As thousands of European’s took to the streets today to #MarchForEurope, EU leaders sent a message that puts sustainability into the vision for Europe.
The European Environmental Bureau (EEB) today welcomed the Rome Declaration but warns that we need action not words to deliver a sustainable future for all Europeans.
The EEB, a coalition of over 150 environmental NGOs around Europe, note the commitments within the Declaration to sustainability and a clean and safe environment.
While the inclusion of sustainability is positive the failure of the Declaration to acknowledge climate change as a major challenge is a serious omission.
This new Rome Agenda, as set out in the Declaration, must be met with action. Europeans must see clear action towards the global 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development with its 17 Sustainable Development Goals.
EEB General Secretary Jeremy Wates, speaking from Rome, said:
“The Rome Declaration is a move in the right direction as it brings sustainability and environmental protection back into the vision for Europe’s future.”
“However we must make sure that this declaration is more than mere rhetoric and that sustainable development is brought to the heart of Europe.”
“It is also vital that the European Union has a clear picture of the challenges ahead and the omission of climate change from the declaration is alarming. Stopping climate change will take effort from every country and at every level. It is the defining challenge of our generation and this needs to be acknowledged.”
“The European Union has both the opportunity but also the obligation to fully implement the SDGs.”
“Regrettably, there have been few signs to date that the EU’s leaders are ready to seize that opportunity and respect that obligation. Sustainability hardly features in the Commission’s recent White Paper – the only reference to the SDGs is as an example of EU diplomacy, not as the framework for the EU itself to follow.”
“The Commission Communication in November on the next steps to a sustainable Europe was similarly disappointing, having nothing to say on the period after 2020, and for the period up to 2020 being mainly an effort to prove that the clearly inadequate Juncker priorities are delivering sustainability.”
“It is clear that a sixth scenario is needed – a scenario which puts sustainability at the heart of a renewed vision of Europe, not just as a footnote to it. And looking after our environment for future generations is at the heart of sustainability.”
For more information:
Ian Carey, Communications Manager, European Environmental Bureau