Linking policy and practice in international cooperation

Policy Coherence for Development (PCD) stems from the growing recognition that other policy areas (such as migration, security, trade, tax, agriculture) can be either harmful or promote development priorities.  It has become more pertinent in an era of declining Official Development Assistance (ODA).

Policy Coherence for Development aims to prevent negative side effects across policies and promote positive synergies to the benefit of development policies and objectives.

As the world’s largest donor, the EU has promoted Policy Coherence for Development ever since the 1992 Treaty of Maastricht.

Its implementation is fundamentally a matter of politics. PCD is a complex, multi-stakeholder process driven by conflicting interests, and by actors with varying degrees of exerting influence in policy-making processes. Although the EU has committed to policy coherence, it has not yet set a results-oriented framework to monitor progress in PCD. Perfect policy coherence is impossible to attain so the challenge is to maintain political will and leadership for PCD over the medium to long term.

Over the years, structures have been put in place to promote Policy Coherence for Development (PCD) throughout EU institutions and its member states. Yet aligning non-development policies with development objectives, both within the member states and at EU level, remains a huge challenge and the results so far have been limited.

Drawing on the expertise and knowledge ECDPM has built over the years, the Strengthening European External Action Programme at ECDPM will focus on:

  • Promoting and raising awareness of Policy Coherence for Development as an approach beyond aid to enable development
  • Identifying key lessons learnt from the experiences of promoting PCD at the EU and national level to identify obstacles and point out possible solutions
  • Facilitating the EU and member states’ efforts to implement Policy Coherence for Development on thematic issues by providing tools to map out harmful incoherencies in thematic policy areas as well as analytical studies on specific thematic areas
  • Contributing to the knowledge of the impacts or (lack thereof) of EU and national policies on developing countries by defining methodological approaches to assess the impact of incoherencies
  • Developing specific analytical and guidance tools to promote implementation of PCD generally and on thematic topics
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