On the second anniversary of the adoption of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development (2030 Agenda) and its 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), the European Economic and Social Committee (EESC) organised a public debate that explored how the monitoring of the implementation of the SDGs should take shape in the European Union (the EU).
The 2030 Agenda and the 17 SDGs were adopted by the United Nations General Assembly in September 2015. During the debate, it was outlined that the comprehensive indicator framework has to be established to support the goals and targets proposed by the SDGs, since indicators are the backbone of the monitoring progress of their implementation at the local, national, regional and global levels. The Institute for European Environmental Policy (IEEP) presented different indicator sets that are currently available to measure and monitor the level of implementation of the SDGs on national, regional or global levels. It was explained that currently there are many different sets of indicators that can be used, for instance, the United Nation’s set of 244 indicators.
During the debate, different stakeholders presented their views on how the monitoring and implementation of the SDGs is unfolding throughout the EU. On a regional level, the EU and Statistical Office of the European Communities (Eurostat) developed its own set of 100 indicators. The Eurostat’s SDGs indicator set was structured while consulting with other EU institutions, other Commission services, Member States, academics, social partners and civil society. The EUD participated in this consultation at the European Commission back in March 2017 in order to ensure that people with disabilities are included in the Eurostat’s set of indicators. The Eurostat’s framework of indicators will turn the SDGs and their targets into a management tool to help the EU develop implementation strategies and allocate resources accordingly, as well as measure progress towards sustainable development and help to ensure the accountability of all stakeholders for achieving the SDGs.
The Sustainable Development Observatory of the EESC emphasised that the functioning of indicators is sometimes limited due to data gaps and such gaps need to be clearly identified. This requires investments in statistical capacity and research in order to receive new forms of data.
The presenters highlighted that next to the indicator framework, the EU has to propose an implementation strategy outlining the timelines, objectives and concrete measures that are necessary to implement the 2030 Agenda across all relevant EU internal and external policies. The EUD had an excellent opportunity to learn how to monitor the implementation of the SDGs and will follow up on upcoming developments.