This opinion replies to the Reflection Paper "Towards a Sustainable Europe by 2030" (COM (2019) 22 – final)
The Agenda 2030 consists of five pillars: peace, planet, people, prosperity and partnership. This opinion will focus on the "planet" pillar, setting out the strategic view for paving the way towards sustainable European cities and regions by 2030.
The opinion is complementary to the opinion COR-2019-00239, Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs): a basis for a long-term EU strategy for a sustainable Europe by 2030, ECON-VI/044 Rapporteur Arnoldas Abramavičius (LT/EPP).
The messages conveyed by this opinion have been communicated during several occassions :
The first Vice-President of the CoR, Mr. Markkula also representative from Espoo, has brought the messages of this opinion to high-level Political Forum (HLPF) on Sustainable Development under the auspices of the General Assembly: UN Climate Action Summit (23th September) and to the UN SDGs summit (24-25th September), both took place in NewYork
Ms. Hertell, rapporteur on the opinion, has brought this messages at the Climate Alliance International Conference in Rockstock (25-27th September).
Both, Ms. Hertell and Mr. Markkula, were part of the CoR delegation to the UNFCCC COP25 under the Chilean presidency in Madrid. They have used this opportunity to highlights the messages of the opinion in several side-events of this summit such as :
the Under2Coalition General Assembly,
the event co-organised by the CoR with JRC : "accelerating transition: How cities and regions make a difference" in the European Pavillon
the event co-organised by the CoR with the European commission: From data to policy: unlocking the power of indexes for Sustainable Development and Climate Action, also in the European Pavillion
the event "Regional Leadership in the Climate Emergency : Nature-based solutions for adaptation & the water challenge" organised by Regions4
the event : "Creating local conditions on the ground for making decabornisation of builidings a reality" during the EU energy day where Mr. Markkula delivered a keynote speech
the event "How can considering co-benefits of climate action allow us to go further & faster cutting emissions? " organised in the UK pavilion.
THE EUROPEAN COMMITTEE OF THE REGIONS
̶ proposes that regions and cities have to be recognised and formally involved in the process implementing (localising) the SDGs at international (Paris Agreement, Aichi targets), European and national level. Of the 169 targets of the 17 SDGs, 65% require the firm engagement of regions and cities in implementing and monitoring the SDGs in order to be achieved.
̶ highlights that there are concrete challenges: cities and regions stress the urgency to take action, the need for good indicators, governance mechanisms and resources, and the role of cities and regions to take all the community on board and leave no one behind.
̶ welcomes the "European Green Deal" announced as the first priority of the new European Commission, in particular the renewed dynamic of the debate about an ambitious EU climate policy and increased EU 2030 targets announced by the President-elect of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, and calls on the new European Commission to take local and regional authorities on board as real partners for sustainability and climate action when developing the Green Deal with the 2050 climate neutrality targets.
̶ welcomes the transition to a resource-efficient, low-carbon, climate-neutral and bio-diverse economy and stresses the urgency of taking action and the need to engage governments at all levels, economic players, universities, research centres, civil society and citizens.
̶ underlines the key importance of commitment from young people. Regional and local youth councils and youth movements should be involved in the design and implementation of climate and SDG policies.
̶ commits itself to raising the voice of local and regional authorities in upcoming international fora, such as the UNFCCC COP25 on climate change and the UN CBD COP15 on biodiversity advocating an ambitious, time-bound, science-driven post-2020 global biodiversity framework integrated with the SDGs; calls on the parties to apply multi-level governance, which formally includes LRAs, in planning, implementation and monitoring, reporting and verification (MRV).