Planet, river and trees
20 September 2019

Sustainable Development and climate: the same objectives

On 20 September 2019, which marked the anniversary of the adoption of the 2030 Agenda and its Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), Elisabeth Borne, Minister for the Ecological and Inclusive Transition, showed how closely linked social and environmental issues are, and how their interdependence has been integrated into France's strategy for achieving the SDGs.
"(...) it's not climate, the oceans and biodiversity on one side and global hunger, education and health on the other. These issues are closely connected. And I say it clearly: human progress is part of ecology. That's what the ecological and inclusive transition I am championing is about.”
Elisabeth Borne, Minister for the Ecological and Inclusive Transition

There has been no lack of scientific warnings on climate change, including the IPBES report in May, the IPCC report on land use in August and the upcoming report on the oceans. Our citizens also experience the change in their daily lives and young people are mobilising in a collective call to speed up the efforts being made. This is why the Minister has reaffirmed that ecology is at the heart of the Government's actions.

Ecology, at the centre of public policies

France has set itself goals and is providing itself with the means to achieve them. The ecological and climatic emergency was declared at the very beginning of the President of the Republic's five-year term, and the Climate Plan has committed the country to achieving carbon neutrality in 2050.

To help accomplish this, the Government has introduced the Energy-Climate law, which provides for deployment of offshore wind farms, closure of coal-fired power plants and the obligation to install photovoltaic panels on new constructions. The Government is being realistic and has set achievable goals, including, for example, eradication of “thermal sieves” by 2028, in order to give owners enough time to adapt and to lend support to those who need it.

Elisabeth Borne also reminded her audience that France possesses two major assets to help it achieve these goals:
  • the Ecological Defence Council, a key tool that is changing governance. By bringing together the Ministers concerned, the President of the Republic is setting a clear course: ecology is the State's priority.
  • Green budgeting, which now enables evaluation of the State's budget in terms of its environmental impact.

France’s strategy for achieving the SDGs

In addition to these structural changes, France has adopted an interministerial strategy for achievement of the SDGs.

It is based on 6 major focuses: a just transition against all forms of inequality, transformation of economic models, lifelong education for continuing training to meet new challenges, health, human wellbeing, civic engagement, without which transition is illusory, and European and international action to obtain sustainable changes and maintain peace.

Elisabeth Borne ended by stressing the three points that she believes are essential to the strategy's successful implementation:
  1. Recognising together that the 2030 Agenda is our common framework for sustainable development. We not only need to take it on board ourselves, but also offer it to our young people. Which is why the 2030 Agenda has been integrated into Universal National Service.
  2. Uniting a community of action on behalf of the SDGs, in order to go from individual to collective. And the territories will be essential in order to do so.
  3. Making the 2030 Agenda a tool for evaluation and debate, by involving citizens and MPs alike in order to inform democratic debate.
2030 Agenda SDGs logo
2030 Agenda & Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)
The 2030 Agenda is a universal programme that aims to change our world by ending poverty and inequalities, ensuring its ecological and inclusive transition by 2030.
Adopted by the United Nations on 20 September 2015, the Agenda's 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) address the challenges to be met and cover the full range of development issues in all countries, including climate, biodiversity, energy, water, poverty, gender equality, economic prosperity, peace, agriculture, and education.
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