When the leaders of 189 countries adopted the Millennium Declaration and the accompanying eight MDGs, they set themselves the deadline of 2015 for reducing extreme poverty. Much has been achieved in the intervening years “to free fellow men, women and children from the abject and dehumanising condition of extreme poverty”, and still more remains to be accomplished between now and the deadline. Progress has proven uneven among countries and regions and some targets are still off-track.

The Sustainable Development Goals will contribute to a new international framework to succeed the Millennium Development Goals. The framework will be universal and apply to all on the basis of a partnership between all countries, as well as with civil society and the private sector. The framework will be based on the three dimensions of sustainable development: social, environmental and economic.

This Communication builds on the existing EU position, as laid down in the Council Conclusions of June 2013. It seeks to further elaborate key principles; to set out possible priority areas and potential target topics for the post-2015 framework; to propose options to cluster these priority areas; and to address the need for a new global partnership.

The Commission has identified key priority areas that could be contained in the post-2015 framework because of their key contribution to the overarching objective of poverty eradication and sustainable development. The areas that have been identified are: Poverty, inequality, food security, health, education, gender equality, water and sanitation, employment and energy and sustainable growth, sustainable consumption and production, biodiversity, land degradation and sea and oceans.

The Communication will now be discussed by the Council of Ministers and the European Parliament. The outcome will guide the EU’s position in the negotiations at UN level and contribute to the preparation of the UN Secretary General’s report on the post-2015 framework, due later in the year. The conclusions of the Open Working Group are expected to be published next month.

Last modified on June 24 2014.