26 July 2016
EU Gathers Views on New Development Consensus
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During a side event of the High-level Political Forum for Sustainable Development (HLPF), EU partners and stakeholders discussed the updating of EU's development policy framework (the European Consensus on Development) to reflect the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

EU-SE4ALL18 July 2016: During a side event of the High-level Political Forum for Sustainable Development (HLPF), EU partners and stakeholders discussed the updating of EU’s development policy framework (the European Consensus on Development) to reflect the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

The event, titled ‘A renewed European development policy in response to the UN 2030 Agenda,’ was organized by the European Commission (EC), and took place on 18 July 2016, at UN Headquarters in New York, US. The side event aimed to provide the EU with a better understanding of stakeholders’ expectations for the EU’s sustainable development work.

The European Consensus on Development was agreed in 2005 by the Presidents of the European Commission, European Parliament and European Council, and defined common principles within which the EU and its member States would implement their development policies. As noted by Manish Bapna, World Resources Institute (WRI), the EU is re-thinking its sustainable development policies as expressed in the Consensus, for the next ten years, in order to align them with the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and current challenges.

Neven Mimica, European Commissioner for International Cooperation and Development, said the EU is conducting a public online consultation that allows all stakeholders to participate in designing the new European Consensus on Development. He said in the coming years, the EU needs to: deliver smarter cooperation and stronger, broadened, and differentiated partnerships; target investment where it is most needed; invest in key drivers, like sustainable energy and agriculture; and formulate policies to respond to fragility, migration and climate change, among other current challenges.

Shahidul Haque, Foreign Secretary of Bangladesh, noted that if Member States renegotiated the 2030 Agenda today, the content would be very different, especially with regards to the link between development, peace and security, which is not sufficiently addressed. He emphasized that SDG 16 on peaceful and inclusive societies and access to justice is “the make-or-break Goal,” and still represents “a huge fault line” among governments in the Asia-Pacific region. He said the EU should: provide support for enacting the core principles of the 2030 Agenda, such as pluralism, inclusion, justice, and freedom; and address inequality, youth, mobility, and migration.

Ahmed Shide, Ethiopia’s State Minister of Finance and Economic Development, said the EU needs to: align behind countries’ development priorities and national plans; provide capacity building for strengthening national systems to integrate the SDGs in national plans; support developing countries in leveraging additional resources beyond official development assistance (ODA), including through strategic ODA allocation aimed at strengthening countries’ tax administration and addressing base erosion and profit shifting (BEPS); continue providing duty-free and quota-free access to markets for the least developed countries (LDCs), but with increased accessibility; and help countries navigate SDG implementation, including through knowledge sharing.

Mahmoud Mohieldin, World Bank, noted that, through the new version of the European Consensus on Development, the EU could assist the Bank with increased investments for building data capacity, noting that the Bank lacks data on 1.5 billion people living in poverty in 57 countries. He said the EU could also provide technical support for blending and other leveraging finance mechanisms, and provide capacity building for cooperation mechanisms, including institution-building, to help newcomers benefit from EU’s knowledge, while the Bank offers a clearinghouse and provides match-making functions.

Thomas Gass, UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs (DESA), said the EU’s comparative advantage in development cooperation is its value-based leadership and its attempt to “walk the talk” despite challenges. He said the new European Consensus on Development should: emphasize countries’ interdependence; strengthen the chapter on policy coherence by addressing climate change, trade, migration and ODA; and start its analyses by understanding the most vulnerable segments of the population, in order to shift some of the burden from the humanitarian side to the development side. Gass also said the 2030 Agenda, including both the SDGs and their means of implementation, must be at the center of the updated Consensus, and stressed that the Addis Ababa Action Agenda (AAAA) helps to set the SDGs apart from the MDGs.

Thomas Barrett, European Investment Bank (EIB), underscored the need to: scale up the EU’s successful blending and leveraging; develop new capital markets; use the expertise of the public sector to convene the private sector around credible policy initiatives; have policies that deliver tangible results both to beneficiary and donor countries; and choose focal sectors in partnership with beneficiary states. He noted that multilateral development banks bring a long-term perspective to development and are prepared to sustain it over time.

Gaspar Frontini, EC, underlined the need for all stakeholders to be involved in the SDGs implementation, and said the EU can help countries set frameworks to enable their participation. He also underscored the need for development cooperation to target not only governments but all stakeholders.

During the ensuing discussion, participants suggested EU’s new strategic plan for development should address: extraterritorial obligations; measures to ensure that development cooperation support is not misappropriated; and migrants as agents of EU’s development.

The 2016 session of the HLPF took place from 11-20 July, in New York, US. [European consensus on development] [HLPF Website] [IISD RS Sources] [DIE Briefing Paper on European Consensus on Development]

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