Europe Sustainable Development Report 2022

Publication Date

December 5, 2022

Page Number


Link to Report



Europe Sustainable Development Report 2022

It reviews the EU’s progress towards the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). It highlights stalled progress and challenges, particularly in responsible consumption and climate action. Moreover, it emphasizes the need for decisive actions to avoid environmental and social crises. Furthermore, it offers insights on how the EU can strengthen its SDG leadership. In addition, the “Europe Sustainable Development Report 2022” reveals stalled progress towards the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in the EU and globally. It underscores the need for decisive actions to avoid environmental and social crises. It urges the EU to strengthen its domestic and international SDG leadership.

Key Findings:

  • Overall progress: While Europe exhibits progress towards several SDGs, significant gaps and uneven performance remain across different goals and countries. The report identifies areas of success (e.g., health and well-being) and areas requiring substantial improvement (e.g., climate action, sustainable consumption and production).
  • Regional disparities: The report highlights disparities in SDG progress across different European regions. Eastern and Southeastern European countries generally lag behind Western and Northern European countries, particularly in areas like decent work and economic growth, inequality reduction, and responsible consumption and production.
  • Specific SDG highlights:
    • Positive developments: Significant improvements in education, health, gender equality, and poverty reduction. Declining unemployment rates and decreasing hunger and child mortality are also noted.
    • Areas of concern: Stagnant progress in climate action, biodiversity protection, and responsible consumption and production. Rising inequality within and between countries is also concerning.
  • Emerging challenges: The report addresses challenges like the COVID-19 pandemic, the war in Ukraine, and their potential impact on achieving the SDGs. It emphasizes the need for resilient and inclusive recovery strategies that align with sustainable development goals.


Part 1. Performance of European Countries Against the SDGs

Offers a comprehensive overview of sustainable development in Europe. The report highlights advancements in areas like poverty reduction and improved access to education by assessing the progress made by European countries towards the SDGs. However, on the other hand, it also points out persistent challenges in areas such as climate change, biodiversity loss, and inequality, underlining the need for continued and targeted efforts.

In addition, it examines the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on sustainable development in Europe. It notes how the pandemic has worsened existing vulnerabilities and inequalities, underscoring the urgent need for a more resilient and sustainable future. Stresses the pandemic’s disproportionate impact on vulnerable populations and the necessity of building equitable and sustainable systems to address such challenges effectively.

Furthermore, it outlines policy frameworks and initiatives supporting European sustainable development. It discusses key initiatives like the European Green Deal, the EU Biodiversity Strategy for 2030, and the EU Circular Economy Action Plan, emphasizing their importance in paving the way for sustainable development. However, it also highlights the need for effective implementation and sustained commitment to ensure these initiatives’ success.

Part 2. Priorities to Restore and Accelerate SDG Progress in Europe and Globally

Provides an examination of the sustainable development performance of European countries. It offers an in-depth analysis of their progress towards the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Interestingly, the section covers various SDG-related indicators and metrics, such as poverty alleviation, access to education, environmental conservation, and social equity. This scope provides a view of each country’s strengths and challenges in advancing towards the SDGs. Consequently, the report’s approach explains the interplay among economic, social, and environmental factors influencing sustainable development outcomes.

Furthermore, it assesses each country’s performance using SDG dashboards and trends. These visual representations offer an accessible way to track progress across different goals and identify areas of strength or weakness. Importantly, the report presents data visually to facilitate comparative analysis and benchmarking, helping stakeholders learn from successful strategies.

Moreover, including the Leave No One Behind Index and the Spillover Index adds depth to the analysis. The former emphasizes the importance of inclusive development policies that meet the needs of marginalized populations. On the other hand, the latter highlights countries’ contributions to global sustainability challenges, underscoring the interconnectedness of environmental and social issues across borders.

Part 3. Ten ideas to strengthen the EU’s Sustainable Development Goals leadership (Experts’ Contributions)

Various indicators across European countries are examined. This includes biodiversity, peace and justice, industry and innovation, reduced inequalities, sustainable cities and communities, responsible consumption and production, and partnerships for the goals. Specifically, it incorporates statistics on the average protected area in freshwater sites critical for biodiversity, biochemical oxygen demand in rivers, nitrate levels in groundwater, the Red List Index of species survival, and threats to terrestrial and freshwater biodiversity embodied in imports.

Also, the report presents peace and justice metrics such as homicide rates and the corruption perceptions index, providing insights. Moreover, industry and innovation indicators like R&D expenditure and patent applications are included, shedding light on the investment in research and development and the level of innovation. Furthermore, the report addresses inequalities, featuring metrics like the Gini coefficient and Palma ratio, offering insight into income inequality. It also provides data on green urban areas and overcrowding rates in sustainable cities, offering perspectives on urbanization and the push for sustainable cities and communities.

Pivoting to the topic of waste management, indicators of responsible consumption and production, such as recycling rates, are included to provide a sense of the levels of waste management and efforts to reduce waste and encourage sustainable consumption. Additionally, partnership metrics like official development assistance and corporate tax haven scores give a sense of international cooperation and efforts to promote sustainable development globally. Importantly, each indicator includes specific values for different years, enabling a thorough analysis of the progress and challenges European countries face in achieving sustainable development goals.


  • Addressing regional disparities: urges targeted policies and investments to support countries lagging in SDG progress. Fostering regional cooperation and knowledge sharing is also emphasized.
  • Prioritizing key areas: calls for greater attention to achieving significant progress in critical areas like climate action, circular economy, and sustainable food systems. This requires ambitious policy measures, innovation, and public awareness campaigns.
  • Strengthening governance and institutions: Robust governance frameworks, effective institutions, and multi-stakeholder collaboration are crucial for effectively implementing the SDGs. Engaging civil society and ensuring transparency are also highlighted.
  • Financing the SDGs: stresses the need for innovative financing mechanisms and investments that promote sustainable development. Key recommendations include mobilizing public and private funds, aligning financial flows with the SDGs, and utilizing blended finance instruments.

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