On the 7th of February, the Committees of the European Parliament on Development and on Environment, Public Health and Food Safety held a joint hearing to discuss strategic action and better monitoring to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in the European Union.
The keynote speech was given by the Vice President of the European Commission (EC) Frans Timmermans, who presented the EC’s Reflection Paper on sustainable development, adopted on the 30th of January. The Reflection Paper lists the main challenges that the EU is facing nowadays. It also provides with recommendations on how to form a solid policy foundation for the sustainable future. Among others, the European Commission highlights that sustainability change is also about promoting social rights and well-being for all, including for people with disabilities, and in turn contributing to social cohesion in the Member States and across the EU.
The European Commission’s Reflection Paper provides with three scenarios how the EU and its Member States could proceed while delivering SDGs on both, national and European levels. Three scenarios are intended to inform a debate among citizens, stakeholders, governments and institutions, to inspire the preparation of the EU Strategic Agenda 2019-2024 and the priority setting of the next President of the European Commission. Scenario 1 suggests that SDGs should be an overarching EU strategy to guide all the actions of the EU and its Member States. Scenario 2 indicates that SDGs should be mainstreamed in all relevant EU policies by the European Commission, but not enforcing Member States’ action. Scenario 3 suggests that the focus should be put on external action while consolidating current sustainability action at the EU level.
EUD believes that the approach of the Scenario 1is the most appropriate one, as delivering SDGs for all and leaving no one behind should indeed be an overall priority of the EU and SDGs as a policy framework should inform all actions of the EU and its Member States. SDGs as an overarching EU strategy to guide all the actions of the EU and its Member States must be accompanied with a concrete plan of implementation, based on all goals and targets, with a timeline and a monitoring mechanism.
All three scenarios are neither restrictive nor prescriptive. They aim to offer different ideas and spur debate and thinking. EUD will continue raising awareness among the National Associations of the Deaf about the importance of the implementation of SDGs on the national level, so the political will to aspire to Scenario 1in the Member States of the EU increases.
EC’s Reflection Paper: Towards a Sustainable Europe by 2030: