Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) briefing for the European Parliament

This briefing provides an overview of key issues at stake in the meeting and progress made on the implementation of SDGs by the EU and globally in the run up to the UN High Level Political Forum (HLPF) to be held at United Nations (UN) Headquarters in New York 16 - 18 July 2018. It has been produced to support to the European Parliament delegation prior to the Forum.

The briefing states that the EU process on SDGs has so far been focused more on technical aspects of implementation (e.g. establishment of the indicator framework) rather than ensuring buy-in and sectoral mainstreaming at political level. According to the first annual monitoring report by Eurostat in 2017, the EU has made progress towards all the 17 goals. However, progress towards a given goal does not necessarily mean that the status of a goal in the EU should be considered satisfactory. While the EU framework for monitoring SDGs can be considered relatively robust, it includes a number of shortcomings which should be explored to be addressed in the future.

The briefing concludes that the SDGs framework has the potential to provide a useful overarching framework to further the debate on Europe's political priorities, with a view to pursuing social, economic and environmental sustainability both within the Union and globally. However, this requires increasing the political buy-in across sectors. There is a need to translate the SDGs into concrete sectoral political priorities, targets and actions for the EU, and to agree on a legitimate framework for delivering these priorities across Member States.

In the global context, the briefing recommends that it would be important to promote linkages between the outcomes of the 2018 HLPF, the forthcoming Global Sustainable Development Report, and other global process of relevance to the environment, including the UNFCCC, the CBD, UNEA, as well as the newly launched negotiations for a global Pact for the Environment. It also finds that there is a need to set the stage for environment to become more at the heart for the following HLPFs, especially in terms of the 4-year stocktake in 2019.

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