Two years after the adoption at the United Nations of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, it is time to take stock of the first steps of France’s mobilization to achieve the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development was adopted on 25 September 2015 by the Heads of State and Government at the UN Sustainable Development Summit. It sets down 17 Sustainable Development Goals split into 169 targets to address the challenges of globalization, based on the three pillars of sustainability: social, environmental and economic.
The 2030 Agenda and the SDGs arising from it present a deeply innovative conception of sustainable development:
- Combining the fight against extreme poverty with environmental protection in the face of climate change;
- Transcending the stakes of sustainable development for all countries worldwide through a holistic and universal approach;
- Being born of an unprecedented consultation of civil society stakeholders, the private sector, local government, researchers, etc.
Protecting the planet is essential to address the needs of current and future generations. This requires preserving air quality, sustainable access to food and water, and rich and resourceful biodiversity. Containing climate change is necessary to achieve these goals and protect citizens from climate disasters.
The sustainable development of States relies on the principles of equality and dignity of people. Combating poverty, ensuring universal access to health care and food, and guaranteeing quality education and gender equality are prerequisites for a fair, sustainable society.
The development of States must establish inclusive, environmentally-friendly prosperity. In order to ensure peace and prosperity, science, technologies and innovation should serve everyone, for development on a human scale.
Reducing conflicts and building and consolidating peace are essential for establishing prosperous and sustainable societies, as development is impossible without security and security is impossible without development.
The fulfilment of the SDGs requires a new system of global solidarity and partnership. Inclusive partnerships, built on a common vision and shared goals focused around people and the planet, are essential at the global, regional, national and local levels. This solidarity is needed not only between nations but also with civil society, NGOs and the private sector.
At international level, the High-level Political Forum on Sustainable Development has the key role in following up on the implementation of the SDGs, providing an annual discussion platform for all institutional or other stakeholders of sustainable development.
Efforts to achieve the 17 SDGs in France are coordinated by the Interministerial Delegate for Sustainable Development (DIDD), mandated by the Prime Minister, in close partnership with the Ministry for Europe and Foreign Affairs (MEAE) for the international dimension. The Delegate manages a network of senior sustainable development officials who coordinate all sustainable development issues within the various ministries. Work to map public policies in relation to the SDGs needs to be undertaken, to enable the policies of each ministry to be viewed through the conceptual matrix provided by all the SDGs.
At the national level, the National Institute for Statistics and Economic Studies (INSEE) is involved in the production and coordination of data with the statistical departments of the various French administrations. Data on the indicators were published in March 2017 and are available on the website of INSEE (in French).
A consultation will be launched soon, under the auspices of the National Council for Statistical Information (CNIS), in order to propose relevant indicators in the framework of a national follow-up of the implementation of the SDGs.
Mobilization of resources to support SDG achievement internationally
France’s financial commitments for development were clarified by the Interministerial Committee for International Cooperation and Development (CICID) on 30 November 2016. France will increase the funding of the Agence Française de Développement (AFD, French Development Agency) Group’s funding for sustainable development by €4 billion by 2020, €2 billion of which will be dedicated to climate. At the same time, an extra €400 million will be allocated to the most fragile countries in the form of bilateral grants. France will increase its climate effort with a commitment of €5 billion by 2020, and is promoting financing with climate co-benefits.
The closer relationship established between the AFD and the Caisse des Dépôts et Consignations (CDC) on 6 December 2016 will help enhance the efficiency and responsiveness of the system for financing sustainable development. The two institutions will strengthen one another’s efforts mutually through synergies in the use of their respective expertise, networks and financing instruments.
Considering the involvement of civil society, the private sector and citizens to be essential for the successful achievement of the SDGs, France is working for ever more inclusive decision-making and action processes. The National Council for Development and International Solidarity (CNDSI) and the National Council for the Ecological Transition (CNTE) are the two preferred forums for liaison on the implementation of the SDGs.
The organization of a day of collaborative activities on the SDGs on 18 April 2016 also helped continue regular discussions with civil society regarding the implementation of the SDGs, with a focus on co-construction and collective intelligence for a collective mobilization to achieve the Goals.
Transparency at the High-level Political Forum on Sustainable Development
In July 2016, France presented its report on the implementation of the SDGs (.pdf) at the High-level Political Forum on Sustainable Development (HLPF), alongside 21 other volunteer States (China, Colombia, Egypt, Estonia, Finland, Georgia, Germany, Madagascar, Mexico, Montenegro, Morocco, Norway, Philippines, Republic of Korea, Samoa, Sierra Leone, Switzerland, Togo, Turkey, Uganda and Venezuela).
France’s national review was focused on climate and the Paris Agreement, women’s empowerment and education. It also highlighted the horizontal nature of the agenda, to which France is particularly sensitive, such as combating climate change, the ecological transition, and efforts in support of employment and the reduction of inequalities.
This year, 44 countries have volunteered to present their national review at the HLPF which will meet in New York in July.
Education and innovation in support of sustainable development
The new framework provided by the 2030 Agenda and the SDGs is a unique opportunity for all citizens to contribute to the creation of a sustainable world. To address the current environmental challenges, political and financial solutions are not enough. The achievement of the SDGs requires a change in our ways of life and our production and consumption patterns. That is why sustainable development education at all levels and innovation are central to development policies. The European Sustainable Development Week, from 30 May to 5 June, is a key time in the year to continue discussions and thinking around the SDGs.
Updated: May 2017