EU Stakeholders Issue Advice on Financial Framework for SDGs
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The position paper titled, ‘Implementing the Sustainable Development Goals through the next Multi-Annual Financial Framework of the European Union,' takes the form of an advisory report to the European Commission.

It calls for adjusting the EU’s multi-annual financial framework (MFF) to “match policies and initiatives … to ensure delivering on [SDG] commitments”.

20 March 2018: The EU’s Multi-Stakeholder Platform on the Implementation of the SDGs has issued advice to the European Commission (EC) on how to mainstream the Goals into EU policies and financing instruments. The position paper addresses the EU’s multi-annual financial framework (MFF), calling to adjust it post-2020 to ensure delivering on the SDGs.

The Multi-Stakeholder Platform supports and advises the EC on delivering the SDGs at the EU level, including by providing a forum for exchange of experiences and best practices. The position paper adopted by the Platform on 20 March 2018, with 6 abstentions, takes the form of an advisory report to the EC titled, ‘Implementing the Sustainable Development Goals through the next Multi-Annual Financial Framework of the European Union.’

The report suggests learning from the current MFF, which applies to the years 2014-2020, and is focused primarily on jobs and growth. The Platform argues that the current framework is not “result oriented enough or sufficiently equipped to underpin the implementation of the SDGs.” It calls, therefore, to adjust the MFF in time for the forthcoming framework in order to “match policies and initiatives … to ensure delivering on commitments.”

The MFF’s priorities should include social and equality challenges, health and education, environmental and climate commitments, research and innovation for sustainable solutions and sustainable development in partner countries, according to the Platform. The MFF should also thoroughly mainstream the SDGs throughout the EU budget, the authors write, which will be “make or break” for the Goals’ implementation in the EU. Recognizing the importance of policy coherence to realize the transformative nature of the 2030 Agenda, the paper says the next MFF should ensure that “only policies, measures and actions are funded that support sustainable development.” It argues that implementing the SDGs entails “making sure that every single Euro of the MFF is spent in a sustainable manner.”

Finally, to provide “sustainability proofing” of the MFF post-2020, the Platform outlines nine specific measures for the EC, including to: embed a “think sustainability first” principle by adjusting the Better Regulation Guidelines, to improve the impact assessment in time for the next MFF; link spending and rule of law by introducing regular assessments and conditionalities to the suspension of EU funds; benchmark or earmark to set binding expenditure targets for climate, biodiversity or social inclusion; exclude contradictory subsidies by focusing on hotspots affecting the environment or the climate; and add social, environmental and climate indicators to the European structural and investment funds.

The Platform’s first meeting took place on 10 January 2018, during which it set priorities for its work. In the meantime, the Platform’s management committee has met to discuss specific items, including the Platform’s contribution to an EC reflection paper titled, ‘Towards a Sustainable Europe by 2030,’ which is the EC’s sixth reflection paper and will address the follow-up to the SDGs, including on the Paris Agreement on climate change. The paper is planned for publication in the second half of 2018.

The next Platform meeting will take place on 11 October 2018. [Publication: Implementing the Sustainable Development Goals through the next Multi-Annual Financial Framework of the European Union] [Multi-Stakeholder Platform on the Implementation of the SDGs] [EC Consultation for Sixth Reflection Paper]


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