The Council today adopted a set of conclusions concerning the implementation by the EU of the United Nations' 2030 Agenda on Sustainable Development, which was established in 2015 and comprises a set of 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Given the horizontal nature of the 2030 Agenda, its implementation requires a cross-policy approach by the EU and its member states. Earlier this year, the Commission published a reflection paper "Towards a Sustainable Europe by 2030," to which the conclusions are a response.
In its conclusions, the Council underlines the central importance of sustainable development for the European Union and stresses that it is in the EU's interest to continue to play a leading role in implementing the 2030 Agenda and its 17 SDGs. The Council calls for the implementation of the 2030 Agenda to be accelerated “both globally and internally, as an overarching priority of the EU, for the benefit of its citizens and for upholding its credibility within Europe and globally.”
The Council welcomes the Commission's reflection paper as an urgently needed contribution to the debate on a more sustainable future and to the strategic priority setting for the new Commission. The main policy foundations for a sustainable future identified by the Council include a decisive transition towards a circular economy, striving for climate neutrality, protecting biodiversity and ecosystems and tackling climate change, along with sustainable agriculture and food, and safe and sustainable low carbon energy, buildings and mobility. The Council also stresses the importance of fostering European cohesion and calls for the social dimension to be strengthened.
Moreover, the Council reiterated its earlier call for the Commission to draw up a comprehensive and overarching implementation strategy outlining timelines, objectives and concrete measures to reflect the 2030 Agenda and to mainstream the SDGs into all relevant internal and external EU policies.