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CoR joins forces with JRC, European Commission and Parliament to assess Sustainable Development Goals on the ground  

Today, the European Committee of the Regions hosted the launch of the pilot project “Monitoring the SDGs in the EU regions - Filling the data gaps - REGIONS2030", aiming at providing a framework for regions to monitor the SDGs in their territory. The project was initiated by the European Commission’s Joint Research Centre, in collaboration with EC’s Directorate General for Regional and Urban Policy and Eurostat, with the support of the European Parliament and the CoR, proposed by MEP Petros Kokkalis in 2021, and approved by the European Commission in 2022.

Markku Markkula (FI/EPP), President of the Helsinki Region, said: "Today more than ever, SDGs are necessary. We must accelerate efforts on implementing the SDGs now if we want to reach the targets by 2030. This systemic process starts by monitoring the situation on the ground, closest to people, and fostering partnerships between all levels of government – and preparing a Voluntary Subnational Review. Regions have done a remarkable work so far on SDGs. REGIONS2030 will help maximise their efforts and integrate them better in the EU SDGs multi-level governance."

The pilot project, involving ten regions, has two main objectives:

1. Engaging EU regions in the monitoring process of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) – to provide a framework for regional authorities to monitor the SDGs in their territory, and to support and enhance regional statistical capacities in the collection of data, monitoring, and the evaluation process.

2. Increase local ownership of SDGs as well as openness and transparency in achieved results – to provide tailored training to regional authorities for the proper collection and analysis of data, to ensure their quality, and make all the data available to the public.

The project will conclude in December 2023, with three expected results:

· To have defined and tested a harmonised set of indicators for EU regions to monitor the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals

· To have increased the knowledge and capacities of EU regions on monitoring and reporting of the SDGs

· EU regions' engagement in a participative process of localising the SDGs

The list of participating regions can be found here.

Background

The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) lie at the heart of the European Commission’s policymaking. An inclusive, localised approach is essential to translate the SDGs into effective place-based actions and tailored assessment strategies. Localising the Sustainable Development Goals involves the definition, implementation and monitoring of strategies at the local and regional level, which is essential to achieve the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. Currently there is the URBAN2030 project ran by the JRC that focuses on this local monitoring of the SDGs. This new pilot project funded by the European Parliament tackles the regional dimension of SDG monitoring and builds on the experience gained with cities and local governments.

In the latest report on the implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, the European Parliament urged the Commission to engage with countries and regions to work on defining a set of indicators for regions. It is the very first pan-European project involving regions in the common effort to design a monitoring system for the SDGs at their territorial level. The outcomes will serve as a reference guide for the pilot participants and, eventually, for regions across the EU. Ultimately, the aim of the project is to inspire other regions to engage actively in the localisation of the 2030 Agenda, and to promote a culture of transparent, data-informed decisions and policymaking.

The Joint Research Centre plays a fundamental role in facilitating the work of the regions by providing training to the regions on collecting timely, granular, comparable data, also building on its existing expertise in the localisation of the SDGs.

The European Committee of the Regions (CoR) stresses that monitoring the progress of SDGs at regional and local level is crucial to design evidence-based policies. In the draft opinion on "Progress in the implementation of SDGs" by rapporteur Ricardo Rio (PT/EPP), Mayor of Braga, the CoR highlights the importance of the involvement of significant data and good practice at local and regional level in the EU SDGs monitoring report. The JRC project is very much welcomed to fill this data gap. The CoR calls for the results to be included in the EU annual SDGs monitoring report as soon as possible as it will help to reflect the regions and cities' sheer effort to implement SDGs. This effort should be taken into account in EU tools and in the EU Voluntary Review to be presented at the United Nations next year.

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