A lot has changed since the adoption of the 2005 European Consensus on Development and the European Union needs a new collective vision for development policy to respond to unprecedented challenges coming from climate change, rising inequality, irregular migration and global insecurity. The Commission has just adopted its proposal for a new EU Consensus for Development to deal with such challenges, consistent with the new global 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development promoting a new set of Sustainable Development Goals in favour of people, prosperity, planet, peace and partnership.
The EU together with its Member States is the world’s largest development donor, providing more than half of the total Official Development Assistance (€68 billion) in 2015. The EU alone spends on average €10 billion per year on development cooperation. Until recently, reporting on results achieved through EU ODA focused on individual programmes, projects, specific sectors and themes, and there has been little systematic reporting on aggregate results. That changed this summer, when the European Commission's Directorate General for International Cooperation and Development (DG DEVCO) released the EU Results Report, which presents aggregate results of development programmes and projects in partner countries for the first time.
Trade and the private sector are expected to play a crucial role in the SDGs and their implementation, from creating jobs to ensuring that growth benefits the economy and the people, through promoting labour and environmental standards. But some question how increased trade flows and economic growth will actually benefit the poorest populations. A panel at the European Development Days addressed concerns and shared insights into how development assistance can better use trade as an enabler of inclusive and sustainable development.
Estimates for achieving the Sustainable Development Goals range up to a $7 trillion a year. Where will it come from? According to two senior experts from the United Nations Environment Programme, the funds are there, and the real question is how they can be channelled from damaging investments towards sustainability.
Now even more than before, gender equality is a necessary ingredient in all EU development assistance, across countries and sectors. Gender-sensitive planning and management can make programmes at once more equitable and more effective. Blerina Vila, who supported DG DEVCO in drafting the EU’s new Gender Action Plan, explains what it hopes to achieve, how it will be put into action, and why it is urgently needed.
Coordination between the 28 member states of the EU can take time. But what happens when every hour’s delay costs lives? When it comes to natural and man-made emergencies, the EU response begins before a disaster strikes, coordinated by a 21-strong team at the Emergency Response Coordination Centre (ERCC) on Rue de la Loi, Brussels.
The Sustainable Development Goals, adopted unanimously by UN member states in September 2015, have given the international community and national governments a number of targets and principles – chief among them, to advance an “integrated approach”. But what does this mean in terms of projects, monitoring and stakeholders? Two senior officials from the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) share their vision of an approach to the SDGs with the environment at its heart.
Looking back on the European Year for Development, we highlight some of the projects which strived to increase EU citizens’ awareness of and engagement in development issues. From sustainable consumption and tax justice to living wages for garment workers, the projects help attain the goals of the first ever European Year dedicated to external affairs.
Corruption ranges from bribery to collusion to straightforward theft, but as envelopes of cash evolve into more sophisticated mechanisms, efforts to prevent corruption and build transparency must keep up. “We see new forms of corruption that emerge. There’s undue influence through lobbying, there’s the revolving door, there’s all kinds of conflicts of interest that arise,” said Daniel Freund, Policy Officer EU Integrity at Transparency International (TI).