Sustainable development in the European Union: Monitoring report on progress towards the SDGs in an EU context

Evidence is increasingly clear.
If we simply persist in our current ways of producing, consuming and discarding, much of the planet will become uninhabitable before too long. But this should not instil in us fear and complacency. It should inspire us to action instead.

In September 2015, world leaders committed themselves to ending poverty, protecting the planet and ensuring that all people enjoy peace and prosperity. Countries around the world came together to adopt the UN 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the 17 Sustainable Development Goals, agreeing on a concrete ‘to-do list for people and planet’. The SDGs, together with the Paris Agreement on Climate Change, are our roadmap and compass to a better world — a world where all people can enjoy a higher level of well-being in harmony with our natural environment.

Sustainable development is deeply rooted in the European project and firmly enshrined in the EU Treaties. The EU has been one of the leading forces behind the
UN 2030 Agenda and is fully committed to its implementation. Whether our children and grandchildren will have a future to look forward to depends on whether we successfully transition, within the next decade at the latest, to a green economy. For this transition to be socially inclusive, it must respect the principles of democracy, rule of law and fundamental rights, and pay particular attention to protecting the most vulnerable in our societies. There is simply no sustainability without social sustainability.

Together with the reflection paper ‘Towards a Sustainable Europe by 2030’, published in January 2019, this monitoring report is our latest contribution to the debate on the shape of Europe and our world in 2030 and beyond, and on the transformative action we must take to get there. The main objective of this report is to show the progress made towards the SDGs in the EU. It will also feed into the EU’s contribution to the 2019 sessions of the UN High-Level Political Forum on Sustainable Development.

Knowing where we stand, identifying the most pressing sustainability challenges and critically examining our performance is essential if we are to ensure a sustainable Europe in a sustainable world.

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