The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development

The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development

The EU made a positive and constructive contribution to the development of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

The Millennium Declaration and Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), which expired at the end of 2015, have made an enormous contribution in raising public awareness, increasing political will and mobilising resources for the fight to end poverty.

Indeed some of greatest progress in recent years has been in precisely those where the MDGs have helped to focus attention.  For example: 

  • global poverty has been halved five years ahead of the 2015 timeframe;
  • 90% of children in developing regions now enjoy primary education,
  • and disparities between boys and girls in enrolment have narrowed.

The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development builds on this experience.  At the core of the Agenda are the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), but there are also important elements on the Means of Implementation and Follow-Up and Review.  The concerns of the MDGs are part of the new framework, but it also goes further.  The 2030 Agenda incorporates follow up from the Rio+20 Conference on Sustainable Development.  It addresses both poverty eradication and the economic, social and environmental dimensions of sustainable development in a balanced and integrated manner.

The 2030 Agenda also addresses issues which were reflected in Millennium Declaration but not the MDGs; including issues such as effective institutions, good governance, the rule of law and peaceful societies.

A new departure is the universality of the 2030 Agenda – meaning that it applies to all countries at all levels of development, taking into account their different capacities and circumstances.  Implementation will be driven by a new Global Partnership characterised by shared responsibility, mutual accountability, and engagement by all.  The Means of Implementation for the new Agenda are outlined in the SDGS and the Addis Ababa Action Agenda.

The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development includes a stronger follow-up and review framework than existed for the MDGs to help ensure the Agenda is implemented for all, leaving no-one behind.

The EU has played an important role in shaping the 2030 Agenda, through public consultations, dialogue with our partners and in-depth research. The EU will continue to play a leading role as we move into the implementation of this ambitious, transformative and universal Agenda that delivers poverty eradication and sustainable development for all.


Key documents:

New European Consensus on Development - 'Our world, our dignity, our future'

Commission Communication, 22 November 2016 – "Next steps for a sustainable European future 

Shared Vision, Common Action: A Stronger Europe

A Global Strategy for the European Union’s Foreign And Security Policy

2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development


Further background on the run-up to the 2030 Agenda


MDG Brochure 2015

Financing Global Sustainable Development after 2015: Illustrations of Key EU Contributions

The EU position in the build-up to the adoption of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development is set out in the following policy papers:

Commission Communication, 5 February 2015 - "A Global Partnership for Poverty Eradication and Sustainable Development after 2015"

Council Conclusions, 26 May 2015 - "A New Global Partnership for Poverty Eradication and Sustainable Development after 2015"

The EU sets out its views on a new global partnership that is needed to deliver the sustainable development goals, including underlying principles and key components.  The Conclusions form the basis for the EU position in the preparations for the Financing for Development conference in Addis Ababa and the discussions on Means of Implementation at the UN Summit for the adoption of the pos-2015 agenda in New York in September 2015.


Commission Communication 2 June 2014 - "A Decent Life for All: From Vision to Collective Action".

Council Conclusions, 16 December 2014 - "On a transformative post-2015 agenda".

The EU further elaborates its vision for a universal post-2015 agenda to eradicate poverty and promote sustainable development, including key principles, priority areas, potential target topics and the need for a new global partnership.  The Communication helped to inform the EU position during the final stages of deliberations in the UN General Assembly's Open Working Group on the Sustainable Development Goals.


Commission Communication 27 February 2013:  "A Decent Life for All: Ending poverty and giving the world a sustainable future".

Council Conclusions, 25 June 2013 - "The Overarching Post 2015 Agenda"

The EU lays out a common approach in the forthcoming international processes, such as the MDG Review (September 2013) and formulation of Sustainable Development Goals. The EU calls for a single overarching framework for poverty eradication and sustainable development and which integrate the three interrelated dimensions of sustainable development, (economic, social and environmental) in a balanced way. The Communication is based in part on the public consultation run by the Commission in summer 2012.


European Report on Development (ERD)

In addition, the European Report on Development 2012–13 provided an independent European contribution to the debate on post-2015. The ERD 2015 contributed to the debate by setting out a new conceptual framework for thinking about development finance and its relationship to policy.