Sustainable Development: A Mapping of the EU's internal and external policies

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EESC opinion: Sustainable Development: A Mapping of the EU's internal and external policies

Key points

  • The UN 2030 Agenda should be turned into a proactive, transformational and positive narrative for Europe. This forward-looking narrative would also help overcome the unprecedented lack of trust of EU citizens in the EU project and in particular win young people's support for it. The EU should use the UN 2030 Agenda in this way to present EU citizens with a new vision for Europe: the social contract of the 21st century.
  • The Committee calls for an overarching and integrated strategy for a Sustainable Europe 2030 and beyond, providing the necessary long-term time horizon, policy coordination and coherence for implementation of the UN 2030 Agenda. This strategy must include specific targets for SDG implementation, review and monitoring mechanisms, as well as action plans with the necessary legislative and policy instruments, awareness-raising activities and a plan for mobilising financial resources. The design phase of the strategy should provide for broad consultation of civil society, governments, parliaments and local authorities.

The EESC has identified the following key policy areas for transformational change towards sustainable development and recommends that the Commission establish appropriate flagship initiatives:

  • a just transition to a low-carbon, circular and collaborative economy;
  • transition towards a socially inclusive society and economy – decent work and human rights;
  • transition to sustainable food production and consumption;
  • investing in innovation and long-term infrastructure modernisation and encouraging sustainable businesses;
  • making trade work for global sustainable development.

The EU should move to a multi-stakeholder-led approach in SDG implementation, by including all actors and civil society organisations based on the principles of participation, accountability and partnership. The EESC itself has already presented a specific initiative for the multi-stakeholder European Sustainable Development Civil Society Forum.

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