Cities and regions must be recognized as policy-makers for sustainable development  
 Plenary session of the European Committee of the Regions
7/13/2017
The opinion sets out how local realities can best implement the objectives of the Agenda 2030 (the first universal framework in developing a sustainable future adopted by the United Nations in September 2015) and how they can contribute to developing a sustainable future.

"If we want to have a lasting impact on people's life, we cannot have a simple top-down approach towards this agenda. We need to give cities and regions, who are the closest institutions to citizens, an important role in the process ", emphasised Iacop."Local and regional authorities have indeed many of the competences to achieve most of the Sustainable Development Goals, ranging from making cities more resilient to promoting education and lifelong learning. Therefore, they should not be seen as mere beneficiaries of them, but rather as active participants in the conception and implementation of the action", he pointed out.  

The rapporteur further stressed that "the politics should be built on instruments and platforms that already exist, such as the Sustainable Development Knowledge Platform which monitors the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals and to which the CoR has now been associated alongside the European Commission and the European Parliament".

The rapporteur also underlines the​ fact that the focus on sustainability should translate into giving greater attention to cohesion within the EU and into strengthening the collaboration with EU neighbourhood countries(providing as a good example of this the cooperation of his own region with Libyan local authorities in the area of sustainable fishing​).    

Finally, the draft opinion makes some recommendations for further action at local, regional, national and supranational level.

In November 2016, the European Commission published its Communication on "Next steps for a sustainable European future: European action for sustainability". It explains how the Commission's 10 political priorities contribute to implementing the UN 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and how the EU will meet the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in the future. The EU's answer to the 2030 Agenda will include two work streams: the first is to mainstream the Sustainable Development Goals in the European policy framework and current Commission priorities; the second is to launch a reflection on further developing the longer term vision and the focus on sectoral policies after 2020. 

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