The Elephant in the (Commission’s) Room

SOLIDAR in cooperation with the Global Progressive Forum (GPF) organised an interactive workshop in the Framework of the PES Council in Lisbon last week on 1 and 2 December.

The aim of the workshop was to raise awareness of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) among the audience and to put further pressure on the European Commission to recognise the need for an implementation strategy. The discussion showed that unfortunately, two years after the UN agreement on the SDGs, there is very little knowledge about the concept and about Agenda 2030 among grassroots political activists.

Our panelists focused on different ongoing awareness raising campaigns as well as the actions taking place on the European and national level. Enrique Guerrero Salom, President of the GPF, stressed that even though Agenda 2030 is a global strategy, Europe has to take the lead in the implementation process. Arne Lietz, Member of the European Parliament (S&D Group) and active campaigner for SDGs, explained to activists the initiatives undertaken by the European Parliament, and to illustrate the real impact of the goals in practice he used the example of sustainable textile production. Conny Reuter, Secretary of the SOLIDAR Foundation, highlighted the actions taken by civil society on the occasion of the second anniversary of the SDGs (25 September) and invited the activists to sign a postcard addressed to the European Commission’s President Juncker and his team with a common message: “Without a clear and ambitious EU implementation strategy and work plan, without real policies to dramatically reduce inequalities, change our consumption and production patterns, and operationalise the principle of policy coherence for sustainable development, in a few years’ time we will not have much left to celebrate.”

To find out more about the SDGs and ways how one can raise awareness and contribute to the implementation have a look at the website of SDG Watch Europe. If you are curious to see the pictures and read more about PES Council, have a look at their website.