EU actors must speed up implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals to address today's urgent global challenges

Author: Jennifer Emilie Richard

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The EU and the rest of the world are facing various challenges and are immersed in uncertain times. Agenda 2030 and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) are the relevant framework to address them, such as the fight against poverty, hunger, inequalities and climate change. Renew Europe therefore welcomes the adoption today in plenary of the report on the implementation and delivery of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), led by co-rapporteur Barry Andrews MEP.

The rate of extreme poverty increased in 2020 for the first time in 20 years. Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, we have probably lost a decade for sustainable development. The world is witnessing heat waves, further evidence of climate change. We call on the Commission to take the global Sustainable Development Goals seriously once and for all. This report highlights the need of stepping up efforts to finding ways for meeting all interconnected 17 SDGs by 2030 within the EU and globally. Renew Europe urges the EU institutions to establish and adopt a single high-level strategy for the EU’s implementation of the SDGs until 2030. Our group considers that the European Semester could be the relevant tool to help this implementation. The SDGs constitute a fundamental precondition for a fair transition under the Paris Agreement and the Green Deal. We don't have the luxury of wasting time.

Barry Andrews (Ireland, Fianna Fáil), Renew Europe rapporteur on this file in the Committee on Development (DEVE), declared: "Thanks to the work of my colleagues in the SDG Alliance, I am proud that this is the first time the European Parliament is expressing its position on the SDGs this term. The EU is failing on its duty to fully implement the SDGs – no EU Member State is on track to achieve the goals, and over the past two years progress has entirely stalled and even regressed in some areas. In the same way that we did not allow our green ambitions to fall by the wayside in light of the Covid-19 pandemic or Russia's war of aggression on Ukraine, we must do the same for the SDGs. Indeed, at a time when the values upon which our society is built are being undermined and attacked, now is the time to invest in the SDGs. We need to defend the SDGs not in spite of Putin's invasion of Ukraine, but precisely because Putin invaded Ukraine. What is ultimately needed is stronger and more effective governance of the SDGs within the European Commission. We strongly hope this report will be continued from 2023 onwards as an Annual Strategic Report. With less than 8 years left to achieve the goals, the stakes are simply too high."

Catherine Chabaud (France, Renaissance), Renew Europe shadow rapporteur in the Committee on the Environment, Public Health and Food Safety (ENVI), added: "Today I welcome the adoption of the report on the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals in the plenary session, and I would like to applaud the excellent work of my colleague Barry Andrews. I am convinced that SDGs should be the backbone of European public policies. It is through this integrated approach that we will respond to the major development challenges facing Europe and the world today. As a passionate sailor I particularly support a more in-depth development of SDG 14 - life below water - as the ocean and its ecosystems represent an incredible source of resources that are essential to mankind and future generations. This is also the reason why the United Nations is dedicating a major international conference to this SDG 14 in Lisbon next week!"