To discuss ways to accelerate action on the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) for a sustainable recovery, the EESC Section for Agriculture, Rural Development and the Environment held a debate.
The debaje has turned around the Europe Sustainable Development Report 2020. The report is a joint initiative by the Sustainable Development Solutions Network (SDSN) and the Institute for European Environmental Policy (IEEP), in collaboration with the EESC.
En su declaración de apertura, la representante del Secretario General de las Naciones Unidas ante la UE, Barbara Pesce-Monteiro, destacó que la Agenda 2030 y los ODS deben convertirse en la brújula que guíe nuestra respuesta a la crisis y los esfuerzos de recuperación, avanzando y cambiando los paradigmas existentes. El Pacto Verde Europeo y el plan de recuperación de la UE demuestran que debemos desvincular el crecimiento económico de las prácticas insostenibles.
In her opening statement, the UN secretary-general’s representative to the EU, Barbara Pesce-Monteiro, highlighted that the 2030 Agenda and the SDGs need to become a guiding compass for our response to the crisis and recovery efforts – moving forward better and changing the existing paradigms. The European Green Deal and the EU recovery plan show we should decouple economic growth from unsustainable practices.
The EU is lagging behind
The Europe Sustainable Development Report 2020 finds that even before the onset of the pandemic, no European country was on track to achieve all 17 SDGs by 2030. In particular, Europe faces its greatest SDG challenges in the areas of sustainable agriculture and diets, climate and biodiversity, and in strengthening the convergence of living standards across its countries and regions.
Negative spillovers for the rest of the world
Furthermore, the 2020 International Spillover Index included in the report, shows that European countries are generating large, negative spillovers outside Europe – with serious environmental, social and economic consequences for the rest of the world. Unsustainable supply chains also lead to deforestation and increased biodiversity threats.
Political commitment for achieving the SDGs
The report concludes that there is a pressing need to maintain strong political commitment to the Goals, to track progress, and to communicate how the EU and Member States are working to achieve them. While COVID was a setback for the SDGs, the Goals provide a roadmap for a green, inclusive and resilient recovery. With the upcoming Conferences of the Parties on climate and biodiversity, and the UN Food Systems Summit, the EU should build a strong narrative on the SDGs and make 2021 the “Super Year” to achieve them, both in Europe and globally.