In January 2023, the European Parliament think tank published an in-depth study on the implementation of the SDGs . This report, commissioned by the Parliament’s Development Committee, aims to prepare the institution for political and legislative debates ahead of the September meeting. It paints a rather negative picture of the state of Europe’s implementation of the SDGs and begins to envisage a slide beyond 2030.
The report highlights the complexity of the sustainable development goals that must respect the 9 planetary limits. Thus, the pursuit of the socio-economic goals (14 SDGs) will exert environmental pressures on the planetary limits and on the other environmental SDGs (SDGs 13, 14 and 15). According to the European Environment Agency the total ecological footprint of the 27 EU member states (plus the United Kingdom) is more than twice the “biocapacity” of the region’s ecosystems to produce useful biological materials and absorb carbon emissions. Thus, the total demand for ecological goods and services exceeds the supply capacity of Europe’s ecosystems. This ecological deficit has negative consequences for the environment inside and outside Europe.
In 2019, the EU had 6% of the world’s population and produced 9% of global CO2 emissions. The EU’s import and export activities triggered 10% of global CO2 emissions, although the EU’s negative C02 emissions record has decreased slightly over the past decade, according to Eurostat estimates.
The policy-oriented publication analyzes European policies and considers three scenarios (BAU, “Sustainability as a modest priority”, and “Sustainability as a driver of growth and well-being”) for Europe’s achievement of the SDGs and identifies associated risks.
It promotes a stronger role for the Parliament (and the imposition of new taxes), calls for the adoption of a comprehensive European strategy for the 2030 Agenda and advocates in particular for a more focused cooperation of the Parliament, the Commission and the Member States as well as the scientific community, local governments, civil society and the private sector.