The EU is currently one of the key actors promoting global development and ‘effective multilateralism’ as spelled out in the 2016 EU Global Strategy and the 2017 European Consensus on Development. Ambitious plans have been laid out in the proposals for the new Multi-Annual Financial Framework to 2027. All these reflect a renewed commitment to the goals of the UN’s 2030 Agenda. The goals unite developed and developing countries behind the overall aim of securing progress on international development, in its social, economic and environmental aspects. Against this background, the conference considers the future of EU international cooperation and the role of innovation in a challenging global context. What must be done differently to overcome new challenges? And how can change be managed? Specifically, what new approaches must the EU adopt?