A new EU approach to sustainable development

By November 22, 2016March 6th, 2017News Posts

The European Commission is to take a new strategic approach to achieving sustainable development in Europe and around the world. Today, (November 22, 2016) it published its Communications on the next steps for a sustainable European future, explaining:

  1. How the Commission’s 10 political priorities contribute to implementing the UN 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and how the EU will meet the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
  2. A shared vision and framework for development cooperation for the EU and its Member States, aligned with the 2030 Agenda.
  3. Plans for a renewed partnership with African, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) countries proposes building blocks for a new, sustainable phase in EU-ACP relations after the Cotonou Partnership Agreement expires in 2020.

The Commission stresses that “sustainability is a European brand” and that the EU has a strong starting position and track record, with a high level of economic development, social cohesion, democratic societies and a commitment to sustainable development which is firmly anchored in the European Treaties.

The main elements of the Commission’s new, strategic approach for a sustainable European future are:

  • The EU’s answer to the 2030 Agenda will include two work streams: the first is to mainstream the Sustainable Development Goals in the European policy framework and current Commission priorities; the second is to launch reflection on further developing our longer term vision and the focus of sectoral policies after 2020.
  • The Commission will use all the instruments at its disposal, including its better regulation tools to ensure that existing and new policies take into account the three pillars of sustainable development: social, environmental and economic.
  • To create a dynamic space bringing together the different stakeholders of the public and the private sphere, the Commission will launch a multi-stakeholder Platform with a role in the follow-up and exchange of best practices on SDG implementation across sectors.
  • The Commission will provide regular reporting of the EU’s progress towards the implementation of the 2030 Agenda as of 2017, and will launch reflection work on developing further a longer term vision with a post-2020 perspective.


The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, adopted by the international community in September 2015, represents an ambitious new blueprint to respond to global trends and challenges. The core of the 2030 Agenda is the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and associated targets, which run to 2030. For the first time, the Sustainable Development Goals are universally applicable to all countries and the EU is committed to be a frontrunner in implementing them.

See here for more information.