A year of REGIO Communities
Publishing 21 July 2022
A new study conducted by t33 Sound Policy analyses how and to what extent the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) have been included in the European Semester, the NRRPs and the local and regional authorities (LRAs) strategies for recovery and growth.
The analysis shows that the EU has gradually included the SDGs into the European Semester but, despite the progress made, there are still several areas for improvement. Moreover, the majority of Member States merely mention the SDGs implicitly with very few Member States explicitly and clearly linking NRRP components to the SDGs. The overall level of integration is therefore rather low, and the use of SDG indicators in the NRRPs is limited. Although Member States have several initiatives which could indirectly and implicitly contribute to the achievements of the SDGs, the SDGs do not seem to be perceived in the NRRPs as a coherent framework for sustainable recovery at the national level.
The report also offers a detailed overview of five case studies: and Ghent municipality (Belgium), Tallin (Estonia), Region Provence Alpes Cote d'Azur (France), Baden Wurttenberg and Stuttgart and Mannheim municipalities (Germany), and Azores (Portugal). These experiences underline several lessons learned for effective and efficient design and implementation of local action plans to address the SDGs: setting-up clear objectives and targets and a strategy based on a long-term policy vision; actively involving stakeholders; adopting an effective bottom-up approach; establishing an efficient governance structure; developing a dedicated budget; setting-up a well-structured monitoring system; aligning local, national and regional strategies.
The report includes several recommendations to improve integration of the SDGs in the European Semester and in the national strategies for recovery and growth. At local level, LRAs should use the SDG framework as an explicit and formal reference for budget procedures. LRAs could also adopt the EU taxonomy for sustainable activities to promote sustainable local investments. Moreover, LRAs should establish knowledge partnerships and collaboration with the scientific community, civil society and private sector to strengthen the local science-policy interface, to increase capacity building, scale up sustainable solutions and monitor the progress towards the SDGs. Finally, direct incentives for financial and technical support for LRAs should be set-up both at EU and national level.
The study has been conducted in consortium with Spatial Foresight and ÖIR.
The final study report is available here.