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20 June 2020Luxembourg

Modest Forward Progress on SDGs, finds Eurostat

Eurostat, the EU’s statistical office, has released its 2020 report on progress towards the SDGs in Europe, reflecting trends over the past five years. For the first time, the report includes the status of each country’s progress towards each SDG and visual tools to compare a country against the worst and best performers.

The report titled, ‘Sustainable development in the European Union – Overview of progress towards the SDGs in an EU context (2020 edition)’, was released on 22 June 2020. It is the fourth of Eurostat’s regular reports monitoring progress towards the SDGs in an EU context.The analysis is based on the EU’s set of 100 indicators for the SDGs, which was developed in 2017, in cooperation with stakeholders. The indicators are reviewed annually to account for new data sources and new EU priorities.

As noted by European Commissioner Paolo Gentiloni, the report is based on data from before the COVID-19 pandemic, and “next year will have different findings.” In remarks on 22 June, Gentiloni said the EU’s greatest progress has been achieved in the area of SDG 16 (peace, justice and strong institutions), followed by SDGs 1 (no poverty) and 3 (good health and wellbeing). Eurostat notes that advances on those Goals have helped to increase the quality of life in cities and communities, strengthening SDG 11. The publication also reports improvement in the “viability and sustainability” of agriculture in the EU (SDG 2 on zero hunger), but that some environmental impacts of agriculture have intensified. Gentiloni highlighted particular challenges in the area of SDGs 13 (climate action). The report shows that the EU has had slow or no progress in the Goals addressing environmental sustainability; progress has partly stalled on climate and energy (SDG 7) targets as well as the shift to a circular economy (SDG 12), and this increases pressures on ecosystems and biodiversity (SDG 15), the authors note. Gentiloni also reported that the EU has “unfortunately moved away” from its objectives on SDG 5 (gender equality).

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