The ECON Commission held its latest meeting in Druskininkai, Lithuania on the invitation of Arnoldas Abramavičius (EPP), member of the Zarasai District Municipal Council and Vice-President of the commission. ECON members adopted unanimously the CoR opinion on the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs): a basis for a long-term EU strategy for a sustainable Europe by 2030.

The rapporteur and host of the event, Arnoldas Abramavičius, stated that “The unanimous adoption of this opinion highlights the importance ECON members give to their response on the European Commission’s proposals. The sustainable development goals are not just another international framework establishing ambitious goals. The SDGs provide a holistic approach with time-bound and universal objectives aiming at a collective mobilisation of the world community. In this regard, they go beyond setting objectives: with their strong underlying logic of partnership and broad consultation, most SDGs are – themselves – means to contribute to the achievement of other objectives.”

Clearly favoring scenario 1, the rapporteur emphasised that “there is a need for an EU overarching strategy coordinating implementation between all levels of government with time-bound targets and concrete deliverables for 2030, together with monitoring and review mechanisms.”

Given that 65% of the 169 SDGs targets cannot be reached without the involvement of local and regional authorities, the opinion promotes the use of bottom-up approaches and the active involvement of sub-national actors.

To facilitate the implementation of the SDG’s the rapporteur advocates for the use of existing horizontal tools to mainstream the SDGs in all policies with a special emphasis on the European Semester, The EU Budget and the Better Regulation guidelines which guide the EU to draft good policies.

The second day of the meeting, 7 May, continued with a conference on “Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) at local level: How cities and regions contribute to sustainable economic growth”. The participants discussed best practices from Lithuania, Latvia, Finland and Italy amongst others. Looking ahead, Mr Abramavicius stressed that  “achieving the SDGs will require the partnership of governments, sub-national authorities, private sector and civil society to make sure we leave a better planet for future generations. As a representative of a large region, of a tiny village or – just as importantly – as a citizen, there is no small gesture in favour of sustainable development. Besides, often the key to success on one objective will involve tackling issues more commonly associated with another. Our respective governments have all committed themselves to implementing the SDGs: through the mobilisation of everyone, let us ensure together that this major international commitment is not wishful thinking.”

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