EC Reports on Policy Coherence for 2030 Agenda Implementation
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The EU has released its ‘2019 EU Report on Policy Coherence for Development,’ which takes stock of progress by EU institutions and its member States on policy coherence for development over the period 2015-2018.

The report is structured around the five “Ps” of the 2030 Agenda (People, Planet, Prosperity, Peace, and Partnership), and illustrates the contributions that have been made by the EU and its member States to support the achievement of the SDGs in partner countries, in specific priority areas.

28 January 2019: In its 2019 report on policy coherence for development, the European Commission (EC) notes that it has become increasingly challenging for governments to align their national priorities with development cooperation. The authors observe that this is a time of unprecedented global challenges, such as climate change and security considerations, “with the multilateral system continuously put to the test.” In this context, the report argues that the 2030 Agenda provides a clear plan of action towards a sustainable future, as it underscores the importance of interdependence and of coherence between policies.

Policy Coherence for Development (PCD) is a “key pillar” of the EU’s efforts to enhance the positive impact and increase effectiveness of development cooperation, and is different from, while contributing to the objectives of, policy coherence for sustainable development (PCSD). Since 2007, the Commission has issued five reports on PCD in the EU, the last one dated August 2015. The 2019 report is based on contributions from EU member States, the EC and the European External Action Service (EEAS). It is also closely linked to the EC Reflection Paper released on 30 January titled, ‘Towards a Sustainable Europe by 2030.’

The report titled, ‘2019 EU Report on Policy Coherence for Development,’ says differences between PCD and PCSD include that PCD is a legal obligation in EU treaties, whereas PCSD stems from the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the Addis Ababa Action Agenda (AAAA) on financing for development (FfD). Also, the report says, for PCSD, policymakers have to secure multi-directional coherence by pursuing multiple goals globally since the SDGs are universal, whereas for PCD, coherence is directed towards a single cause, which is the interest of developing countries. PCSD is defined by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) as an approach and policy tool to integrate the economic, social, environmental and governance dimensions of sustainable development at all stages of domestic and international policy making.

The EU’s framework for development cooperation agreed in 2017, known as the New European Consensus on Development, seeks to ensure a common approach to development policy for EU institutions and member States. It recognizes PCD as a fundamental part of the EU’s contribution to achieving the SDGs, while also acknowledging that in some EU member States, PCD has been partially or totally subsumed by PCSD.

PCD is no longer perceived as a stand-alone policy for development cooperation, but as an overall element for 2030 Agenda and SDG implementation.

The report takes stock of progress by EU institutions and member States on PCD over the period 2015-2018. It is structured around the five “Ps” of the 2030 Agenda (People, Planet, Prosperity, Peace, and Partnership), and illustrates the contributions that have been made by the EU and its member States to support the achievement of the SDGs in partner countries, in specific PCD priority areas. Those include: food security, health, migration mobility, addressing trafficking in human beings and migrant smuggling; circular economy; ocean governance; illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing; wildlife trafficking; trade; taxation; domestic resource mobilization; democracy, human rights and good governance; the security-development-humanitarian nexus; resilience and fragility; and the rule of law and justice reforms.

The report notes that PCD is no longer perceived as a stand-alone policy specific to development cooperation, but as a key element in the overall EU efforts to implement the 2030 Agenda and the SDGs, and indicates that PCD was integrated in the overall EC’s work on the implementation of the 2030 Agenda through an inter-service steering group on the SDGs. It adds that the Global Strategy for the EU’s Foreign and Security Policy refers to the opportunity that the SDGs represent for more “joined-up external action” and for expanding PCD to all relevant policies. It says the EU is discussing the new Multi-Annual Financial Framework 2021-2027 – the budget that can deliver concretely on the SDG by 2030. The report also states that the EU has remained a leader in promoting PCD, but a number of policy challenges persist and are increasing in political sensitivity,” such as in the fields of migration and security.

The report highlights other initiatives related to the 2030 Agenda, including that in 2016, the EC adopted an overarching communication on ‘Next Steps for a Sustainable European Future,’ which set out its strategic approach towards the implementation of the 2030 Agenda in the EU; and in 2018, it assembled a multi-stakeholder platform on the implementation of the SDGs in the EU, to support and advise the EC and stakeholders on implementing the SDGs at EU level. At the operational level, the report notes that work on sustainable development is coordinated through an inter-service steering group led by the EC Secretariat-General, which has resulted in the full integration of PCD in the Commission’s overall work related to the 2030 Agenda.

At the level of the Council of the EU, the report notes that in 2017, it established a Working Party on the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, to ensure proper follow-up, monitoring and review of 2030 Agenda implementation at EU level, across internal and external policy sectors. According to the report, the Working Party is tasked to: address overarching cross-cutting issues related to the implementation of the 2030 Agenda; take stock of progress made in implementing the SDGs at EU level in an integrated and coherent manner; and advise on further strategic orientations, as appropriate. [Publication: 2019 EU report on Policy Coherence for Development] [EU Press Release on Report]

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