Europe Μoving Towards a Sustainable Future. Contribution of the SDG Multi-Stakeholder Platform to the Reflection Paper “Towards a Sustainable Europe by 2030”, October 2018

In May 2017 the European Commission set up the high-level multi-stakeholder platform to play a role in the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals alongside Member States and the European institutions. The members of the platform, representing diverse interests and sectors, have now presented a common set of recommendations for a successful implementation of the 2030 Agenda.

Priority actions: Ιt is recommended that the EU develops and implements an overarching visionary and transformative Sustainable Europe 2030 strategy, guiding all EU policies and programmes. To be effective, such a strategy should include both interim and long-term targets and lay out Europe’s vision for a sustainable Europe beyond the 2030 Agenda.

Cross-cutting recommendations: The EU should reinvent its governance system to ensure a coherent approach to sustainable development. The Commission President, assisted by a dedicated project team, should be in charge of the 2030 Agenda, ensure effective coordination and report on its implementation during the annual State of the European Union speech.

Recommendations on how to strengthen the EU’s existing toolbox: The Better Regulation agenda could become more powerful by fully integrating sustainable development objectives and principles in the policy-making process. EU policy-makers should better use and further improve the Impact Assessment Guidelines to mainstream sustainable development.

Sectoral recommendations: Sustainability should be reflected in a coherent way across all EU policies and initiatives. There are five EU policy areas with a vital role in achieving the SDGs.

a) Sustainable Consumption and Production should be further promoted, incentivised and regulated while paying particular attention to global supply chains.
b) The EU should invest in research and innovation, people and human talents, employability and social inclusion. The European Pillar of Social Rights should be fully implemented.
c) Climate and energy policy. The EU should align its climate and energy targets with the agreed objective of limiting global temperature increase to 1.5 degrees compared to pre-industrial levels, while increasing resilience.
d) Food, farming and land-use including Common Agricultural Policy. The EU should ensure that all EU investment into agriculture is aligned with the EU’s Treaty to ensure a high level of human health protection, food security, as well as the protection and improvement of the quality of the environment.
e) Cohesion policy is a major EU investment tool to support the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals. It should strengthen the localisation of the Goals by directly supporting subnational governments, support the Urban Agenda of the EU, further promote social objectives and better encourage investments towards greener, more sustainable infrastructure, including in rural areas.

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