The EU Council adopts conclusions on Sustainable Development: one step closer to the Europe we want?

On Tuesday 10 December, the EU Council adopted a set of conclusions regarding the implementation of the UN 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and its 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The Conclusions build further on the EU reflection paper on sustainable development in Europe - "A Sustainable Europe by 2030" published by the European Commission in January 2019. The Council Conclusions underline “the central importance of sustainable development for the European Union and stresses that it is in the EU's interest to continue to play a leading role in implementing the 2030 Agenda and its 17 SDGs”.

SOLIDAR welcomes the Conclusions that reflect the demands made by the Civil Society Organisations Networks SOLIDAR is a member of such as SDG Watch Europe and CONCORD:

  1. the implementation of the 2030 Agenda has to be accelerated “both globally and internally, as an overarching priority of the EU”;
  2. the need for a comprehensive and overarching implementation strategy outlining timelines, objectives and concrete measures to reflect the 2030 Agenda and to mainstream the SDGs into all relevant internal and external EU policies.

SOLIDAR believes that the new European Commission, by following the Council Conclusions, has the chance to put Europe on the right path towards a fairer, inclusive and prosperous Europe, while respecting planetary boundaries.

Some interesting highlights in these conclusions…

1. The implementation of Agenda 2030 and the SDGs is essential for ending poverty and for ensuring a peaceful, healthy and secure life for current and future generations…

3. … The council emphasises that the realisation of fundamental rights is a precondition to achieving the SDGs and for the fulfilment of the commitment to leave no-one behind.

9. … The council encourages Member States to lift the level of ambition on their national responses to the implementation of the 2030 Agenda, and to proactively mainstream the 2030 Agenda into national planning instruments, policies, strategies and financial frameworks.

6d. The council stresses the critical role of civil society in implementing and achieving the SDGs, and the importance of meaningful involvement of CS in EU strategies regarding the 2030 Agenda. …

14. The council welcomes the decision by the President of the Commission (2019 to 2024) to task each Commissioner with ensuring the delivery of the UN SDGs within their respective policy areas.   …The council welcomes the President of the Commission’s intention to ensure that Europe’s external financial assistance promotes the 2030 Agenda and the SDGs.

20. … The council reiterates the need to strengthen the social dimension to promote inclusion; equality in all its forms, notably gender equality; high quality and inclusive education; and a socially fair transition, in line with the European Pillar of Social Rights, while ensuring that the EU's common values, including democracy, the rule of law and fundamental rights are safeguarded. … 

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