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SPECIAL SUPPLEMENT: DEVCO Environment Week

The DEVCO Environment Week took place from 6-10 February 2017. Two back-to-back seminars were organised: from 6-8 February, ‘DEVCO Thematic Seminar on Environment - Implementing the Environmental Dimension of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development’; and from 9-10 February, ‘Conservation, development and security’ (co-organised with DG ENV and EEAS).

EuropeAid

date:  24/04/2017

Thematic Seminar on Environment - Implementing the Environmental Dimension of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development

The first seminar discussed environmental policy for EU international cooperation and development. Participation was impressive with Stefano Manservisi, DEVCO Director-General and Daniel Calleja, Director-General ENV, 70 colleagues from delegations, and 30 from headquarters, including DG DEVCO, EEAS, DG ENV, DG CLIMA and JRC. 

The thematic seminar achieved its objectives of 1) providing staff in EU Delegations and in headquarters with a greater understanding of the new policy framework and priorities ahead of the mid-term review;  2) discussing key policy priorities in order to strengthen policy work and the integration of environment into EU cooperation; 3) exchanging information and experience about recent developments at global level, in the EU and in partner countries, and about EU cooperation programmes and strengthening collaboration between headquarters and EU Delegations on environment related topics. 

Participants expressed a very high degree of satisfaction, interest and commitment, confirmed by intense participation and full attendance throughout the three days.

In his opening remarks, Stefano Manservisi, Director-General for International Cooperation and Development, highlighted the new policy agenda, emphasized the importance of putting environmental sustainability and climate change at the heart of EU development cooperation and insisted on the importance of policy engagement and the need to put the right policies in place. He stated that: "Current development pathways are unsustainable: nearly 10 billion people seeking a European lifestyle by 2050 would require, under present production and consumption patterns, natural resources of at least two Planet Earths. We need a sustainable society where economic growth is compatible with planetary boundaries and there is a fair distribution of its benefits among citizens. ( …)The implementation of the 2030 Agenda requires first and  foremost putting the right policies in place both in the EU and in partner countries."

Daniel Calleja, Director-General for the Environment welcomed the initiative and the close cooperation between the 2 DGs; he talked about the importance of strong links and synergies between the EU internal and external action on environment.  He insisted on the importance of mainstreaming for SDG implementation and outlined 4 priority areas for action:  circular economy; biodiversity and forests; pollution and sustainable urban development; and addressing the links between environment and migration.

Roberto Ridolfi, Director for Sustainable Growth and Development at DG DEVCO, outlined the role of the EU as a political actor and global leader on environmental matters – not merely a “donor”.  The new policy agenda compels us to engage with our partner countries on sustainability, environment and climate change.  Policy dialogue - notably on sustainability, not funding - needs to be at the heart of our partnerships; and needs to be supported by  investments to promote decent jobs and sustainable and inclusive growth.

The 6 sessions focused respectively on the new policy agenda, scaling up the green economy, enhancing environment and climate change mainstreaming, FLEGT and forests contribution to the global agenda, the biodiversity conservation-development-security nexus and strengthening resilience and addressing migration – why environment matters.

The main conclusions include:  (i) the need to radically enhance the mainstreaming of environmental sustainability and climate change in policies, investments and programmes;  the mid-term review is a unique opportunity; (ii) opportunities to promote green investments and the transition to sustainable development pathways through the new External Investment Plan; (iii) mainstreaming as a collective responsibility; (iv) the role of sustainable forest and land management for achieving several SDGs, fostering resilience, contributing to poverty reduction, growth and employment, addressing climate change; (v) the contribution of biodiversity conservation and tackling wildlife trafficking  to development, resilience and security; (vi) the environmental  and climate change drivers of mobility and migration and the need and opportunities to better address them in the EU response to migration. 

For further reading (presentations and final report), please consult the page on CAP4DEV 

Conservation, development and security

The second seminar of DEVCO’s Environment Week took place on Thursday 9 February and Friday 10 February and focused on ‘Conservation, development and security’. Co-organised with DG ENV and EEAS, it brought together stakeholders in charge of the implementation of the external dimension of EU biodiversity policies, with a particular focus on the EU Action Plan against Wildlife Trafficking.

Fifty-three colleagues from delegations and 15 from headquarters, including DG DEVCO, EEAS, DG ENV and JRC, contributed to the discussions of this second seminar. Participation was also open to 70 external stakeholders (civil society, partner countries, member states). It allowed for extensive networking between delegations and technical partners, an important contribution to improving, over the long term, the skills and awareness of EU staff on the challenges facing biodiversity conservation.

The seminar achieved its objectives of 1) providing EU staff with a greater understanding of the conservation-livelihood-security nexus; 2) discussing the “Larger than…” series of strategic orientation documents, as a tool for political dialogue and programme implementation; and 3) exchanging information and experience with EU delegations and external stakeholders on EU policies and programmes, in particular on the EU Action Plan against Wildlife Trafficking.

The first day was structured in 4 sessions around the impact of sustainable use of ecosystems and the protection of species on livelihood improvement and peace-building. As illustrated below, the protection of ecosystems and species is vital not only for the Planet pillar of the SDGs, but largely supports the Prosperity pillar (by direct activities like tourism, or indirectly through ecosystem services for energy production or food) and contributes to peace-building in fragile states (e.g. Colombia, DRC, CAR).

During the second day, the strategic orientation documents produced by DEVCO C2 for supporting wildlife conservation at the continental level were discussed in breakout groups: Larger than Elephants and Larger than Whales in Africa, Larger than Tigers in Asia, Larger than the Amazon in Latin America. The EU delegations are very supportive of these documents which they consider helpful for their policy dialogue with partner countries (e.g. in the preparation of international conventions CITES or CBD) and the definition of new programs. They insisted on the specificities of Asia and Latin America, where the focus should be put on the policy dialogue since financial resources are limited.

The final high-level panel opened particularly interesting perspectives. Xavier Sticker, French ambassador for the environment, expressed the strong commitment of France in the fight against wildlife trafficking and ecosystem protection to the benefit of future generations. He cited Colbert who planted large oak forests for the French Royal Navy for the year 2000; these forests are now highly productive and generate revenue for the state and many jobs. Kaddu Sebunya, president of African Wildlife Foundation, insisted on the need for involving a large spectrum of decision-makers in environmental investments, i.e. ministries of economy, energy, agriculture, planning, since the services provided by nature are crucial for maintaining productive activities. Enrico Pironio took stock of his 33 years of work and insisted on the long-term commitment of the Commission that has contributed directly to the emergence of an African community of practitioners in wildlife conservation.

Participants expressed a very high degree of satisfaction, interest and commitment, confirmed by intense participation and full attendance. They particularly appreciated the mix of attendance (internal and external) and the large space for debate and networking

For further reading (presentations and final report), please consult the page on CAP4DEV 

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