EU Policy Coherence Commitments
Policy Coherence for Development has a firm legal basis in the EU Treaty (Art. 178) and in stronger terms in the EU Reform Treaty (PDF), which directly mentions the importance of taking into account the objectives of development cooperation in the policies which are likely to affect developing countries.
The European Commission has also identified a number of key priority areas , where the challenge of making linkages with development policy objectives is considered particularly relevant. For each one of these areas the Commission has defined ‘coherence for development commitments' which have a direct relationship with one or more of the Millennium Development Goals.
In 2007, the European Commission published its first report on Policy Coherence for Development (PCD) which assessed the progress made by the EU in promoting a higher degree of coherence between the main policies that affect developing countries. The report found that:
- Awareness of the external impact of EU policies beyond development has increased within EU institutions and the importance of PCD seems widely recognised.
- Within the Commission a series of relevant mechanisms are in place to promote PCD. Within the Council much progress has been made due to Presidency actions, but PCD is not institutionalised well enough in the decision-making process.
- The EU is still at an early stage of PCD development – capacity is often lacking and awareness amongst non-development departments remains low.
- Progress towards PCD has been greater at EU level than at national level.
The EU Commission produced a second report (PDF) on Policy Coherence for Development in 2009. This highlighted several areas where progress towards more coherence had been made in the previous two years. It also included two case studies to provide concrete evidence on the effects of EU policies on developing countries and in particular on their capacity to reach MDG 1/ reducing hunger and MDG 6/ the fight against HIV/AIDS. The Communication argues that PCD is a complex concept and one that is difficult to put into practice. The Commission therefore proposes to concentrate on five priority issues: climate change, food security, migration, intellectual property rights, and security and peacebuilding. The absence of trade from this list of priority areas has been criticised.
Policy Coherence Commitments and EU Agricultural Policy
The European Commission has acknowledged the importance of EU policies and rules, such as the Common Agricultural Policy, food aid disciplines, and sanitary and phytosanitary standards, in playing a positive role in creating a supportive international environment for agriculture and rural areas in developing countries.
At its meeting on November 2009, the General Affairs Council adopted conclusions (PDF) which directed that the EU's PCD efforts should be devoted to five priority areas, one of which was to strengthen global food security. Specifically, under this heading it emphasised:
- Developing countries’ needs and concerns and sustainability in the EU’s domestic and external policies, including agriculture, fisheries, biodiversity, trade, climate change and research, with the ultimate goal of achieving food security for all;
- Common Agriculture Policy (CAP) and its impact on developing countries, while acknowledging positive changes introduced in the CAP since 2000 and drawing lessons from it towards improving food security in developing countries in the framework of dialogues at all levels;
- The impact of biofuel production on the environment and on the food and livelihood needs of developing countries.
Each year the Commission updates a three-year rolling work programme on policy coherence for development. The most recent, published in April 2010 (PDF), covers the period up to 2013. On agricultural policy, the targets and indicators are:
- To prepare a post-2013 CAP reform taking into account food security and development objectives in a balanced manner.
- To propose EU initiatives in the field of agricultural product quality policy taking into account development objectives.
- Communication on post-2013 CAP reform considers impact on development objectives.
- Development objectives are taken into account in preparing impact assessment for agricultural product quality policy initiatives.
The DG Development Policy Coherence for Development website
Links to EU Commission documents on policy coherence for development
The DG Agriculture and Rural Development Policy Coherence for Development website
Brief description of how DG Agri highlights how CAP reform has made EU agricultural policy more coherent with its development objectives.
The Three-Cs website
A platform on evaluating the coordination, complementarily and coherence in the EU's development coordination policies and operations. Concluded June 2008.
The Fair Politics website
Fair Politics is an NGO campaign to change unfair EU policies which are damaging to developing countries. It develops concrete case studies to show the unfairness of incoherence of various EU policies.
European Parliament Resolution of 18 May 2010 on the EU Policy Coherence for Development and the "Official Development Assistance plus" concept, 2010
European Commission, EU Report on Policy Coherence for Development (PDF), 2009
Examines the progress made by the EU in promoting a higher degree of coherence between the main policies that affect developing countries as well as to identify the main outstanding issues to be considered for further action.
CONCORD, Spotlight on Policy Coherence 2009 (PDF)
Produced by the confederation of European development NGOs and intended to be read alongside the second Biennial EU Report on PCD, it investigates the extent of the coherence of EU decisions in five policy areas: climate change, trade, agriculture, migration, and finance. See also the CONCORD Briefing on EU Policy Coherence for Development (MS Word), 2009 prepared for the ACP-EU Parliamentary Assembly.
EEPA, Coherence and Consistency in the EU's external policies (PDF), 2007
Briefing paper that provides clarification about the principles of coherence and consistency in order to promote a better understanding of the potential impact of the proposed institutional changes on the implementation of the EU's cooperation with developing countries
European Centre for Development Policy Management, Evaluation Study on the EU Member States' and Institutions' Mechanisms for Promoting Policy Coherence for Development, Maastricht, 2007.
The study compares the mechanisms for promoting PCD in various EU member states and assesses their relative effectiveness.