NEW YORK – Greece’s Voluntary National Review (VNR) on the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) was presented by the Alternate Minister for the Environment and Energy, Sokratis Famellos, head of the Greek delegation to the UN High Level Political Forum on Sustainable Development (HLPF) which was held July 9-18 at the UN headquarters in New York.
Famellos spoke about the “resolute decisions during the crisis that led to economic policies that create deviations from the principles of sustainable development” in his speech on July 17.
He noted that the “government work must now focus on policies that, on the basis of sustainable development, will heal the wounds of austerity.”
The report is over 150 pages long and details Greece’s progress and commitment. It begins, “Greece is strongly committed to the implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and its 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), as they provide an ambitious, visionary and transformative framework for a new, equitable and sustainable development path. Ensuring that ‘no one is left behind’ is a high political priority for Greece, as the country is now exiting a period of prolonged economic crisis.
“Greece’s utmost objective is to reap the full benefits that the SDGs provide in order to reframe the country’s development perspectives. The ‘SDGs lens’ can shape policies to achieve balance between economic development, social cohesion and protection of the environment and of natural resources.
“Fulfilling the vision for a fair, equitable and sustainable development for all, for present and for future generations, along with achieving the SDGs, necessitate the adoption of strategic priorities and streamlined policies in all sectors, tailored to the specific national context and needs. Greece endorsed in 2017 at the highest political level and through a wide social dialogue, a set of eight (8) overarching National Priorities for the SDGs, which are also in line with the new National Growth Strategy adopted by the Greek government in 2018.
“The Strategy aims at reinvigorating the Greek economy, promoting social well-being and justice without exclusions, ensuring environmental protection and safeguarding the country’s unique ecological wealth.
“The eight Greek National Priorities for the SDGs encompass all 17 SDGs, and reflect, in a balanced and integrated manner, the three dimensions of sustainable development. They include:
• Fostering a competitive, innovative and sustainable economic growth (linked to SDGs 9, 8)
• Promoting full employment and decent work for all (linked to SDG 8)
• Addressing poverty and social exclusion, and providing universal access to quality health care services (linked to SDGs 1, 2, 3)
• Reducing social and regional inequalities and ensuring equal opportunities for all (linked to SDGs 5, 10)
• Providing high-quality and inclusive education (linked to SDG 4)
• Strengthening the protection and sustainable management of natural capital as a base for social prosperity and transition to a low-carbon economy (linked to SDGs 6, 7, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15)
• Building effective, accountable and transparent institutions (linked to SDGs 16, 17)
• Enhancing open, participatory, democratic processes and promoting partnerships (linked to SDGs 16, 17)
The Ministry of Environment and Energy and the National Center for Environment and Sustainable Development (EKDPA), in cooperation with the Ministries of Tourism and Marine and Island Policy, also presented an original photo and video exhibition titled- Conserving Biodiversity and the Traditional Man-Made Environment in the Greek Islands: Drivers for Sustainable Tourism and Resilient Societies, which was open throughout this year’s Political Forum at the UN headquarters in New York.