Policy Coherence for Development

Policy Coherence for Development

Through Policy Coherence for Development the EU seeks to take account of development objectives in its policies that are likely to affect developing countries. It aims at minimising contradictions and building synergies between different EU policies to benefit developing countries and increase the effectiveness of development cooperation.  This concept of policy coherence for development was introduced in EU fundamental law in 1992 with the Treaty of Maastricht and was further reinforced in the Treaty of Lisbon in 2009 (Art.208 TFEU).

Policy Coherence for Development and the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development

The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development presents a great opportunity to address the interlinked challenges of poverty eradication and sustainable development. At the international level, all countries will need to enhance policy coherence as an important means to ensure that all policies support progress towards the agreed global goals.

In June 2017, the new European Consensus on Development, building on the 2030 Agenda, reaffirmed the EU commitment to PCD and recognized it as a crucial element of the strategy to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in partner countries. The Consensus foresees that PCD will be applied across all policies and all areas covered by the 2030 Agenda.

The 2030 Agenda implied a new perspective for PCD and, consequently, the Commission adapted its approach to PCD and also its reporting thereon to align with this paradigm shift in development cooperation, ensuring that PCD remains relevant in such an evolving policy framework. PCD being a key element in the overall EU effort to implement the 2030 Agenda, the 2019 EU Report on Policy Coherence for Development is closely linked to the Reflection Paper “Towards a sustainable Europe by 2030”.

External Evaluation on PCD

In response to Council and European Parliament demands for an independent ex-post assessment of how the Commission implements its legal and political commitments, an comprehensive evaluation on PCD was launched in February 2016 (see roadmap). This was the first comprehensive evaluation on PCD and covered the period 2009-2016. The final report is available here.

The Commission, in line with the Better regulation provisions, has finalised a staff working document reflecting its assessment of the external evaluation findings and conclusions. You can read here the executive summary (EN, FR and DE) and the full document (EN).

Mechanisms and instruments

Over the years, the EU has gradually strengthened its work on procedures, instruments and mechanisms to promote and enhance policy coherence for development. Important progress was made in 2015 with the revision of the Commission Impact Assessment guidelines as part of the Better Regulation Package. They now include specific guidance and a tool box for analysing the potential impact of important EU policy initiatives on developing countries. This tool #34 helps ensure that impacts on developing countries are taken into account at a very early stage of the preparation of an initiative. In 2017, PCD was integrated in the overall Commission work on the implementation of the 2030 Agenda.

EU Member States are responsible for ensuring policy coherence for development in their national policies and at the EU level and have their own coordination mechanisms in place. The EU Member States contributed to the preparation of the 2019 Report. Their replies are available here.

To further promote PCD the European Commission meets about twice a year with an informal group of PCD contact points from EU Member States to share information on PCD priorities and good practices at the EU level. The EU also promotes discussions about policy coherence at the international level, in dialogues with partner countries and engagements with the OECD (link is external) in this area. A dedicated PCD-team in DEVCO promotes PCD and coordinates internal work across services (thematic units, other DGs, EEAS and EU Delegations) and with other institutions (Council and European Parliament).

Previous PCD Report

The 2015 EU Report on Policy Coherence for Development and the EU Member States' replies to the PCD questionnaire sent out by the Commission in the preparation of the 2015 report are available here.


Policy coherence-related issues are part of the regular agenda item in the Working Party on Development Cooperation (CODEV), the Committee of Permanent Representatives (COREPER) and the Foreign Affairs Council in Development Formation. Council gives also guidance by adopting Conclusions on the PCD reports. The most recent Council conclusions on Policy coherence for development, from 2019, is available here.

European Parliament

Since 2010 the Development committee (DEVE) has a Standing Rapporteur for PCD. The DEVE mandate includes regular discussions on PCD-related issues, reaching out to other committees. The EP sets out its own priorities in a resolution on the biennial Commission PCD report. The most recent resolution, from 2016, is available here.


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