SEATTLE, Washington — In 2015, the United Nations created 17 goals for its members that strive to eliminate global poverty and its adverse effects by 2030. These goals were grouped and labeled as the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Since the SDGs was implemented by 193 countries worldwide, various countries in Europe have been extremely successful at properly enforcing them. As a result, European countries have been able to decrease poverty and its related issues by following the SDGs. Europe’s fight to end poverty has proven to be quite successful compared to other countries worldwide, thus far. However, the novel coronavirus pandemic has the possibility to disrupt this success.
What are the Sustainable Development Goals?
The Sustainable Development Goals consist of 17 goals. These goals include: achieving economic improvement and acceptable work, eliminating poverty, formulating partnerships with organizations and nation-states and creating forms of infrastructure, industry and innovation. Additionally, these goals aim to establish gender equality, eliminate hunger and create influential institutions that facilitate peace and justice.
The SDGs also aim to minimize the number of inequalities worldwide, improve the healthcare services accessible to citizens and teach individuals to properly manage and care for the land. With that being said, the SDGs focus on improving education, providing sanitized water and clean sanitation systems, improving the quality of the bodies of water and the response to climate change, including access to green energy.
From there, member countries are encouraged to build environmentally friendly communities and cities and to responsibly consume and produce goods. All of these goals lead to improving sustainable practices and making the world more “sustainable” for years to come. The Sustainable Development Goals focus on improving the five general issues of “poverty, inequality, climate change, environmental degradation and peace and justice.” These general topics all intertwine and are all equally crucial to fix.
Europe’s Response to the Sustainable Development Goals
European countries quickly began implementing rules and regulations to achieve the U.N.’s Sustainable Development Goals by 2030. Thus far, Europe’s fight to end poverty has been the most successful compared to neighboring countries. A country is considered to be extremely successful at achieving SDGs if it is ranked in one of the top 15 spots out of all 193 participating countries. In 2019, European countries held 13 out of the top 15 spots.
Now, in 2020, the top 15 spots are all held by European countries. The top 15 countries are, from first to fifteenth, Sweden, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Norway, Austria, Czech Republic, Netherlands, Estonia, Belgium, Slovenia, the United Kingdom, Ireland and Switzerland.
Top 3 Countries Implementing the SDGs
Sweden, Denmark and Finland are ranked as the top three countries that have most successfully eliminated the amount of poverty in their own territory due to the implementation of the SDGs.
Some of the goals that these countries have accomplished include improving gender disparities, eliminating poverty, improving the use of clean energy and improving the quality of health care. Additionally, these three countries have improved education systems and minimized the income gap between individuals who have higher and lower incomes.
COVID-19’s Effect on Implementing SDGs Worldwide
European countries have been severely impacted by the novel coronavirus. The health and socio-economic effects of the pandemic have the potential to undo the immense progress that Europe has made in its efforts to eliminate poverty. However, even though Europe may face setbacks, there is potential to prevent these setbacks from being too detrimental.
If European countries use the SDGs to help create their “pandemic relief and recovery plans,” the pandemic could be used as a segway to continue implementing ways to accomplish the SDGs and eliminate poverty by 2030. In order for this scenario to be successful, European countries need to focus on improving malnutrition and starvation, gaining global cooperation, creating “social safety nets” and creating access to healthcare for all.
Organizations Working to Implement SDGs Initiatives
Various organizations have created and implemented SDGs initiatives. The organization Watch Europe uses four tactics to properly achieve SDGs. It uses “reflection and innovation” to challenge its already existing approaches to end poverty and to discover new ways to make the campaign more successful. Watch Europe also uses “joint advocacy and policy” to analyze how efficient the existing strategies are. The organization scrutinizes and reports how successful countries in the European Union actually are at implementing SDGs. Lastly, Watch Europe encourages other organizations, citizens and “social movements” to advocate the importance of implementing SDGs.
Another organization is the United World Schools. This organization believes that in order to eliminate poverty and advance the development of some of the most impoverished countries, a strong education system must be available to every student and properly implemented. United World Schools specifically focuses on improving seven of the 17 Sustainable Development Goals. These goals include eliminating poverty, creating equality on both a national and international level, improving the health and well-being of citizens, eliminating gender inequalities and creating access to sanitation and clean water. Additionally, the United World Schools also focus on the SDGs that aim to create jobs that will result in economic growth and implementing clean energy in cost-efficient ways.
The Sustainable Development Goals have made it possible for Europe’s fight to end poverty to be successful. The Sustainable Development Goals, as a whole, give countries a thorough plan to follow in order to solve the issues of poverty, climate action and various inequalities. Europe’s success proves that these goals can be easily implemented and achieved by other countries worldwide. This shines a bright light on the question of whether or not the goal to eradicate global poverty by 2030 is possible.