European countries taking action on putting in place UN’s environment-related SDGs

News Published 30 Nov 2020 Last modified 02 Dec 2020
2 min read
Photo: © Karsten Würth on Unsplash
A vast majority of the European Environment Agency’s (EEA) 39 member and cooperating countries are putting in action United Nations' Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), including those focused on climate action, water and sanitation, and affordable and clean energy, according to a pan-European assessment, published today, of how the SDGs are being implemented.

The EEA analysis explores action areas and mechanisms on how environment-related SDGs are being put in place via the EEA’s European Environment Information and Observation Network (Eionet). The cross-country analysis and added country profiles aim to improve understanding into the focus and prioritisation of environmental action countries are taking across Europe.

Key Findings: 

  • Approximately 90 % of EEA member and cooperating countries have some form of focused action related to SDG 6 (water and sanitation), SDG 7 (affordable and clean energy), SDG 11 (sustainable cities and communities), SDG 13 (climate action) and SDG 15 (life on land).
  • Due to national circumstances, priorities and context, there is some overall convergence and divergence as to where countries put their SDG efforts. For some SDGs, there is convergence in the types of action within the individual SDGs adopted in Eionet countries, like for example on SDG 7, the type of action includes energy efficiency in 77 % of EEA and cooperating countries. Other SDGs show a greater divergence and even innovative approaches in actions by countries, which is likely to reflect the influence of different contexts (e.g. geography and climate influencing water availability) and policy priorities on countries’ choices as to what to focus on.
  • Multi-level and inclusive governance is commonly used for SDG action in Eionet countries; inter-ministerial bodies, advisory councils, commissions or working groups to coordinate SDG action have been established in almost 75 % of Eionet countries; and dialogue with stakeholders and their participation in prioritisation, decision-making and SDG action is evident in over 80 % of countries.  


The EEA analysis is based on a mapping and analysis of EEA member and cooperating countries; environmental SDG action and procedures and it contributes to the EU’s SDG monitoring report. Agreed by world leaders at the United Nations in 2015, the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development includes 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) which address global challenges, including poverty, inequality, environmental degradation and climate change. The EU was instrumental in shaping the 2030 Agenda and, together with its Member States, has the ambition to play a leading role in the global action towards achieving the SDGs. The EU has adopted a strategic approach to integrating the SDGs in both internal and external policies, and has developed indicators and a stakeholder platform to support SDG action.

As described in the EEA’s ‘European environment — state and outlook 2020 (SOER 2020)’ report, 11 SDGs have been characterized with important environmental dimensions.


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