As in previous years, the EESC was present at the High Level Political Forum (HLPF), from Tuesday, 16 July, to Thursday, 18 July 2019. The HLPF is the United Nations central platform for follow-up and review of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the Sustainable Development Goals.
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On 12 February, the Sustainable Development Observatory will hold a debate on the EU Reflection Paper on Sustainable Europe by 2030. It will then look at several national strategies and processes involving civil society actors.
At this event, different stakeholders will discuss the need of a fair and just transition and a European Green Deal that leave no one behind. This transition means that the most vulnerable members of society, as well as regions and territories that are in the need of special consideration, have to be involved in decision-making. These aspects will be addressed by the panellists in an interactive discussion.
I welcome the much-awaited reflection paper of the European Commission "Towards a Sustainable Europe by 2030". I wish to congratulate First Vice-President Timmermans and Vice-President Katainen for this result. Now there is another window of opportunity to further push the sustainable development agenda, which must become the EU's top priority for the next decade. Let us be clear though: this is only the beginning of the road towards an ambitious and successful implementation of the sustainable agenda.
In view of the informal Summit of the Heads of State and Government of the EU on the future of Europe in Sibiu (Romania), on 9 may 2019, the EESC, as the institutional representative of organised civil society, sets out its own vision of the future with Europe becoming the world leader on sustainable development. To this end, The Committee calls for a new strategy based on a global, cross-sectoral approach focusing on the needs of the citizens with the primary goal of sustainability.
This is an important day. We are gathered here a little over ninety days before the European elections to ask the question: are we brave enough to grasp the urgency of the moment?
Less than two weeks ago, the citizens of Europe expressed their democratic right and voted in the European elections. For the first time in the EU elections' history, the turnout was higher than in the previous round and higher than in any European election since 1994. Clearly, the legitimate concerns over climate change and environment were on top of the agenda of voters in many European countries and also in all the four main political forces.