Next steps for a sustainable European future

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EESC opinion: Next steps for a sustainable European future

Background

The Commission Communication on Next steps for a sustainable European future, adopted on 22 November 2016, is setting out a strategic European approach the implementation of the UN 2030 Agenda on Sustainable Development and achieving the global Sustainable Development Goals by 2030. This approach includes two work streams: the first entails mainstreaming the Sustainable Development Goals in the European policy framework, in particular the 10 Commission's work priorities and current Commission priorities; the second comprise the launch of a reflection process on developing our longer term vision and the focus of sectoral policies after 2020. Furthermore, the Communication informs about how the 2030 Agenda is embedded in the EU's external and development policies. Finally, it explains how the EU will take forward the implementation of the 2030 Agenda through governance, financing, monitoring and sharing responsibility with civil society.

Related EESC opinions

Reports

Key points:

  • The EESC is disappointed by the Communication Next steps for a sustainable European future as it gives the impression that all the main objectives and requirements of the UN 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development have already been covered and addressed by the existing EU policies. The Communication does not introduce into EU policies the paradigm shift brought about by the 2030 Agenda towards a new model of development that is economically more sustainable, socially more inclusive and environmentally more viable in the long term. The EESC feels that concrete leadership is lacking on the part of the EU, as it has not presented an ambitious roadmap for action on the implementation of the SDG with a time horizon of 2030 nor has it demonstrated willingness to critically review and change its current policies.
  • The EESC stresses that the SDG mapping of EU policies needs to be complemented by a profound analysis of the real gaps that are currently in evidence in the EU as regards SDG implementation. Only a reality check will enable the EU to identify areas where prior action is needed and to critically review the effectiveness of current EU policies when it comes to implementing the SDGs.
  • The EESC welcomes the Commission's decision to establish a multi-stakeholder platform on the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals in the EU. The EESC will support the work of the platform by nominating a member to represent the EESC on the platform and provide expertise as well as by facilitating outreach to civil society and contributing with other activities.