Written by Agnieszka Widuto.
The Sustainable Development Goals were established in 2015 as part of the United Nations (UN) 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. The signatories adopted a policy framework with 17 goals, addressing issues such as poverty, hunger, health and wellbeing, education, gender equality, environment and climate, strong institutions, peace and justice. Sustainable development aims at balancing social, economic and environmental aspects, seeing them as interconnected.
The European Union (EU) has contributed to both setting and implementing the SDGs. It has committed to deliver on the 2030 Agenda through its internal and external policies, as outlined in the Towards a Sustainable Europe by 2030 reflection paper, the European Green Deal and the European Commission’s political priorities and work programme. To measure their progress towards achieving the goals, EU Member States prepare voluntary national reviews, in line with UN guidelines. EU-level progress is measured through a set of indicators adapted to the EU context, and Eurostat publishes annual monitoring reports on the results. The objectives of the SDGs were integrated into the European Semester in 2019.
The SDGs also have a regional dimension, sometimes called ‘localisation’. Achieving around 65 % of the targets is estimated to depend on input from local and regional authorities. Numerous regions and cities, including in the EU, have expressed support for the SDGs and many have integrated them in their policy frameworks. Efforts to localise the SDGs are ongoing and regional achievements are featured in the national reviews presented at international conferences. Monitoring SDGs at the regional level can thus help support the overall implementation of the SDGs, reinforce national efforts, support regional development strategies, and provide a broader picture of within-country trends. The European Parliament has expressed its support for an EU sustainable development strategy and enhanced involvement of regional, local and civil society stakeholders in SDG implementation.
Read the complete briefing on ‘Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in EU regions‘ in the Think Tank pages of the European Parliament.
Listen to policy podcast ‘Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in EU regions‘ on YouTube.