The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development: a new frontier of rights and progress for the EU

Embarking on a collective journey…to free the human race from the tyranny of poverty…(delivering a) new universal Agenda …(which will) realise the human rights of all are very ambitious objectives. However, moving from declarations to concrete action is even more ambitious and hence, the effective governance of the 2030 Agenda is of paramount importance. Without doubt, it will only become a reality if citizens actively support the necessary transitions and if civil society is directly involved throughout the process.

Within this context, the conference on 22 and 23 May took a four-pronged approach.

Firstly, to reaffirm that the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development is composed of three equal dimensions (economic, social and environmental), which are fused together, mutually reinforcing and indivisible. Progress in implementing the sustainable development goals will depend on the extent to which the political, policy and technical decisions reflect this interconnectivity. Hence, the necessity to measure growth 'beyond GDP' and to move from indicators to policy design.

Secondly, the event demonstrated the opportunities of the 2030 Agenda for developing a much-needed positive narrative for democracy and sustainable European growth. Without doubt, the 2030 Agenda is the most appropriate framework to guide European and national strategies in dealing with current and future societal changes. The language of rights (universal and community) provides the overall guiding framework for such an approach.

The third objective of the conference was to improve communication on the benefits of implementing the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), for both individuals and communities.  To this end, a number of case studies of local grassroots initiatives will be presented.

Finally, the fourth objective of the event, was to explore the most effective role of civil society in the governance and implementation of the SDGs, at both the national and European levels, with a view to jointly delivering the 2030 Agenda.