CIDSE, the international family of Catholic social justice organisations, recently shared its latest policy paper Make human rights and environmental protection the fundamentals! Recommendations for the review of the European Development Consensus. With the intention of the European Union (EU) to update the Consensus to reflect the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and Agenda 2030, CIDSE believes that the renewed Consensus should become part of an integrated EU agenda that addresses all dimensions of EU policy and action, at home and abroad, to realise the vision set out in Agenda 2030.
Respect for human rights, gender equality, and care for the environment are central values that the renewed Consensus must integrate, in line with Agenda 2030 that recognises the promotion of human dignity as fundamental.
CIDSE proposes key approaches for the renewed Consensus to build on principles drawn from Catholic Social Teaching, more especially from Pope Francis’ Encyclical Letter Laudato si’(LS) on “Care for Our Common Home.”
A renewed European Development Consensus must be bold enough to challenge the notion of human beings, the earth, and its resources merely as potential “resources to be exploited, while overlooking the fact that they have value in themselves” (LS 33). Empowerment and human rights-based participation mechanisms allow for great learning from communities and whole nations of Indigenous Peoples who already live the solutions and alternatives that are sought.
“Human rights and environmental protection should not be bargaining chips in trade and other agreement but the starting point” (of a consensus), said Jean Letitia Saldanha, CIDSE Senior Policy Advisor.
The recommendations also reflect the ongoing dialogue with peers and partners worldwide on the paradigm shift needed for the present and future global family to live in health and prosperity in harmony with the earth and each other. This includes the recommended adoption of an integrated, systemic approach and the abandonment of the dominant techno-centric solutions being put forward to address the challenges of the Sustainable Development agenda. For instance, to address Agenda 2030’s core challenge of hunger and malnutrition, an approach that embraces the complexity and multi-layered nature of agriculture and food production and consumption systems is essential.
CIDSE stands for the organization’s French full name “Coopération Internationale pour le Développement et la Solidarité” which can be translated as International Cooperation for Development and Solidarity.