Juncker should stop avoiding the elephant in the room and ‘Make Europe Sustainable For All

Two years after signing up to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), the EU still has no clear plan on how to achieve them and the clock is ticking.

Outside the European Commission building this morning a massive inflatable elephant will remind President Jean Claude Juncker that he cannot continue to ignore sustainability.

Embracing the SDGs would lead to substantial improvements in the lives of Europeans and many others around the globe. EU political leaders must prepare a plan to meet the SDGs that cuts across all areas from the environment to trade and energy to social issues.

Also today, people around Europe are marking the anniversary of the signing of the SDGs and reminding the political leadership that we need planning and action to make them a reality.

Ingo Ritz, Director of the Global Call to Action Against Poverty (GCAP) said:
“The EU and EU member states agreed with 193 governments in the UN to eradicate poverty and end hunger by 2030. This will be only possible if the EU fulfills its commitments for global cooperation, makes its agriculture and trade policies sustainable for people and planet and ends the overconsumption of natural resources.”
The Global Call to Action Against Povery is a global movement fighting poverty and inequality. GCAP has National Coalitions in over 100 countries and 6 global regions.

Jeremy Wates, Secretary General of the European Environmental Bureau (EEB) said:
“The EU needs to refocus on delivering the SDGs or the commitments it made two years ago will be shown up as empty rhetoric. We must urgently face up to how our hunger for raw materials is impacting others around the world and commit to substantially reducing our environmental footprint.”
The EEB is the largest network of environmental citizens’ organizations in Europe with around 140 members in more than 30 countries.

Carl Dolan, Director at Transparency International’s EU Office said:
“We can’t achieve all the SDGs without access to justice and open and accountable institutions for all people. Corruption breeds instability and poverty, it reduces access to healthcare, education, food and water. If the EU is serious about sustainable development it needs to show leadership and make Agenda 2030 a reality.”
Transparency International EU is part of the global anti-corruption movement, Transparency International, which includes over 100 chapters around the world. Their mission is to prevent corruption and promote integrity, transparency and accountability in EU institutions, policies and legislation.

Leo Williams, Director, European Anti-Poverty Network (EAPN), said:
“President Juncker’s complete lack of focus on the SDGs or sustainable development in his State of the Union address only serves to reconfirm the Commission’s unfortunate lack of political prioritisation of the SDGs, despite all European Member States signing up to this global agreement in 2015 at the highest political level, and millions of European citizens having been involved in their elaboration.  People experiencing poverty and social exclusion, and the organisations that work with and for them, expect the Commission to take the most ambitious agenda to tackle poverty we have seen for quite some time, much more seriously”
EAPN is the largest European network of anti-poverty NGOs, from grassroots groups to European Organisations, active in the fight against poverty and social exclusion.

Anna Widegren, Secretary General of the European Youth Forum (EYF) said:
“Young people will suffer the most from the current European short-term approach towards Sustainable Development. The European Commission must take the lead in the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals and shift towards long-lasting and sustainable solutions with real impact. The structured involvement of young people, youth organisations and civil society is essential to build a sustainable future for Europe and the world.”
The European Youth Forum (YFJ) is a platform which represents 104 youth organizations from around Europe. It brings together tens of millions of young people from all over Europe to allow them to represent their common interests.

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