Agenda 2030 & SDGs

Compass to a sustainable world

Agenda 2030, with its 17 UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), addresses major environmental issues such as the climate crisis, species extinction and sustainable economy. But it also includes social challenges such as poverty reduction or equal access to education. Each goal is considered equally important, none should be achieved at the expense of another. Environmental, economic and social issues should therefore always be considered together.

Agenda 2030 as a compass for a sustainable policy

Federal President Alexander Van der Bellen: "Austria shall do everything possible to achieve the UN sustainability goals" (Video in German)

Agenda 2030 and the SDGs form the compass on the way to sustainable states and societies. A policy oriented towards SDGs considers the effects on environment, economy and people when approaching a problem. No goal should be achieved at the expense of another. On the contrary. Many problems are interlinked and can therefore only be solved together. Solutions that then take into account ecological, economic and social effects equally will be sustainable in the long run.

In order to solve global problems such as poverty, environmental degradation, climate change, inequality and many others, the SDGs apply to all countries of the world - also and especially to the industrial nations. By contrast, the previous goals, the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), were exclusively dedicated to the developing countries. 

Austria's mainstreaming remains only a headline

The 17 UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)

The implementation of Agenda 2030 in Austria has so far been slow-moving. It is true that Austria, like all other UN member states, committed itself in December 2015 to pursue the goals for sustainable development. Since then, however, there has been little measurable progress.

Austria is expected to submit at least two reports to the United Nations High Level Political Forum (HLPF) by 2030. The first report is scheduled for 2020 - the latest possible date. As one of the last EU member states.

According to the Austrian government, the strategic framework for the implementation of Agenda 2030 should be a cross-policy process - so-called mainstreaming. According to the Ministerial Council Decision of 12 January 2016, all federal ministries are to implement Agenda 2030 in their respective areas of responsibility. The interministerial working group on the implementation of Agenda 2030 for sustainable development was therefore set up. The Federal Chancellery together with the Federal Ministry for Europe, Integration and Foreign Affairs is responsible for coordinating the activities of this working group.

Nevertheless, the working group only jointly prepares progress reports to the HLPF and the prioritization of implementation for the respective reporting period. The actual implementation of Agenda 2030, on the other hand, is attempted by each ministry on its own. Without clear leadership and coordination, however, functioning mainstreaming is impossible. This was also criticized - among many other points - by the Austrian Court of Audit in its report on its audit of the implementation of Agenda 2030 by the Federal Government.

SDG Watch Austria demands operational structures for Agenda 2030

Foundation event of SDG Watch Austria in 2017

Austria's civil society is extremely dissatisfied with this slow implementation of Agenda 2030. Therefore, under the leading commitment of ÖKOBÜRO, SDG Watch Austria was founded in 2017, an extensive network that works for operational state structures to achieve the SDGs and the implementation of Agenda 2030. Together we demand:

  • High-level political support and clear responsibilities for the coordinated implementation of Agenda 2030
  • Comprehensive stocktaking and gap analysis as the prerequisites for achieving the SDGs
  • An overall strategy on how to implement Agenda 2030 in Austria
  • Structured participation of all stakeholders, especially civil society, science and economy committed to Agenda 2030
  • Transparent reporting on measures and progress in implementation