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European Parliament adopts Resolution on EU Action for Sustainability

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European Parliament Resolution of 6 July 2017 on EU action for sustainability, (document 2017/2009/INI)

In September 2015, the United Nations adopted a resolution on “Transforming our world: the 2030 agenda for sustainable development”. This resolution established 17 sustainable development goals and overall 169 targets to be reached by 2030. The European Parliament adopted a Resolution to make these development goals operational in and for the European Union.

While the term “sustainability” is used in an inflationary way and often lacks clear contours, the EP’s Resolution, 108 paragraphs long, offers a broad range of measures which the EU could and should undertake in order to improve sustainability. In parts, the Resolution reads like a recommendation, how the EU should, in the next years, re-orient its foreign, development, financial, economic and agricultural policy in view of better fighting poverty, promote economical development, support developing countries in their efforts to improve their economic situation and fight climate change.

It can only be hoped that EP’s proposals will form part of the 8th EU environmental action programme after 2020 and that the EU institutions will start taking the global sustainability goals of the United Nations seriously.

It is not possible to reproduce here the full wealth of EP’s proposals. Some examples must suffice. The EP suggests to:

  • improve water quality and availability and stop biodiversity loss (para 14),
  • reorient EU’s scientific, technological and innovation policy towards the sustainability goals (para 15);
  • have regular reports on progress on the way to a circular economy published (para 18);
  • reduce food waste generation in the EU by 50 percent by 2030 (para 18);
  • make regular life-cycle assessments of products and services (para 19);
  • make up the delays in ensuring a good water status in the EU (para 21);
  • improve soil protection (paras 26 and 27);
  • fully implement the (almost forgotten)7th EU environmental action programme (para 31);
  • adopt a mid-century zero-emission strategy for greenhouse gas emissions (para 34);
  • improve energy efficiency, fight energy poverty, and increase energy efficiency of buildings (paras 37 and 54);
  • halt deforestation globally (para 39);
  • substantially increase Official Development Assistance (para 42);
  • align EU foreign policy to make it compatible with the sustainable development goals of the UN (para 43);
  • promote a global financial transaction tax (para 46);
  • readjust the EU migration policy (para 47);
  • ensure that the EIB gives priority to low-carbon and sustainable projects and spends 40 per cent of its budget for low-carbon and climate-resilient growth projects (paras 51 and 52);
  • fight corruption (para 57);
  • include in its future vision for Europe the sustainable development goals (para 65);
  • improve animal welfare (para 74);
  • fight better against air pollution and noise pollution(paras 78 and 80);
  • regularly publish reports on sustainable EU food production (para 85);
  • improve the compatibility of the EU agricultural policy with the sustainable development goals (para 93);
  • reduce the use of pesticides (para 95);
  • adopt an action plan for an integrated plant protection management (para 105).
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