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The EU Council adopted conclusions addressing next steps, resources and means of implementation, multi-stakeholder involvement and monitoring and review, among other topics.

‘A sustainable European future: The EU response to the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development’ is based on the EC’s November 2016 communication on policy coherence among the 2030 Agenda, the EU policy framework and the EC’s priorities.

20 June 2017: The Council of the European Union has adopted conclusions on the EU’s response to the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and its implementation at the EU level, calling on the European Commission (EC) to set an implementation strategy with timelines, objectives and concrete measures for implementing the 2030 Agenda in all EU internal and external policies by 2018.

The conclusion document, titled ‘A sustainable European future: The EU response to the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development,’ is based on the EC’s November 2016 communication on ‘Next steps for a sustainable European future,’ which addressed policy coherence among the 2030 Agenda, the EU policy framework and the EC’s priorities.

On ensuring no one is left behind, the Council stresses the commitment of the EU and its member states to achieve the 17 SDGs by 2030 by seeking to reach the furthest behind first and ensuring no one is left behind. The Council underlines the need for greater effort by all actors to promote social inclusion, with special attention to those who are disadvantaged, vulnerable and marginalized, and to address the multidimensional nature of poverty and growing inequalities.

The EU Council expresses its determination for fundamental changes in how societies produce and consume goods and services.

On biodiversity and climate change, the Council recognizes sustainable natural resource management and biodiversity as critical to human welfare, and it stresses climate change as “one of the greatest challenges of our time.” The Council reaffirms its determination to protect the planet and its natural resources, including through fundamental changes in the way societies produce and consume goods and services.

On next steps, the Council recommends that the EC identify areas where the EU needs to do more by 2030 in the areas of governance structures, policy and legislation to support horizontal coherence and means of implementation. The Council calls for an integrated, comprehensive implementation approach that builds synergies with implementation of the Paris Agreement on climate change, the Sendai Framework on Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR) and other international commitments. The Council invites the Commission to conduct impact assessments on mainstreaming the 2030 Agenda and its SDGs as guiding principles in reviews of major and horizontal policy instruments, strategies and tools. The Council also recognizes that policy coherence for development is fundamental to achieving the SDGs, and reaffirms the EU’s commitment to ensure interlinkages, coherence and consistency between different sectors through existing mechanisms and adjustments.

On resources, the Council calls on the EC to assess how the next Multiannual-Financial Framework (MFF) can support implementation of the 2030 Agenda. The Council identifies trade as a key factor in inclusive growth and sustainable development and essential to implementing the 2030 Agenda, stressing that the EU’s Trade for All Strategy commits the EU to a sustainable trade and investment policy that integrates sustainable development. The conclusions further address mobilization of domestic and international public finance, effective use of official development assistance (ODA), stimulation of trade and investment for development, and science, technology, innovation and capacity building.

On multi-stakeholder involvement, the Council observes a lack of public engagement in the 2030 Agenda, and calls for actions to raise awareness and public engagement and responsibility among EU citizens, especially youth and the private sector, including by building on the European Sustainable Development Week. The Council further highlights the need for the private sector to adopt sustainable approaches and commit to responsible business conduct.

On monitoring and review, the Council invites the Commission to prepare the first EU report on implementation of the 2030 Agenda for the 2018 session of the UN High-level Political Forum on Sustainable Development (HLPF). The Council further calls on the Commission to, inter alia: use data and information from existing reporting mechanisms; ensure alignment with the UN Inter-Agency and Expert Group on SDG Indicators (IAEG-SDGs); carry out regular monitoring of the SDGs at the EU level, including by developing a framework that draws on existing indicators and data provided by member states and relevant organizations and that is accompanied by a qualitative assessment of progress; and support partner countries in data collection and reporting. [A Sustainable European Future][EC Press Release]

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