A joint report by the European Parliament Committee on Development and Committee on Environment on calling for an implementation strategy of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) was adopted after passing the vote with a high majority on 2 June. The vote follows a recently released Eurostat report on the state of SDGs in Europe and an exchange with commissioner Paolo Gentiloni.
Eurostat’s report is generally favourable, as it states that in the last 5 years, progress was made towards most goals. However, it still shows that there is room for improvement and notes the influence of the energy usage reduction caused by the COVID-19 pandemic on the favourable indicators of the past two years. It also points out that progress is significant with SDGs that parallel key EU policy areas, such as the Green Deal.
The report by the committees DEVE and ENVI emphasises that, in order to meet the goals outlined in the Paris agreement, it is crucial to follow sustainable development goals as well. Therefore, it calls for a unified, high level EU strategy for the implementation of SDGs by 2030.
In addition to the SDGs, plastic pollution is also on the ENVI committee’s agenda. On 14 June, an exchange of views with Ms Inger Andersen, the Executive Director of the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) was held. The exchange centred around the ambition outlined at the fifth United Nations Environment Assembly (UNEA-5), aiming to complete a legally binding agreement for tackling plastic pollution by 2024.
However, the Commission also faces some criticism on the sustainability front. A recently released special report from the European Court of Auditors states that 20% of the €216 billion climate spending was ‘unduly recorded’.