On the preliminary implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals in the Baltic Sea States
The present report analyses the status of implementation of the 2030 Agenda in the Baltic Sea Region (BSR). Acknowledging that countries and stakeholders are in the preliminary phases, the results of this study should serve as a reflective perspective on the country-level plans for the integration of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in their national and international policies. The report compares the outputs of existing work on the matter, and accounts for the national reports submitted by BSR countries to the UN ECE in February 2016, for the voluntary reports to the HLPF in June 2016, and for other expert reviews on global, European and macro-regional level.
The results show that all countries are in the process of reviewing current strategies and action plans in light of the new global framework, and share the view that 2030 Agenda implementation should be accomplished through existing structures, financial mechanisms and should avoid duplication and overlaps. Macro-regional institutions such as the EU or the UNECE are seen as fundamental providers for macro-regional monitoring, follow-up and guidance. There is however no common view with regard to who shall hold responsibility for implementation, since each government is entrusting different ministries. Stakeholder involvement is also rather diversified, and while NGOs and civil society are considered on front line for an effective implementation, sub-regional and local engagement continues to be less acknowledged, and the BSR does not receive particular attention as such.
With regard to indicators performance, preliminary studies highlight that the BSR is performing rather well on some targets such as poverty rate, share of renewable energy, air pollution, employment and corruption, whilst performance is generally low for other indicators, such as domestic material consumption, energy intensity. Moreover, there are areas where the region is displays variability of both high and low performance, for example when it comes to SDG 6 on water and SDG 13 on climate.
Finally, it is evident that the region needs to improve performance on the monitoring and follow up on the SDGs, and this is indeed one of the main challenges claimed by all countries. Macro-regional cooperation and coordination can and should, in this sense, be promoted not only with the aim to exchange best practices and successful policies, but also for accomplishing the objectives on SDGs and 2030 Agenda in the whole region and, consequentially, in every BSR country.