Wednesday, 24 May 2017

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Europe at the helm of the SDGs

SDG Banner on EC Charlemagne building for High-Level Policy Summit on Europe’s Response to Sustainability Challenges, Brussels

More than 600 European partners and stakeholders gathered in Brussels today for a High-Level Policy Summit on Europe’s Response to Sustainability Challenges.

There was a great deal of interest and optimism among speakers. Erik Solheim, Head of United Nations Environment stressed that  “In the SDGs, together is the key word. Together, the EU and the UN can bring a new shared vision.   Together one can solve anything; divided one will solve almost nothing.”

For Frans Timmermans, European Commission Vice-President, education is key to the success of this agenda. Mr Timmermans would like to see Europe providing education  in critical thinking in order to teach people to look at the world through the eyes of another.  Indeed humanity is in need of more solidarity and equality. Only through education can we create a new generation able to see opportunities and wake up to the sustainability challenges that we face today.

Educating young people to have a positive view of society and see opportunities in the 17 goals will foster more inclusive and prosperous societies.

Speakers stressed the importance of young people and the prospects that they have.

In particular, HM Queen Mathilde of the Belgians made a call to support every positive narrative and initiative that can bring hope and restore the trust of young people in their future.

Echoing this, a member of the audience thanked the Queen and the EU for supporting the SDGs and what she called “an umbrella of hope in these hard times”.

Queen mathilde belgium SDG advocate

Clearly the SDGs are now a European brand, as both Frans Timmermans and the organisers from the European Political Strategy Centre said.

The European Commission will support the implementation of this transformative agenda, as no country, not even in Europe, can claim to have met all the Goals.

There is a  proposal to organise a platform in 2017 to further engage stakeholders on the implementation of the 17 goals.

On 22 November 2016, the European Commission launched a series of communications, including a European Consensus on Development, which fully incorporates the United Nations 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. 

UNRIC will continue to work closely with its European partners to raise awareness and foster engagement from all stakeholders including  youth and civil society at large.

 

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