental rationale for the EU’s own peace and development in the 21st century, and this is why we will support cooperative regional orders worldwide. In different regions – in Europe; in the Mediterranean, Middle East and Africa; across the Atlantic, both north and south; in Asia; and in the Arctic – the EUEuropean Union will be driven by specific goals.

Global Governance for the 21st Century. The EUEuropean Union is committed to a global order based on international law, which ensures human rights, sustainable development and lasting access to the global commons. This commitment translates into an aspiration to transform rather than to simply preserve the existing system. The EUEuropean Union will strive for a strong UN as the bedrock of the multilateral rules-based order, and develop globally coordinated responses with international and regional organisations, states and non-state actors.

From Vision to Action

We will pursue our priorities by mobilising our unparalleled networks, our economic weight and all the tools at our disposal in a coherent way. To fulfil our goals, we must collectively invest in a credible, responsive and joined-up Union.

A Credible Union. To engage responsibly with the world, credibility is vital. The EU’s credibility hinges on our unity, on our many achievements, our enduring power of attraction, the effectiveness and consistency of our policies, and adherence to our values. A stronger Union also requires investing in all dimensions of foreign policy. In particular, investment in security and defence is a matter of urgency. Full spectrum defence capabilities are necessary to respond to external crises, build our partners’ capacities, and to guarantee Europe’s safety. Member States remain sovereign in their defence decisions: nevertheless, to acquire and maintain many of these capabilities, defence cooperation must become the norm. The EUEuropean Union will systematically encourage defence cooperation and strive to create a solid European defence industry, which is critical for Europe’s autonomy of decision and action.

A Responsive Union. Our diplomatic action must be fully grounded in the Lisbon Treaty. The Common Security and Defence Policy must become more responsive. Enhanced cooperation between Member States should be explored, and might lead to a more structured form of cooperation, making full use of the Lisbon Treaty’s potential. Development policy also needs to become more flexible and aligned with our strategic priorities.

A Joined-up Union. We must become more joined up across our external policies, between Member States and EUEuropean Union institutions, and between the internal and external dimensions of our policies. This is particularly relevant to the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals, migration, and security, notably counter-terrorism. We must also systematically mainstream human rights and gender issues across policy sectors and institutions.

This Strategy is underpinned by the vision of and ambition for a stronger Union, willing and able to make a positive difference in the world. Our citizens deserve a true Union, which promotes our shared interests by engaging responsibly and in partnership with others. It is now up to us to translate this into action.


Appendix 2

Consultation on European Consensus

(1) Introduction

The year 2015 was a strategic milestone for global governance, poverty eradication and sustainable development. It marked the target date of the UN Millennium Development Goals and a point to reflect on the progress made to date and the challenges ahead in addressing their unfinished business. 2015 also saw a series of landmark international summits and conferences over the course of the year (the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction 2015-2030, the Addis Ababa Action Agenda, the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the COP 21 Paris Agreement under the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change) which have collectively re-cast the way the international community, including the EU, will work to achieve sustainable development and poverty eradication for many years.

Importantly, and in contrast to the Millennium Development Goals, the 2030 Agenda, including its seventeen Sustainable Development Goals, is a universal Agenda which applies to all countries. It reflects many core European values and interests and provides an international framework for tackling global challenges such as climate change. The EUEuropean Union response to the 2030 Agenda is moving ahead in a range of ways:

Firstly, as part of EUEuropean Union efforts to implement the 2030 Agenda, the Commission Work Programme for 2016 announces an initiative on the next steps for a sustainable European future which will explain how the EUEuropean Union contributes to reaching the Sustainable Development Goals and map out the internal and external aspects of EUEuropean Union policies contributing to the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals.

Secondly, the High Representative will present the EU Global Strategy on Foreign and Security Policy that is expected to steer the different EUEuropean Union external policies contributing to the global vision of a more stable, prosperous and secure world. It should set out the strategic direction for the full range of EUEuropean Union external action, and as such will help guide EUEuropean Union implementation of the 2030 Agenda in external action.

Thirdly, the EUEuropean Union will review its development cooperation policy. Existing leading policy documents (including the 2005 European Consensus on Development and the 2011 Agenda for Change) are currently framed around the Millennium Development Goals and need to adapt to incorporate the 2030 Agenda. Given its direct relevance to the EU's overall relations with developing countries, this review will be carried out in full consistency with the ongoing work on the future of the partnership between the EUEuropean Union and the members of the African, Caribbean and Pacific Group of States, under a post-Cotonou framework.

Views from this consultation will be used to inform the way forward on the initiatives above and in particular the revision of the European Consensus on Development and other external aspects of 2030 Agenda implementation. The consultation seeks your views on how development policy, in the context of EUEuropean Union external action as foreseen by the Lisbon Treaty, should respond to the range of landmark 2015 summits and conferences, and also to the rapid changes happening in the world.

Replies can include views which could apply only to the EUEuropean Union institutions and also to both the EUEuropean Union and its Member States – it would be helpful to clarify this in your response. This open public consultation will run for 12 weeks from 30 May 2016 to 21 August 2016. A brief summary and analysis of all consultation contributions will be published by November 2016 and all individual contributions will also be made available on the consultation website (unless respondents ask for their contributions not to be published).

. . .

 (3) Context: why a change is needed

The EUEuropean Union and its Member States are determined to implement the 2030 Agenda through internal and external actions as well as contribute to the successful implementation of the Paris Agreement on Climate Change, given the strong interlinkages. In this context, our policies, should take into account changing global conditions and trends, to ensure that they remain fit-for-purpose across the time-horizon to 2030.

The global landscape has changed significantly compared to the time of adoption of the Millennium Development Goals. While much has been achieved, with more than one billion people having been lifted out of extreme poverty since 1990, great challenges remain and new ones are emerging. At global level, more than 800 million people still live on less than USD 1.25 a day. The world is witnessing multiple conflicts and security tensions, complex humanitarian and global health crises, deteriorations of human rights, environmental degradation, resource scarcity, urbanisation and migration. Migration flows across the world will continue to have important impacts, and present both a risk and an opportunity. The EUEuropean Union needs to address global security challenges, including tackling the root causes of conflict and instability and countering violent extremism. Climate change can continue to amplify problems and can severely undermine progress. Important changes include demographic trends, a new distribution of wealth and power between and within countries, the continuing globalisation of economies and value chains, an evolving geography of poverty and a proliferation of actors working on development. Projections also suggest important challenges are ahead (for example, continuing unprecedented urbanisation, and other demographic challenges including ageing societies for some and the potential for a demographic dividend for others). Continued attention will be given to a democratic, stable and prosperous neighbourhood. A revision to EUEuropean Union development policy should take into account these trends (including anticipating those that will remain central in future) whilst retaining a core focus on eradicating poverty and finishing the job started by the Millennium Development Goals.

Finally, the EUEuropean Union Consensus needs also to adapt to the Lisbon Treaty, which provides for all external action policies to work within the frameworks and pursue the principles of objectives of Article 21 of the Treaty on European Union. In particular, coherence between the different parts of EUEuropean Union external action and between external and internal policies is crucial.

The EUEuropean Union will need to address these new global challenges, many of which require coordinated policy action at the national, regional and global levels. The 2030 Agenda provides a framework which can guide us in doing so.

3.1  There is a range of key global trends (e.g. changing geography and depth of poverty; challenges related to climate change, political, economic, social, demographic, security, environmental or technological) which will influence the future of development and the implementation of the 2030 Agenda. Which of

3.2  How should EUEuropean Union policies, and development policy in particular, better harness the opportunities and minimise the negative aspects of the trend you identified in the previous question?

 (4) Priorities for our future action: what we need to do

Implementation of the 2030 Agenda will require sustained EUEuropean Union efforts to promote a more just world, including a strong focus on the need to address gender equality and women’s empowerment. Peace, inclusiveness, equality and good governance including democracy, accountability, rule of law, human rights and non-discrimination will need particular emphasis. The 2030 Agenda also requires recognition of the close interconnectedness between poverty, social issues, economic transformation, climate change and environmental issues.

To achieve poverty eradication, EUEuropean Union development policy will need to take into account key demographic and environmental trends, including challenges related to climate change, and concentrate effort on least developed countries and fragile states. The EUEuropean Union will also need to strengthen our approach to fragility and conflict, fostering resilience and security (as an increasing proportion of the world's poor are expected to live in fragile and conflict affected states) and to protect global public goods and to maintain our resource base as the prerequisite for sustainable growth. Peace and security, including security sector reform, will have to be addressed also through our development policy, as will the risks and opportunities related to migration flows. Tackling social and economic inequalities (both within and between countries) is a crucial element of the 2030 Agenda as is addressing environmental degradation and climate change. Job creation will be an important challenge in which the private sector has to play an active role. Finishing the job of the Millennium Development Goals requires identifying and reaching those people throughout the world who are still not benefitting from progress to ensure that no one is left behind.

To achieve lasting results, EUEuropean Union development policy will need to foster transformation and promote inclusive and sustainable growth. Drivers of inclusive sustainable growth, such as human development, renewable energy, sustainable agriculture and fisheries, and healthy and resilient oceans should be an important part of our efforts to implement the new Agenda as will efforts aimed at tackling hunger and under-nutrition. Implementation of the 2030 Agenda will require a multi-dimensional, integrated approach to human development. Implementation will also require us to address vectors of change, such as sustainable urban development and relevant use of information and communication technology. Our development policy will have to engage and identify new ways of partnering with the business in order to achieve sustainable and inclusive growth, industrialisation and innovation. Implementation of the 2030 Agenda will also require cooperation with partner countries and regions on science, technology and innovation. In all aspects of our external action, the EUEuropean Union will need to ensure that our approaches, including development cooperation, are conducive to achieving the 2030 Agenda's Sustainable Development Goals and that the EUEuropean Union intensifies efforts to promote pursue coherence between our policies and our internal and external action.

4.1  How can the EUEuropean Union better address the links between achieving the Sustainable Development Goals, the Paris Agreement on climate change and addressing other global sustainable development challenges?

4.2  How should the EUEuropean Union strengthen the balanced integration of the economic, social and environmental dimensions of sustainable development in its internal and external policies, and in particular in its development policy?

4.3  What are the main changes you would like to see in the EU's development policy framework?

4.4  In which areas highlighted above would you expect to see greater consistency between development policy and other areas of the EUEuropean Union external action in the implementation of the 2030 Agenda?

4.5  In which areas does the EUEuropean Union have greatest value-added as a development partner (e.g. which aspects of its development policy, dialogue or implementation arrangements or in which category of countries)?

4.6  How can the EUEuropean Union refine its development policy to better address inequalities – including gender inequality – in the context of the implementation of the 2030 Agenda?

4.7  How can the EUEuropean Union development policy make a stronger contribution to the security of people? How can EUEuropean Union development policy contribute to addressing the root causes of conflict and fragility and contribute to security and resilience in all the countries where we work?

4.8  How can a revised Consensus on Development better harness the opportunities presented by migration, minimise the negative aspects of irregular migration on the implementation of the 2030 Agenda and better address the root causes of irregular migration and forced displacement?

(5) Means of implementation: how do we get there?

The principle of universality underpinning the 2030 Agenda will require a differentiated approach to engagement with countries at all levels of development. Official Development Assistance will continue to play an important role in the overall financing mix for those countries most in need (particularly the Least Developed Countries). The EUEuropean Union and its Member States should continue to progress towards achieving their commitments. However, in all countries our development cooperation will need to take account of other sources of finance, including by leveraging other (non-Official Development Assistance) sources of finance for poverty eradication and sustainable development. The delivery of the 2030 Agenda means that our work helping countries raise their own resources (domestic resource mobilisation), the provision of aid for trade, blending* and partnering with the private sector should be priority areas of focus. The Addis Ababa Action Agenda, an integral part of the 2030 Agenda, provides a framework for our efforts, including for our work supporting the right enabling policy environment for sustainable development in our partner countries. The implementation of the 2030 Agenda and the Paris Agreement on climate change under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change should be closely coordinated given the strong interlinkages. Engagement with middle income countries, notably the emerging economies, will be important to the implementation of the 2030 Agenda, considering the role they can play in promoting global public goods, what they can achieve within their respective countries on poverty eradication and sustainable development, and the example they can set within their regions as well as their role in regional processes. Here differentiated partnerships can play an important role (examples include different forms of political, economic, and financial investment as well as cooperation in science, technology and innovation). Specific attention and focus should also be given to Least Developed Countries, as acknowledged by the Addis Ababa Action Agenda.

The EU's implementation of the 2030 Agenda provides an opportunity for enhancing consistency between the different areas of the EU’s external action and between these and other EUEuropean Union policies (as outlined in the Lisbon Treaty and in EU's Comprehensive Approach to external conflict and crises). The EUEuropean Union will continue to pursue Policy Coherence for Development as a key contribution to the collective effort towards broader policy coherence for sustainable development. In our external action, the EUEuropean Union needs to consider how we can use all policies, tools, instruments at our disposal coherently in line with the integrated nature of the 2030 Agenda.

* Combining EUEuropean Union grants with loans or with equity from other public and private financiers with a view to leveraging additional resources.

5.1  How can EUEuropean Union policies, and EUEuropean Union development policy in particular, help to mobilise and maximise the impact of the increasing variety of sustainable development finance, including in particular from the private sector?

5.2  Given the evolving availability of other sources of finance and bearing in mind the EU's commitments on Official Development Assistance (e.g.Council Conclusions from 26 May 2015 on "A New Global Partnership for Poverty Eradication and Sustainable Development after 2015", and inter alia, paragraphs 32 and 33), how and where should the EUEuropean Union use its Official Development Assistance strategically and to maximise its impact?

5.3  How can the EUEuropean Union better support partner countries in mobilising their own resources for poverty eradication and sustainable development?

5.4  Given the importance of middle income countries to the implementation of the 2030 Agenda, what form could differentiated partnerships take?

5.5  Given experience so far in taking into account the objectives of development cooperation in the implementation of EUEuropean Union policies which are likely to affect developing countries (e.g. Policy Coherence for Development: 2015 EUEuropean Union Report), how should the EUEuropean Union step up its efforts to achieve Policy Coherence for Development, as a key contribution to the collective effort towards policy coherence for sustainable development? How can we help ensure that policies in developing countries, and internationally contribute coherently to sustainable development priorities? 

(6) The actors: making it work together

An important feature of the new Agenda is that all governments, developed and developing, will need to work with a wide range of stakeholders (including the private sector, civil society and research institutions) to improve the transparency and inclusivity of decision-making, planning, service delivery, and monitoring and to ensure synergy and complementarity.

The EUEuropean Union must continue to work collaboratively with others and contribute to a coordinated approach. The Addis Ababa Action Agenda puts national plans for implementation (including associated financing and policy frameworks) at the centre. To maximise our impact, EUEuropean Union development policy should be based on a strategic and comprehensive strategy for each country, which also responds to the country-specific context.

Our partner countries' implementation of the 2030 Agenda will inform our overall engagement and our development cooperation dialogue with them and will help shape our support for their national efforts. The EUEuropean Union should also help partner countries put in place the necessary enabling policy frameworks to eradicate poverty, tackle sustainable development challenges and enhance their policy coherence.

There is a need for a renewed emphasis on the quality of development cooperation, including existing commitments on aid and development effectiveness made in Paris, Accra and Busan* and through work with the Global Partnership for Effective Development Cooperation.

An updated EUEuropean Union development policy should also provide a shared vision that guides the action of the EUEuropean Union and Member States in development cooperation, putting forward proposals on how to further enhance coordination, complementarity and coherence between EUEuropean Union and Member States. Strengthening Joint Programming will be an important part of this. Improving the division of labour between the EUEuropean Union and its Member States in order to reduce aid fragmentation will also contribute to increased development effectiveness.

* See Paris Declaration on Aid Effectiveness and the Accra Agenda for Action and the Busan Partnership for Effective Development Cooperation

6.1  How should the EUEuropean Union strengthen its partnerships with civil society, foundations, the business community, parliaments and local authorities and academia to support the implementation of the 2030 Agenda (including the integral Addis Ababa Action Agenda) and the Paris Agreement on climate change?

6.2  How can the EUEuropean Union promote private sector investment for sustainable development?

6.3  How can the EUEuropean Union strengthen relations on sustainable development with other countries, international financing institutions, multilateral development banks, emerging donors and the UN system?

6.4  How can the EUEuropean Union best support partner countries to develop comprehensive and inclusive national plans for the implementation of the 2030 Agenda?

6.5  What are the best ways to strengthen and improve coherence, complementarity and coordination between the EUEuropean Union and the Member States in their support to help partner countries achieve poverty eradication and sustainable development?

6.6  How can EUEuropean Union development cooperation be as effective as possible, and how can we work with all partners to achieve this?

6.7  What further progress could be made in EUEuropean Union Joint Programming, and how could this experience be linked with other EUEuropean Union joined-up actions in supporting countries' delivery of the 2030 Agenda?

 (7) Keeping track of progress

The EUEuropean Union will need to contribute to the global follow-up and review process for the 2030 Agenda. Keeping track of progress in a systematic and transparent way is essential for delivering the 2030 Agenda. The EUEuropean Union is actively contributing to the setting up of a Sustainable Development Goal monitoring system at global, regional and national level. Demonstrating results and impact from our efforts and the promotion of transparency will be important priorities for EUEuropean Union development policy, as part of a wider move to strengthen accountability, follow-up and review at all levels.

7.1  How can the EUEuropean Union strengthen its own use of evidence and analysis, including in the development field, to feed into its regular review on the Sustainable Development Goals to the UN?

7.2  How can the EUEuropean Union help to ensure the accountability of all actors involved in implementation of the 2030 Agenda, including the private sector? How can the EUEuropean Union encourage a strong and robust approach to the Follow Up and Review of the 2030 Agenda from all actors?

7.3  How should EUEuropean Union development cooperation respond to the regular reviews on progress of the partner countries towards the 2030 Agenda goals?

Appendix 3

Extract from the European Consensus on Development, 2006

46. Within its competences as conferred by the Treaty, the Commission has a wide role in development. Its global presence, its promotion of policy coherence for development, its specific competence and expertise, its right of initiative at community level, its facilitation of coordination and harmonisation as well as its supranational character are of special significance. The Community can be distinguished by its comparative advantage and added value, which enable complementarity with bilateral policies of Member States and other international donors.

47. On behalf of the Community, the Commission will aim to provide added value through the following roles:

48. First, a global presence. The Commission is present as a development partner in more countries than even the largest of the Member States, and in some cases is the only EUEuropean Union partner substantially present. It has a common trade policy, cooperation programmes covering practically every developing country and region and a political dialogue conducted together with the Member States. It receives backup from an extensive network of delegations. This enables it to respond to a wide variety of situations, including fragile states where Member States have withdrawn.  ( 1 ) The development assistance component is defined as all official development aid (ODA) as agreed by the OECDOrganisation for Economic Cooperation and Development Development Assistance Committee. ( 2 ) Community development cooperation is based on Articles 177 to 181 of the Treaty of the European Community.

49. Second, with the support of Member States, ensuring policy coherence for development in Community actions (1 ), in particular where Community policies have significant impacts on developing countries, such as trade, agriculture, fisheries and migration policies, and promoting this principle more widely. Drawing on its own experiences, and exclusive competence in trade, the Community has a comparative advantage in providing support to partner countries to integrate trade into national development strategies and to support regional cooperation whenever possible.

50. Third, promoting development best practice. The Commission, together with the Member States, will stimulate the European debate on development and promote development best practice, such as direct budget support and sectoral aid where appropriate, untying of aid, an approach based on results and deconcentration of the implementation of assistance. By enhancing its analytical capacities, it has the potential to serve as an intellectual centre in certain development issues.

51. Fourth, in facilitating coordination and harmonisation. The Commission will play an active role in implementation of the Paris Declaration on aid effectiveness and will be one of the driving forces to promote EUEuropean Union delivery of its commitments made in Paris on ownership, alignment, harmonisation results and mutual accountability. The Commission will continue to promote the 3Cs — coordination, complementarity and coherence as the EUEuropean Union contribution to the wider international agenda for aid effectiveness. The Community will also support enhanced coordination of disaster relief and preparedness, in the context of the existing international systems and mechanisms and the UN's lead role in ensuring international coordination.

52. Fifth, a delivery agent in areas where size and critical mass are of special importance.

53. Sixth, the Community will promote democracy, human rights, good governance and respect for international law, with special attention given to transparency and anti-corruption. The Commission's experience on democracy promotion, human rights and nation-building is positive and will be further developed.

54. Seventh, in putting into effect the principle of participation of civil society, the Commission will be supported by the European Economic and Social Committee which has a role in facilitating the dialogue with local economic and social interest partners.

55. In addition, the Community strives to promote understanding of interdependence and encourage North-South solidarity. To that end, the Commission will pay particular attention to raising awareness and educating EUEuropean Union citizens about development


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