Sustainable development (SCP & SDG)

Sustainable development is an overarching objective of the European Union. The EU’s Sustainable Development Strategy (SDS) should be the overarching policy of all European policies to ensure a better quality of life for the present generation and for those to come. This strategy needs to be rewritten and adapted to ensure the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The new SDGs should serve as a driver for the universal implementation and mainstreaming of Sustainable Development.

Sustainable development promotes a dynamic economy, high employment rates, high level of education, health protection, social and territorial cohesion and environmental protection. All these objectives have to be reached in a peaceful and secure world which respects cultural diversity.

The European Commission’s website writes: “Sustainable development will not be brought about by policies only: it must be taken up by society at large as a principle guiding the many choices each citizen makes every day, as well as the big political and economic decisions that have an impact on this. This requires profound changes in thinking, in economic and social structures and in consumption and production patterns.”

These changes can be difficult to make, particularly when faced with more immediate issues. Therefore, implementing sustainable development can often mean compromises between economic, social and environmental aspects.

We are currently far from achieving sustainable development. Furthermore many key social and environmental indicators go in the wrong direction.

The negotiated set of SDGs that was adopted by nearly all countries around the world in September 2015, presents a new opportunity towards sustainable societies. However, as this new framework so far is not legally binding, it is crucial to have an efficient accountability system for implementation with strong civil society participation.

The EEB paper Reforming Europe towards Sustainability explores the avenues for pursuing a more sustainable Europe.