Linda McAvan has an unusual job for a politician. Instead of looking to leverage partisan disagreements, she spends her time searching for consensus.
McAvan is chair of the influential Committee on Development of the European Parliament, a post she assumed following the 2014 parliamentary elections.
“In Westminster, the job is all about looking for difference, whereas in our job it’s the opposite,” she told Devex at a recent European Year of Development event at the EU House hosted by Bond, a network of U.K.-based nongovernmental organizations. “You’ll have a proposal on the table, and you need to create the maximum consensus to get that through, so you need to know where people are coming from.”
McAvan has been a member of the European Parliament since 1998, and much of her political career has been focused on the environment and climate change. Development, she said, is a far more challenging field, where not all the necessary legal frameworks are clear or even in place — which is “certainly the case” for the U.N. Summit to adopt the post-2015 development agenda in New York in September.