Europe must lead by example on sustainable development

Open letter to European Commission President Juncker on the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals

In September 2015, Oxfam joined world leaders, civil society and people around the world to celebrate the adoption of the Sustainable Development Goals by world leaders at the United Nations. We said that this ambitious set of goals could be historic in impact as they provide a truly sustainable way forward for humanity to live well within the limits of our natural world, while leaving no-one behind. At the same time, Oxfam cautioned that progress toward them must be tangible, political and disruptive to be historic in impact.

The European Union has played an important leadership role in the crafting and the agreement on the goals, but we need Europe to step up to the plate and lead in implementation as well. Since the adoption of the goals more than half a year ago, very little has happened at the European level to translate the ambitious set of goals and a concrete actionable plan of implementation. While some member states have since started national level discussions, a common EU approach to truly overhauling the way things are done is currently missing.

Oxfam has joined the call of SDG-watch (a new, European cross-sectoral civil society alliance set up to monitor the implementation of the SDG Agenda) for the EU to urgently set out an overarching SDG strategy addressing the interlinkages and interdependencies that underpin today’s global challenges and setting up a whole-of-government approach that puts the well-being of people and planet at its core, with economic and financial systems to support them.