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Synergies between the sustainable development goals and the national recovery and resilience plans – best practices from local and regional authorities

Committee of the Regions

Committee of the Regions

  • Start Date: May 2022

  • Status: Complete

The study analyses how and to what extent the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) have been included in the European Semester, the NRRPs and the local and regional strategies for recovery and growth.

The European Commission (EC) first explicitly expressed its intention to mainstream the SDGs into European policies in November 2016; however, the tools to implement and monitor them were not clearly mentioned. Then, in 2019, EC president Von der Leyen committed to integrating the SDGs into the European Semester. Regarding the NRRPs, the SDGs are not mentioned in the guidance provided by the European Commission (EC) for Member States drafting their NRRPs. There is also a lack of cohesive coordination between the SDGs and all EU policies, in particular the RRF.

The analysis shows that the EU has gradually included the SDGs into the European Semester but, despite the progress made, there are still several areas for improvement. Moreover, the majority of Member States merely mention the SDGs implicitly with very few Member States explicitly and clearly linking NRRP components to the SDGs.  The overall level of integration is therefore rather low, and the use of SDG indicators in the NRRPs is limited. Although Member States have several initiatives which could indirectly and implicitly contribute to the achievements of the SDGs, the SDGs do not seem to be perceived in the NRRPs as a coherent framework for sustainable recovery at the national level.

The regional and local experiences, however, underline several lessons learned for effective and efficient design and implementation of local action plans to address the SDGs: setting-up clear objectives and targets and a strategy based on a long-term policy vision; actively involving stakeholders; adopting an effective bottom-up approach; establishing an efficient governance structure; developing a dedicated budget; setting-up a well-structured monitoring system; aligning local, national and regional strategies.

Once again, regional and local approaches could inspire national authorities for an effective and efficient design and adoption of strategies for sustainable development.

The study has been led by t33, in consortium with ÖIR GmbH, and Spatial Foresight GmbH.
The report of the study is available here.

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Clarissa Amichetti

Policy Analyst

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