The academic staff of the Jean Monnet Module in European Union Law and Sustainable Development is honoured to announce the third webinar of the 2019 EULawSD Webinar Series. On October 7th (12.00pm Central European Summer Time), we will host Brenda King MBE, Chief Executive of African and Caribbean Diversity and Former President of the Sustainable Development Observatory of the European Economic and Social Committee (EESC), for a lecture on “Civil Society Engagement in the EU Sustainable Development Agenda“. The webinar will reflect on existing multi-stakeholder approaches in the sustainable development policies of the European Union, as well as on possible models for greater civil society involvement in SDG implementation.
The webinar will be visible live on our YouTube channel and will be embedded at the bottom of this post.
About our speaker
Brenda King is the Chair of the nonprofit African & Caribbean Diversity and a UK representative on the European Economic and Social Committee (EESC) since 2002. She served as the President of the EESC’s Sustainable Development Observatory (SDO) until 2018, and remains one of its leading members. She is rapporteur of an EESC report putting forward recommendations for civil society involvement in the implementation, monitoring and review of the sustainable development agenda in the EU. She was also part of the core team of three members who undertook an impact study in six member states on the EU Renewable Energy Directive.
From 2010 to 2013, Brenda chaired the EU-African Caribbean Pacific subcommittee where she successfully campaigned for 2015 to be the European Year for Development and Cooperation. Between 2006 and 2008, she was President of the EESC’s specialized section in employment focusing on job growth and quality employment. For over 10 years, Brenda has overseen the successful delivery of a youth development programme that has been recognised and awarded in the UK.
The Report has four main components. First, it presents an update of the international efforts that are currently being promoted at the United Nations and European level in order to implement the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. Second, it assesses Italy’s progress towards the achievement of the SDGs, discussing the recent policies of the Italian government, the ongoing evolution of the legislative framework, and the wide range of initiatives proposed by civil society. Third, it focuses on the sub-national dimension of SDG implementation, suggesting the need to more effectively localise the Goals and analysing current progresses and challenges at the level of cities and regions. Lastly, it highlights ASviS’s proposals to accelerate Italy’s transition to a sustainable development trajectory through cross-sectoral and systemic actions.
With respect to the European Union, the Report introduces a set of composite indicators (first presented in July 2018) to collate data from EUROSTAT’s monitoring reports and more immediately illustrate the situation of SDG implementation in the EU. In doing so, the Report shows that moderate or significant progress across nine Goals has gone hand in hand with a worrying negative trend for Goal 15 (Life on Land) and Goal 10 (Reduced Inequalities), affecting the chances of the EU and its member states to achieve the 2030 Agenda in its entirety.
Even more importantly, the Report suggests that European institutions have so far failed to accelerate the pace of change, in a wider context characterised by geopolitical insecurities and rising clashes between EU member states. According to ASviS, the periodic announcements of the European Commission have not yet translated into an expected EU-wide strategy for achieving the SDGs, despite positive developments including the newly-adopted European Pillar of Social Rights, the 2018 Circular Economy Package, and the actions taken to implement the recommendations of the High-level Expert Group on Sustainable Finance.
From this perspective, ASviS also recalls the resolution of the European Parliament of May 31st, which criticised the failure to effectively integrate the SDGs into existing proposals for the next Multiannual Financial Framework (2021-2027). At the same time, however, the Report highlights the wide range of initiatives being undertaken by civil society organisations and businesses (including through the work of the Multi-stakeholder platform on SDGs), and notes the fundamental role that these actors can play in pushing the EU on the sustainable development trajectory required to implement the 2030 Agenda.