Campaigners came together outside the European Parliament today with a rallying call to the 2019 European election candidates not to forget about the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Exactly three years ago today 193 governments signed up to the SDGs – the world’s crisis plan to end poverty and protect the planet.

Yet the EU’s political leadership has made scant mention of these global goals since and has failed to put them at the heart of all EU policies. President Juncker has never mentioned the SDGs in his ‘State of the Union’ speech, the address the Commission President gives to the European Parliament each September to outline their goals for the coming months.

Now groups that campaign for ambitious implementation of the goals are calling on the leaders of European political parties to put the UN sustainable development agenda front and centre of their political campaigns in the run up to the European elections next May.

Patrizia Heidegger, Director for Global Policies and Sustainability at the European Environmental Bureau, said:

“Three years after the international community agreed on the 2030 Agenda and the SDGs, President Juncker still refuses to bring himself to even mention sustainability or the Global Goals. We call on the future political leaders of the EU to bring sustainable development to the heart of policy-making at the European Union and Member State level and to develop – in a participatory process with civil society – a strategy for a Sustainable Europe 2030 to become the compass for all European policies.”

SDG Watch Europe, a broad alliance of NGOs from various sectors including development, environment, social and human rights, has published its own manifesto today which outlines core demands which will put Europe on the road to meeting the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The manifesto was launched at a demonstration beside the European Parliament.

Jagoda Munic, Director of Friends of the Earth Europe, said:

“At the moment too much of the debate about the future of Europe is stuck in the question of ‘more or less EU?’. We need to move the conversation on to ‘what kind of Europe do we want?’. That is why civil society organisations have developed this manifesto with 12 demands for a sustainable Europe. We expect that hundreds of national and European groups will support it, and we demand that the new parliament makes a sustainable Europe a reality for all citizens.”

Ingo Ritz, Director of the Global Call to Action Against Poverty (GCAP), said:

“Today, half a million people in over 1058 places in 131 countries all over the world are raising their voices under the banner of #ACT4SDGs, organizing and calling on world leaders to work for sustainable development for people and planet. The people demand from governments and parliaments to act. Since the European Commission hasn’t acted so far, we are addressing the European Parliament. The EU has a key responsibility – it must ensure that all its policies from trade to consumption and production support the SDGs.”