EU takes leadership position in the post-2015 sustainable development agenda | WWF

EU takes leadership position in the post-2015 sustainable development agenda

Posted on 16 December 2014
East Sepik province, Papua New Guinea
© Brent Stirton / Getty Images

Commenting on the EU’s position on Post-2015 Development Agenda approved by EU General Affairs Ministers today, Sally Nicholson, Head of Development Policy & Finance at the WWF European Policy Office said:

“The EU’s emphasis on fighting climate change, managing and protecting natural resources and preserving essential ecosystem services in the post-2015 global development agenda sets a benchmark for sustainable development and poverty reduction worldwide. But this level of ambition must be maintained by the EU during the UN negotiations next year.

More work has to be done at EU level to stay in line with this new sustainable development approach and ensure that economic activity does not degrade the environment inside and outside the EU. Europe continues to over-consume its fair share of global natural resources at the same time that billions of people don’t have access to drinkable water, regular food and electricity. We need to recognise that the challenges and solutions are universal and will require action from all Member States and not just the EU alone.”

WWF welcomes the EU's strong position to a transformative framework which aims to:
  • Address sustainable development in a renewed manner by integrating economic, social and environmental dimensions. Environmental sustainability is at the heart of all human well-being and economic activity. Water, for example, is essential for food security, for health, for energy, for production and manufacturing – in fact for all aspects of life.
  • Global challenges require global solutions: Sustainable development goals will apply to all countries, developed as well as developing.
However, to deliver on this renewed development agenda, WWF considers that the EU has to tackle its environmental footprint on the rest of the world: if everyone lived like an average European today, we would need 2.6 Earths to sustain our demand on nature [1]. The EU will have to ensure the full integration of environment and social costs in its decision making across all sectors and policies.

Facts and figures

WWF believes that environmental protection is key to achieve sustainable development and reduce poverty globally [2, 3]:
  • 2.7 billion people around the world live in catchments that experience severe water scarcity.
  • 1.3 billion people live without access to electricity.
  • About 1.6 billion people depend on forest resources for their survival.
  • Fisheries are a source of income for over 520 million people – mostly from poor coastal and rural communities in Africa and Asia.
  • Biodiversity loss has been improved but still today only 14% of terrestrial and coastal marine areas are protected.
  • Global CO2 emissions have not been reduced; on the contrary they have increased
  • Women in sub-Saharan Africa collectively spend about 40 billion hours a year fetching water with significant impacts on their employment opportunities.        
Next steps on the post-2015 Sustainable Development Agenda:
January 2015: The European Commission will publish a Communication on Means of Implementation of the Post-2015 agenda (how this agenda will be achieved, funded and monitored)

May 2015: The EC communication will be followed by Foreign Affairs Council Conclusions on Means of Implementation.

July 2015: Conference on Finance for Development in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia– UN states will discuss how to implement and fund the post-2015 agenda.

September 2015: This is the final moment for the Post-2015 Sustainable Development Goals. The framework will be agreed on at the UN General Assembly in New York where the EU will be negotiating as one voice.
Note to the editors:
According to WWF’s Living Planet Report 2014, the EU is living beyond one planet levels and are also relying heavily on the natural resources of other countries. 

[2] According to the Millennium Development Goals Report 2014, “major trends than threaten environmental sustainability continue today”: global CO2 emissions being increased; millions of hectares of forest lost every year; species close to extinction and renewable water resources becoming scarcer. 

[3] “Ensure a healthy environment for human well-being globally”, WWF European Policy Office 2014 

For further information:

Sally Nicholson

Manager, Development Policy & Finance
WWF European Policy Office
+32 2 740 09 37

Alba Màlaga Homs
Communication and Media Officer
WWF European Policy Office
+32 2 743 88 15

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