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S&Ds welcome first EU review of Sustainable Development Goals, but we must speed up to reach targets


20 Jul 2023


Development Policy

Following three days of intense work, debates and meetings, the joint mission of the European Parliament’s development and environment committees to the High-Level Political Forum (HLPF) on Sustainable Development at the United Nations in New York has come to an end.

In this framework, S&D MEPs Udo Bullman and Cyrus Engerer met with UN secretary-general António Guterres, Bulgarian ambassador to the UN and president of the UN Economic and Social Council Lachezara Stoeva, head of EU delegation to the UN Olof Skoog, the EU Commissioner for international partnerships Jutta Urpilainen, Commissioner for economy Paolo Gentiloni, plus the Spanish presidency of the EU Council and civil society organisations.

The highlight of the mission was to participate in the presentation of the first EU voluntary review on the progress of the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), ahead of the Global SDGs Summit on the midterm review – taking place in New York in September. 

The S&D members also took part in events and spoke on the role of parliaments in accelerating the achievement of Agenda 2030 and the midterm review of the SDGs. 

With today’s multiple crises and the significant challenges they pose, the S&Ds are calling for renewed EU political commitment – empowered by a comprehensive and overarching strategy – as well as a funding plan. This is key to meeting the 2030 deadline and avoiding further poverty and inequality. We must avoid negative spill over effects at the expense of the Global South and ensure that all EU policies are subject to a mandatory SDG check.

Udo Bullman, S&D Coordinator in the development committee and co-rapporteur of the SDGs report, said:

 "Time is of the essence as we face the pressing challenges of a pandemic, warfare and famines; all of which threaten to undo the progress made in combating global injustices. The Global South bears the brunt of these crises, with hundreds of millions on the verge of starvation, nations sinking into debt and the rich-poor divide growing wider.

“During our meetings and events at the High-Level Political Forum on Sustainable Development in New York, all our partners underlined the urgent need for quick and meaningful action, especially from Europe.

“The S&Ds remain committed to pushing for the proposals that the European Parliament put forward in the report on the implementation and delivery of the SDGs. One of the main demands is the reform of the International Monetary Fund, the World Bank Group and the multilateral development banks, with the aim to address the staggering debt burden and to strengthen public education and healthcare systems in the Global South.

“We want to enable our partner countries to participate in international value chains and take their future into their own hands. However, achieving this relies on our ability to combat tax avoidance and illegal financial outflows resulting from tax evasion.

“We will keep working for this, tirelessly, until the 2030 deadline and beyond!” 

Cyrus Engerer, S&D MEP and member of the environment committee, added:

“The next seven years are crucial. Sustainable development targets must be reached for humanity, the planet and to ensure peace and prosperity.

“In Europe, we need to go beyond the adoption of a voluntary review system on the implementation of the SDGs and focus on a concrete plan of action to achieve results, supported by adequate funding. This must be the way forward.

“80% of the SDG targets are being undermined by the devastating loss of biodiversity that we are experiencing. This should push us to continue adopting ambitious legislation to restore our natural environment with a view to reaching our committed goals. It's time for change: we have seven years to achieve it."