Home > Release

Open letter to European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker

SDG Watch Europe, an alliance of 70 organisations including GCAP, the Environmental Bureau (EEB) and Plan International, has today (6 June) written to European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker calling for him to adopt, as a matter of urgency, an overarching strategy to guide implementation of the 2030 Sustainable Development Agenda.

Plese find the text of the letter below. The full letter with all signatories can be downloaded here.

Dear President Juncker,

The adoption of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development in September 2015 was a major global achievement and the EU can rightly be proud of the part it played. SDG Watch Europe – a new, European cross-ectoral civil society alliance set up to monitor the implementation of the Agenda - was glad to see a commitment to implement the 2030 Agenda included in the 2016 Commission Work Programme, entitled

‘No Time for Business as Usual’.

Europe must lead by example and truly move beyond ‘business as usual’ if it is to respond to the 2030 Agenda’s call for transformative change. To do so, the EU must boldly and coherently implement the whole 2030 Agenda – both internally and externally. However, it is now almost a year since the 2030 Agenda was agreed and there has been extremely little progress at EU level. We note that the external dimension of implementation is beginning to move forward through the work of Commissioner Mimica and HRVP Mogherini.

Nonetheless, if the EU is to play its part in addressing the very serious global challenges we face, it must adopt an integrated and coherent approach covering the full gamut of internal and external policy and action. Such an approach must be set out in an overarching strategy which guides the work of all the European Commission Directorates-General, as well as that of other EU institutions.

Not only is an overarching strategy needed to provide integration and coherence between the EU’s domestic and external affairs, it also needs to do so across policy areas, thereby breaking down the silos that continue to exist between and within DGs and the sectors they represent. The 2030 Agenda was designed to address the interlinkages and interdependencies that underpin today’s global challenges: it therefore calls for a whole-of-government approach which puts the well-being of people and planet at its core, with economic and financial systems to support them.

Lastly, the EU strategy must address coherence between national and EU level. Many Member States are already putting in place procedures and plans to implement the 2030 Agenda. However, there will come a point when delay at EU level creates a bottleneck for progress at national level. The need for an overarching strategy is particularly acute in areas where the EU has shared competence with the Member States.

We therefore call on you to set out, as a matter of great urgency, how the EU will respond with clarity and conviction to the challenge of this ambitious, universal Agenda and to commit to developing an integrated, overarching strategy covering internal and external affairs.

Given the openness of the process and the central role of civil society in developing the 2030 Agenda, the EU should also consult fully with civil society in drawing up its implementation strategy, as recommended by the European Parliament in its resolution of 12 May. On behalf of SDG Watch Europe, we therefore urge you to launch a transparent and inclusive public consultation on the implementation of the whole 2030 Agenda.

The EU is traditionally reputed to be a leader in sustainable development – we hope you will maintain that reputation. We thank you for your attention to this important matter and look forward to discussing it with you in person.

Letter to President Juncker-03.06.16.pdf588.16 KB