This week, on 1 February, SOLIDAR hosted the first day of the SDG Watch Europe Assembly [the assembly closed on 2 February] : an exchange of views with EU representatives – MEPs from different political groups and committees*, representatives of the European External Action Services (EEAS), the EESC, DG Environment and DG Devco – to discuss the steps we can take together to build innovative policies grounded in social justice and sustainability, forged through inclusive political processes, new forms of partnership, multilevel governance and increased involvement of the public authorities. SOLIDAR members MPDL and Alianza por la Solidaridad participated in the Assembly as well.
SDG Watch Europe brings together 70 organisations representing a wide range of constituencies and sectors as well as all four dimensions of sustainable development (economy, environment, social and governance). The network is able to cover both the domestic and the external policies of the European Union.
In his opening speech, Conny Reuter, Secretary General of SOLIDAR, highlighted that “while the 2030 Agenda is a call for a radical transformation in policies, it is a call for the EU to move towards social progress and upward social convergence. The challenges remain in turning the commitment taken into reality”. “We know that breaking the vicious circle that produces poverty, inequality and environmental destruction requires transformative change that directly attacks the root causes of these problems instead of the symptoms” he said.
The participation of MEPs from six different committees encompassing both domestic and external EU policies (from employment to international trade, from development to culture and education, from agriculture to environment) demonstrates a growing awareness of the fact that – as highlighted by UNRISD - change can only happen if we are able to overcome the “silo” approach, and promote an “eco-social” turn in EU policies.
*Tibor Szanyi MEP - Progressive Alliance of Socialists and Democrats, AGRI Committee, Hungary; Jean Lambert MEP - Group of the Greens/European Free Alliance, EMPL Committee, the UK; Elly Schlein MEP - Progressive Alliance of Socialists and Democrats, DEVE Committee, Italy; Helmut Scholz MEP - The European United Left - Nordic Green Left, INTA Committee, Germany; Karin Kadenbach MEP -Progressive Alliance of Socialists and Democrats, ENVI Committee, Austria; Helga Trupel MEP - Group of the Greens/European Free Alliance, CULT Committee, Germany; Julie Ward MEP - Progressive Alliance of Socialists and Democrats, CULT Committee, the UK; Brando Benifei MEP - Progressive Alliance of Socialists and Democrats, EMPL Committee, Italy.