Monday, 13 June 2016

ETTG at the European Development Days: climate and development

The ETTG hosts a high-level panel, Climate and development: getting to zero poverty and zero emissions, at the European Development Days in Brussels on Wednesday, 15 June.

The Paris Agreement, adopted in December 2015, is a major breakthrough in our joint fight against climate change. In terms of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), it will be the main instrument to reach SDG 13: 'Take urgent action to combat climate change and its impacts.' Approaches such as the Deep Decarbonization Pathways Project show how this could be accomplished. The Paris Agreement also foresees ensuring that finance flows contribute to the path of low greenhouse gas emissions and climate resilient development.

In the race against the clock on climate change, important challenges remain, including access to investment finance, technology transfer and capacity development. This high-level panel, organised in collaboration with the European Commission's DG CLIMA and the Climate and Development Knowledge Network (CDKN), brings together policymakers, practitioners and opinion leaders to reflect on these challenges and offer insights into opportunities generated by the Paris Agreement.

Speakers include Simon Maxwell (Chair of the ETTG and senior research associate at ODI), Amina Mohammed (Environment Minister, Federal Ministry of Environment, Nigeria), Miguel Arias Cañete (Commissioner for Climate Action and Energy, European Commission), Patrick Ignatius Gomes (Secretary General, African, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) Group of States) and Joselin Manzanares Nuñez (EDD Young Leader, Climate Change, Nicaragua).

They will emphasise sharing best practices with a view to jumpstarting the implementation of the agreement.

Join us on Wednesday, 15 June, 16.00 - 17.30, Tour & Taxis, Auditorium A1.

Friday, 15 April 2016

Report: ETTG High Level Conference on The Future of EU External Action, Berlin, 1-2 March 2016

This report presents a summary of a high-level conference ‘The Future of EU External Action: Towards Integrated Policy Responses for Global Sustainable Development?, hosted by the ETTG on 1 and 2 March 2016, in Berlin.

The aim of the conference was to discuss the role of the EU Global Strategy for Foreign and Security Policy and its linkage to the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. Debates during our conference confirmed that Europe’s strategy for long-term security and prosperity requires concerted action across the full range of EU external and internal policies – from trade, climate and development policy to security, defence, democracy and human rights. The Global Strategy provides a key opportunity to bring these various policy fields closer together with a view to supporting security and prosperity within Europe and globally.
Read the full report here. Highlights also appear in the Storify report.

Thursday, 14 April 2016

Democracy, human rights and the EU Global Strategy

The EU Global Strategy offers a unique opportunity to (re)commit to making democracy and human rights a key priority of European Union (EU) external action and to reflect on how the EU’s instruments to promote these priorities could be strengthened. However, political interest in support of democracy and human rights currently appears to be at a low ebb across the EU. The latest ETTG briefing, The European Union’s Global Strategy: making support for democracy and human rights a key priority, argues that support for democracy and human rights is not just a question of values, but that it is in the EU’s own economic, security and geo-strategic interests. It shows that the EU is uniquely placed to pursue this agenda and gives concrete recommendations how the EU should reform its policies to support democracy and human rights.
Read the full briefing here.

Monday, 22 February 2016

ETTG High Level Conference on The Future of EU External Action: Towards Integrated Policy Responses for Global Sustainable Development? 1-2 March 2016

The Juncker Commission together with the High Representative/Vice President Federica Mogherini have launched various strategy processes to reform both EU external and internal policies. These include the Global Strategy on Foreign and Security Policy, the Review of the Neighbourhood Policy, the Trade Review, and a Review of Europe 2020. A Review of the European Consensus on Development is under consideration. Different views exist as to how the Global Strategy should evolve and what its main focus should be. Intensified by the migration crisis and the recent terrorist attacks, some argue for a narrow strategy that focuses on the EU’s immediate security and defence.
Others argue for a comprehensive strategy for the promotion of global sustainable development that combines foreign and security policy with all areas of EU external action.
Globally, the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development provides a new normative frame for the EU and its Member States. The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) are universal goals that aim to guide national policies and international cooperation by all UN Member States and dissolve the artificial boundary between internal and external action. None of the SDGs ‐ be they goals related to social development, environment, climate, governance, or peace and security ‐ can be promoted by individual policy fields or institutions alone.
As of now, it is an open question how and to what extent the EU Global Strategy and the EU’s implementation of the SDGs can and should be linked. The EU strongly supported the universal nature and also the thematic scope of the 2030 Agenda and is now also expected to lead by example and to pioneer in translating the SDGs into its domestic and external engagement. Such an approach not only requires political leadership, but also a fundamental reorientation of how internal and external EU action is organised and how coherence and collective action can be improved.
The main aim of the high‐level conference is to discuss and reflect upon the EU Global Strategy and related strategy processes against the background of the 2030 Agenda and to identify a concrete course of action, combining perspectives from foreign and security, development, climate, environment, migration and trade policies.
The conference will be split into a non-public event that is by invitation only. The second event is public. See the programme here.
Watch the recording of the public session and read the Storify report here (including interviews with James Mackie (ECDPM), Simon Maxwell (ODI/ETTG), Dirk Messner (DIE-GDI), Teresa Ribera (IDDRI) and Kevin Watkins (ODI).

Wednesday, 27 January 2016

The European Union Global Strategy & the UN Global Goals

Putting sustainable development at the heart of EU external action
The drafting of the European Union (EU) Global Strategy on Foreign and Security Policy is a unique opportunity for the EU to reposition itself as a global leader. Against the background of multiple crises within and outside the EU, the strategy will have to carefully balance considerations of security threats with global sustainable development challenges.

Amidst the consultation on the EU Global Strategy, Svea Koch (DIE), Christine Hackenesch (DIE), Mikaela Gavas (ODI), James Mackie (ECDPM) and Simon Maxwell prepared this latest European Think Tanks Group briefing. It points out the challenges and opportunities in aligning actors in Brussels and in Member States behind a strategy that guides not only the EU’s security policy, but also wider EU foreign policy and external action.

Please download the report here
Share with #EUGlobalStrategy

Key Messages

(1) The EU Global Strategy should be an umbrella document for all EU external action – including development, trade, humanitarian aid and climate action. It must refer to all policy fields dealing with interdependent global challenges and set out a new foreign policy for the EU that aims for sustainable solutions. As an overarching policy, the Global Strategy can push for greater coherence and improved collective action – something individual strategies (e.g. the European Consensus on Development) cannot achieve alone.

(2) The Global Strategy and the SDG implementation process need to go hand-in-hand The transformative ambition of the Sustainable Development Goals requires a ‘whole-of-government’ approach from the EU and an implementation strategy that coordinates domestic and external policies. Linking the Global Strategy to the Sustainable Development Goals is therefore a strategic opportunity to enable coherent policy-making and to reduce the frictions and barriers between EU institutions. For this to happen, the implementation of the agenda will have to be driven not only by environment and development policy makers, but also by a coherent overarching policy framework.

(3) The likely adoption of the EU Global Strategy by the European Council in June should be combined with a joint European statement promoting the UN Sustainable Development Goals, to be presented at the UN High Level Political Forum on Sustainable Development in July 2016. The leadership for the EU’s implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals should also be assigned to Vice-Presidents Timmermans and Mogherini, rather than assigning it to individual Directorates-General. In particular, Federica Mogherini’s mandate to coordinate all EU external action is an institutional asset that should be fully deployed.

Friday, 27 November 2015

Climate change: The European Union towards COP21 and beyond

Developing countries – especially the most vulnerable – need a robust deal at the 21st Conference of the Parties (COP21) in Paris, as well as an ambitious action plan to ramp up action afterwards. The European Union (EU) can help finalise the deal by offering more in the key negotiating fora, especially on adaptation support and finance. But the real work will begin after Paris.

As COP21 gets underway, this latest briefing comes from the European Think Tanks Group – written by Steffen Bauer (DIE), Clara Brandi (DIE), Simon Maxwell (ODI) and Tancrède Voituriez (IDDRI) – and looks at the challenges and opportunities for EU climate action at COP21 and beyond.

While the EU must support developing countries with mitigation and adaptation, climate change and energy have become central issues in foreign and security policy, and the EU needs to look beyond 2030 and focus on sustainability issues up to 2050, both within Europe and beyond its borders.

Read or download the report via the German Development Institute

Finding solutions at COP21 and beyond

(1) A dynamic and legally binding agreement

The Paris Agreement must be balanced, durable, dynamic and transparent. To be a credible frontrunner, the EU must provide a coordinated and ambitious contribution of annual public climate finance to the $100 billion political target. The EU should give adaptation the same priority and urgency in the Paris Agreement as it does mitigation. It should ensure that commitments made at COP21 are complementary to the Addis Ababa agreements on financing for sustainable development.

(2) Ambition and consistency

The EU should be open to raising the ambition of its 2030 emissions target and a 55- 60% reduction target by the mid-2030s. But this requires a nuanced approach to governing EU climate policy – and a high-level commitment to an Energy Union strategy.

(3) Accountability for the private sector and local action

A comprehensive framework for non-state and subnational actors would improve transparency, facilitate knowledge exchange and inspire governments to increase their ambitions. To accelerate progress, we need a coalition of ‘friends of the action agenda’ and the EU could mobilise SMART climate action.

Thursday, 16 July 2015

Why Europe needs a global strategy

Federica Mogherini, the UEU's High Representative for Foreign Policy and Security
[Unión Europea and Perú / Flickr]

The challenges facing Europe today have Implications global and require global solutions. From the Greek crisis to migration and climate change, the EU must seek answers beyond its borders, Argues the European Think Tanks Group.

Hidden in the small print of last week's European Council Conclusions - eclipsed by the crisis in Greece, the row about migration and the UK's bid to renegotiate the terms of its membership of the EU - was an important commitment to continuing the process of reflection leading to an "EU global strategy on foreign and security policy".

This gives Federica Mogherini, the former Italian Foreign Minister who is now the EU's external affairs chief, a mandate to set a new path for Europe in the wider world. However it is a path strewn with rocks, and One That Ms. Mogherini must contemplate with mixed feelings. Pressures are building on many fronts - Russia in the East, instability in the Middle East, failed states in Africa and global threats like climate change.

At the same time, Europe's many different interests and capabilities Repeatedly act as a barrier to collective action. The migration crisis offers a perfect example. Some countries just do not want more migrants. Others complain That much of the pressure results from illegal immigration rather than refugees. Others say the problem must be Tackled at the source with development and humanitarian aid. The best can be said is that Is that a small step has been taken, but that it will take more time for a worthwhile common position to emerge.

The fact is, seven years after the start of the financial crisis, the European Council is still stuck in disagreement. It is fragmented on interconnected issues, underlining once more that Europe's strategy for long term security and prosperity Requires concerted action across the full range of EU external and internal policies - from trade, finance, energy, climate and development policy to security and defense. The major challenges confronting Europe demand collective action at European level and regular strategic reviews.

European policy-making is not always quite so dire. The EU has adopted and recently confirmed sanctions against Russia, has worked well together in talks with Iran and has come together around a reasonably ambitious position on climate change. So, it can be done. What are the lessons that the EU and its member states shouldering learn?

First, They Need to be clear That a global strategy for Europe Requires a truly integrated approach. For example, the root causes of illegal migration and refugee flows across the Mediterranean can not be Tackled Solely with a security-driven approach compaction rising walls and navy operations. Without the right mix of EU tools and partnerships Europe will continuous to firefight with little hope or solutions. Together as the European Think Tanks Group we said in our report 'Our Collective Interest', published last September, that it is of utmost importance that the new European global strategy, in its ambition and language, is integrated and strategic, with the internal linking all aspects of external action.

Second, the EU and its member states shouldering be ruthless in targeting problems (and opportunities) That unequivocally demand collective action at the European level. Although it sought to go beyond a security-driven approach, the European Security Strategy from 2003 focused on threats with little sense of common stewardship of the world, its resources and its people.

Europe is still an enabling power in the world, Because of its integrated preventive and long-term approach to global public goods, shared well-being and prosperity. It's that thesis on the future of the EU depends.
Therefore we expect That the next strategy will mirror the ambition of the Sustainable Development Goals, currently being negotiated through the UN system. The EU shouldering equal take stock of its own internal failures and Those on its own doorstep. 'Our Collective Interest' highlights the need for the EU to contribute to a 21st century growth model that emphasises responsible trade and financial policy coordination.

Third, a key challenge for the global strategy will be to pick priorities by Identifying a small number of issues where the EU can really make a difference. Success in a few areas may just swing public opinion and political leadership behind the next round of joint EU action. Our research recommends that such priorities include the continuation of Europe's leadership in climate policy, facilitating legal migration and dealing with weak, fragile or failed states in its Neighbourhood.

The European Union faces hard and momentous choices at home and abroad. The outcome of the dire crisis in Greece will have far reaching Implications, such as on the international stage. Axis thinktank leaders deeply engaged in global policy, we do not underestimate the heavy lifting that will be required from Federica Mogherini, the EU Institutions and member states to make change happen. But we urge European leaders to show renewed determination to measure up to the scale and scope of the challenges Europe is facing that - together.

This opinion editorial was signed by:
  • Ewald Wermuth, European Centre for Development Policy Management (ECDPM)
  • Giovanni Grevi, Fundacion para las Relaciones Internacionales y el Dialogo Exterior (Fride)
  • Dirk Messner, German Development Institute / Deutsches Institut für Entwicklungspolitik (DIE)
  • Teresa Ribera, Institute for Sustainable Development and International Relations (IDDRI)
  • Kevin Watkins, Overseas Development Institute (ODI)

This article was originally published in Euractiv on 03 Jul 2015