This week (on November 22nd), the European Commission released an important package of policy proposals "setting out a strategic approach for achieving sustainable development in Europe and around the world". The policy package includes three Communications:
- A Communication on a renewed partnership with African, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) countries;
- A Communication on a "new European Consensus on Development - Our World, our Dignity, our Future"; and
- A Communication on “Next steps for a sustainable European future - European action for sustainability” which "explains how the Commission's 10 political priorities contribute to implementing the UN 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and how the EU will meet the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in the future".
The SDG Watch Europe, a civil society alliance of more than 90 EU NGOs established to ensure the full implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) by the EU and its Member States, has issued a press release and a statement strongly criticizing the lack of ambition of this Communication.
- SDG Watch Europe members have expressed their disappointment that the Communication does not provide any substantial new information about how the EU intends to make the Sustainable Development Goals a reality in Europe or around the world. Rather, they say, it reads as “a justification of business-as-usual”, with existing policies such as President Juncker’s Ten Priorities mentioned, and the impression given that the EU is already delivering on the 2030 Sustainable Development Agenda.
- SDG Watch Europe believes that the only way that the Sustainable Development Goals can be coherently implemented by the EU and its Member States is if they are willing to change direction in many key policy areas. “Many policies in Europe today are actively undermining the thrust of the Sustainable Development Goals, and increasing economic insecurity, social and health inequalities, environmental damage within and outside Europe, and - not least – causing a loss of public trust and political instability” says the alliance.
- The alliance claims that the lack of consultation with civil society in the preparation of the Commission’s Communication was not acceptable. They point out that Article 11 TEU places an obligation on EU institutions to consult with CSOs in order to ensure open, participatory, and inclusive multi-stakeholder approaches, and that the SDG agenda itself contains strong commitments to involving civil society and other key stakeholders in its implementation.
Read the SDG Watch Press Release here.
Read the SDG Watch Europe Statement here.
To know more about SDG Watch Europe, visit the website.