Says leading EU CSO coalition SDG Watch Europe in Open Letter to EU Leaders
Urgent need for a new political vision for EU
In advance of the planned European Council summit in December (14th & 15th), a leading European civil society network SDG Watch Europe has issued an open letter to EU Leaders highlighting the urgent need for them to focus on the Union’s future by adopting a strong political vision and showing global leadership on sustainable development. The coalition claims that there are very real political risks linked to the current, almost exclusive, focus of EU leaders on the management of Brexit and associated political issues.
“There is a sense that just like Nero fiddling while Rome was burning, the EU is distracted with Brexit while political conditions are deteriorating across the Union,” says Deirdre de Burca, member of the SDG Watch Europe steering committee. “Our coalition’s broad membership calls on European political leaders to urgently adopt sustainable development as a core political mission of the Union. We believe this important mission could help unite Member States at this critical time, while allowing Europe to assume an important global leadership role.”
Slow pace of EU implementation of the SDGs
“The Agenda 2030 for Sustainable Development is an ambitious global agenda which includes 17 sustainable development goals (SDGs) that were adopted by all UN member states in September 2015,“ says Leida Rijnhout of Stakeholder Forum for a Sustainable Future and member of the SDG Watch Europe steering committee. ”The EU was an important player in the negotiation of this global agenda” she says. “There were high expectations that sustainable development would move to the top of the EU’s own political agenda and those of its member states. Unfortunately these expectations have not yet been met. NGOs are very concerned about the missed opportunity that this represents for Europe and its citizens.”
SDG Watch Europe and its members claim that the pace of implementation of this global sustainable development agenda by the EU has been “very disappointing”. They point to the fact that a full three years after the adoption of the SDGs, the EU has not yet developed an overarching European Sustainable Development Strategy 2030 to implement the goals.