731 days of empty promises on sustainability | WWF

731 days of empty promises on sustainability

Posted on
25 September 2017
The EU signed up to the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) on 25 September 2015. But despite decision-makers’, civil society, businesses’ and other stakeholders’ support for action, it still has no strategy for how to reach them two years on.

Sally Nicholson, Head of Development Policy and Finance at WWF European Policy Office said:

“In the last 731 days, the EU has made patchy progress on sustainability. The European Commission has turned deaf ears to the calls from both European Parliament and the Member States for a plan for reaching the UN Sustainable Development Goals. The Goals did not get so much as a mention in President Juncker's recent State of the European Union speech!

Initiatives like the Energy Union cannot replace an overarching sustainability plan. Pretending otherwise is like an athlete claiming his bicep curls will win him the heptathlon. The 17 goals are indivisible and should transform every area of our societies, making them cleaner, healthier, greener and fairer.

If we are to succeed the European Commission has to pick up the pace. It must produce an SDG implementation plan which includes all policy areas before the end of its mandate. The clock is ticking.”

More information: In September 2015, world leaders, including the EU, adopted the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) of the UN 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. The goals came into force on 1 January 2016.

The 2030 Agenda aims to end all forms of poverty, fight inequalities and tackle climate change. It sees these challenges as inter-linked. The SDGs cover education, health, social protection, and jobs, climate change and environmental protection. Their ‘universal’ nature means they need to be implemented across all the EU’s internal and external policies.

While the SDGs are not legally binding, governments - and the EU - are expected to take ownership and establish national frameworks for the achievement of the 17 Goals. Countries have the primary responsibility for follow-up and review of progress made.

WWF believes that the EU must develop a coherent overarching strategy to ensure that all the Sustainable Development Goals are implemented, and ensure a sustainable future for Europe. So far, despite calls from MEPs and Member States early this summer, the Commission has not produced such a strategy.

More on WWF’s position on the SDGs
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