Sustainable Development in the EU

Posted on Friday, 26 May 2023
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Eurostat have published their 2023 Monitoring report on progress towards the SDGs in an EU context. This Report gives a overview of the progress the European Union is making towards the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) over the past five years. Overall, progress has been made in socio-economic goals. However, the data shows that the goals linked with the environment are not progressing at the same rate. 


EU has made notable progress toward 3 SDGs: decent work and economic growth, reducing poverty and improving gender equality

The Report notes that the EU has made significant progress towards ensuring SDG 8 - decent work and economic growth, SDG 1 - reducing poverty and SDG 5 - improving gender equality.[1] 

They noted steady but slower progress towards SDG 10 - reducing inequalities, SDG 4 - ensuring quality education and SDG 16-  fostering peace and personal security within the EU’s territory and improving access to justice and trust in institutions. Good progress was noted for SDG 9 - innovation and infrastructure and notably, SDG 3 - health and wellbeing considering that the timespan included the Covid-19 pandemic and also 

Across the EU, less progress was noted for the goals lined to the environment. SDG 15 - concerning life on land, recorded increasing numbers of terrestrial protected areas since 2013, "additional efforts are needed to reverse the degradation of ecosystems" and trends in SDG 12 -areas of responsible consumption and production, SDG 11 - sustainable cities and communities, SDG 14 - life below water, SDG 2 - zero hunger, SDG 6 - clean water and sanitation and SDG 7 - affordable and clean energy  were "moderately favourable". More progress is expected in the EU for three of the goals: SDG 13 - climate action, SDG 15 -life on land and SDG 17 - global partnerships.

Overview of RU progress towards the SDGS over the past five years, 2023

Ireland and the SDGs

Social Justice Ireland publishes an annual analysis of Ireland's progress toward our 2030 Sustainable Development Goals. Measuring Progress: The Sustainable Progress Index 2023 ranks 14 comparable EU countries based on their delivery of the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Written by Prof. Charles M.A. Clark of St John’s University, NY; Dr. Catherine Kavanagh of UCC; and Colette Bennett of Social Justice Ireland, the index compares 14 EU countries across all UN SDGs, assesses their performance on each individual SDG; creates a ranking table for performance overall; and provides national and local-level policy proposals to improve Ireland's progress towards the Goals.


[1] The EU SDGs indicators set is structured along 17 goals, with around 100 indicators, reviewed every year, aligned but not identical to the UN SDG indicators. Many of the indicators are already used to monitor existing policies as the 8th Environment Action Programme and the European Pillar of Social Rights Action Plan