European Union External Action

Statement by EU Commissioner Sinkevičius – UN High Level Political Forum: Programme session on SDGs 12, 13, 17

New York, 15/07/2021 - 18:35, UNIQUE ID: 210729_13
Statements on behalf of the EU

7 July 2021, New York – Video statement by Virginijus SINKEVIČIUS, European Commissioner for Environment, Oceans and Fisheries at the United Nations High-level Political Forum Programme session on SDGs 12, 13, 17



Environmental degradation undermines our efforts to deliver on the Sustainable Developments Goals.


With climate change, pollution and biodiversity loss, we face urgent crises.


And the pandemic adds further pressure to people already in need.


We need a systemic response.


That means building back better, on a pathway that is green, circular, resilient and just, with the Development Goals as our compass.


That’s what we want to do in the EU, with the European Green Deal.


It’s a strategy for growth within the planetary boundaries, and it addresses the main drivers of environmental decay.



Circularity is essential for sustainable consumption and production, and a more efficient use of resources.


That makes it key to SDG 12.


By keeping products in the economy for longer, we reduce the need for extracting raw materials, and we also cut our emissions.


Food waste is another example.


We use enormous quantities of land, water, fertilisers and plant protection products to produce our food, yet one third is wasted every year.


Single-use plastics can also be mentioned here.


Often thrown away after seconds of use, they can remain in our oceans for years.


More circularity means lower emissions, helping us towards SDG 13 and our reductions target, of at least 55% by 2030.


When you design products for longer life, when you make them easy to repair and reuse, there are huge opportunities for Greenhouse Gas reductions.


And it also means fewer pollutants.



Earlier this year, to promote the circular economy around the world, we launched the Global Alliance on Circular Economy and Resource Efficiency.


When I say we, I mean the EU, UNEP, and UNIDO.


Fourteen countries have already joined us, advocating for a global just transition to a resource efficient and circular economy.


It’s the best way to advance towards the 2030 Agenda and its SDGs.


There is urgent need to reverse the ongoing environmental decline.


With the European Green Deal, the EU will keep promoting and implementing ambitious policies for environment and climate.


It takes cooperation, it takes diplomacy, and it takes intense engagement with all our partners.


We must step up the collective effort, as we move towards a greener, more inclusive, worldwide recovery.


Thank you.

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