Stakeholders Present Recommendations for Sustainable Europe
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The EU’s Multi-Stakeholder Platform on SDG implementation presented input to guide the preparation of an EC paper on sustainability in Europe.

The EC paper titled, ‘Towards a Sustainable Europe by 2030,’ is planned for publication in the second half of 2018.

Among the recommendations presented at the MSP's second meeting on 11 October 2018, the EU should develop a “visionary and transformative” Strategy for a Sustainable Europe 2030 to guide all EU policies and programmes, including both interim and long-term targets, and going beyond the 2030 Agenda in laying out Europe's vision for a sustainable Europe.

11 October 2018: Calling to transform the SDGs into “practical solutions,” the EU’s Multi-Stakeholder Platform on SDG implementation (MSP) presented input to guide the preparation of an EC paper on sustainability in Europe. The MSP’s input also will be presented as part of the EC debate on ‘The Future of Europe.’

The EC paper titled, ‘Towards a Sustainable Europe by 2030,’ is planned for publication in the second half of 2018, and will be the EC’s sixth in a series of “reflection papers.” It is expected to address the follow-up to the SDGs, including on the Paris Agreement on climate change.

The MSP was established in May 2017 to support the EC and stakeholders through the exchange of best practices on the SDGs. Chaired by EC First Vice-President Franz Timmermans, the MSP held its first meeting in January 2018 to set work priorities. In March, the MSP issued an advisory report on how the EC can mainstream the SDGs into EU policies and financing instruments, including by adjusting the EU’s multi-annual financial framework (MFF) post-2020.

The MSP met for the second time on 11 October 2018, in Brussels, Belgium. According to an EU press release, Timmermans called it a “minor miracle” that the wide range of stakeholders represented on the Platform had agreed on the way forward on SDG implementation.

The EU’s strategy should go beyond the 2030 Agenda, and the European Semester process should include a “sustainability check.”

The Platform’s input for the Commission (Europe Moving Towards a Sustainable Future: Contribution of the SDG Multi-Stakeholder Platform to the Reflection Paper “Towards a Sustainable Europe by 2030″) includes suggestions that:

  • the EU develop a “visionary and transformative” Strategy for a Sustainable Europe 2030 to guide all EU policies and programmes. It should include both interim and long-term targets, and go beyond the 2030 Agenda in laying out Europe’s vision for a sustainable Europe;
  • the EU “reinvent” its governance system to ensure a coherent approach to sustainable development, with the Commission President being in charge of the 2030 Agenda, and reporting on its implementation during the annual state of the EU speech. The President would be assisted by a specific project team for this purpose;
  • other governance elements could include:
    • Setting up a Sustainable Europe coordination cycle, including EU Sustainable Development Action Plans, Member State and European Commission Sustainable Development Reports and recommendations;
    • Ensuring the European Semester process is guided by the Sustainable Europe 2030 Strategy and includes a “sustainability check”;
    • Ensuring the EU’s multi-annual financial framework is “fully sustainable,” and financial regulations are embedded with ESG risks; and
    • Integrating sustainable development objectives into the EU’s Better Regulation agenda; and
  • the EU further develop an integrated and participatory monitoring, accountability and review framework, including a comprehensive EU SDG indicator set and qualitative analysis.

Among the specific EU policy areas the MSP highlights as vital for achieving the SDGs are:

  • Incentivizing and regulating sustainable consumption and production (SCP), with particular attention to global supply chains;
  • Research and innovation, employability and social inclusion, including through quality education and other support for children and young people, and ensuring safe pathways for asylum seekers and migrants;
  • Aligning EU climate and energy targets with the agreed objective of limiting global temperature increase to 1.5 degrees Celsius compared to pre-industrial levels, while increasing resilience, and phasing out fossil fuels;
  • On food, farming and land use, ensuring that all EU investment into agriculture is aligned with the EU’s Treaty to ensure human health protection, food security, as well as the protection and improvement of the quality of the environment.

Also during the MSP meeting, authors of the forthcoming 2019 UN Global Sustainable Development Report (GSDR) presented initial findings. [Meeting agenda] [MSP website] [Future of Europe debate][SDG Knowledge Hub summary of the Platform’s first meeting]

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