Galvanising action for the Global Goals: Challenges for EU-Africa relations in 2016


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    The start of 2016 leads us into a new era in international cooperation, but time is not on our side. The migration and refugee crisis, global and local terrorism, violence and fragility in the European Neighbourhood and beyond – all triggered by or mixed with the very visible impacts of climate change – are stark reminders that action on multiple fronts cannot be postponed.
    Four major conferences in 2015 have resulted in a set of ambitious agreements on sustainable development, development finance, climate change and trade, including the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), or Global Goals. Now, 2016 confronts us with the task of turning these grand words into deeds. Africa and Europe will need to gear up fast to put their global commitments into practice. This will be a challenging exercise, as pressures are already building on various fronts, especially climate policy, conflict and security, and poverty and fragility. At the same time, a number of ongoing policy processes are in place that provide opportunities for realising the global ambitions. To exploit the full potential of these vital processes, strong political backing will be required. Climate change is occurring more rapidly and intensely than previously expected. The knock-on effects of climate and other challenges on poverty and fragility put planetary security at risk on a scale unseen before. The refugee and migration crisis illustrates how immediate and intertwined these challenges are. These call for strong political leadership and collective action both in Africa and Europe. As we have argued in the past, “international development in this century is about all countries and their citizens tackling the shared problems of sustainable development together”.

    Read the Challenges Paper

    This ECDPM Challenges Paper looks at implications, challenges and opportunities ahead in 2016 for EU external action and EU-Africa relations, especially in light of the implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.
    Find out more at our Challenges dossier. The authors are available for comment. Please contact our Press Officer Emily Barker at or call +32 (0)2 237 43 81. Image courtesy of COP Paris.
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