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EU Green Week: Investing For Future Generations

10. 06. 2016

The closing event for EU Green Week, “Sustainable Development Goals for a Green Future: Investing for Future Generations”, took place on Friday, 3rd June, in Vienna (Austria). During the event, Stephanie Beecroft, European Youth Forum Policy Officer, discussed the links between sustainable development and youth and how they both need to be taken seriously.

The event began with opening statements by Karmenu Vella, EU Commissioner for the Environment, Maritime Affairs, and Fisheries, and Andrä Rupprechter, Austrian Minister of the Environment. They provided an overview of what the European Union is doing to work towards the Sustainable Development Goals.

Minsiter Rupprechter specifically commented that it is important to involve young people in sustainable development since they are the ones who will be most affected by the success or failure of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). They also concluded that the SDGs require buy-in from all sectors of society, as well as partnership between them.

During the event, participants came together to make recommendations on individual actions and political support needed for the implementation of the SDGs. Reacting to these recommendations, Ms Beecroft provided input on the European perspective and on the importance of young people participating in sustainable development. Young people should participate because they have a fundamental right to have a say in decisions that affect them and to live in a sustainable world.

However, achieving sustainable development should not be down to the actions of young people alone. Governments have a responsibility to work harder to create a sustainable future for us all and for future generations. The European Commission, in particular, needs to take a stronger position on sustainable development across all policy areas. The European Union showed leadership in the negotiation of the SDGs; if it is to remain credible on the world stage it must show leadership in their implementation.

On 6th June, SDG Watch Europe, a coalition of organisations that includes the European Youth Forum, published a letter to President Juncker that called on him to create concrete goals for the European Commission to implement the SDGs.

Member of SDG Watch Europe, Tanya Cox, said : “We’re concerned that the Commission is moving ahead too slowly on internal policy and action on sustainable development and that the small amount of progress is taking place behind closed doors with no public consultation.”

For more information on the event: http://www.greenweek2016.eu/daily-report/daily-report-day-five

Image © Katharina Schiffl, from EU Environment