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Agriculture and rural development

UN sustainable development goals

EU agriculture and SDGs

The European Union’s agriculture and rural development policies form an important part of its positive contribution towards achieving the 2030 UN agenda for sustainable development.

At the core of the agenda are the sustainable development goals (SDGs), which are globally agreed objectives to be achieved by 2030.

Goal 2 sets the ambitious aim of eliminating hunger in the world. EU agriculture makes a two-fold contribution: the common agricultural policy guarantees the availability of safe, nutritious and sustainably produced food for all Europeans, and EU food exports contribute to food security in third countries, while granting developing regions extremely favourable terms of trade, thereby advancing the growth of their domestic agro-industries.

EU rural development and agricultural policy also furthers the aims of several other SDGs, including goals 1 (ending poverty), 8 (decent work and economic growth), 12 (responsible production and consumption) and 15 (life on land).

EU approach to sustainable development

Africa-Europe alliance

The EU’s external policy actions always aim for coherence with the 2030 agenda for sustainable development, which is also reflected in initiatives such as the Africa-Europe alliance for sustainable investment and jobs. Launched in 2018, the alliance seeks to boost employment and sustainable growth in Africa by:

  • increasing strategic investment and strengthening the role of the private sector to create jobs;
  • investing in people by investing in education and skills;
  • strengthening the business environment and investment climate;
  • tapping the full potential of economic integration and trade.

The alliance complements the long-standing political partnership between the two continents, deepening relations and going beyond a donor-recipient approach by creating an alliance of equals.

Tracking progress

The Commission has several websites dedicated to the EU’s contribution to the sustainable development goals, most notably Eurostat’s SDG site which tracks how the EU is doing via indicators, visual graphs and a detailed annual report.

Millennium development goals

The SDGs build on the UN Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), which in the year 2000 had set targets for 2015. The Millennium Declaration and its MDGs have made an enormous contribution in raising public awareness, increasing political will and mobilising resources in the fight to end poverty. One of the most important achievements of the period 2000-15 was the halving of global poverty. Acknowledging this success, the SDGs aim to extend and expand on goals and targets set to address the global challenges we face, and achieve a better and more sustainable future for us all.