On 31 May 2016, Edit Lakatos from our Secretariat participated in a stakeholder workshop and debate on the implementation of the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in the EU organized by the Dutch Presidency and hosted by EESC with Solidar and World Vision. The core of the discussion were Sustainable Societies and how SDGs contribute to fighting poverty and reducing inequality.
Fighting poverty and reducing social inequality worldwide are in the centre of the UN 2030 objectives. However, the universal nature of the SDGs poses challenges to developed as well as to developing countries. Therefore, strategies against poverty and inequality should be tailored to the individual context of each country.
The working group discussed effective approaches to the implementation of SDGs related to the fight against poverty and in particular to the role and potential of social protection floors. It was also discussed how multi‐stakeholder partnerships can help achieving social objectives and what policy framework is needed in order to encourage such alliances and make them effective.
The conclusions and key recommendations of the workshop to the EESC include:
- tackling inequality means fighting poverty
- in order to effectively implement the SDGs, we need to re-think the European economic model and looking at social investments as well. As a fact, countries, who invest most in social protection are the strongest economies in the world according to the OECD
- The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development will be able to serve several targets of the EU 2020 Agenda. The European Commission already launched several schemes based on complementarity which can be of use.
- In the meantime, Europe needs to combine inspiration with realism- the EU has limited competences in fighting poverty- therefore, the policy coherence is crucial.
- Finally, we need to reframe SDGs as an Opportunity Agenda whose implementation involves the participation of citizens with the EU as facilitator.
The Sustainable Development goals were adopted by the UN and its Member States last year. The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and Habitat III that takes place in October in Quito should include in the priority list the Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 11 calling for "cities and human settlements" to be "inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable". At the same time a major challenge is also to keep the ambitions going.
The aim of the EU is to become the first low carbon economy in the world, therefore, in the implementation phase it should lead by example and push towards a more efficient, green and fair transition.