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.

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.

#BlowTheCandle campaign – Anniversary of the SDGs:

Latest news

Assessing the flow of external migration funding – CONCORD’s position

On 19 June 2018, the Committees on Budget, Budgetary Control, Foreign Affairs and Development jointly organised a joint hearing entitled Assessing the flow of external EU migration funding. Fanni Bihari, from ACT Alliance EU, represented our confederation in this public debate aiming at assessing the flow of current expenditure on the migration-related projets and the EU Trusts Funds. Find here the main take-aways of her presentation, a useful summary of CONCORD’s position on that matter.

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European Council’s measures on migration: ineffective, costly and against Human Rights

Brussels, 29 June 2018 – CONCORD is worried by the political directions endorsed by the European Council’s decisions to continue lowering the number of migrants’ arrivals to Europe. Putting all the stakes in ring-fencing the EU and reinforcing our borders to stop migrants may easily be proven to be ineffective and a breach to founding European values.

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Publication: Women’s Rights and Trade – Time for a radical shift

No EU trade policy is gender-neutral. Today, European decision-makers widely acknowledge that fact and recognises that this needs to be addressed. Gender receives more and more attention in trade agreements but there is still work to be done. In this publication, CONCORD and WIDE+ call for and explain why a fundamental shift is needed towards a EU trade policy which should give as much importance to human rights and environmental standards as to economic indicators.

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Key publications

Other publications