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Sustainable development

The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the SDGs

The agenda is a commitment to eradicate poverty and achieve sustainable development by 2030 worldwide. It includes 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and 169 targets.

EU's implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)

The EU has played an active role throughout the process and is committed to implementing the Agenda within the EU and in development cooperation with partner countries.

High Level Political Forum on Sustainable Development

The United Nations High Level Political Forum on Sustainable Development (HLPF) was established by the UN General Assembly as the main forum for sustainable development issues within the UN framework.

Overview

Sustainable development has since long been at the heart of the European project and the EU Treaties give recognition to its economic, social and environmental dimensions that should be tackled together. Development must meet the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs. A life of dignity for all within the planet's limits and reconciling economic efficiency, social inclusion and environmental responsibility is at the essence of sustainable development.

For nearly 20 years, sustainable development has been one of the fundamental objectives of the European Union since it was included in the Treaty of Amsterdam as an overarching objective of EU policies. The Treaty of European Union sets out the EU vision for a sustainable development of Europe based on balanced economic growth and price stability, a highly competitive social market economy, aiming at full employment and social progress, and a high level of protection and improvement of the quality of the environment.

Sustainable development has been mainstreamed into EU policies and legislation, via the EU Sustainable Development Strategy, the EU 2020 Strategy, and through the EU's Better Regulation Agenda. It is reflected in sectoral policies such as the 7th Environment Action Programme. These efforts have gone hand in hand with a high level of engagement of Member States and stakeholders, which is a prerequisite for successful implementation.

The EU was instrumental in shaping the global 2030 Agenda. The Agenda is fully consistent with Europe's vision and has now become the world's blueprint for global sustainable development. The EU will continue to be a frontrunner in implementing the 2030 Agenda and the SDGs, together with its Member States, in full respect of the principle of subsidiarity. The 2030 Agenda will further catalyse an EU joint approach between the internal and external dimensions of our policies and coherence across EU financing instruments.

News and events

22/11/2016: The Commission adopted a package for the EU's response to the 2030 Agenda on Sustainable Development and the Sustainable Development Goals.

22/11/2016: Sustainable development in the EU: a Eurostat report on sustainability

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