REPORT on the implementation and delivery of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)
9.6.2022 - (2022/2002(INI))
Committee on Development
Committee on the Environment, Public Health and Food Safety
Rapporteurs: Barry Andrews, Petros Kokkalis
(Joint committee procedure - Rule 58 of the Rules of Procedure)
MOTION FOR A EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT RESOLUTION
LETTER OF THE COMMITTEE ON CULTURE AND EDUCATION
INFORMATION ON ADOPTION IN COMMITTEE RESPONSIBLE
FINAL VOTE BY ROLL CALL IN COMMITTEE RESPONSIBLE
MOTION FOR A EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT RESOLUTION
on the implementation and delivery of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)
The European Parliament,
– having regard to the UN resolution entitled ‘Transforming our World – the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development’, adopted at the UN Sustainable Development Summit on 25 September 2015 in New York (the 2030 Agenda),
– having regard to the Commission staff working document of 18 November 2020 entitled ‘Delivering on the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals – A comprehensive approach’ (SWD(2020)0400),
– having regard to the UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs’ publication of 2022 entitled ‘SDG Good Practices – A compilation of success stories and lessons in SDG implementation – Second Edition’,
– having regard to the 2019 UN Global Sustainable Development Report,
– having regard to the joint communication of the Commission and the High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy of 17 February 2021 on strengthening the EU’s contribution to rules-based multilateralism (JOIN(2021)0003),
– having regard to the joint statement by the Council and the representatives of the governments of the Member States meeting within the Council, Parliament and the Commission of 30 June 2017 on the New European Consensus on Development – ‘Our world, our dignity, our future’,
– having regard to the Commission staff working document of 28 January 2019 entitled ‘2019 EU report on Policy Coherence for Development’ (SWD(2019)0020),
– having regard to the United Nations Framework Conventions on Climate Change (UNFCCC) and on Biological Diversity,
– having regard to the Agreement adopted at the 21st Conference of the Parties to the UNFCCC (COP21) in Paris on 12 December 2015 (the Paris Agreement),
– having regard to the submission on 6 March 2015 by Latvia and the Commission on behalf of the EU and its Member States to the UNFCCC of the intended nationally determined contribution of the EU and its Member States,
– having regard to the submission on 17 December 2020 by Germany and the Commission on behalf of the EU and its Member States to the UNFCCC of the update of the nationally determined contribution of the EU and its Member States,
– having regard to the Third International Conference on Financing for Development, held in Addis Ababa from 13 to 16 July 2015,
– having regard to the joint statement by the Council and the representatives of the governments of the Member States meeting within the Council, Parliament and the Commission of 30 June 2017 on the New European Consensus on Development – ‘Our world, our dignity, our future’,
– having regard to the integration of the SDGs in the Better Regulation framework, including the Commission communication of 29 April 2021 entitled ‘Better regulation: Joining forces to make better laws’ (COM(2021)0219), the Commission staff working document of 3 November 2021 entitled ‘Better Regulation Guidelines’ (SWD(2021)0305), and the toolbox of November 2021 thereof, including the new tool #19 on the SDGs,
– having regard to the United Nations Development Programme 2022 Special Report entitled ‘New threats to human security in the Anthropocene Demanding greater solidarity’,
– having regard to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Special Report on the Ocean and Cryosphere in a Changing Climate of 2019,
– having regard to the IPCC sixth assessment report of 28 February 2022 entitled ‘Climate Change 2022: Impacts, Adaptation and Vulnerability’,
– having regard to Regulation (EU) 2021/947 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 9 June 2021 establishing the Neighbourhood, Development and International Cooperation Instrument – Global Europe, amending and repealing Decision No 466/2014/EU of the European Parliament and of the Council and repealing Regulation (EU) 2017/1601 of the European Parliament and of the Council and Council Regulation (EC, Euratom) No 480/2009,
– having regard to the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction 2015-2030, adopted by UN member states at the Third UN World Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction on 18 March 2015,
– having regard to its resolution of 24 March 2022 on the need for an urgent EU action plan to ensure food security inside and outside the EU in light of the Russian invasion of Ukraine,
– having regard to the UN Secretary-General’s report entitled ‘Our Common Agenda’, presented to the UN General Assembly, and given a mandate by UN General Assembly Resolution 76/6 of 15 November 2021,
– having regard to its resolution of 21 January 2021 on the gender perspective in the COVID-19 crisis and post-crisis period,
– having regard to its resolution of 14 March 2019 on the annual strategic report on the implementation and delivery of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs),
– having regard to its resolution of 25 November 2014 on the EU and the global development framework after 2015,
– having regard to the Council conclusions of 10 December2019 entitled ‘Building a sustainable Europe by 2030 – Progress thus far and next steps’,
– having regard to the Council conclusions of 18 October 2018,
– having regard to the Council conclusions of 20 June 2017 entitled ‘A sustainable European future: The EU response to the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development’,
– having regard to its resolution of 6 July 2017 on EU action for sustainability,
– having regard to its resolution of 9 June 2021 on the EU Biodiversity Strategy for 2030: Bringing nature back into our lives,
– having regard to the Council conclusions of 9 April 2019 on ‘Towards an ever more sustainable Union by 2030’,
– having regard to its resolution of 12 May 2016 on the follow-up to and review of the 2030 Agenda,
– having regard to the Commission report of May 15 2019 entitled ‘on the evaluation of the 7th Environment Action Programme’ (COM(2019)0233),
– having regard to the Commission proposal for a decision of the European Parliament and of the Council on a General Union Environment Action Programme to 2030 (COM(2020)0652),
– having regard to the European Environment Agency report of 2019 entitled ‘The European environment – state and outlook 2020: Knowledge for transition to a sustainable Europe’,
– having regard to Eurostat’s 2021 monitoring report on progress towards the SDGs in an EU context,
– having regard to its resolution of 11 March 2021 on the European Semester for economic policy coordination: Annual Sustainable Growth Strategy 2021,
– having regard to the opinion of the European Economic and Social Committee of 19 September 2018 entitled ‘Indicators better suited to evaluate the SDGs – the civil society contribution’,
– having regard to the 2021 Sustainable Development Report of 14 June 2021, entitled ‘The Decade of Action for the Sustainable Development Goals’,
– having regard to the Council conclusions of 22 June 2021 entitled ‘A comprehensive approach to accelerate the implementation of the UN 2030 Agenda for sustainable development – Building back better from the COVID-19 crisis’,
– having regard to special report 26/2020 of the European Court of Auditors entitled 'Marine environment: EU protection is wide but not deep',
– having regard to the Commission reflection paper of 30 January 2019 entitled ‘Towards a Sustainable Europe by 2030’ (COM(2019)0022), in particular Annex III entitled ‘Summary of the contribution of the SDG Multi-Stakeholder Platform to the Reflection Paper “Towards a sustainable Europe by 2030”’ thereof,
– having regard to Rule 54 of its Rules of Procedure,
– having regard to the joint deliberations of the Committee on Development and the Committee on the Environment, Public Health and Food Safety under Rule 58 of the Rules of Procedure,
– having regard to the letter from the Committee on Culture and Education,
– having regard to the report of the Committee on Development and the Committee on the Environment, Public Health and Food Safety (A9-0174/2022),
A. whereas at European level and internationally, there will be no climate justice without environmentally, socially and economically sustainable and inclusive development; whereas achieving the SDGs is therefore an essential prerequisite to achieving a just and fair transition under the Paris Agreement and the European Green Deal;
B. whereas the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic is not yet fully known, but has already led to a significant degree of SDG backsliding, especially in the countries of the Global South that have weak healthcare systems and where vaccination rates remain very low, and has led to further inequalities and poverty; whereas according to the UN’s ‘2021 Financing for Sustainable Development Report’, the COVID-19 pandemic could lead to a ‘lost decade’ for sustainable development; whereas the least developed countries (LDCs) have been hit particularly hard because of their vulnerability to external shocks; whereas a healthy environment is a fundamental pillar for sustainable development; whereas the Human Development Index was estimated to suffer a ‘steep and unprecedented decline’ in 2020 for the first time in the 30 years since the measure has been computed; whereas the rate of extreme poverty rose in 2020 for the first time in 20 years; whereas, on the other hand, the aftermath of the COVID-19 pandemic presents a significant opportunity to reshape our societies to fulfil the aspirations of the SDGs; whereas prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, there was an estimated annual global financing gap of USD 2.5 trillion between funding and what was required to achieve the SDGs; whereas according to one estimate, as of early 2021, the economic uncertainty and the pandemic-related recovery spending shortfall in developing countries increased this gap by 50 % to USD 3.7 trillion; whereas Parliament’s new Special Committee on the COVID-19 pandemic: lessons learned and recommendations for the future could investigate the pandemic’s impact on the SDGs;
C. whereas according to the UN Global Sustainable Development Report issued in 2019 and the UN Sustainable Development Solutions Network (SDSN) 2020 SDG Index, no country, including any European country, is on track to achieve all of the SDGs by 2030; whereas according to the 2021 European Sustainable Development Report, for the first time since the adoption of the SDGs, the EU’s average SDG Index score did not increase in 2020; whereas Europe is on track to meet only 26 – or 15 % – of the 169 targets, according the UN Economic Commission for Europe; whereas according to the SDSN 2021 SDG Index, OECD countries are closest to achieving the 2030 Agenda targets, yet generate the largest negative spillovers, which undermines the ability of other countries to achieve their targets;
D. whereas the new geopolitical and humanitarian realities imposed by Russia’s illegal invasion of and the war in Ukraine are having a huge impact on the global achievement of the SDGs, especially as regards the fight against inequalities, poverty and hunger, and may impede the timeline for their realisation by 2030; whereas a renewed political impetus to achieve the SDGs is urgently needed in order to account for the impact of COVID-19 and the global consequences of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine; whereas there is a need, in this context, to finance renewable sources of energy in order to ensure alignment with the objectives of the 2030 Agenda and avoid future global financial pressure in the energy sector;
E. whereas the EU is obliged to incorporate development cooperation objectives into all internal or external policies that are likely to affect developing countries, as set out in Article 208 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union; whereas achieving alignment across all EU policies is crucial to achieving the SDGs worldwide; whereas policy coherence for sustainable development is an approach to integrate the various dimensions of sustainable development holistically at all stages of policymaking and is a key element of the EU’s effort to implement the 2030 Agenda; whereas the Commission, in its staff working document of 18 November 2021 entitled ‘Delivering on the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals – A comprehensive approach’, committed to taking a ‘whole-of-government’ approach to SDG implementation, coordinated by President von der Leyen; whereas the transition to a wellbeing economy that gives back to the planet more than it takes, embedded in the EU’s eighth environment action programme and enshrined in its 2030 and 2050 priority objectives, will require the EU to develop a more holistic approach to policymaking;
F. whereas Parliament, the Council and the European Council have, on repeated occasions since the adoption of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development in 2015, called on the Commission to adopt an overarching strategy to fully implement the SDGs;
G. whereas there is a strong interdependence between health crises, environmental crises and climate crises; whereas such crises will increase in the coming years, in particular as a result of climate change and biodiversity loss;
H. whereas the ability to retrieve data to fill in the SDG indicators is limited in several developing countries, which can seriously hinder the assessment of progress;
I. whereas the gap between the richest and poorest people and countries is continuously rising; whereas reducing inequalities (SDG 10) has strategic importance and should be at the core of the common efforts to achieve the 2030 Agenda;
J. whereas the SDGs cover all of the major issues facing humanity and are not solely linked to development policies, but also concern wider public policies at the European level;
K. whereas in committing to the realisation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, the EU recognised that the dignity of the individual is fundamental and that the agenda’s goals and targets should be met for all nations, people and segments of society;
L. whereas the European Parliament and national parliaments also have a responsibility to ensure that sustainable development is mainstreamed within their procedures, in order to break down silos;
M. whereas rising inequalities, climate change, biodiversity loss and increasing waste production are items addressed by the SDGs; whereas all of those are detrimental to human life conditions;
N. whereas the EU high-level multi-stakeholder platform on the implementation of the SDGs, which ran from 2017 to 2019, was set up to support and advise the Commission and provided a forum for exchanging experiences and best practices across sectors and at local, regional, national and EU level by bringing together stakeholders from civil society, non-governmental organisations and the private and corporate sectors;
O. whereas considering all the above, a European governance strategy integrating the SDGs in a transversal approach would allow greater alignment between and efficiency in public policies; whereas for example SDG 14 (life below water), which calls for the conservation and sustainable use of the oceans, seas and marine resources for sustainable development, should be implemented as part of an integrated maritime policy;
P. whereas global SDG progress is poorly understood due to insufficient monitoring capacities, in particular, in developing countries;
Q. whereas the COVID-19 pandemic has greatly exacerbated the existing debt problems in developing countries, which has further endangered their efforts to mobilise sufficient resources to achieve the SDGs; whereas accordingly, additional efforts in terms of debt relief are urgently needed to avoid widespread defaults in developing countries and to facilitate investments in recovery and the SDGs;
R. whereas according to the IPCC’s sixth report of 2022, climate change has reduced food and water security, which has hindered efforts to meet the SDGs;
S. whereas the SDGs have a subnational and local dimension;
T. whereas oceans are huge reservoirs of biodiversity and the primary regulator of the global climate; whereas their conservation is critical to sustainable development, contributes to poverty eradication and provides sustainable livelihoods and food security for billions of people;
U. whereas the SDGs are universal and indivisible; whereas they are in common for and applicable to all actors, including the public and private sectors, civil society and social partners;
V. whereas the 17 SDGs with their respective 169 targets and accompanying indicators represent the only globally shared and politically agreed upon framework for evidence-based policies;
1. Reaffirms its commitment to the 2030 Agenda, its 17 SDGs and the pledge to leave no one and no place behind; stresses that, in the light of current and future pandemics and the aftermath of the war in Ukraine, the 2030 Agenda provides a unique pathway to a wellbeing economy to build back better a more equitable, just, inclusive, sustainable and resilient world; acknowledges that the SDGs are a common concern of humankind; encourages the Commission to take action to address climate change and to respect and promote human rights, the right to health, local communities, refugees and migrants, children, minority groups, people in vulnerable situations, the right to development, gender equality, the empowerment of women and intergenerational equity;
2. Recalls that there are fewer than eight years left to meet the 2030 Agenda targets for sustainable development and that the 2020s have been declared to be the UN Decade of Action on Sustainable Development;
3. Underlines that delivering on the 2030 Agenda will contribute to achieving a fair and inclusive green and digital transition, in line with the EU’s ambitions and actions outlined in the European Green Deal and the 2030 Digital Compass;
4. Welcomes the commitment by the President of the Commission to pursue a ‘whole-of-government’ approach towards the EU’s SDG implementation and to mainstream the SDGs across each Commissioner’s portfolio; calls therefore on the Commission and its President to further demonstrate how the ‘whole-of-government’ approach to the SDGs is being implemented at EU level; asserts, however, that such an approach can only be effective with leadership at the highest level and with a concrete plan to ensure comprehensive action across the Commission; regrets that, since 2019, there has been no single Commissioner responsible for the internal and external implementation and coordination of the SDGs, which has resulted in a fragmented approach, contrary to the principle of policy coherence for sustainable development; proposes, additionally, that the Commission nominate a Special Envoy for the SDGs, answerable to the Commissioner responsible, to promote consistent action on the SDGs globally through the EU’s external actions;
5. Reiterates that to achieve the SDGs, the 2030 Agenda requires a strong level of societal legitimacy and a genuine political reset, which can only be achieved if the SDGs are seen as an opportunity for citizens; emphasises the importance of the media in this regard; recalls that the importance of structured stakeholder engagement and multi-stakeholder partnerships are at the heart of the SDGs; deeply regrets that the mandate of the multi-stakeholder platform was not renewed in 2019 and calls for its urgent reinstatement or the set-up of a new mechanism for structured engagement, with balanced, diversified and democratic representation covering civil society organisations, community-based organisations, the private sector (including small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) and producer-led organisations), trade unions, cooperatives, academia and research institutions, regional and local governments and marginalised groups; underlines the key role of each of these stakeholders, as they closely monitor SDG implementation by governments and contribute directly to sustainable development; calls for stronger engagement and consultation with these groups; stresses that the multi-stakeholder platform should systematically liaise with the Working Party on the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development to ensure genuine Member State participation;
6. Recognises that a lack of accountability, transparency and good governance have a strong negative impact on the implementation of the 2030 Agenda in both developed and developing countries and stresses the need to promote anti-corruption and integrity to accelerate the implementation of the SDGs and to consistently monitor progress;
7. Stresses the fact that efforts to mainstream the SDGs across EU internal and external policies should go beyond a mapping exercise; recalls that many EU internal policies not only contribute to the implementation of the SDGs, but also have a very high ecological, social and economic spillover impact on developing countries and vulnerable groups and populations; insists, therefore, that in order to further progress at the global level, the EU’s internal and external action must be further coordinated; highlights the importance of an integrated approach, which would require systemic solutions; acknowledges the progress made in capacity building, but stresses the need to enhance the alignment and coordination of capacity-building activities across the EU;
8. Strongly encourages greater policy coherence for development in the landmark ‘Fit for 55’ legislative package, the common agricultural policy, the common fisheries policy, the common commercial policy and the Commission’s work in general; regrets that the lack of an SDG implementation strategy makes it more challenging to achieve policy coherence, due to the lack of clear, measurable and time-bound EU-wide targets to report on for all SDGs; calls for sustainable development to be prioritised and mainstreamed throughout the policy cycle (design, implementation and evaluation), and for all its dimensions to be systematically considered in impact assessments and disclosure and external reporting requirements; proposes an internal audit by the Commission to ensure alignment between the EU’s internal and external policies; stresses that the SDGs should form the backbone of European public policies;
9. Calls for the Commission to adopt a new high-level EU 2030 Agenda implementation strategy, as requested by the European Council in October 2018, building on EU resolutions and policy directives aimed at achieving the SDGs, given that there are fewer than eight years left to achieve the 2030 Agenda and, hence, urgent implementation is required, in line with the Decade of Action to deliver the Global Goals; believes that such a strategy should define, at a minimum:
a) a new governance framework, led by a single high-level Commissioner who is accountable for the implementation of the SDGs across all portfolios and who will systematically consult the new multi-stakeholder platform;
b) a revised set of concrete measurable, EU-wide, time-bound targets to bolster the EU’s ambition and concrete measures for achieving them;
c) an updated monitoring system and indicators, taking into account the EU’s internal and external impact on global SDG progress;
d) a single financial plan to achieve the EU’s SDG objectives, linked to the above targets;
e) a plan for the EU’s SDG diplomacy and international cooperation, led by a Special Envoy for the SDGs, to ensure fair burden sharing and a level playing field;
invites the Presidents of Parliament, the Commission and the Council to accompany this strategy with an interinstitutional statement renewing the EU’s commitment to the 2030 Agenda; stresses that this strategy should be published by June 2023 at the latest, in order for the EU to play a leading role in reinvigorating the 2030 Agenda at the SDG Summit in September 2023; stresses that the strategy should be regularly reviewed and accompanied by corrective measures in areas where progress is deemed to be stalled or insufficient;
10. Underlines that coordination within and between the EU institutions is a prerequisite to increasing the effectiveness of the EU’s actions; calls for the creation of an interinstitutional task force to facilitate structured dialogue on the SDGs, consisting of representatives from Parliament, the Commission and the Council; considers that the task force, which should convene quarterly, should assume the responsibility of coordinating the EU’s efforts to deliver the SDGs internally and globally; trusts that the Commission will regularly update the co-legislators on the policy developments and measures undertaken for the implementation of the SDGs;
11. Welcomes the integration of the SDGs into the 2021 revision of the Better Regulation toolbox, including the communication, the guidelines and the toolbox itself, in particular the dedicated tool on the implementation of the SDGs and the indication of relevant SDG indicators for the various types of impacts;
12. Is of the view that the adoption of the new comprehensive implementation strategy should be based on a bottom-up approach, preceded by a mapping of the SDGs and a broad, structured, inclusive and meaningful public participatory consultation process, accompanied by a plan for significant outreach and engagement with citizens, including civil society, relevant industry representatives and, more broadly, the private sector, trade unions, academia, regional and local governments, minorities and vulnerable groups;
13. Calls on the Commission to anticipate the next UN Agenda after 2030 with a roadmap of targets and measures to plan the next sustainable developments goals;
14. Calls for Parliament to appoint a standing rapporteur on the implementation of the SDGs to work with the Bureau and across committees, as well as with the multi-stakeholder platform; further proposes that each committee should appoint a Member responsible for the fulfilment of the SDGs and that these responsible Members should meet between them and with the standing rapporteur on a quarterly basis to ensure alignment;
15. Highlights that the European Parliament and national parliaments also have a role to play in ensuring that sustainable development is mainstreamed in procedures and that silos are broken down; emphasises the importance of Parliament’s participation and contribution to the annual High-level Political Forum on Sustainable Development (HLPF), and of the role that an annual SDG implementation report could play in this regard;
16. Asserts that better understanding the EU’s true impact on SDG progress in the EU and globally can only be achieved through addressing existing data gaps, including the lack of disaggregated data and weaknesses in information systems, by strengthening the use of existing statistical data from a variety of sources and embracing frontier data and artificial intelligence, in line with data protection regulations and rules; believes it is crucial to monitor progress on all 169 sub-goal targets; calls for the EU to significantly step up technical cooperation with developing countries to address the global data gap created by insufficient monitoring capacities and inconsistent methodologies;
17. Welcomes the annual Eurostat monitoring reports on the SDGs; calls for an annual review of the Eurostat SDG indicator set with the systematic participation of regional and local governments and civil society organisations, in line with the 2021 review; emphasises that sustainable development is inherently transboundary and trans-sectoral; affirms its willingness to address the negative spillover effects that the implementation of the SDGs has on other regions; welcomes the work that Eurostat has initiated to this end and the first attempt to partially quantify such spillover effects, but stresses that this methodology needs to be further developed to sufficiently account for the EU’s global footprint; calls for the indicator set for each goal to be extended beyond its maximum limit of six to account for EU external action, the European supply and value chains and the spillover consequences of EU consumption8;
18. Stresses the need to implement the Council conclusions of 24 October 2019 on the economy of wellbeing and calls on the Commission, in this regard, to deliver without delay the 'Beyond GDP' dashboard and indicator set, as laid down in the EU’s eighth environment action programme, which puts people and their wellbeing at the centre of policy design; calls on the Commission to consider implementing alternative measures of progress into their monitoring of SDG implementation, such as the Social Progress Index;
19. Stresses that a minimum level of data and statistical disaggregation, aligned to the global SDG monitoring framework and in relation to each SDG in the EU, should be established, covering, where appropriate, geographic location, gender, sexual orientation, income, educational level, age, race, ethnicity, migratory status, impairment and other characteristics, and should take into account the principles of the human rights-based approach to data; welcomes the Commission’s initiative to establish markers to measure inequality in that regard; invites Eurostat to undertake all the preparatory work required to include this level of disaggregation in the upcoming monitoring reports, in line with the guidelines and priorities set by the Inter-agency and Expert Group on SDG Indicators and adapted to the EU context;
20. Recalls that voluntary national reviews are the key accountability tool in the 2030 Agenda; recalls the importance of national reviews as a way to identify tensions and trade-offs between SDGs and to generate an iterative process of adjusting policies in the light of progress towards targets; encourages the EU Member States to participate in the voluntary national reviews and to meaningfully take into consideration and implement the recommendations made on this occasion; calls on the Commission to present an EU voluntary review at the 2023 HLPF and every year thereafter, and to push for further standardisation of national voluntary reviews, with a focus on each of the EU’s exclusive and shared competences, but also containing an assessment of the aggregate positive and negative impact of the EU and its Member States on global SDG progress; considers that such a review should be based on a revised SDG indicator set and should cover internal priorities, diplomacy, and international action to restore and protect the global commons and address international spillovers of EU internal policies, as well as the positive and negative aspects of EU action;
21. Recognises the importance of voluntary local reviews and voluntary subnational reviews for the implementation of each SDG; calls on the Commission to consult and inform Parliament as to the EU voluntary review before the 2023 SDG Summit; stresses the need to develop a regular review of the implementation of the SDGs at regional and local level in the EU; welcomes, in this regard, the work of the UN Human Settlements Programme; encourages further development of the UN initiative ‘Localising the SDGs’ to accelerate and scale up efforts to achieve the SDGs by 2030; praises the work of the Joint Research Centre in relation to the localisation of the 2030 Agenda and the European Handbook for SDG Voluntary Local Reviews, which offers useful official and experimental indicators to set up an effective SDG local monitoring system specifically targeted at European cities; welcomes the pilot project ‘Monitoring the SDGs in the EU regions – Filling the data gaps’, initiated by the European Parliament, that will define and test a harmonised set of indicators for EU regions to monitor the achievement of the SDGs and pave the way for a systematic review process in the EU regions;
22. Calls on the Commission to take stock of the progress made and of the findings of the Eurostat annual SDGs monitoring report every year during the State of the Union address; expects the annual Commission work programme to include the SDGs as an annual priority, including concrete proposals for legislative or non-legislative initiatives intended to contribute to their achievement and for the SDGs to be fully mainstreamed throughout the Commission’s annual work programme;
23. Recognises the importance of private sector reporting for SDG implementation; highlights that corporate sustainability reporting and due diligence, when subject to relevant audits, can be an important framework to encourage greater accountability in the private sector regarding the social and environmental impact of companies and their contribution to the achievement of the SDGs; encourages all actors across society, including private entities, to engage in regular voluntary reporting on SDG implementation;
24. Calls on the Commission to establish an online best practices sharing forum for local-level initiatives to achieve the SDGs, with the forum organised by SDG; proposes that the existence of this forum be promoted as part of EU external and internal action on SDG achievement;
Budget and financing
25. Underlines that the EU budget, coupled with the NextGenerationEU recovery package, is a pivotal tool for implementing the SDGs, due to their combined size of EUR 1.8 trillion, long-term reach and multinational dimension;
26. Notes with concern that public indebtedness in the Global South was already at unprecedented levels before COVID-19, which resulted in an increasing portion of public budgets being used to service external debts, thereby affecting the ability of governments to adequately fund and deliver basic public services; is alarmed that the current crisis has exacerbated these pre-existing debt vulnerabilities; calls for the creation of a multilateral debt handling mechanism, under UN auspices, to address the debt crisis in developing countries and the financing requirements of the 2030 Agenda;
27. Underlines the importance of measuring the EU’s contribution to the SDGs in a precise and comprehensive manner, given that this is an essential condition for achieving policy coherence for sustainable development; welcomes the Commission’s official development assistance (ODA) expenditure targets in relation to specific SDG goals and its efforts to track EU budget expenditure on the climate, biodiversity, clean air, migration and gender equality; welcomes that, in a range of policies, systems are being put in place for SDG reporting, including in development cooperation; regrets, however, that, despite the Commission’s November 2020 commitment, insufficient progress has been made to track SDGs-related resources and expenditure in its entirety – apart from the external action area, as outlined in a 2019 European Court of Auditors review – and to track inconsistencies among expenditures, both of which hinder the EU’s and third countries’ ability to achieve the SDGs, notably in the area of agriculture; insists, therefore, on the need for comprehensive SDG expenditure tracking using dedicated methodologies, for example, with reference to inequalities (SDG 10) and their strategic importance for the implementation of all SDGs; reiterates that this will involve going beyond the existing mapping exercise that takes place in the annual management and performance report for the EU budget; notes with concern that over the past few years, the level of ODA concessionality has gradually decreased for developing countries, in general, and for LDCs, in particular, and calls for the EU to reach its target of at least 20 % of ODA allocated to human development as an essential tool to achieve the SDGs; stresses the need for donors to prioritise grant-based financing, especially to LDCs, in view of their unsustainable debt burdens; calls on the Commission to boost the current financing tools in order to achieve net zero emissions in European operations and supply chains by 2030;
28. Stresses the need to finance trainings for capacity building for SMEs in order to learn how to implement the SDGs in their daily activities;
29. Welcomes efforts made to integrate the SDGs into the European Semester in a comprehensive way, including through the Annual Sustainable Growth Surveys and the integration of the annual Eurostat monitoring on SDGs as part of the spring package of the European Semester; reiterates its support for the integration of biodiversity indicators into the European Semester; urges the Member States to raise the ambition level of their national responses to the implementation of the 2030 Agenda; welcomes the centrality of the SDGs in the autumn package, particularly the recommendation that Member States pursue a ‘beyond GDP’ strategy to fully embed the SDGs in their national responses; calls on the Commission to continue the reform of the European Semester to balance economic, social and environmental priorities, so that it drives a long-term social, environmental and economic transformation and improves the integration of the 2030 Agenda, the European Pillar of Social Rights and the European Green Deal at all levels, fully involving local and regional authorities and complementing reforms and investments in the Member States; considers that such a reform should ensure that European SDG policy coordination does not lead to a policy process parallel to the European Semester, but instead consists of an integrated and coherent approach based on a new sustainable development pact; expects the Semester process to enhance the capacities of the Member States in monitoring progress on SDG implementation;
30. Supports the European Green Deal; calls for more understanding of the synergistic role of the SDGs in tackling climate change and highlights, in that context, the utility of the SDGs, in particular SDG 13, and the opportunity to work on trade-offs and policy coherence within the SDG framework;
31. Requests comprehensive mapping of the financial envelopes of EU policies, programmes and funds, which have been reinforced by the additional NextGenerationEU funds, to create a greener, more digital and more resilient Europe, including mapping whether investments and structural reforms pursued under the Recovery and Resilience Facility align with and further progress the objectives of the 2030 Agenda; calls for the climate-tracking methodology and the ‘do no significant harm’ principle in the national recovery and resilience plans, as well as the social and demographic priorities set by the SDGs and the European Pillar of Social Rights, to be fully implemented;
32. Underlines that public and private financing must be aligned with the SDGs; urges the Commission to embed the 2030 Agenda in economic and financial policies and legislation; calls for the EU and its Member States, in a context where ODA remains a scarce resource, to focus blending operations in those areas where they can add value to the local economy; urges the Commission and the Member States to more broadly prioritise partnerships with LDC domestic enterprises that pursue sustainable and inclusive business models;
33. Highlights the importance of the public and private sector working together to promote and finance sustainable development; stresses the necessity of financial institutions defining and adopting strategies and targets to align financial portfolios with the SDGs and regularly report on progress; calls for in-depth discussions and engagement with the private sector to encourage private financing and to enhance the creation of annual SDG(s) work guidelines for micro enterprises and SMEs, academia and civil society organisations; calls for the EU and its Member States, notably due to debt sustainability concerns, to adopt a prudent approach to blended finance and to ensure that all finance mobilised through blending meets development effectiveness, sustainability and the OECD Development Assistance Committee’s blended finance principles;
34. Notes that the EU still has no designated plan to finance the SDGs; exhorts the Commission to urgently come up with such a plan, bearing in mind the post-COVID-19 estimated annual SDG financing gap of USD 3.7 trillion; underlines that the absence of such a plan, including clearly defined, quantifiable targets, prohibits comprehensive SDG expenditure tracking under the EU budget;
35. Calls for the EU to fulfil the SDG pledges to invest in education and training of refugees and migrants to ensure that they are able to reach their potential within the communities and economies of their host nations;
36. Takes note of the changes to the European financial architecture for development (EFAD), as outlined in the Council conclusions of 14 June 2021; calls on the Commission to put the implementation of the 2030 Agenda at the heart of the new EFAD in order to make it more impactful, efficient, coordinated and inclusive; underlines the potential of a fully functional EFAD for filling the global SDG financing gap; calls for greater cooperation and alignment between the European Investment Bank, the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, national development banks and other small and medium-sized financial actors, with a particular focus on investment projects below the value of EUR 5 million, to achieve greater SDG impact; calls on the Commission to develop a common framework and guidance on holistic sustainability proofing of EU funding, following the Team Europe approach to ensure both effectiveness and efficiency in European development policies; calls for capitalising on the Team Europe approach to ensure close coordination between the EU and its Member States to achieve the 2030 Agenda; calls for the EU to take the lead in mobilising adequate financial resources from developed countries to support SDG transformations and the urgent need for climate adaptation in the most vulnerable countries; calls on the Commission to ensure that the new EFAD pursues the goal of restoring the Multilateral System of Official Finance (MSOF), in order to put an end to the unsustainable lending of some non-MSOF countries;
37. Stresses the urgency of increasing ambition and action in relation to mitigation, adaptation and finance in this critical decade to address gaps between Member States on environmental issues;
38. Stresses the importance of continuing efforts to achieve the SDGs and reiterates that, even in times of budgetary restrictions, education remains a fundamental right and an essential investment to enable the achievement of all SDGs and underlines the important role of the EU through its humanitarian assistance and stronger partnerships with different parts of the world, including Africa;
39. Underlines the key role that education, culture, sports and their respective EU programmes play in achieving the SDGs and calls for the reinforcement of their international dimension while acknowledging the power of people-to-people diplomacy;
40. Stresses the importance of SDG 4.1, which aims for a full, quality 12-year primary and secondary education cycle, provided free of charge for all; recalls that current levels of government spending in low- and lower-middle-income countries fall short of the levels required to achieve the SDGs; recalls that external financing is key to support the education opportunities of the world’s poorest; calls for the EU and its Member States to step up development assistance to deliver the objective of universal access to education through EU budget support, which has proven its efficiency in the field of education;
41. Encourages world leaders to consider connectivity and access to digital infrastructure, such as access to an affordable and quality network, as a right derived from the fundamental right to education;
42. Calls on the Commission to coordinate and support Member States with country-specific recommendations and the exchange of best practices to improve the quality and inclusivity of their educational systems and close gender and socio-economic gaps in the acquisition of basic skills and the uptake of science, technology, art, engineering and mathematics in line with the vision of the European Education Area, the green and digital transitions of the EU and SDG 4;
43. Calls on the Member States to make full use of GreenComp, the European sustainability competence framework, to develop a systematic approach towards the development of a sustainability mindset across ages and educational levels that combines relevance to local, regional and national realities with a consistent approach within the European Education Area; reiterates its call to Member States to complete the European Education Area by 2025, as an essential intermediate step towards reaching the targets set under SDG 4;
44. Encourages networking between the non-formal and formal educational sectors to create professional learning communities that support teachers as they innovate pedagogical practices, foster multiple literacies, facilitate students’ ownership and nurture their emotional intelligence and resilience in the face of fears and uncertainties; draws attention to the experience of grassroots sports and cultural associations in this regard;
45. Insists that educational authorities invest to improve the quality of vocational education and training with state-of-the-art infrastructure, digitalisation processes and links to the knowledge triangle, which would align the sector with environmental and social sustainability goals and position it to provide alternative pathways for skills development, which would contribute to the implementation of the SDGs;
46. Reminds educators of the essential role of early childhood education in instilling attitudes and values in young children that are conducive to the development of sustainability mindsets and engaging their families in considering ways in which they too can contribute towards sustainability, both as individuals and as a community;
47. Encourages youth entrepreneurship as a mechanism to achieve the goals of sustainable development within the EU and beyond with European tools such as Erasmus for Young Entrepreneurs and the development education and awareness raising programme, given the potential to improve employment rates, secure decent livelihoods for vulnerable groups and develop innovative solutions;
48. Regrets that three of the four 2020 SDG 14 (life below water) targets have not been met by the EU; regrets furthermore that in 2020, the European Court of Auditors found that, while a framework was in place to protect the marine environment, the EU’s actions had not restored seas to good environmental status, nor fishing to sustainable levels in all seas; calls on the Commission to implement the findings and recommendations of this report in its upcoming action plan to conserve fisheries resources and protect marine ecosystems, as well as in upcoming actions under the biodiversity strategy;
49. Recalls that the climate and biodiversity crises are intertwined and need to be addressed coherently and in tandem; emphasises that legally binding nature restoration targets are urgently needed to address the drastic decline of biodiversity in the EU and to achieve SDGs 14 and 15 to help mitigate the climate crisis and build resilience; regrets, in this regard, the delay of the proposal for an EU nature restoration law and calls for its swift publication;
50. Underlines the importance of SDG 17 (partnerships for the goals); notes, in the framework of global partnerships and capacity building, the innovative role of open source initiatives, such as the Inner Development Goals initiative, that aim to educate, inspire and empower people to be a positive force for change in society, thereby accelerating progress towards achieving the SDGs;
51. Insists that renewed global political engagement and intensified multilateral cooperation will be necessary in order for the EU and its partners to make meaningful progress in the coming eight years; calls for action-oriented commitments towards achieving the SDGs by the 2023 SDG Summit, which will mark the mid-point of the 2030 Agenda’s implementation period; recalls that, as the world’s most successful integration project, with a track record of successfully championing multilateralism, and as a global standard-setter, the EU is uniquely placed to accelerate progress on SDG 17 (partnerships for the goals); calls, therefore, for the EU to assume a leadership role at the 2022 HLPF and the 2023 SDG Summit in defining this political reset; suggests that the President of the Commission be actively involved in each HLPF;
52. Is alarmed at the fact that the loss of biodiversity and ecosystem services will undermine progress in approximately 80 % of the assessed targets for the SDGs; recalls that ecological restoration is critical for the implementation of the ‘One Health’ approach; calls for the EU to address the root causes of biodiversity loss and to mainstream obligations on conservation, restoration and the sustainable use of resources into broader development policies;
53. Underlines that international law has evolved to embrace new concepts, such as ‘the common heritage of humanity’, ‘sustainable development’ and ‘future generations’, but stresses that there is no permanent international mechanism to monitor and address environmental damage and destruction that alters the global commons or ecosystem services;
54. Stresses the fact that Europe faces its greatest SDG challenges in the areas of sustainable food systems, affordable and clean energy, agriculture, the climate and biodiversity (SDGs 2, 12, 13, 14 and 15); calls on the Commission to develop a robust comparative analysis of SDG 6 (clean water and sanitation) and SDG 14 (life below water), especially in view of the UN Ocean Conference in Lisbon in June 2022 and the HLPF in July 2022, as trends cannot be calculated due to insufficient comparable data over the past five years; calls on the Commission to emphasise the need for sustainable production and consumption, especially with regard to consumers’ understanding of how their consumption behaviour impacts the SDGs; stresses that best practice sharing with partner countries can provide the EU and its Member States with significant knowledge as regards individual initiatives and actions that can be taken to achieve ‘Fit for 55’ goals, and that the EU can also share its experience and best practices with partner countries; believes that, due to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and its impact on, inter alia, the food sector, progress on some of the SDGs, notably 1, 2 and 10 may not only slow, but be reversed, both within the EU and globally; is especially concerned about rising food prices, their impact on LDCs and the resulting increase in poverty, food insecurity, malnutrition and hunger;
55. Recalls that climate change will increasingly put pressure on food production and access, especially in vulnerable regions, undermining food security and nutrition; highlights the conclusions of the IPCC 2022 report, according to which global warming will progressively weaken soil health and ecosystem services, which will undermine food productivity in many regions on land and in the oceans; urges the EU and its Member States to remain fully committed to their international engagements and obligations on the climate and biodiversity and to the Green Deal, including the biodiversity strategy and the ‘Farm to Fork’ strategy, especially in a context where the pandemic crisis and the war in Ukraine have shown how vulnerable developing countries are to the disruption of the global food market;
56. Highlights the importance of implementing the 2030 Agenda for achieving positive spillover effects, especially in the Global South, and entering a virtuous circle in international partnerships; underlines the significance of the external dimension, as the EU only accounts for 19 % of global economic performance and 5.6 % of the world’s population, with both shares shrinking; points out that achieving SDG 10 is the strategic lever that will empower our partners to set themselves on the path to sustainable development;
57. Stresses the fact that at least 85 % of all new external action implemented through the Neighbourhood, Development and International Cooperation Instrument – Global Europe will be required to incorporate gender as a significant or principal objective, as defined by the gender equality policy marker of the OECD Development Assistance Committee, and at least 5 % of these actions should have gender equality and women’s and girls’ rights and empowerment as a principal objective; reiterates that the European External Action Service and the Member States should consider sexual and reproductive health and rights as a priority in the EU programming process, including in joint programming; insists on the swift and full implementation of the requirement in the EU's environment action programme to 2030 that gender be mainstreamed throughout climate and environmental policies, including by incorporating a gender perspective at all stages of the policymaking process;
58. Calls on the Commission, the European External Action Service and Member States, as appropriate, to present the relevant results achieved on the implementation of the five priority SDGs at the upcoming 2022 HLPF, namely, SDGs 4 (quality education), 5 (gender equality), 14 (life below water), 15 (life on land), and 17 (partnerships for the goals); stresses the importance of Parliament’s active involvement in the HLPF and that it should be an integral part of the EU delegation; expects, therefore, that Members of Parliament be allowed to attend EU coordination meetings and be guaranteed access to documents throughout the summit;
59. Instructs its President to forward this resolution to the Council, the Commission, the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development and the United Nations.
With just 8 years left to meet the targets outlined under the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, it is pertinent that the EU immediately steps up its global efforts to meet all 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). In September 2015, UN Member States adopted the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, noting that the 17 goals and 169 targets are integrated and indivisible, and that they balance the economic, social and environmental dimensions of sustainable development, providing a holistic vision for the wellbeing of people and the planet, placing equality and resilience at the core. They provide the only universally agreed and universally applicable framework for global evidence-based policy-making in this crucial decade. The interlinkages and integrated nature of the SDGs are of crucial importance to the realisation of Agenda 2030. In light of the COVID-19 pandemic, they provide a unique pathway to recovery and to ‘building back better’, that is, constructing a more equitable and resilient world that prospers within planetary boundaries, while leaving no one behind.
To that end, this report focuses on the tools currently at the EU’s disposal to help globally implement the SDGs. Rather than honing in on specific SDG targets and progress made to date, this report identifies the remaining gaps and challenges and addresses various opportunities which would assist the EU in its global efforts to meet all 17 SDGs by 2030. The report should also be seen as an EU effort to sum up its progress before attending the annual High Level Political Forum (HLPF) in July 2022. The HLPF is the main United Nations platform on sustainable development and it has a central role in the follow-up and global review of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the SDGs. This year’s HLPF will focus on how to build back better from the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) while advancing the full implementation of Agenda 2030.
Long-term planning for obtaining the SDGs is no longer sufficient, urgent action is now necessary. This report seeks to demonstrate how, despite a significant effort to map the EU's progress on the SDGs, the EU has thus far failed to fulfil its role as leader in the global effort to achieve the 17 SDGs. Better implementation is therefore needed, which will require more coherent financing and, above all, stronger leadership both within the EU and on the global stage.
As is demonstrated by the landmark European Green Deal, sustainable development is at the core of the EU's identity. The EU was a leader in the revision of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) and the negotiation of Agenda 2030. Article 3 of the Treaty on European Union commits the EU to the sustainable development of Europe, whereas Article 21 explicitly states that the EU shall promote sustainable development beyond its borders, including in developing countries. The EU is obliged to incorporate the objectives of development cooperation into any internal or external policies that are likely to affect developing countries, as set out in Article 208 of the Treaty of the Functioning of the European Union. Policy coherence for development (PCD) constitutes a key pillar of the EU’s efforts to increase the effectiveness of development cooperation. This concept of policy coherence in support of development objectives was introduced in EU fundamental law in 1992 with the Treaty of Maastricht and was further reinforced in the Treaty of Lisbon in 2009 and, subsequently, in the 2017 'European Consensus on Sustainable Development'. In 2019, European Commission President von der Leyen committed to a ‘whole of government’ approach to the SDGs. As a result, efforts have been made to mainstream the SDGs across each Commissioner's portfolio, to ensure that trade agreements promote sustainable development, to embed binding SDG targets within the NDICI-Global Europe instrument and to integrate the SDGs into the European Semester.
This report seeks to highlight, nonetheless, that EU’s strategy on SDG implementation contains serious deficiencies, namely in terms of governance, which has had a detrimental impact on EU efforts to garner political interest, secure progress and gain societal legitimacy. As such, a core demand of report is that the EU adopts a single, high-level strategy for the EU’s implementation of the SDGs until 2030. This should reform the governance of the SDGs, tackling issues such as leadership, targets, monitoring and financing.
The EU’s inability to adopt such as a strategy has resulted in significant ecological, social and economic spillovers on a global scale. Although high-income countries – including all EU Member States – have made most progress on the SDGs, they also generate the greatest spillovers worldwide, which may undermine the ability of developing and least developed countries to achieve their targets. Further understanding is therefore needed of the transboundary nature of sustainable development. To this end, the work of Eurostat to quantify spillover effects in the 2021 edition of its SDG monitoring report must be continued. It is fundamental that the methodology used is further developed in order to sufficiently identify the EU’s true global footprint and to take corrective measures.
Climate change is an example of a transboundary phenomenon that is now affecting every country on every continent. It is disrupting national economies and affecting lives, costing communities and states dearly today and even more tomorrow. This report aims to acknowledge the close interlinkages between climate change and sustainable development. Indeed, climate change can undermine progress towards sustainable development. Conversely, science- and evidence-based climate change mitigation and adaptation measures can have a positive and long-lasting contribution to poverty alleviation, food security, healthy ecosystems, equality and justice. Some SDGs have a strong environmental dimension such as SDG 13 on climate action (which aims to “take urgent action to combat climate change and its impact”), SDG 14 on conservation of marine ecosystems, and SDG 15 on the conservation of terrestrial ecosystems and the sustainable use of their resources. Nevertheless, all Goals are deemed to have a strong connection - direct or indirect - to climate action.
The European Green Deal aims to transform the EU into a fair, inclusive and prosperous society, with a resource-efficient, circular economy, with no net emissions of greenhouse gases in 2050. In the light of the recent pandemic and its severe effects on health and the wellbeing of citizens, the value of the European Green Deal has become even more evident. In committing to climate-neutrality, and while designing and adopting the transformative and crosscutting measures required to achieve it, the EU has pledged to place people first and make the transition just and inclusive. In this regard, the climate and environmental objectives defined in the European Green Deal are part of the Union’s strategy to deliver the SDGs, and vice versa. The link between the European Green Deal and the SDGs was recently recognised in the 8th Environment Action Programme (EAP), which “forms the basis for achieving the environment and climate-related objectives defined under the UN 2030 Agenda and its SDGs’. Ahead of the 27th United Nations Climate Change conference (COP27), the European SDG Summit on 10-12 October 2022 will convene sustainability leaders worldwide to address one pressing question: how can we build together a green and inclusive Europe? As such, more effective implementation of the SDGs is an essential prerequisite of the attainment of the EU’s climate objectives.
The issue of accountability must also be addressed. Voluntary National Reviews are the pivotal accountability mechanism of Agenda 2030. However, a significant degree of policymaking now takes place at EU-level, which warrants the presentation of an EU specific Voluntary Review (EUVR). This will ensure that EU institutions fulfil their commitments of implementing a clear strategy and meet the required targets. More effort should also be invested in local and regional monitoring. Democratic scrutiny and civic participation in the EU's SDG implementation must be further reinforced.
Finally, there can be no implementation without adequate financing. The OECD’s Global Outlook on Financing for Sustainable Development 2021estimates that COVID-19 has caused an overall decline in resources of USD 700 billion, and an increase in needs of USD 1 trillion (the so-called scissor effect) so that the SDG annual funding gap in developing countries of USD 2.5 trillion before the pandemic could increase by 70% post-COVID-19 to USD 4.2 trillion (EUR 3.7 trillion).
Yet there is no single plan to finance the SDGs – neither at global nor at EU level. The report aims, therefore, to highlight the importance of the EU budget, which plays an important role in the implementation of SDGs. However, it also recognises that the public money will not be enough. Resource mobilisation, including from private stakeholders, and the revision of the European Architecture for Development will be key, as will a better, more structured framework to track SDG expenditure.
The greatest challenges of our time - climate change, pandemics, conflict, mass displacement, extreme poverty - are all highly complex and require holistic, global responses: Agenda 2030 is the only framework that enables such a response. It is time that the SDGs are taken seriously. To live up to its name and tackle the issues that affect the lives of European citizens and our partners around the world, it is a matter of political urgency that the EU dramatically scales up its efforts towards Agenda 2030, internally and on the global stage.
LETTER OF THE COMMITTEE ON CULTURE AND EDUCATION (8.3.2022)
Mr Tomas Tobé
Committee on Development
Committee on Environment, Public Health and Food Safety
Subject: Opinion on Implementation and delivery of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) (2022/2002(INI))
Dear Mr Tobé,
Dear Mr Canfin,
Under the procedure referred to above, the Committee on Culture and Education has been asked to submit an opinion to your committees. At its meeting of 26 January 2022, the committee decided to send the opinion in the form of a letter.
The Committee on Culture and Education considered the matter at its meeting of 15 March 2022. At that meeting, it decided to call on the Committee on Development and the Committee on the Environment, Public Health and Food Safety, as the committees responsible, to incorporate the following suggestions into their motion for a resolution.
A. Stresses the importance of continuing efforts to achieve the SDGs and reiterates that even in times of budgetary restrictions, education remains a fundamental right and an essential investment that enables the achievement of all SDGs and underlines the important role of the EU through humanitarian assistance and stronger partnerships with different parts of the world, including Africa;
B. Underlines the key role that education, culture, sports, and their respective EU programmes play to achieve the SDGs and calls for the reinforcement of their international dimension whilst acknowledging the power of people-to-people diplomacy;
C. Encourages world leaders to consider connectivity and access to digital infrastructures, such as access to an affordable and quality network, as a right derived from the fundamental right to education;
D. Calls on the Commission to coordinate and support Member States with country-specific recommendations and the exchange of best practices to improve the quality and inclusivity of their educational systems and close gender and socio-economic gaps in the acquisition of basic skills and the uptake of STEAM subjects in line with the vision of the European Education Area, the green and digital transitions of the EU and SDG4;
E. Calls on Member States to make full use of GreenComp, the European Sustainability Competence Framework, to develop a systematic approach towards the development of a sustainability mind-set across ages and educational levels, which combines relevance to local, regional and national realities with a coherent approach within the European Education Area; reiterates its call to Member States to complete the European Education Area by 2025, even as an essential intermediate step towards reaching the targets set under SDG4;
F. Encourages networking between the non-formal and formal educational sectors to create professional learning communities which support teachers as they renovate pedagogical practices, foster multiple literacies, facilitate students’ ownership and nurture their emotional intelligence and resilience in the face of fears and uncertainties; draws attention to the experience of grassroots sports and cultural associations in this regard;
G. Insists that educational authorities invest to improve the quality of vocational education and training with state-of-the-art infrastructures, digitalisation processes and links to the knowledge triangle, which align the sector with environmental and social sustainability goals and position it to provide alternative pathways to skills development that contribute to the implementation of the UN Sustainable Development Goals;
H. Reminds educators of the essential role of early childhood education in instilling attitudes and values in young children that are conducive to the development of sustainability mind-sets and to engage their families in considering ways in which they too can contribute towards sustainability both as individuals and as a community;
I. Encourages youth entrepreneurship, as a mechanism to achieve the goals of sustainable development within the European Union and beyond with European tools such as Erasmus for Young Entrepreneurs and the DEAR programme, given the potential to improve employment rates, secure decent livelihoods for vulnerable groups and develop innovative solutions.
INFORMATION ON ADOPTION IN COMMITTEE RESPONSIBLE
Result of final vote
Members present for the final vote
Barry Andrews, Eric Andrieu, Nikos Androulakis, Maria Arena, Bartosz Arłukowicz, Margrete Auken, Simona Baldassarre, Marek Paweł Balt, Traian Băsescu, Aurélia Beigneux, Monika Beňová, Hildegard Bentele, Sergio Berlato, Alexander Bernhuber, Dominique Bilde, Malin Björk, Simona Bonafè, Delara Burkhardt, Pascal Canfin, Catherine Chabaud, Mohammed Chahim, Tudor Ciuhodaru, Nathalie Colin-Oesterlé, Antoni Comín i Oliveres, Ryszard Czarnecki, Esther de Lange, Christian Doleschal, Marco Dreosto, Bas Eickhout, Cyrus Engerer, Eleonora Evi, Agnès Evren, Pietro Fiocchi, Raffaele Fitto, Malte Gallée, Gianna Gancia, Charles Goerens, Mónica Silvana González, Catherine Griset, Jytte Guteland, Teuvo Hakkarainen, Pierrette Herzberger-Fofana, Martin Hojsík, Pär Holmgren, György Hölvényi, Jan Huitema, Yannick Jadot, Adam Jarubas, Rasa Juknevičienė, Manolis Kefalogiannis, Petros Kokkalis, Ewa Kopacz, Joanna Kopcińska, Peter Liese, Sylvia Limmer, Javi López, Karsten Lucke, César Luena, Pierfrancesco Majorino, Marian-Jean Marinescu, Fulvio Martusciello, Joëlle Mélin, Tilly Metz, Silvia Modig, Dolors Montserrat, Alessandra Moretti, Ville Niinistö, Janina Ochojska, Grace O’Sullivan, Jutta Paulus, Stanislav Polčák, Jessica Polfjärd, Nicola Procaccini, Luisa Regimenti, Frédérique Ries, Michèle Rivasi, María Soraya Rodríguez Ramos, Sándor Rónai, Rob Rooken, Silvia Sardone, Günther Sidl, Ivan Vilibor Sinčić, Linea Søgaard-Lidell, Maria Spyraki, Nicolae Ştefănuță, Tomas Tobé, Nils Torvalds, Edina Tóth, Véronique Trillet-Lenoir, Miguel Urbán Crespo, Petar Vitanov, Alexandr Vondra, Mick Wallace, Pernille Weiss, Emma Wiesner, Michal Wiezik, Tiemo Wölken, Anna Zalewska, Bernhard Zimniok
Substitutes present for the final vote
Stéphane Bijoux, Manuel Bompard, Annika Bruna, Stelios Kympouropoulos, Marlene Mortler, Jan-Christoph Oetjen, Caroline Roose, Christel Schaldemose, Carlos Zorrinho
FINAL VOTE BY ROLL CALL IN COMMITTEE RESPONSIBLE
Antoni Comín i Oliveres, Edina Tóth
Bartosz Arłukowicz, Traian Băsescu, Hildegard Bentele, Alexander Bernhuber, Nathalie Colin-Oesterlé, Christian Doleschal, Agnès Evren, György Hölvényi, Adam Jarubas, Rasa Juknevičienė, Manolis Kefalogiannis, Ewa Kopacz, Stelios Kympouropoulos, Esther de Lange, Peter Liese, Marian-Jean Marinescu, Fulvio Martusciello, Dolors Montserrat, Marlene Mortler, Janina Ochojska, Stanislav Polčák, Jessica Polfjärd, Luisa Regimenti, Maria Spyraki, Tomas Tobé, Pernille Weiss
Barry Andrews, Stéphane Bijoux, Pascal Canfin, Catherine Chabaud, Charles Goerens, Martin Hojsík, Jan Huitema, Jan-Christoph Oetjen, Frédérique Ries, María Soraya Rodríguez Ramos, Nicolae Ştefănuță, Linea Søgaard-Lidell, Nils Torvalds, Véronique Trillet-Lenoir, Emma Wiesner, Michal Wiezik
Eric Andrieu, Nikos Androulakis, Maria Arena, Marek Paweł Balt, Monika Beňová, Simona Bonafè, Delara Burkhardt, Mohammed Chahim, Tudor Ciuhodaru, Cyrus Engerer, Mónica Silvana González, Jytte Guteland, Javi López, Karsten Lucke, César Luena, Pierfrancesco Majorino, Alessandra Moretti, Sándor Rónai, Christel Schaldemose, Günther Sidl, Petar Vitanov, Tiemo Wölken, Carlos Zorrinho
Malin Björk, Manuel Bompard, Petros Kokkalis, Silvia Modig, Miguel Urbán Crespo, Mick Wallace
Margrete Auken, Bas Eickhout, Eleonora Evi, Malte Gallée, Pierrette Herzberger-Fofana, Pär Holmgren, Yannick Jadot, Tilly Metz, Ville Niinistö, Grace O'Sullivan, Jutta Paulus, Michèle Rivasi, Caroline Roose
Aurélia Beigneux, Annika Bruna, Catherine Griset, Teuvo Hakkarainen, Sylvia Limmer, Joëlle Mélin, Bernhard Zimniok
Sergio Berlato, Ryszard Czarnecki, Pietro Fiocchi, Raffaele Fitto, Joanna Kopcińska, Nicola Procaccini, Alexandr Vondra, Anna Zalewska
Simona Baldassarre, Dominique Bilde, Marco Dreosto, Silvia Sardone
Ivan Vilibor Sinčić
Key to symbols:
+ : in favour
- : against
0 : abstention
-  OJ C 210, 30.6.2017, p. 1.
-  OJ C 210, 30.6.2017, p. 1.
-  OJ L 209, 14.6.2021, p. 1.
-  Texts adopted, P9_TA(2022)0099.
-  OJ C 456, 10.11.2021, p. 191.
-  OJ C 23, 21.1.2021, p. 130.
-  OJ C 289, 9.8.2016, p. 5.
-  OJ C 334, 19.9.2018, p. 151.
-  OJ C 67, 8.2.2022, p. 25.
-  OJ C 76, 28.2.2018, p. 45.
-  OJ C 474, 24.11.2021, p. 91.
-  OJ C 440, 6.12.2018, p. 14.
-  COM(2021)0550.
-  Eurostat, European Commission, 'EU SDG Indicator set 2021 – Result of the review in preparation of the 2021 edition of the EU SDG monitoring report', 2021.
-  Policy Department for Budgetary Affairs, Directorate-General for Internal Policies, for the Committee on Budgetary Control, 'The Sustainable Development Goals in the EU budget', 2021.
-  Policy Department for Budgetary Affairs, Directorate-General for Internal Policies, for the Committee on Budgetary Control, 'Budgetary control of the Sustainable Development Goals in the EU budget – What measures are in place to ensure effective implementation?', 2021.
-  OECD, 'Global Outlook on Financing for Sustainable Development 2021 – A New Way to Invest for People and Planet', Paris, 2020.