Sustainable Development & Policy Coherence for Sustainable Development

Climate change, food insecurity, gender inequality, resource constraints, population dynamics, increased migration and mobility, unsustainable economic growth, consumption and production model, the financial and economic crises…. all pose complex and interrelated challenges that must be addressed in a holistic way, reflecting the highly interlinked nature of the world today. It is no longer possible or reasonable to imagine that we can deal with issues in silos going forward. Not only does this not take into consideration the impacts of one policy or action on another, but it is increasingly unlikely that we can be successful in tackling one area without also working simultaneously on other areas. 

In the hope to address the root causes of these common global challenges, world leaders came together in New York to adopt a universal, integrated, people- and planet-centered 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. Now, this Agenda needs to be translated into action at global, regional, national and local action, to bring about the change we want over the next 15 years. For this reason, also the EU and its Member States are expected to design and implement overarching, integrated Agenda 2030 strategies for domestic as well as international action.

Sustainable development Goals

CONCORD believes the EU should play a front-runner role, inspiring others by showing how it is able to match the ambition of the 2030 Agenda with clear EU implementation plans and governance and accountability mechanisms, which reflect the integrated, interlinked and comprehensive nature of the 2030 Agenda, in order to ensure well-being for all within planetary boundaries. The 2030 Agenda is a universal agenda which not only looks at change needed in Southern countries, but equally what the EU and its Member States have to do or do differently.

EU policies can have serious impacts on partner countries’ sustainable development plans and their people’s human rights. From cheap subsidised exports that local food producers can’t compete with, to EU companies eating up precious natural resources, it is often a case of giving with one hand and taking with the other. This while the EU and its Member States actually have a legal obligation to make their policies coherent with development objectives. This engagement stands in the so-called ‘Lisbon Treaty’. The official term is ‘Policy Coherence for Development’. Within the 2030 Agenda, this concept was broadened to ‘Policy Coherence for Sustainable Development’. Too often EU self-interest sidelines other people’s rights. Many policies have negative effects on vulnerable people. Key policy areas that have an impact on sustainable development include trade, energy, external relations, security, environment and climate change, migration, agriculture and fisheries policy. At CONCORD we therefore work to show the inconsistencies and incoherencies of these policies.

Sustainable development image

The change we want to see:

  • Governance and participatory accountability: We want the EU to strengthen mechanisms that will ensure coherence in their policies. We want the EU to monitor the implementation of the SDGs in a transparent and participatory approach.
  • Combatting inequality: We want the EU to review policies creating inequalities in all its dimensions.
  • Gender equality: We want the EU to measure progress on gender equality in external policies related to the SDGs.
  • Beyond growth: We want the EU to broaden its economic approach to progress by systematically including well-being indicators in EU policies that have an impact on third countries
  • Sustainable consumption & production: We want the EU to support secure and equitable rights to productive resources for small scale producers, especially women, and promotes sustainable production and consumption.

Latest news

My take on the EDD17 – How to genuinely invest in Development? Invest in Planet.

Laura Sullivan was representing CONCORD in the Closing Ceremony of the European Development Days 2017. Here are her takes. In her first blogpost, Laura addressed the necessity of leaving the logic of economic growth as a central goal of our policies and politics on Development. Don’t miss the next episode.

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