Ladies and gentlemen,
Dear Friends and Colleagues,
I am honoured to deliver this statement on behalf of the European Union and its Member States.
In this milestone year, it is our duty to assess progress across the 2030 Agenda and set the course for the future. The Secretary-General’s progress report shows positive signs but also worrying trends.
Progress is positive for instance in the fight against extreme poverty and child mortality. But there are negative trends in areas such as hunger, biodiversity and climate change. Progress on leaving no one behind and gender equality has been too slow.
We need to accelerate our action to meet these challenges. The commitment of the European Union and its Member States to sustainable development is unwavering. It is important to recall that implementing the 2030 Agenda represents a shared responsibility and requires the continuous and strong involvement of all stakeholders. UN entities, public authorities at all levels, civil society, the private sector, academia, social partners and citizens each have their role to play.
This year, the European Union published a Reflection Paper – "Towards a Sustainable Europe by 2030" – which shows that in the EU, we continue to make progress in implementing the Agenda across most of the Sustainable Development Goals. This trend is confirmed by the latest monitoring report on progress towards the SDGs by our statistical agency, Eurostat.
But to build a truly green and inclusive economy, we need to do more. We need to move more quickly to a circular economy and make our food systems and our infrastructure sustainable, all the while ensuring that the necessary green transition is fair, benefits all and leaves no-one behind. The 2030 Agenda tells us that when it comes to ensuring sustainability of our societies we are all developing countries.
We also need to gear many “horizontal enablers” towards the sustainability transition. These include education, innovation, science, technology and digitisation.
They include finance and taxation. It is important that our tax systems and pricing change to reflect the true environmental and social costs of production.
And they include responsible business conduct, trade policy and governance, where we need to put sustainability first. Strengthening policy coherence is also key – to minimise negative spillovers, whether in the EU or in other countries.
This year, the European Union and its Member States have also produced the first Joint Synthesis Report on our development cooperation in support of the 2030 Agenda. The report shows significant collective progress by the EU and its Member States, working closely with partner countries.
One example is the External Investment Plan to unlock public and private investment throughout Africa and the European Neighbourhood – leveraging over 44 billion euros by 2020.
We welcome the debates at this year’s High Level Political Forum on Goals that are important in themselves but also bring significant co-benefits for the 2030 Agenda.
The European Union and its Member States support inclusive, equitable, and quality education at all levels, both within the EU and globally.
We strongly promote an economic transformation that creates decent jobs, promotes social dialogue, increases productive capacity, promotes digitalisation, fosters sustainable value chains and promotes sustainable consumption and production in the context of circular economy.
To reduce inequalities, we are working to enhance equitable access to education and the job market. We are also working with partner countries to promote public policies that help share better the benefits of growth.
We will continue to lead the fight against climate change, domestically and abroad, through ambitious policies that support the transition to a climate-neutral economy and promote coherence between the 2030 Agenda and the Paris Agreement.
We support inclusive societies built on peace, democracy, human rights and the rule of law. Gender equality and women’s empowerment are key to making progress on all 17 Sustainable Development Goals.
The EU and its Member States welcome this year’s outcome document of the Financing for Development Forum including the reference to Integrated National Financing Frameworks. The EU will build on growing global interest in sustainable finance and support the alignment of financial systems with sustainable development objectives.
Europe is the largest provider of Official Development Assistance, with 74.4 billion euros in 2018. We must all continue to strengthen policy coherence, enhance partnerships and develop innovative ways to harness all necessary means of implementation from all sources.
The High-Level Political Forum has played a useful role so far in the follow-up and review of the 2030 Agenda. We welcome for example the high number of Voluntary National Reviews presented and the rigorous preparations for thematic SDG reviews. As of today, 26 out of 28 EU Member States have presented Voluntary National Reviews, and on Thursday 18 July we are organising a side-event dedicated to the delivery of the 2030 Agenda in Europe and the world.
Looking ahead at the upcoming High Level Political Forum review, we should build on the positives, but also make further improvements, where needed. The EU and its Member States also reiterate our full support for the ambitious reform agenda of UN Secretary-General Guterres.
Successful implementation of the 2030 Agenda requires effective multilateralism with the UN at its core and increased support for the rules-based international order.
Accelerated action to achieve the Goals is the interest of us all. We must not hide from the challenge, but meet it head-on.