On 12 May, I will attend the Foreign Affairs Council for Development in Brussels. The meeting will be chaired by the High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy and Vice-President of the Commission, Federica Mogherini. The UK is a global leader in delivering world-class international development. I look forward to using this opportunity to work with other member states to push the EU to do more to deliver the ambitious development agenda set out in the Global Goals.
Revision of the European Consensus of Development in light of the 2030 agenda
The 2005 European Consensus on Development – the EU’s overarching development strategy – is geared towards the Millennium Development Goals, and needs updating to reflect the ‘Global Goals for Sustainable Development,’ agreed at United Nations General Assembly last year. The EU played a leading role in the Global Goals negotiations, with strong shaping from the UK, and will be expected to play a key role in implementation. I will argue that the new challenges we face require a comprehensive and integrated EU response; Agenda 2030 must be implemented in the broader context of EU external action (foreign policy and security, trade, environment), with better coherence across development and humanitarian assistance.
Trade, Private Sector and Sustainable Development
The Council will note the Council conclusions on Responsible Global Value Chains, which the UK supports. The substance of the discussion will focus on a paper from the European External Action Service (EEAS) on how to engage the private sector more in development cooperation. I will highlight the championing role the UK has played on this in recent years.
The Brussels Conference on Afghanistan in October 2016 is a key opportunity for the international community to reaffirm their ongoing commitment to Afghanistan’s security and development. It will also be an opportunity for the National Unity Government (NUG) to demonstrate progress and its commitment to economic reform. The Afghan Finance Minister Hakimi will present the new National Development Strategy to the Council during a lunchtime session.
We support initiatives to improve coordination among donors and recognise that joint programming could have a role to play in this. I will continue to offer support to joint programming exercises providing they are worked up and led at the country-level and are focussed on making a real difference to development outcomes. However, the United Kingdom will not substitute our bilateral strategies for EU-led Joint Programmes.
Migration and Development
To develop a coherent EU-Africa response to increased migration from Africa, the European Commission held the Valletta Summit in November 2015. I will push for effective action to ensure that the Action Plan and EU Trust Fund agreed at the Summit deliver a coherent and effective set of programmes to tackle the migration crisis in Africa. The Council will also discuss a recent Communication from the Commission on forced displacement.
Preparation of the World Humanitarian Summit
The World Humanitarian Summit takes place from 23-24 May in Istanbul. It is the first global summit on humanitarian issues, and it comes at a time of unprecedented need. I will stress the UK priorities for the World Humanitarian Summit, including a focus on compliance with International Humanitarian Law, a new global approach to protracted crises, a global humanitarian system for crisis prevention, and ensuring that humanitarian action delivers for women and girls.
This statement has also been made in the House of Commons: