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your-goals  UNEP ON THE GROUND
A European Sustainable Union?

The European Union (EU) must not only help other countries get onto a more sustainable track but also ensure it practices what it preaches, the Head of UN Environment’s EU Office has said at a major meeting of the bloc’s social partners.


“All countries are now developing countries, because no country is sustainable,” Ulf Björnholm told members of the European Economic and Social Committee on 29 September. The EU should take an exemplary role in helping achieve the Sustainable Development Goals, he underlined.


The 17 Goals - adopted by all UN member states in September 2015 - aim to end all forms of poverty by 2030, fight inequalities and tackle climate change, while ensuring that no one is left behind.


The Committee’s external relations section was voting on a draft opinion titled ‘2030 Agenda - a European Union’s Economic and Social Committee committed to sustainable development globally.’ The document, which was later adopted, spells out ways in which the EU should promote how the Global Goals can become a reality.


Only four EU member states have so far reported back on their plans for meeting the goals, claimed Mr. Vardakastanis, Rapporteur for the draft opinion, at the meeting. Commitment towards the development agenda should come from the highest EU level and the bloc should aim to be the first region to present a voluntary review of moves to help achieve them, he claimed.


Stepping into the goals


UN Environment’s EU Office meanwhile partnered with other UN agencies to provide members of the European Parliament and others with an almost first-hand experience of what the Global Goals aim to end on the ground.


Between 18 and 20 October, visitors at an ‘action stand’ in the EU’s legislative chamber could put on virtual reality glasses and visit refugee camps in Jordan, Ebola stations in Liberia or the daily struggles of Syrian journalists in their home country.


Participants also took pictures with their favourite SDG and were interviewed on why the Goals matter to Europeans and how to further engage citizens.


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