20th Anniversary of the first EU sustainable development strategy

Taking stock of progress (EU Green Week partner event)

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Scope and objectives

At the Gothenburg Summit in June 2001, EU leaders launched the first EU sustainable development strategy based on a proposal from the European Commission. This 2001 strategy was composed of two main parts: the first proposed objectives and policy measures to tackle a number of key unsustainable trends while the second part, arguably more ambitious, called for a new approach to policy-making that ensures the EU's economic, social and environmental policies mutually reinforce each other.

This EU Green Week partner event aims to take stock of the implementation of sustainable development policy in the EU and the intake of Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). It will consider:

  • If decision-makers are sufficiently accountable for the EU commitment to implement the SDGs,
  • If the "whole of society approach" is reflected in the approach to SDG implementation,
  • If the EU is currently measuring the level of implementation in a sufficiently comprehensive manner to allow for the indicators to serve as a basis for policy planning and shaping.

Representative of the EU Institutions and bodies, national networks and civil society organisations will be invited to contribute to the debate.


Ever since the adoption of the UN 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development by the European Institutions in 2015, the European Economic and Social Committee (EESC) has been calling on the Commission to establish an overarching, long-term European Sustainable Development Strategy with concrete objectives, targets and actions in order to achieve the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

Despite repeated calls from the EESC, the Parliament and the Council and the fact that the EU played a leading role in the adoption of the 2030 Agenda, the Commission has not developed an overarching strategy. The Commission’ approach is rather to focus on delivering concrete actions that will bring tangible progress in the areas of the SDGs. The President’s political guidelines and the Commission’s annual work programmes constitute the Commission’s strategy to implement the SDGs.

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