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“Negative Developments” in EU on SDG 15 in Last 5 Years: Eurostat

In its latest assessment, the statistical office of the European Union said that pressures on biodiversity from land take, including soil sealing by impervious materials, continued to grow, resulting in habitat loss

SDG 15

In a monitoring report on progress towards the SDGs in the European Union (EU), a Eurostat report cites “a few clearly negative developments,” resulting in a “slightly negative goal-level assessment” on sustainable development goal 15 (SDG 15), i.e. Life on Land.

According to the report, over the last five years, ecosystems and biodiversity remained under pressure from human activities. While the report notes slight increases in the forest and terrestrial protected areas of the EU, “pressures on biodiversity from land take, including soil sealing by impervious materials,” continued to grow, resulting in habitat loss. Like previous assessments, the report confirms that biodiversity and ecosystem conservation status in the EU to be unfavourable. The region’s consumption patterns also have considerable negative impacts on biodiversity.

While the Eurostat assessment found significant progress on five SDGs: peace, justice and strong institutions (SDG 16); no poverty (SDG 1); industry, innovation and infrastructure (SDG 9); decent work and economic growth (SDG 8); and affordable and clean energy (SDG 7), it did not fully reflect the impacts of the Russian invasion of Ukraine and COVID-19 pandemic.

The report noted moderate progress in the areas of health and well-being (SDG 3), life below water (SDG 14), gender equality (SDG 5), sustainable cities and communities (SDG 11), reduced inequalities (SDG 10), responsible consumption and production (SDG 12), quality education (SDG 4), climate action (SDG 13), and zero hunger (SDG 2). It recorded a “neutral” assessment of the region’s progress on SDG 17 (partnerships for the Goals) and SDG 6 (clean water and sanitation), given an “almost equal number of sustainable and unsustainable developments.”

Issued on 23 May 2022, the report is the sixth in a series of annual monitoring assessments launched by the EU’s statistics office in 2017. Based on an indicator set developed to monitor progress towards the SDGs in an EU context, it aims to provide an objective assessment of whether the EU has advanced towards the Goals over the past five- and 15-year periods.

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