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'Sustainable Europe' plan pays lip-service to global goals but avoids action at home

22 November 2016
by WWF -- last modified 22 November 2016

The EU Commission has missed a unique chance to bring a sustainable Europe closer today, with its glossy but incomplete package of actions for the implementation of the UN 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.


Civil society has repeatedly called for a overarching strategy to ensure the Agenda, and its 17 global goals, are implemented across all EU policy areas. The European Commission has ignored this and produced a 'map' spinning what is already being done in some sectors as sufficient. This piecemeal approach is not "transformative" as the Agenda requires. It ignores the fact that sustainability concerns every area, and fails to consider how different policies impact one another or where the gaps are.

"The European Commission is busy repainting the front door to impress the neighbours while ignoring the fact that much of the house is missing," commented Geneviève Pons, Director of WWF European Policy Office.

"The 2030 global goals are indivisible and universal - not a series of separate boxes to tick or ignore. This is why an overarching EU implementation strategy, built with civil society's input, is needed to ensure all policies are transformed and work in harmony towards greater sustainability."

The Commission says in its communication that it will reflect on its vision for the "long-term implementation" of the goals.

"We look forward to the Commission using its planned "reflection" to develop the needed implementation strategy.  However this must be done urgently. Otherwise the EU will be at risk of missing the boat on a better future for people and planet", said Pons.

The Commission also made a forward-looking proposal on external development: the 'new European Consensus', which must now be translated into action.

"The Consensus recognises the importance of implementing every part of the 2030 Agenda," commented Sally Nicholson, Head of Development Policy and Finance, WWF European Policy Office.  "It also emphasises how climate change can undermine poverty reduction, food security, water, health and livelihoods. The EU must be ambitious on tackling climate change at home as well as supporting climate change adaptation through its international development work."

The European Parliament and Council will discuss and suggest amendments to the Consensus proposal in 2017.

The European Policy Office contributes to the achievement of WWF's global mission by leading the WWF network to shape EU policies impacting on the European and global environment.

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