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Engagement of civil society, private sector and other stakeholders

Civil society, private sector and other stakeholders engagement is one of the key strands of the “whole of government approach” to implementing the SDGs by the Commission. Both are an important part for a holistic strategy towards reaching the goals

Delivering on the SDGs is not only a matter for public authorities; it also requires the full participation of civil society and the private sector. For SDGs implementation to be effective, they must be actively supported by communication that engages with citizens, national, regional, and local authorities, media, civil society organisations, the private sector, and stakeholders on the ground. The benefits should be clearly presented, while remaining challenges should be addressed in a transparent manner.

The sustained involvement of civil society organisations, social partners, national, regional and local authorities, and EU-level organisations, including the European Economic and Social Committee and the Committee of the Regions, are important for mobilising the national-level stakeholders and regional communities that are key to the SDG delivery. In this regard, the European Climate Pact (link) facilitates interaction with citizens and organisations on how climate action can support progress towards SDG 13 and a range of interrelated SDGs.

In terms of public participation, the Commission is committed to giving EU citizens a greater say in what the EU does and how it works for them; this is consistent with SDG 16. The EU is actively encouraging the participation of citizens, businesses and stakeholders in the EU policymaking process. Anyone – not just EU citizens – can provide feedback online throughout the entire policymaking cycle via the Commission’s Have Your Say portal, which has also been used for this voluntary review. Overall, the Commission has published more than 5 000 feedback opportunities and received more than 3 million contributions.

The Conference on the Future of Europe was a unique opportunity for structured debates with citizens on key priorities, including how to deliver on the SDGs. More than 750 000 participants shared and debated close to 19 000 ideas. Building on the success of the Conference on the Future of Europe, citizens’ panels are now part of the Commission’s policymaking in certain key areas. The Conference led to commitments for new policy initiatives often contributing to a range of relevant SDGs. In 2023, the new generation of citizens’ panels will deliberate on initiatives on food waste, learning mobility, and virtual worlds.