2015 should bring a vital shift in the way the world works together on major issues such as agreeing the post-2015 agenda, the COP21 on climate change and tackling serious issues such as global migration and conflict.
Four major conferences will set the scene for international cooperation for years to come, says the European Centre for Development Policy Management in their new flagship publication ‘Challenges for Africa-EU relations in 2015’.
The EU has also named this the European Year for Development launching today (9 January 2015).
The EU’s new Commission team, led by Jean-Claude Juncker, must get off to a running start. Strategic choices made this year will have major impact on Europe and its neighbouring continents – not least Africa.
Key moments in 2015
Third UN International Conference on Financing for Development (13 July, Addis Ababa)
The UN General Assembly to decide the Sustainable Development Goals to replace the Millenium Development Goals (15 September, New York)
21st Conference of the Parties (COP 21) under the UN Framework for Combating Climate Change (UNFCCC) (30 November, Paris)
The World Trade Organization’s (WTO) 10th Ministerial Conference (15 December, Nairobi)
Challenges for the EU and the international community
In 2014, more than 207,000 people – increasingly Syrian and Eritrean asylum seekers – have made the perilous crossing across the Mediterranean, and over 3,400 migrants lost their lives. Europe’s partnership and cooperation with African leaders and the African Union is key to realising tangible progress on this issue.
Crises dominated the headlines throughout 2014, in Ukraine, Iraq, Syria, the Sahel, and Libya. Federica Mogherini, the EU’s new High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, will spend much of her first year addressing the most volatile situations. Ideally she should also be spending time on developing EU-AU relations.
This array of crises may prompt calls for a review of the European Security Strategy (ESS), however reviewing the ESS at a time when European sentiment is on the wane risks it being watered down.
This backdrop of crises affecting Europe, Africa and beyond may mean that the individual concerns and allegiances of powerful states will dominate the agenda of the UN for the post 2015 debates, drawing political energy away from global development and towards crisis management.
Whether the global community is really ready to negotiate the post-2015 agenda is therefore an open question.
2015 will be a pivotal year for Europe and Africa to step forward and demonstrate to the world it is a partner that can strengthen respective positions as a global players in international cooperation.
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