Documents considered by the Committee on 21 July 2015 - European Scrutiny Contents


2 The EU and the post-2015 development agenda

Committee's assessment Politically important
Committee's decisionNot cleared from scrutiny; for debate in European Committee B; drawn to the attention of the International Development Committee
Document detailsCommission Communication: A Global Partnership for Poverty Eradication and Sustainable Development after 2015
Legal base
Departments

Document numbers

International Development; Environment, Food and Rural Affairs; Energy and Climate Change

(36644), 5902/15 + ADD 1, COM(15) 44

Summary and Committee's conclusions

2.1 This Commission Communication is the latest stage in a process that began with Commission Communication 7075/13 — "A decent life for all: ending poverty and giving the world a sustainable future". That earlier Commission brought together the debate about what international framework should succeed the MDGs[ 10] and the process to establish new Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) arising from the Rio+20 — where government leaders agreed that the new SDGs should be coherent and integrated with the post-2015 development agenda.[ 11]

2.2 Commission Communication 12434/13, "Beyond 2015 — towards a comprehensive and integrated approach to financing poverty eradication and sustainable development" on the Commission's perspectives on financing the post-2015 development framework, is also relevant.[ 12] Both Communications were examined in a European Committee debate on 11 December 2013.[ 13]

2.3 A follow-up Joint Communication 10412/14, of June 2014, "A decent Life for all: from vision to collective action", set out the Commission's and European External Action Service's (EEAS) thinking on the post-2015 development agenda, so as to secure international agreement for a new set of sustainable development goals (SDGs) that would shape global development priorities to 2030. It was examined on several occasions by the previous Committee[ 14] and subsequently debated, in European Committee B, on 11 March 2015).[ 15]

2.4 SDGs for post 2015 will be agreed at the UN in September 2015. This further Commission Communication, A Global Partnership for Poverty Eradication and Sustainable Development after 2015, sets out the Commission's views on the delivery of a new global partnership for poverty eradication and sustainable development after 2015, the principles that should underpin the partnership and the components needed to implement the post-2015 agenda. It also puts forward specific proposals on possible contributions by the EU and its Members States. The global partnership will provide the "Means of Implementation" for the post 2015 agenda.

2.5 This latest Commission Communication is not the EU position per se, but (as the three Ministers then responsible put it) its principles and key components were broadly in-line with the then Government's established positions; it was a good overview of what is needed for effective implementation of the post-2015 development agenda and for laying the groundwork for more specific policy development, which would be set out in Council Conclusions in December 2014 and May 2015.

2.6 The previous Committee engaged with the then Government both before its publication and subsequently about this policy development process and what the then Ministers described as the "team EU approach" to the relevant UN discussions in 2015, via a tried-and-tested burden-sharing agreement enabling individual Member States, including the UK, to lead negotiations on certain issues or goal areas.

2.7 The relevant Ministers have now provided their assessment of the May 2015 "Development" Foreign Affairs Council Conclusions, Global Partnership for Poverty Eradication and Sustainable Development after 2015, which set out the EU's high-level position for the ongoing Financing for Development Negotiations, which they fully support, and which they say provide helpful clarity in the run up to the "Financing for Development" conference in Addis Ababa this July.[ 16] They describe them as setting out a strong commitment to ensuring that "international public resources from all providers should contribute to supporting poverty eradication and sustainable development, and that all development is climate smart and climate resilient".

2.8 They also state that there are no competency issues raised by the Council Conclusions: during their negotiation, "clear and consistent messages to the Commission that any development or updating of common positions must be in accordance with Member State competencies" have been reflected in the recognition in the text of Member State competencies, and the Commission and EEAS "formally stated during negotiations that the development of common positions within the Council Conclusions would respect Member State competencies".

2.9 Not least among the many questions that arise is whether replacing eight MDGs and 21 targets with 17 SDGs and 169 targets will stretch development budgets too far and not provide value for money. According to "Euractiv",[ 17] the sheer scale of the proposed objectives has already drawn criticism from many quarters: "too ambitious perhaps, when you consider the failures of the last 15 years", according to a source from the NGO "Aide et Action"; and, according to Bjørn Lomborg, founder of Copenhagen Consensus Centre: "Promising everything to everyone gives us no direction. Having 169 priorities is like having none at all". The new SDGs are seen as not only more numerous, but also more complex and more difficult to implement than their predecessors, with one potential side effect of this abundant new list of targets being to reduce the priority of issues like poverty, nutrition and education, which were the backbone of the previous MDGs. Another concern is the extent of the finances needed in order to achieve such a long list of targets. Estimated at $135 to $195 billion per year for the eradication of poverty, and $5 to $7 trillion a year for infrastructure investments, the cost of the new SDGs would massively exceed the current global development aid budget. Described as "sceptical of the extremely broad scope of the SDGs", the Copenhagen Consensus Centre, in partnership with economic experts, including several Nobel laureates, industry, NGO and UN representatives, has come up with what is described as a more focused list of 19 alternative goals. According to the panel of experts, if the United Nations adopted the list of 19 priorities, every dollar it invested would bring an economic, social or environmental return of $32, whereas the return currently predicted by the UN is a more modest $7 for every dollar invested.[ 18]

2.10 The time has now come for these major developments to be debated further in European Committee B. This debate should be held immediately after the House returns from the "conference" recess, so that the House can be provided with, and discuss, the Government's analysis of the outcome of both the Addis Ababa "Financing for Development" conference and the discussions at the United Nations in September.

2.11 We again draw these developments to the attention of the International Development Committee.

2.12 In the meantime, the Joint Communication remains under scrutiny.

Full details of the documents: Commission Communication: A Global Partnership for Poverty Eradication and Sustainable Development after 2015: (36644), 5902/15 + ADD 1, COM(15) 44

Background

2.13 The 25 June 2013 Council Conclusions on the "Overarching Post 2015 Agenda"[ 19] stressed that the post-2015 process should reinforce the international community's commitment to poverty eradication and sustainable development and set out a single comprehensive and coherent framework for effective delivery and results at all levels. The framework should be defined around a single set of global goals in order to drive action in all countries. The EU and its Member States reiterated their commitment to play a full and active role in the work to define the post-2015 framework and to work inclusively with all partners, including civil society, scientific and knowledge institutions, local authorities, the private sector and social partners, in considering priority areas for the framework.

A decent Life for all: from vision to collective action

2.14 This follow-up Joint Communication sets out the Commission's and European External Action Service's thinking on the post-2015 development agenda, so as to secure international agreement for a new set of sustainable development goals (SDGs) that would shape global development priorities to 2030. The Committee first considered it at its meeting on 2 July 2014.[ 20]

2.15 The next stage was the UN Secretary General's (UNSG) Open Working Group (OWG) report, which was adopted at the 69th UN General Assembly (UNGA) in September 2014. A synthesis of this report was to feed into the intergovernmental negotiations due to commence in early 2015 that Kenya and Ireland would facilitate, and which would culminate in a Summit at the 70th UNGA in September 2015, when the post-2015 framework would be agreed.

2.16 In their 3 September 2014 Report, the previous Committee noted that they were content thus far with the Ministers' (Baroness Northover and Dan Rogerson) clarification regarding both the negotiating timetable and in what ways "the EU will negotiate on behalf of Member States"; the latter being essentially because:

—   of EU competence in development issues;[ 21]

—  this was a tried and tested method, with previous such processes having demonstrated that negotiating as the EU is more likely to secure UK objectives than acting alone, given the tendency in UN negotiations to adopt a "bloc" approach;[ 22] and

—  because the then Ministers envisaged a "team EU approach", with a burden sharing agreement enabling individual Member States, including the UK, to lead negotiations on certain issues or goal areas.

2.17 However, as the then Ministers noted, how this would work in practice needed to be agreed with the Commission, Member States and legal advisers. The previous Committee:

—  accordingly asked them to write again with:

·  full information on these arrangements, once they had been agreed, explaining how they reflected the proper division of competences under the Treaties;

·  their evaluation of the Council Conclusions that were due to be agreed in December 2014, shortly after the publication of the UNSG's synthesis report, so that the House would have the benefit of both documents when this Commission Communication was debated, so that when the debate took place; and

—  continued to look forward to hearing from them in the New Year about arrangements that, as they rightly put it, "reflect the proper division of competences under the Treaties".[ 23]

The then Ministers' letter of 8 January 2015

2.18 The then Ministers (Baroness Northover and Dan Rogerson) said that the Council Conclusions: "A transformative post-2015 agenda" were endorsed at the 12 December 2014 Foreign Affairs Council (Development), adopted by the 16 December 2014 General Affairs Council and endorsed by the Environment Council on 17 December 2014.[ 24] They updated and set the broad parameters of the EU's negotiating position. They helpfully remained firm on principle, avoid setting out a detailed negotiating position prematurely, yet maintained strong reference to the Government's priorities on poverty eradication, gender, environmental sustainability, climate change and governance. What was needed was a final framework of goals and targets that was simple, inspiring and workable while retaining the breadth and balance of the 17 goals and 169 targets proposed in the Open Working Group (OWG) Report; and with a strong focus on eradicating extreme poverty with sustainable development at the core. This was, they said, within reach in the forthcoming negotiations and the Conclusions provided a good basis for the Government to continue to build support for this approach.

2.19 The Conclusions welcomed the UN Secretary General's synthesis report (published on 4 December 2014 and proposing a framework and organising principles for the final goals framework), which would be an important input into the intergovernmental negotiations that commenced in January. It provided a helpful framing of the issues and points to the need for a more focused outcome on post-2015. It also highlighted the inseparability of environmental sustainability from poverty eradication and growth, and proposed six "essential elements" to frame the post-2015 goals and targets. How these elements related to one another would need to be clarified in due course and the Government would need to ensure that there was sufficient integration of important cross-cutting issues such as environmental sustainability and climate change, into all relevant goals and targets.

2.20 The then Ministers also professed themselves pleased that the Conclusions recalled that the EU had formally undertaken to collectively commit 0.7% of GNI to Official Development Assistance by 2015 — "an important signal that we take the means of implementation seriously and that we will collectively honour our commitments".

2.21 Looking ahead, the then Ministers anticipated a further Commission Communication and subsequent Council Conclusions on means of implementation in the New Year, and would be "working to ensure effective co-ordination between the goals and financing tracks".

2.22 On the EU negotiating arrangements, the then Ministers said that the exact format remained to be discussed and developed under the Latvian Presidency and that they continue to favour a "'Team EU' or similar approach involving EU actors, the Presidency and Member States based on their expertise"; this, they believe, would be "beneficial in allowing us to maximise our ability to achieve UK objectives"; but, they recognised:

"an EU position may require compromise or may not be reached in certain areas and will therefore need to ensure sufficient flexibility for both the EU and Member States to play a constructive role in negotiations without prejudicing existing competence/representation arrangements."

2.23 The then Ministers concluded by asserting that "the UK has been a key player in post-2015 discussions", and declared that they were "committed to ensuring an ambitious and implementable framework that is needed to drive action over the next fifteen years".

The previous Committee's assessment

2.24 The previous Committee:

—  noted the question marks over the detailed arrangements that would underpin the "Team EU" approach, and that some compromise and flexibility might be needed at times;

—  noted also that this approach was tried-and-trusted, and to the best of its knowledge had not infringed upon the proper division of competences under the Treaties in the past;

—  looked forward to being updated on how these arrangements were working in practice during the process of scrutinising the forthcoming Communication on means of implementation; and

—  in the meantime, concluded that it was now time for the issues set out in the Joint Communication and the Council Conclusions on it to be debated in European Committee B.[ 25]

2.25 That debate took place on Wednesday 11 March, at the end of which the Committee resolved thus:

"That the Committee takes note of European Union Document No. 10412/14 and Addendum, a Commission Communication: A decent Life for all: from vision to collective action; welcomes the document as an important contribution to a debate that is central to both development and environment policy; and supports the Government's efforts in taking forward the post-2015 development agenda."[ 26]

A Global Partnership for Poverty Eradication and Sustainable Development after 2015

2.26 This further Commission Communication, A Global Partnership for Poverty Eradication and Sustainable Development after 2015, sets out the European Commission's views on the delivery of a new global partnership for poverty eradication and sustainable development after 2015. SDGs for post 2015 will be agreed at the UN in September 2015. The global partnership will provide the "Means of Implementation" for the post 2015 agenda. The Communication sets out the Commission's view on the principles that should underpin the partnership and the components needed to implement the post-2015 agenda. It also puts forward specific proposals on possible contributions by the EU and its Members States.

2.27 It proposes the following key components of the global partnership:

—  an enabling policy environment at all levels;

—  capacity development;

—  mobilisation of domestic public finance;

—  mobilisation of international public finance;

—  stimulation of trade;

—  change through science and technology;

—  mobilising the domestic and private sector; and

—  ensuring mechanisms for monitoring, accountability and review.

2.28 The Communication will form the basis for agreeing an EU position in advance of the UN Financing for Development Conference in July and the "Post-2015" Summit at the UN in September. The Communication strongly supports the UN Secretary General's call that all developed countries meet the UN target of 0.7% ODA/GNI and agree to concrete timetables for doing so.

2.29 The then Ministers at the Department for International Development (Baroness Northover), the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Dan Rogerson) and the Department of Energy and Climate Change (Amber Rudd) noted that agreeing an EU recommitment to 0.7% ODA/GNI was a top UK objective, and that they would make "all efforts to ensure that this includes a renewed timetable and target dates for countries that have not yet met their commitments".

2.30 The then Ministers went on also to note that, though based on recent discussions within the EU, Member States were not formally consulted on the text during its preparation and it was "not an articulation of agreed EU policy". The Communication would, however, "set the tone for this year's Council Conclusions on EU post-2015 development financing which will be negotiated by Council working groups", and the Council would "choose how to respond to the views expressed by the Commission in the Communication". The UK's input to this response would reflect cross-HMG views and would be in line with the position set out below; they would "remain closely engaged with the EU Presidency and other Member States as work proceeds on drafting the Council Conclusions this spring".

2.31 The then Ministers described the Commission as a good overview of what was needed for effective implementation of the post-2015 development agenda and for laying the groundwork for more specific policy development. The principles and key components set out in the Communication were broadly in-line with established HMG positions. They welcomed in particular:

—  inclusion of the annex as a useful compendium of possible specific policy measures which could be adopted as part of the "Means of Implementation" of the post-2015 development agenda;

—  the Communication's emphasis on integration of the three dimensions of sustainable development as well as climate change issues;

—  the Commission's support for the UN Secretary General's call that all developed countries should meet the UN target of 0.7% ODA/GNI and agree to concrete timetables to do so;

—  calls for Upper Middle Income Countries (UMICs) and emerging economies to commit to increasing their contribution to international public financing and to specific targets and timelines;

—  recognition that finance and non-finance Means of Implementation need to go hand in hand;

—  the focus on the need for countries to ensure optimal levels of domestic revenue to fund their own development;

—  the inclusion of trade, agreeing that it played a critical role in development; they welcomed, too, the effort to categorise different actions between "actions for all" and actions for the EU;

—  the emphasis on the role of the private sector; it was rightly characterised as a key actor in the transition to sustainable development and an important engine for innovation, sustainable growth, job creation, trade and poverty reduction;

—  the principles set out for addressing private sector engagement;

—  references to the important linkages between climate change, sustainability, and development, since eradicating extreme poverty was impossible without addressing climate change and sustainability;

—  the emphasis on the need for a monitoring, accountability and review framework underpinned by the principles of transparency, inclusiveness and responsiveness, efficiency and effectiveness; and

—  the strong focus on data and participation, connecting national, regional and global reporting and accountability, while avoiding duplication and building on existing systems (see our predecessor Committee's Report of 18 March 2015 for the then Ministers' comments on each of these issues[ 27]).

2.32 The then Ministers also "broadly" supported the references made to migration within the context of a global partnership for development, and considered it "important that migration should be well-managed, legal and safe:

"We therefore welcome the focus in this report as we consider that, through collaboration, migration can act as an enabler to achieving the sustainable development goals. We will also seek to ensure that the Council Conclusions do not reflect or imply support for burden sharing/intra-EU relocation of migrants and asylum seekers, a position the UK does not support. We believe solidarity is best demonstrated through practical cooperation to support the asylum and migration systems of Member States under pressure, and to reduce the drivers of irregular migration."

2.33 Looking ahead, the Ministers:

—  did not envisage any change in UK financial commitments as a result of this Communication, but were in discussion with the private sector about what the Finance for Development agenda proposals that relate to private sector activity might mean in practice;

—  said that they were also closely engaged with EU partners in the context of the ongoing UN negotiations, to ensure that the EU negotiating position did not stray into areas of Member State competence; and

—  noted that the process of developing the EU position and "offer" on Financing for Development was taking place through a series of Joint Working Group and Expert Meetings, with a view to the adoption of Council Conclusions at the 25 May Development Ministers meeting.

The previous Committee's assessment

2.34 The previous Committee took the view that there would no doubt be a time when this process would warrant debating. However, as the Ministers made clear, this Commission Communication was not an EU position, and that this has to be elaborated between now and the end-May "development" Foreign Affairs Council. The Council Conclusions agreed thereat would thus be the key document.

2.35 The previous Committee therefore asked the Ministers to provide the Committee with a copy of the agreed Council Conclusions, their assessment of the final outcome, and to demonstrate how they have ensured that "the EU negotiating position does not stray into areas of Member State competence".

2.36 In the meantime, they retained the Joint Communication under scrutiny.

2.37 They also drew these developments to the attention of the International Development Committee.[ 28]

The Ministers' letter of 12 June 2015

2.38 The new Ministers at the Departments for International Development (Baroness Verma), Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Rory Stewart) and Energy and Climate Change (Lord Bourne) write concerning the outcome of the EU Foreign Affairs Council Conclusions that were agreed on 26 May 2015, where the UK was represented by the Secretary of State for DFID, as follows:

"We welcome the adoption by EU Foreign Ministers of Council Conclusions on the Global Partnership for Poverty Eradication and Sustainable Development after 2015. The Council Conclusions set out the EU's high-level position for the ongoing Financing for Development Negotiations. The UK fully supports the publication of the Conclusions, which provides helpful clarity in the run up to the Financing for Development Conference in Addis Ababa this July.

"In particular, we are pleased that EU Member States have made a time-bound recommitment to the 0.7% Official Development Assistance (ODA) UN target. This is hugely significant given the fiscal challenges faced by many EU Member States.

"Member States also committed to reach the UN ODA Least Developed Countries (LDC) target of 0.15-0.2% in the short term and 0.2% within the time frame of the post-2015 agenda. This is the first time that there has been a time-bound commitment to reaching the LDC target, which aims to support specifically the poorest people in the most vulnerable countries.

"This demonstrates Europe's commitment to ensuring ODA is focused where it is most needed and to take concrete steps for the immediate implementation of the post-2015 agenda.

"The UK is proud to have met the 0.7% target and to have enshrined this in law this year. While most other EU Member States are not in this position, we are pleased that collectively Europe has signalled its intention to continue to provide leadership as the world's largest donor. This has underlined our shared values and commitment to eradicating poverty and promoting sustainable development.

"The Council Conclusions also set out a strong commitment to ensure that international public resources from all providers should contribute to supporting poverty eradication and sustainable development, and that all development is climate smart and climate resilient.

"Additionally, we welcome the focus on creating an enabling policy environment as a key component of the global partnership. The UK considers this vital for developing countries to gain the most from all resource flows. This includes supporting countries to effectively mobilise domestic public finance and attract private investment, promoting trade, fostering science, technology and innovation, and addressing the challenges and harnessing the positive effects of migration.

"There are no competency issues raised by the Council Conclusions. The Conclusions are the result of a negotiation process in which the UK was fully involved.

"In preparation for the Conclusions, the UK was engaged in a detailed process of negotiation in Brussels, and was represented by the Cabinet Office and lead Departments at all relevant meetings. In addition to remaining vigilant on 'competence creep', the UK sent clear and consistent messages to the Commission that any development or updating of common positions must be in accordance with Member State competencies. This is reflected in the recognition in the text of Member State competencies. The Commission and European External Action Service formally stated during negotiations that the development of common positions within the Council Conclusions would respect Member State competencies."

2.39 The Council Conclusions run to 64 paragraphs over 23 pages.[ 29] In the introduction, the Council:

—  describes the Post-2015 Agenda as a great opportunity to address the interlinked challenges of poverty eradication and sustainable development, and making the most of this as a key priority for the EU and its Member States;

—  welcomes this Joint Communication as an important contribution to further developing the position of the EU and its Member States;

—  says these Council Conclusions complement its December 2014 conclusions and further develop aspects of the new global partnership needed to achieve the sustainable development goals (SDGs);

—  state that, to implement such a far-reaching agenda, "a new global partnership for poverty eradication and sustainable development is required", which "should transform and strengthen the way in which the international community works together";

—  assert that significant progress has already been achieved, with the proposal from the Open Working Group on Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), the report of the Intergovernmental Committee of Experts on Sustainable Development Financing and the UN Secretary-General's synthesis report showing that "an agreement on an ambitious Post-2015 Agenda for people and the planet leaving no-one behind is within reach";

—  conclude that a successful outcome of the Third International Financing for Development Conference in July in Addis Ababa (the "Addis Ababa Conference") will be important for agreeing a coherent and transformative framework for action at the United Nations summit for the adoption of the Post-2015 development agenda in New York, as well as the 21st Conference of the Parties to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change in December in Paris; and

—  state that the outcome of these three processes "should strengthen and highlight synergies and co-benefits between poverty eradication and sustainable development including climate change".

2.40 Looking ahead, the Council say:

—  the EU and its Member States will continue to play an active and constructive role in all ongoing processes and support their convergence in order to achieve a single, overarching Post-2015 Agenda;

—  for this purpose, the EU and its Member States will continue to develop and update common positions in order to engage in an effective and unified manner in the ongoing international negotiations, including by taking forward the issues identified in the Annex to the Commission Communication "A Global Partnership for Poverty Eradication and Sustainable Development after 2015";

—  for this global partnership to succeed, all will have to contribute; and

—  the EU and its Member States are committed to playing their part in full and to working constructively with others so that an ambitious, transformative and inclusive Post-2015 Agenda can be established and implemented.

Previous Committee Reports

None, but see (36644), 5902/15: Thirty-seventh Report HC 219-xxxvi (2014-15), chapter 12 (18 March 2015); also see (36070), 10412/14: Twenty-ninth Report HC 219-xxviii (2014-15), chapter 1 (14 January 2015); Twenty-fourth Report HC 219-xxiii (2014-15), chapter 5 (3 December 2014), Ninth Report HC 219-ix (2014-15), chapter 10 (3 September 2014) and Fifth Report HC 219-v (2014-15), chapter 4 (2 July 2014); also see (34747), 7075/13: Fourteenth Report HC 83-xiv (2013-14), chapter 1 (11 September 2013) and Thirty-ninth Report HC 86-xxxviii (2012-13), chapter 6 (17 April 2013). Also see (35203), 12434/13: Fourteenth Report HC 83-xiv (2013-14), chapter 7 (11 September 2013).


10   The eight goals UN Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) that, in 2000, the UN set itself to achieve, most by 2015: eradicate extreme poverty and hunger; achieve universal primary education; promote gender equality; reduce child mortality; improve maternal health; combat HIV/AIDS, malaria and other diseases; ensure environmental sustainability; develop a partnership for development - each with associated targets and benchmarks to measure progress. Back

11   See (34747), 7075/13: Thirty-ninth Report HC 86-xxxviii (2012-13), chapter 6 (17 April 2013). Back

12   See (35203), 12434/13: Fourteenth Report HC 83-xiv (2013-14), chapter 7 (11 September 2013) for our consideration of this Commission Communication. Back

13   The record of the European Committee is available at Gen Co Deb, European Committee B, 11 December 2013, cols. 3-20. Back

14   See (36070), 10412/14: Twenty-ninth Report HC 219-xxviii (2014-15), chapter 1 (14 January 2015); Twenty-fourth Report HC 219-xxiii (2014-15), chapter 5 (3 December 2014), Ninth Report HC 219-ix (2014-15), chapter 10 (3 September 2014) and Fifth Report HC 219-v (2014-15), chapter 4 (2 July 2014). Back

15   The record of the European Committee debate is available at Gen Co Deb, European Committee B, 11 March 2015, cols. 3-18. Back

16   The Third International Conference on Financing for Development will be held on 13 - 16 July 2015 in Addis Ababa, gathering together high-level political representatives, including Heads of State and Government, and Ministers of Finance, Foreign Affairs and Development Cooperation, as well as all relevant institutional stakeholders, non-governmental organizations and business sector entities. The Conference will result in an inter-governmentally negotiated and agreed outcome, which should constitute an important contribution to and support the implementation of the post-2015 development agenda. The scope of the Conference is set out in General Assembly resolutions 68/204 and 68/279, and will focus on:

1. assessing the progress made in the implementation of the Monterrey Consensus and the Doha Declaration and identifying obstacles and constraints encountered in the achievement of the goals and objectives agreed therein, as well as actions and initiatives to overcome these constraints;

2. assessing the progress made in the implementation of the Monterrey Consensus and the Doha Declaration and identifying obstacles and constraints encountered in the achievement of the goals and objectives agreed therein, as well as actions and initiatives to overcome these constraints;

3. addressing new and emerging issues, including in the context of the recent multilateral efforts to promote international development cooperation;

· the current evolving development cooperation landscape;

· the interrelationship of all sources of development finance;

· the synergies between financing objectives across the three dimensions of sustainable development; and

· the need to support the United Nations development agenda beyond 2015;

4. reinvigorating and strengthening the financing for development follow-up process.

The intergovernmental preparatory process of the Conference was launched on 17 October 2014. It includes a series of substantive informal sessions and informal interactive hearings with civil society and the business sector through March 2015, as well as drafting sessions on the outcome document in January, April and June 2015. For full information, see http://www.un.org/esa/ffd/ffd3/conference.html.  Back

17   See "Sustainable development goals are not fit purpose" in 11 June 2015 issue. Back

18   See Smart Development Goals. Back

19   See Council Conclusions. Back

20   See Fifth Report HC 219-v (2014-15), chapter 4 (2 July 2014). Back

21   The EU's competence in development cooperation and humanitarian aid is a specific form of shared competence commonly referred to as a parallel competence. The treaties define the nature and scope of the EU's competence as follows: "In the areas of development cooperation and humanitarian aid, the Union shall have competence to carry out activities and conduct common policy: however the exercise of that competence shall not result in Member States being prevented from exercising theirs". (Article 4(4) TFEU). While the Maastricht Treaty (1993) provided the first explicit treaty basis for cooperation with developing countries, the Nice Treaty (2003) provided a legal basis for financial and technical cooperation with third countries, notably including non-developing countries in the Balkans, the Middle East and North Africa. Most recently, the Treaty of Lisbon (2009) added an explicit basis for humanitarian aid. More generally, the EU's competence in development cooperation and humanitarian aid is defined in detail in Part V of the TFEU, which sets out the overall framework of the EU's external action. For a full discussion of these issues, see "Review of the Balance of Competences between the United Kingdom and the European Union: Development Cooperation and Humanitarian Aid Report". Back

22   I.e. the G77, EU and JUSCANZ (Australia, Canada New Zealand, Japan, US). Back

23   Twenty-fourth Report HC 219-xxiii (2014-15), chapter 5 (3 December 2014). Back

24   "A transformative post-2015 agenda": endorsed at the Foreign Affairs Council (Development) on 12 December, adopted by the General Affairs Council on 16 December and endorsed by the Environment Council on 17 December 2014; 39 paragraphs over seven pages, and available at Council Conclusions.  Back

25   See (36070), 10412/14: Twenty-ninth Report HC 219-xxviii (2014-15), chapter 1 (14 January 2015). Back

26   Gen Co Deb, European Committee B, 11 March 2015, cols. 3-18. Back

27   See Thirty-seventh Report HC 219-xxxvi (2014-15), chapter 12 (18 March 2015). Back

28   Ibid. Back

29   See Council Conclusions for the full text. Back


 
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