In Europe and worlwide

Published on 19 July 2023

The 193 Member States of the United Nations have pledged to endorse this new roadmap for sustainable development by 2030. Its implementation differs from country to country. Here are a few examples of European and international initiatives.


European Union

Sustainable development in EU legislation

Sustainable development has been a competence of the European Union since the Treaty of Amsterdam in 1997.

The 2007 Lisbon Treaty stipulates that the European Union "shall work for the sustainable development of Europe based on balanced economic growth and price stability, a highly competitive social market economy, aiming at full employment and social progress, and a high level of protection and improvement of the quality of the environment".

The European Union was very active during the Agenda 2030 negotiation process.

In the 2019-2024 European Commission chaired by Ursula von der Leyen, each European Commissioner is responsible for ensuring that the policies pursued under his or her supervision contribute to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), while the College of Commissioners as a whole is jointly responsible for implementing Agenda 2020.

Since the adoption of the Agenda 2030, the Commission has published several discussion papers on the implementation of the SDGs, including the December 2017 communication "Next steps for a sustainable European future" and the January 2019 discussion paper "Towards a sustainable Europe in 2030".

An EU Council working group dedicated to the SDGs

The Council of the European Union, the institutional body that brings together the Member States, has set up a working group specifically dedicated to the SDGs to assist it in monitoring, measuring and reviewing the implementation of the SDGs (both the internal and external dimensions of this implementation).

The working group is expected to work closely with the Council’s other - sectoral - configurations on specific policy areas, without duplicating their work.


Eurostat, which produces the European Union’s official statistics, publishes an annual report on the level of and progress towards achieving the SDGs for the European Union, based on 100 indicators.

The June 2020 report also provides for the first time a representation of the level and progress of all States.

European Sustainable Development Network (ESDN)

Created on a voluntary basis in 2002 at the initiative of Austria, among others, and enshrined in the European sustainable development strategy in 2006, the network has been an association under Austrian law since the end of 2019, chaired for two years by Finland and co-chaired by Switzerland and Austria.

Since 2008, France has been a member of the Steering Committee, which also includes Belgium, Finland, Germany, Italy and Switzerland, and is chaired by Austria. The Steering Committee guides the work of the network’s ’office’, which is managed by the Research Institute for Sustainability Management (RIMAS) at the University of Vienna.

The ESDN produces benchmarking studies on public policies and in-depth studies on major sustainable development issues (such as governance, economic growth and research), which feed into the debates organised at the network’s annual conferences and thematic workshops.

European Sustainable Development Week (ESDW)

The European Week for Sustainable Development (EWSSD) is a tool for raising awareness of the Sustainable Development Goals and mobilising the public and society as a whole: local authorities, businesses, schools, NGOs, etc.

It takes place every year from 18 Septembre to 8 October.

The SEDD was created in 2015 by Germany, Austria and France, who joined forces to organise their respective national sustainable development weeks.

Each year, the SEDD generates over 4,000 projects involving more than 360,000 citizens in the colours of the SDGs in some thirty European countries.

This week is a key time for raising awareness and mobilising civil society organisations and citizens in support of the SDGs.

The SDGs in Europe

Most European countries have defined or are in the process of defining their strategies for implementing the SDGs. Country profiles are available (in English) on the ESDN website and the reports of those who have carried out a voluntary national review at the High-Level Political Forum are available on the United Nations website.

To go further... the United Nations page on voluntary national reviews
The websites of certain countries can also be accessed at the following links:


International Organisation of the French-speaking world

Sustainable development has been an historic commitment of the International Organisation of Francophonie since the Earth Summit in Rio in 1992, and was reaffirmed in 2012 at Rio+20.

It is the 4th pillar of the strategic framework 2015-2022 and is the subject of the Organisation’s 7thth programme 2015-2018, entitled "Integrating the SDGs into regional, national and local policies and strategies".

To this end, the French-speaking world, through its subsidiary body the Institut de la Francophonie pour le développement durable:

  • supports countries in drawing up their national sustainable development strategies;
  • supports them in carrying out peer reviews of their national sustainable development strategies;
  • strengthens countries’ capacity to participate in international negotiations on sustainable development, in particular ;
  • and develops and disseminates tools for systemic analysis of sustainability, in particular the methodological guide for drawing up national strategic planning frameworks for the post-2015 period and thethe French-speaking world’s sustainable development analysis grid.

French-speaking world advocates taking culture into account as a dimension of sustainable development in its own right.