Cyprus is lagging in achieving sustainable development goals, ranked together with Bulgaria and Romania last among EU Member States according to a newly released report.
The 2019 Sustainable Development Report, the first independent quantitative report on the progress of the European Union and its member states towards Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), was prepared by teams of independent experts at the Sustainable Development Solutions Network (SDSN) and the Institute for European Environmental Policy (IEEP).
It sheds light on the key economic, social and environmental sustainability challenges faced by the member states and the European Union as a whole in their progress towards SDGs.
The current assessment – SDG dashboard — shows Cyprus has achieved none of the SDGS.
Instead on 10 goals the report finds that major challenges remain (zero hunger, quality education, clean water and sanitation, affordable and clean energy, industry innovation and infrastructure, sustainable cities and communities, responsible production and consumption, climate action, life below water, life on land and partnerships for the goals.)
Then there are significant challenges in the following categories: good health and well being, gender equality and decent work and economic growth.
In the slightly better ‘challenges remain’ category there are two goals — no poverty and justice and strong institutions.
As regards the trends, Cyprus was found to be ‘on track’ as regards no poverty and decent work and economic growth.
It was found to be ‘moderately progressing’ as regards good health and well being, clean water and sanitation, affordable and clean energy, industry innovation and infrastructure, life below water and peace, justice and strong institutions.
However, Cyprus was found to be stagnating as regards zero hunger, quality education, gender equality, sustainable cities and communities and life on land.
Moreover the report flags a ‘decreasing’ ranking as regards climate action.
Of the 17 criteria, data was unavailable for three — reduced inequalities, responsible production and consumption and partnerships for the goals.
According to the executive summary of the report finds that:
- While European countries lead globally on the SDGs, none are on track to achieve the Goals by 2030.
- Countries closest to achieving the SDGs include Denmark, Sweden and Finland, whereas Bulgaria, Romania and Cyprus rank last among 28 countries assessed.
- The EU and its member states face the greatest challenges on goals related to climate, biodiversity, and circular economy, as well as achieving the convergence in living standards, both within each country as well as across countries and regions.
- The EU generates large, negative spillovers that impede other countries’ ability to achieve the SDGs. The largest negative impacts are caused by unsustainable demand for agricultural, forest, and fishery products.
The report outlines six transformations that together can achieve all 17 SDGs and applies them to the European Union. It offers practical recommendations for how the EU and its member states can achieve the SDGs with a focus on three broad areas: internal priorities, diplomacy and development cooperation, and tackling negative international spillovers.
The good news is that the necessary instruments already exist to achieve the SDGs throughout the EU. The new Commission should therefore focus on aligning existing instruments and mechanisms (including budget, investment strategies, regulatory governance, monitoring frameworks) with the SDGs, it adds.
Key recommendations include:
- The European Green Deal can be the cornerstone for implementing the SDGs in the EU. It must include an EU-wide strategy to (i) fully decarbonise the energy system by 2050; (ii) strengthen the circular economy and achieve greater efficiencies in resource use and far lower waste; and (iii) promote sustainable land-use and food systems by 2050.
- The EU needs to increase public and private investments in sustainable infrastructure, including power and transport. This in turn will require greater financial resources for the EU.
- Europe needs to increase investments in education, job skills, and innovation, with a focus on STEM education at all levels and R&D for sustainable technologies.
- The EU needs to put SDGs at the centre of its diplomacy and development cooperation.
- The EU needs to strengthen policy coherence and address negative international spillovers that undermine other countries’ ability to achieve the SDGs.
SDG Index and Dashboards: the methodology
The 2019 Europe Sustainable Development Report details progress by EU and its member states on their achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Based on a methodology that measures distance to target, the report estimates how fast each country – and the European Union as a whole – have been progressing towards each of the Goals and determines whether the current pace of progress will be sufficient to achieve them by 2030.
In so doing, the European Sustainable Development Report complements the EU’s official Eurostat report by being able to show how far each country is from achieving SDGs. The report builds on the methodology developed by the SDSN and Bertelsmann Stiftung to track countries’ performance on the SDGs since 2016.
For the country report on Cyprus click here