Belgium (Brussels Morning Newspaper), At the current rate, one-third of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) targets will not be achieved by the EU by 2030.
This was the main takeaway of an event organised by the European Economic and Social Committee (EESC) NAT Section and the Sustainable Development Solutions Network (SDSN).
In particular, the report underlines stagnation and the reversal of progress on environmental goals and social targets in many European countries, with growing issues around access to and quality of services for all, as well as poverty and material deprivation, driven at least partly by multiple crises since 2020.
The ESDR is co-designed with civil society and, since 2019, has tracked the performance of all EU Member States and partner countries on the SDGs, which were adopted by all UN Member States in 2015.
The SDGs include no poverty, zero hunger, good health and well-being, quality education, gender equality, climate action, clean water and sanitation.
This year’s report provides essential contributions for the EU to strengthen its SDGs leadership at home and internationally ahead of the June 2024 European elections and the Summit of the Future, convened by the UN Secretary-General to take place in September 2024.
During the event, the urgency of taking decisive actions before 2030 to avert irreversible environmental and social tipping points was stressed.
Camilla Brückner, Director of the UN/UNDP office in Brussels and representative of the UN system in the EU, stressed that it was of utmost importance for the entire world to stay focused on implementing the 2030 Agenda with its 17 SDGs and the Paris Climate Agreement.
”Europe can continue to show leadership in implementing the SDGs and support momentum for their acceleration”, she said.
Zakia Khattabi, Belgian Federal Minister of Climate, the Environment, Sustainable Development, and the Green Deal, said: “We cannot afford to slow down action on sustainable development.
“We need to end with the cycles in which high political attention alternates with low political attention on sustainable development”.
She also stressed that we need to go beyond an SDGs-by-SDGs approach, and supported a transformation of the international finance model.
Minister Khattabi also thanked the EESC for its opinion on advancing an EU policy framework on a just transition.
Petra Petan, member of the cabinet of Commissioner Gentiloni, highlighted that “this European Commission, and in particular Commissioner Gentiloni, have achieved great advances in the area of the SDGs: from the integration of SDGs into our economic governance to the publication of the first-ever EU Voluntary Review.
“We remain committed to the implementation of the 2030 Agenda, via our policies and financing tools”.