How the EU and its Member States are doing in implementing the SDGs? CONCORD asks for improvements

On 23 July 2019, CONCORD released its analysis of the Council Conclusions on the 2019 Joint Synthesis Report (JSR) of the European Union and its Member States.  

The Joint Synthesis Report, together with the related Council conclusions (08 July 2019), the European Commission  Sustainable Development Reflection Paper and the Eurostat SDG Progress report, served as a basis for the EU's reporting to the United Nations High-level Political Forum on Sustainable Development taking place this July in New York.  

In its analysis, CONCORD identifies areas on which substantial improvements are needed. These include:  

  • The EU and its Member States political will to tackle the systemic nature of inequality, from an economic paradigm shift towards one that benefits all people and planet. This means going beyond growth to a post-growth economy, based on a de-carbonised Europe and the circular economy, measured by well-being of people and planet instead of GDP. The Council should explicitly call for an EU Action Plan to Fight Inequalities both internally and externally, and for investing more in collecting disaggregated data and in supporting partner countries to do likewise to ensure that the furthest behind are reached;  
  • The need to evaluate the impact of the EU’s policies and funding on gender equality, in addition to the implementation of the EU Gender Action Plan. Much more could be achieved if gender would be better included in political dialogue and programming beyond social sectors, in particular in trade, infrastructure and energy negotiations and programmes; 
  • The strengthening from the EU and its MS of a structured dialogue with a diverse range of CSOs and mechanisms for inclusion and genuine participation of civil society, supported by the EU Country Roadmaps process. The EU must do more to concretise its commitment to strengthening a pluralistic and diverse local civil society, supporting democracy and human rights defenders, and protecting and expanding civic space. This engagement with citizens, including at subnational level, should be done to define development priorities, monitor progress and hold government and other duty bearers accountable;  and 
  • The need to acknowledge the universality of Agenda 2030 and focus both on partner countries and also on its own populations and public to achieve the SDGs through the establishment of a common strategy including instruments fostering Global Citizenship Education (GCE). Citizen’s engagement and GCE are key to ensure that people living in Europe support the EU’s role on the international scene to respond to global challenges in a fair and sustainable way.  

SOLIDAR fully supports this analysis, and specifically wishes to reiterate the need for EU and MS to strengthen efforts towards achieving the Sustainable Development Goal 10 aiming at reducing inequalities within and between countries. Indeed, and given sufficient evidence provided by the recently-released report entitled “Falling through the cracks. Exposing inequalities in the European Union and beyond” to which SOLIDAR contributed, as things stand now, Member States of the EU are not on track to achieve the goal to reduce inequalities by 2030.  

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