European Economic and Social Committee Publishes Opinion on Sustainable Finance Reforms09/19/2019The European Economic and Social Committee has published an Opinion on the European Commission’s Reflection Paper, “Towards a Sustainable Europe by 2030”, which was published earlier this year. The Commission’s Reflection Paper considers Europe’s competitive advantages in delivering sustainable development, assesses the EU and global climate change challenges that must still be tackled, and sets out policy changes and proposals that will enable the EU to adhere to the UN’s 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the 17 Sustainable Development Goals.
In its Opinion, the EESC acknowledges the proposals laid out in the Commission’s paper but highlights weaknesses it perceives in the paper, including:
- the need to implement elements of all three of the scenarios proposed by the Commission, as opposed to adopting the approach suggested in the Reflection Paper of selecting a single approach;
- the need to adopt a systemic approach to sustainable development that integrates environmental, social and economic concerns into all aspects of decision-making;
- the pace of the transition envisaged in the Reflection Paper, which the EESC believes is inadequate to achieve the EU’s Sustainable Development Goals;
- the lack of a clear policy environment supporting the integration of social and environmental costs in investment decisions.
The EESC’s opinion also expresses the EESC’s view that GDP should not be the defining factor used to determine prosperity at a national level. Instead, the EESC advocates a measure of sustainable development that takes account of present and future human well-being as well as economic growth. The EESC believes there is a need for a new European political narrative on sustainable development that avoids overly technical language and focuses on how sustainable development relates to the real lives of individuals. It also advocates the proposal of the UN’s 2030 Agenda to establish a participatory model of governance for sustainable development, involving the private sector, trade unions, civil society, academia and local communities.
View the EESC's Opinion.
View the European Commission's Reflection Paper.
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