“Restore Our Earth!” was the theme and rallying cry for this year’s Earth Day on 22 April. This is not something that could be achieved on a single day. Yet, Earth Day 2021 might signal a greater turning of the tide as the world enters the “Green Twenties.”
Europe–Africa relations are facing a double challenge – the COVID-19 pandemic puts social and economic systems under strain at a point when the consequences of the climate crisis are being increasingly felt on both continents. Within Africa and Europe, debates have started about recovery measures to address the pandemic’s short and medium-term socio-economic consequences. A key question in these debates is how to “build back better” and use the crisis to promote green transitions and move towards more sustainable development pathways.
Multilateralism has been in trouble for a while, particularly at the global level. Yet, the European Union (EU) and its member states have remained among its staunchest supporters.In their June 2019 Council Conclusions, EU leaders drew the outlines of a common European vision to uphold, extend and reform the multilateral system. Against an increasingly complex and contested geopolitical backdrop, these goals were further developed in the recent EU Communication on Multilateralism, published in February 2021.
On the 19th of March the DG International Partnerships (INTPA) in cooperation with a group of selected topic specialist researchers
The Neighbourhood, Development and International Cooperation Instrument (NDICI) represents a fundamental reform for the European Union (EU)’s development policy, its neighbourhood policy and its external action more broadly. The new instrument will be implemented in a rapidly changing geopolitical context and will have to respond to unprecedented challenges caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.
The European Commission DG NEAR and the office of the High Representative for Foreign and Security Policy released a new policy statement (‘Communication’) ‘Renewed Partnership with the Southern Neighbourhood: A New Agenda for the Mediterranean’ on 9 February 2021. The Communication was accompanied by a staff working document ‘Renewed Partnership with the Southern Neighbourhood Economic and Investment Plan for the Southern Neighbours’. The priorities outlined in the Communication and the investment Plan are to be concretised during 2021 as the new ‘Neighbourhood, Development and International Cooperation Instrument (NDICI), which will finance the EU’s international cooperation, is programmed during 2021.
The adoption of the EU’s Multi-annual Financial Framework (MFF) 2021-2027 will bring profound changes to the set-up of the EU’s instruments for crisis prevention, conflict management and peacebuilding in fragile and conflict-affected countries, which aim to improve the EU’s ability to engage in these contexts. However, reforming the EU’s financial instruments alone is not sufficient to address key underlying challenges. What is needed is an overarching strategic framework that puts policy coherence for sustainable peace at the centre of EU crisis prevention, conflict management and peacebuilding.
COVID19 recovery and the mitigation of future ecological and social crises will be important topics in the super year 2021. What international negotiations will be crucial?
Getting the pandemic globally and permanently under control is key to mitigating its impacts on health, society and the economy. This requires that a large proportion of the global population need be vaccinated against COVID-19 as quickly as possible, which necessitates global solidarity between states in the global North and global South and between societal actors worldwide. Global problems need global solutions.
In this commentary Pauline Veron shares her takeaways from a recent high level DIE-ECDPM webinar event, with some key lessons for health cooperation between West Africa and the EU.