The EU Should Make 2021 the “Super Year” for Achieving the Sustainable Development Goals in Europe and Globally

The Sustainable Development Solutions Network (SDSN) and the Institute for European Environmental Policy (IEEP) published the 2nd Europe Sustainable Development Report on 8th December 2020.  In this document, the progress of the European Union, its member states, and other European countries towards the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), agreed by all UN member states in 2015, is evaluated.  It is part of the broader Sustainable Development Report (SDR) series which track the performance of countries and municipalities around the world on the SDGs since 2015.

SDG Transformations can support a sustainable and fair recovery

Even before the onset of the COVID pandemic, no European country was on track to achieve all 17 SDGs by 2030. Overall, Nordic countries perform best: Finland tops the 2020 Europe SDG Index followed by Sweden and Denmark.   Europe faces its greatest SDG challenges in the areas of sustainable agriculture and diets, climate, and biodiversity – and in strengthening the convergence of living standards across its countries and regions.

The COVID recovery should aim to make the EU more sustainable, inclusive and resilient based on the European Green Deal and addressing all 17 SDGs. The crisis calls for a recovery driven by transformative public investments that support green infrastructure, digitization, and responsible consumption and production. This must be accompanied with increased efforts and investments to boost education and skills throughout Europe and to accelerate the convergence of living standards.

Cyprus is not doing well

In the report Cyprus ranks 29 out of 31 European countries, doing only better than Romania and Bulgaria.  It is listed in the red category (lowest score) for 10 out of the 17 goals, with no top grade in any of them (see the figure below).  Of course, some of these results must be interpreted with caution, since depending on data sources, the information in this document may relate to the area not under the effective control of the Government of the Republic of Cyprus. Moreover, for a broad range of indicators within each goal, Cyprus is performing extremely well (e.g. poverty, equality of access to education, tertiary education, sanitation, safety at work, scientific output, clean beaches, crime rates), however it scores low for reasons not well understood. However, in an effort to help improve Cyprus’ performance, SDSN Cyprus has initiated contacts with the Government and other stakeholders from all sectors, public, private and civil society, in order to help in getting a correct understanding of the situation and to make progress in sectors where the Cyprus society is performing poorly.

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