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United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs Sustainable Development

European Consensus on Development and Team Europe

European Commission (
Intergovernmental organization

    The European Consensus on Development, adopted in June 2017, represents a new joint vision for development policy for the EU and its Member States. It is structured around the '5 Ps' framing the 2030 Agenda. The approach in the Consensus (working better together for SDGs) is being taken further in the response to the COVID-19 crisis. The EU has launched its “Team Europe” approach to support partner countries in the fight against the pandemic and its consequences. The objective is to combine resources from the EU, its Member States, European and financial institutions.

    Implementation of the Project/Activity

    The Consensus was signed in June 2017 as a Joint statement by the European Commission, the European Parliament, and Council of the European Union and the representatives of the governments of the Member States meeting within the Council. Since its adoption, a lot of progress has been made to align the development policies of the EU and its Member States to the 2030 Agenda and the Consensus. The EU and its Member States prepare every four years a Joint Synthesis Report on the Consensus on Development including the impact of their actions in support of the 2030 Agenda in developing countries, as a contribution to EU reporting to the UN High Level Political Forum (HLPF) every four years. The first Joint Synthesis Report was issued in May 2019, and next one will be in 2023. As part of the response to the COVID-19 crisis, Team Europe Initiatives, underpinned by strategic policy dialogue, aim to support transformational change by delivering concrete results for partner countries. They focus on identifying a critical priority (bottleneck) that currently constrains development at country level, where a coordinated and coherent effort by Team Europe would ensure results with a transformative impact.


    The Consensus has led to a change of mind-set where all policies, initiatives, programmes have been brought in line with the SDGs in the field of international cooperation and development policy. For European Commission funded development projects, project and programme managers have to identify the most relevant SDGs to which their actions are contributing. Contributing to progress towards a better integration of SDGs is also a major objective for the Neighbourhood, Development and International Cooperation Instrument (NDICI). Through Joint Programming, the EU and its Member States aim to work better together for the implementation of the 2030 Agenda. It is the preferred approach for country programming. This approach is also at the basis of the Team Europe approach in the EU response to the COVID-19 crisis. Team Europe Initiatives are joint efforts facilitated by the EU in coordination with the EU Member States, as well as the European banks.

    Enabling factors and constraints

    Enablers: - Sustainable development is firmly anchored in the EU Treaties. - Success of the Consensus is part of a broader EU effort to implement the SDGs through internal and external policies. Constraints: - For the adoption of the Consensus: the many actors involved and the institutional adoption process that was complex. - For its implementation: the SDGs cover the whole of projects, processes, of the development policies of the EU and Member States. A main challenge is to coordinate between all actors. This applies currently to Team Europe, as a collective response to the COVID-19 crisis.

    Sustainability and replicability

    The European Consensus on Development recognises the need to mainstream environmental, social and economic sustainability and resilience throughout development policy. Regarding costs, implementing the European Consensus entails going beyond official development assistance by mobilising and making effective use of all means of implementation, in line with the Addis Ababa Action Agenda. Concerning Team Europe, the EU calls for a Global Recovery Initiative that links investment and debt relief to the implementation of the SDGs.

    COVID-19 Impact

    The approach in the Consensus (i.e. the EU and its Member States working better together for SDGs) is being taken further in the response to the COVID-19 crisis. The EU has launched its “Team Europe” package to support partner countries against the pandemic and its consequences. The objective of Team Europe approach is to combine resources from the EU, its Member States, and financial institutions. Team Europe policy priorities include: (i) the emergency response to the immediate health crisis and related humanitarian needs; (ii) the strengthening of health systems and water and sanitation systems as well as reinforcement of partners’ preparedness and response capacity; and (iii) the immediate support to attenuate the social, economic and political consequences of the crisis.

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    This initiative does not yet fulfil the SMART criteria.
    01 June 2017 (start date)
    31 December 2030 (date of completion)
    European Commission
    Other beneficiaries

    The main beneficiaries are our partner countries. The Agenda can only be properly implemented by all relevant stakeholders, and international organizations. The Consensus is the result of a broad consultation process with stakeholders. This inclusive method is also followed in the elaboration of the first JSR. This partnership approach is at the centre of the current effort to respond collectively to the COVID-19 crisis through Team Europe.

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