The European Union needs strengthened development cooperation policy to better respond to emerging challenges and the new international context – was a key message from the seminar held at PISM on 6 October, 2016 titled: Towards New European Consensus on Development. Special guest, Neven Mimica (EU Commissioner for International Cooperation and Development), delivered a keynote address - “A Renewed EU Development Policy in Response to the UN 2030 Agenda and to Evolving Global Challenges. The Role of Development Cooperation in Addressing the Root Causes of Conflict and Instability.”
The Commissioner reaffirmed the European commitment to the elimination of poverty, sustainable development, as well as support for social and gender equality. He stated that the new Consensus will provide a shared vision for Member States and the European Commission regarding development cooperation. This vision will be consistent with our priorities and in line with the aims outlined in the UN 2030 Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) Agenda. This will result in a more coherent, effective and coordinated response to the SDGs. The new policy will place greater focus on results and better measure outcomes achieved with official development assistance.
Mr. Mimica stated that “without security there is no development and vice versa,” stressing the need to better recognize the interlinks between peace and security, development aid and humanitarian relief, as fundamental to realizing sustainable development. This indicates increased focus on an effective response to the needs of poor, conflict-driven and fragile states through support of the Security Sector Reform. According to the Commissioner, development must also be a part of the policy mix to address migration. It is only through stronger partnerships that the EU will be able to help migrants and European citizens alike. In this regard he referred to the European External Investment Plan, as an example of an innovative response to development issues in Africa and the EU neighborhood. Moreover, Mr. Mimica presented the reform timeline of development policy and reassured that revision of the Consensus is an open and inclusive process that will occur in all EU member states and not behind closed doors in Brussels.
A panel discussion that followed the keynote revisited why we need a major overhaul of the European Consensus on Development. It focused on the importance of democracy promotion in the new European development policy, the use of development as a tool to address the root causes of conflict and instability, and the role of NGOs in development cooperation. Jean-Louis Ville, Director at DG DEVCO (EC) stated democracy is a fundamental part of European DNA and international development must be equipped with mechanisms and tools that allow for democracy to thrive successfully. Zuzanna Kierzkowska (Director at the Department of Development Cooperation of the MFA), said that the 2030 Agenda calls for major adjustments in development policy, and argued that renewal of the European Consensus will help push development cooperation to a higher level. According to Paweł Bagiński, an economist and expert on development issues, global changes in the international development architecture must be intensely studied and called for revision in EU policy. Grzegorz Gruca stressed that from the view of NGOs, the new Consensus must pay adequate attention to the Policy Coherence for Sustainable Development, Human Rights Based Approach and development education as well as raising awareness. He stated that Polish NGOs need a more “enabling environment” in order to participate in projects financed by the European Commission.
The meeting at PISM was part of the ongoing consultation process and Commissioner Mimica’s final visit to selected EU cities to discuss the reform of the European Consensus on Development. Warsaw was the only city in Central Europe where this discussion was held. The findings and conclusions will feed into the revision of the new policy guidelines for the EU Consensus on development cooperation.