If everyone in the world consumed natural resources and generated greenhouse gas emissions at the rate of the average European, we would need 2,6 planets to maintain our way of life. Climate change, deforestation, water shortages and the loss of numerous species are already starting to affect us all across the world and need a firm response.
95% of EU citizens feel that protecting the environment is important; and 81% of them believe European environmental legislation is necessary to protect the environment. That’s why WWF called on Members of the European Parliament (MEPs) in its 2014 elections manifesto to Create a new Europe for the Planet and to make a pledge for our Planet:
“If elected as a member of the European Parliament in 2014, I commit to supporting EU policies which ensure that Europe’s use of natural resources stays within the limits of One Planet.”
In total, 640 candidates across all 28 EU Member States and political groups signed the above pledge. 132 of them secured a seat in the European Parliament. 34% of the pledging MEPs are from S&D, 27% from the Greens/EFA, 12% from EPP, 11% GUE-NGL, 8% from ALDE, 7% from EFDD and 1% from ECR.
A truly sustainable Europe can bring a brighter future for people and planet. But to get there, every EU policy area from fisheries to agriculture and finance must be aligned with sustainability objectives. In 2015, the EU took up that commitment by signing up to the UN’s 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and its 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The 2030 Agenda and its goals are based on the understanding that the challenges we face, from poverty and environmental destruction to inequality are universal and inter-connected and that all countries have a responsibility to achieve the goals at home and to support others.
WWF believes that the EU must now develop an implementation strategy to ensure that the EU meets the Sustainable Development Goals by 2030. This will be crucial to successfully tackle climate change, shift to a resource-efficient economy, halt the loss of nature, encourage more sustainable and healthy consumption, secure clean and healthy water, protect the environment for human well-being globally, stop illegal timber and wildlife trades, ensure sustainable agriculture and recover fish stocks, among other things.
EU action for sustainability
252 votes required to pass.
The European Parliament’s report on “EU action for sustainability” was prepared in response to the European Commission’s communication, which served as a first reaction to the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. The report was led by MEP Seb Dance (S&D) and other key involved MEPs were José Inácio Faria (EPP), Jadwiga Wiśniewska (ECR), Gerben-Jan Gerbrandy (ALDE), Stefan Eck (GUE-NGL), Benedek Jávor (Greens/EFA) and Evi Eleonora (EFDD).
What did the report say?
In their report, MEPs called on the Commission to urgently step up its ambition and produce an EU implementation strategy for the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), analysing and addressing the existing policy gaps. The Parliament plenary’s overwhelming support for the report followed shortly after Member States adopted Council conclusions making a similar call. WWF strongly welcomes both Parliament and Member States positions.
We now expect the European Commission to pay heed and get to work. It must produce an implementation plan for the SDGs and address the inconsistencies in current EU policies, as requested by both the European Parliament and Member States.