Introduction

With its global and overarching political approach, UN Agenda 2030 for Sustainable Development has been highly relevant for the Council of Europe, which has, from the outset, been contributing to the process which led to the adoption of Agenda 2030.

By definition, our philosophy is that most, if not all, of the Council of Europe’s activities are relevant and contribute to the implementation of Agenda 2030. It has thus not been necessary for the organisation to set up new objectives, instruments or activities, but rather to align existing ones with relevant SDGs. This has been reflected as of the 2018-2019 biennium programme of activities and budget, which identifies to which specific SDG(s) each programme is linked While recognising that the main responsibility for the implementation of Agenda 2030 lies with member States, the Council of Europe’s role as an international organisation is to assist and facilitate member States in their contribution to SDG implementation. In particular, the organisation, through its instruments, can contribute to the national implementation reporting by member States, and several member States have referred to their work at the Council of Europe in such reporting.

The Council of Europe is regularly represented at relevant UN events, including the Regional Forum of the UNECE Regional and the High-Level Political Forum.

Secretary General, Ms Marija Pejčinović Burić, since the beginning of her mandate, has underlined the close connection between the Council of Europe’s objectives and the SDGs. Shortly after her appointment, she delivered a written statement on the Council of Europe’s approach to Agenda 2030 at the High-Level Political Forum under the 74th. Session of the United Nations General Assembly in September 2020 on “Accelerating the Implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development”. The SDGs are also referred to in the “Strategic Framework of the Council of Europe” in the context of promoting relations between the Council of Europe and other international organisations.

 

The unique added-value of the Council of Europe is a combination of:

  • its pan-European membership: 47 member States;
  • its standards: a comprehensive measurable normative framework which can be used as indicators/benchmarks;
  •  its multi-stakeholder dimension: in addition to its intergovernmental bodies, the Council of Europe’s unique structure includes the Parliamentary Assembly, the Congress of Local and Regional Authorities, the Commissioner for Human Rights the Conference of International NGOs, as well as the European Court of Human Rights, the case law of which covers almost all SDGs, and the unique mechanism of implementation of its judgments. The annual World Forum for Democracy is also an important platform reaching out to civil society to consolidate democratic institutions. These various bodies and instruments are precious to support States in their efforts to translate the global agenda into action at both national and local levels;
  • its monitoring/follow-up bodies and processes: essential to gather data, assess progress and provide further guidance;
  • its technical support provided to individual countries for capacity-building and removing obstacles to implementation; and
  •  its global outreach: most of the organisation’s legally-binding conventions and activities are open to participation by non-member States, in particular, those benefitting from observer status and from the neighbouring regions

 Documents