THE EU’s progress towards climate action stalled while gender equality goals veered off course in the past five years, new research by Eurostat reveals.
According to the report, most progress had been made towards the overall achievement of SDG 16 ‘Peace, justice and strong institutions’.
However, for SDG 13 ‘Climate action’, there was no progress, while for SDG 5 ‘Gender equality’ the EU has moved away from sustainable development objectives.
Good progress, albeit considerably slower, was made for SDG 1 ‘No poverty’ and SDG 3 ‘Good health and well-being’, followed by SDG 2 ‘Zero hunger’ and SDG 8 ‘Decent work and economic growth’.
For eight SDGs, the EU made overall moderate progress, including SDG 11 ‘Sustainable cities and communities’, SDG 4 ‘Quality education’, SDG 17 ‘Partnership for the
goals’, SDG 12 ‘Responsible consumption and production’, SDG 7 ‘Affordable and clean energy’, SDG 10 ‘Reduced inequalities’, SDG 15 ‘Life on land’ and SDG 9 ‘Industry, innovation and infrastructure’.
In the case of two goals – SDG 6 ‘Clean water and sanitation’ and SDG 14 ‘Life below water’– overall trends cannot be calculated due to insufficient data.
EU Commissioner Paolo Gentiloni commented on the findings: “We are living in difficult times.
“Perhaps this crisis has showed us more than ever the importance of interdependence and the need to link our economic, social and environmental efforts.
“This is exactly what the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and its 17 Sustainable Development Goals aims to achieve.
“These positive developments over the past five years are of course strongly challenged now.
“Thanks to these efforts the EU is in a better position to face the current health and economic crisis.
“We will collectively need more sustainable and resilient societies.
“This is a lesson of the past months. The progress achieved so far is important, but only a starting point.
“Let me turn to the overall overall assessment towards goal 13.
“On ‘Climate action’ progress has been made in some areas while there are still challenges.
“The EU has already reached its 20% greenhouse gas emissions reduction target for 2020.
“If we follow this path, and the planned measures contained in national energy and climate plans, we are projected to meet our 2030 greenhouse gas target.
“Despite these efforts, EU countries are increasingly facing the impacts of global climate change.
“As regards goal 5, ‘Gender equality’, assessed as equality between men and women, the EU has unfortunately moved away from the sustainable development objectives.
“Women are still less likely to be employed than men. Caring responsibilities are the main reason why women are not part of the labour force.
“At the same time, men continue to fall behind women in relation to early school leaving and tertiary education.
“It is encouraging to see the progress in female representation in national parliaments – from a little over 20% at the turn of the Millennium to 32.1% last year – but clearly there is still a long way to go.
“It is encouraging to see that overall, the EU Member States are making progress towards the SDGs.
“For example, countries like Latvia and Romania are still in many areas towards the lower range in the EU but they are catching up.
“Other countries like Luxembourg and Sweden, have already reached a high status but are moving away from the SDG in areas like the reduction of poverty and inequalities.”