European Commission Report: Supporting the Sustainable Development Goals across the world – The 2019 Joint Synthesis Report of the European Union and its Member States

This report provides a short summary of how the EU and its Member States are supporting the implementation of the 2030 Agenda in developing countries through development cooperation. It responds to a specific commitment in the Consensus, to produce such a report in 2019 and every four years thereafter. It focuses on the period since the adoption of the 2030 Agenda by the United Nations General Assembly in September 2015 and is a contribution to EU reporting at the 2019 High Level Political Forum on Sustainable Development.

The EU and its Member States have implemented a rights-based approach to development cooperation, encompassing all human rights. They have promoted inclusion and participation, non-discrimination, equality and equity, transparency and accountability. They have sought to ensure that ‘no-one is left behind’, wherever people live, and regardless of ethnicity, gender, opinion, age, disability, religion or belief, sexual orientation and gender identity, migration status or other factors.

Summary of progress on the 5Ps:

People: The EU and its Member States have strengthened their efforts for human development. They have pursued:universal health coverage; universal access to quality education and training; adequate and sustainable social protection; decent work for all within a healthy environment; and an end to hunger and malnutrition. They have also dedicated intense efforts to developing effective migration policies with partner countries. Through this work, they have promoted stability in fragile states; enhanced government capacities to deliver essential services; promoted environmentally sustainable models for growth; and started to tackle the high cost of remittances.

Planet: Since 2015, the EU has implemented the “Biodiversity for Life” initiative to protect ecosystems; combat wildlife crime; and promote a green economy in developing countries. Many EU Member States have included environmental protection, resource efficiency and climate change as integral parts of their development cooperation strategies, for instance in programmes to protect ecosystems, reduce pollution, generate green jobs and promote sustainable consumption and production and sustainable urbanisation.

Prosperity: Since 2015, the EU and its Member States have promoted inclusive sustainable growth and decent jobs in developing countries, as well as social protection. The priority has been to support partner countries in developing policy frameworks for inclusive and sustainable economic development. Action taken includes: budget support to enable governments to mobilise domestic resources and utilise them effectively; blending, budgetary guarantees and other innovative financial instruments to mobilise public lending and private investment; and aid for trade to help developing countries to access the benefits of expanded trade with the EU.

Peace: The EU and its Member States have taken an integrated approach to conflict prevention and peacebuilding, encompassing: early warning and analysis; humanitarian response guided by the humanitarian principles; conflict mediation and resolution, addressing root causes of conflict and post-conflict recovery; and promoting the essential role of women in these processes. The EU and its Member States have been amongst the strongest supporters of democracy, human rights, good governance, and the rule of law.

Partnerships: The EU and its Member States are committed to working together better in support of the SDGs; tailoring partnerships more closely to developing country needs and circumstances; and developing stronger partnerships with other development actors. Together they remain the world’s largest provider of Official Development Assistance (ODA), providing €74.4 billion in 2018.

Making better progress through integrated approaches:

Working to achieve several SDGs together: Since 2015, the EU and its Member States have increasingly taken an interlinked approach to development cooperation. Programmes aimed at ensuring human security in sectors such as agriculture have contributed across a range of SDGs by: improving productivity; generating jobs; promoting more efficient use of water and energy; and safeguarding biodiversity, thereby contributing across a range of SDGs.

Development working with other policies: The EU and its Member States have aimed to ensure that development policy works hand in hand with other policies. The EU and its Member States have provided technical, financial and political support to address the root causes of insecurity and conflict and promote stability. A good example is the Integrated Approach to conflict and crises, set out in the Global Strategy, which builds synergies between humanitarian, sustainable development and peacebuilding actions so as to: prevent and transform violent conflicts; increase the resilience of affected populations; mitigate the risks of future crises; and pave the way to sustainable development.

Policy Coherence for Development: PCD seeks to enhance the positive and minimise the negative impacts of EU policies on developing countries, promote synergies between EU policies and so increase development effectiveness. It is an essential element of EU efforts to enhance consistency between internal and external policies in support of the SDGs. PCD also makes an important contribution to the broader commitment to Policy Coherence for Sustainable Development.

This first Joint Synthesis Report is intended not just as a reporting document but also as part of a wider reaffirmation of the commitment of the EU and its Member States to the implementation of the 2030 Agenda, in partnership with developing countries and other partners. The actions summarised in this report confirm their determination to work together for a world that is prosperous, sustainable and peaceful.

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