The Council adopted a set of conclusions on the implementation by the EU of the United Nations' 2030 Agenda on Sustainable Development and its 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) on 10 December and explicitly acknowledged the critical role played by civil society in implementing and achieving the SDGs.
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Achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) requires more than political commitment, says the European Economic and Social Committee. Increased investment, especially by the private sector, is needed to address current economic, social and environmental challenges. The Committee therefore advises the EU and its Member States to adjust their investment and tax policies to enhance growth prospects, and thereby private sector contributions, to accomplishing the SDGs.
EESC debate takes stock and discusses steps to take
Sustainability is of critical importance for business and employers, who play a crucial role as generators of development. A sound and solid economy is the necessary enabler of sustainable development. We need to seek solutions beneficial in three aspects: economic, social and environmental. While various stakeholders have much in common in their perceptions of sustainability, they often differ on how to get there. These are some of the conclusions of the discussion on "How business can promote sustainability" that took place on 21 November 2019 in Barcelona, Spain.
The European Economic and Social Committee (EESC) believes that tackling the social question is absolutely crucial to achieve the United Nations 2030 Agenda on Sustainable Development in the EU. The implementation of the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) requires merging the social with the economic and environmental dimensions of sustainability, bringing about a systemic change and overcoming the silo thinking prevalent in current EU strategies. The "new deal" announced by the Commission President-elect should therefore be a Green and Social Deal ensuring that no one is left behind in the transition to a sustainable and carbon-neutral Europe.
The EESC draws forward-looking conclusions from the 2019 Semester and the Committee's civil society consultations in the Member States
Fisheries, aquaculture and algae cultivation are crucial to increasing sustainable aquatic food production in the EU, promoting food security and creating economic growth and sustainable jobs. The potential of the blue bio-economy remains untapped in the EU. The EESC therefore recommends introducing pan-European pilot projects, and based on their results tapping the sector's full potential with the involvement of both local stakeholders and the scientific community.
Sustainable development must be at the heart of the future of Europe. If we want to achieve the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) by 2030, we need to act now. The time for reflection is over, urges the European Economic and Social Committee (EESC) in its recent opinion on the Commission's Reflection Paper "Towards a Sustainable Europe by 2030".
Farming can only be continued if our natural resources are preserved, warns EESC
The EU needs to put greater emphasis on short supply chains and agroecology in farming in order to preserve its agriculture and make it more resilient to new challenges, such as climate change. Agroecology is also a way to secure our food supply, make our food healthier and as such raise its value. Short supply chains will help smaller farms to increase their income and enliven rural areas.
At its plenary session in July, the European Economic and Social Committee presented proposals for the economic agenda of the upcoming legislative period (2019-2024) and recommended that they should form the basis of a new European economic strategy. The Committee's proposals seek to develop more resilient and sustainable EU economic policies within an improved governance framework for the Economic and Monetary Union.