In its recent submission to the EU Commission’s consultation on future EU development policy, Fern stated that EU policies should be judged by their impact on small farmers and local communities as well as the environment and climate. The consultation will inform the European Consensus on Development, which will complement the United Nations’ 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, including its seventeen Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
Fern argued that recognition of local communities and farmers’ customary tenure rights is a prerequisite for development. A rights-based approach and policy coherence for sustainable development should be at the heart of the new Consensus for Development in order to ensure all dimensions of sustainable development are implemented equally.
Initiatives that show how policy coherence can be achieved, such as the Forest Law Enforcement Governance and Trade (FLEGT) Action plan and its Voluntary Partnership Agreements, should be supported by EU development policy. To achieve the SDGs, the EU must address its role in driving deforestation. The answer is ambitious policies to ensure that all supply chains feeding the EU market are legal, sustainable and free from deforestation and forest degradation.
Fern’s submission highlighted that the future of development will first and foremost be determined by the planet’s limitations and humanity’s response to them. Unless planetary constraints are recognised and consumption is restricted to sustainable levels – including reducing fossil fuel emissions to zero well before 2050 – there is little hope for long term development.
A new Consensus on Development is expected to be available in November 2016.