The new United Nations 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, adopted on the UN world summit on 25th – 27th September, sets out an unprecedented broad action plan for people, planet and prosperity. With 17 Sustainable Development Goals addressing all cross-cutting issues faced by human societies, this new agenda goes beyond the previous Millennium Development Goals: all countries, including developed European countries, are now called upon to act and speed up transition towards greener, fairer, more inclusive development patterns by 2030. An ambitious strategy will be key for a proper implementation of the SDGs in Europe, requiring both a thorough review of public policies and an open partnership with civil society and non-state actors, who are the ultimate drivers of change.
In order to initiate and facilitate an open dialogue platform, the EESC, UNEP and the European Environmental Bureau (EEB) jointly organised on 12 and 13 November in Brussels a two-day conference on "Sustainable Development Goals - Implementation in Europe" and preparations for the second session of the United Nations Environment Assembly (UNEA2) in 2016. The message of the more-than-220 participants representing a wide range of stakeholders was very clear: Business as usual will not work, because the 2030 Agenda is also an agenda for Europe and much has to be done in order to comply with the 17 SDGs. Citizens have to be informed, listened to, involved and included in all necessary steps, because in the end it is the citizens who transform the goals into reality. Strategies and actions have to be set now.
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