The UN’s new Sustainable Development Goals challenges the EU in a way that their predecessors the MDGs did not. First it broadens out the agenda well beyond the social focus of the MDGs to also include goals that cover the other two pillars of sustainable development: the economic and the environmental. The inclusion of SDG16 on just and peaceful societies is another important new feature. It is not that the EU did not tackle these other areas before but how will it do so in an integrated manner with set goals to achieve. Second the 2030 Agenda is universal in its aspiration which means it does not just apply to developing countries but also to the EU itself. What does this mean in terms of adjusting internal policies of the Union and making progress ourselves on poverty goals as well as environmental and economic goals. Once again the last goal calls for a global partnership and for the first time refers to promoting policy coherence for sustainable development. To tackle all this the EU will thus not only have to maintain its development cooperation programme supporting other countries’s efforts to achieve the Global Goals, but it will also need to adjust its internal policies to achieve them itself and it will need to consider the coherence of all its policies in support of this global effort.
Lecture by ECDPM’s James Mackie.