A Politico-Legal Analysis of EU and Member State Action: A Case-Study on the Sustainable Development Goals

Wednesday, July 12, 2017
JWS - Room J15 (J375) (University of Glasgow)
Ries Kamphof , Clingendael Institute
This paper seeks to answer what political and legal factors enable or impede effective implementation of the Agenda2030 of the United Nations and its 17 Sustainable Development Goals in the European Union. The author finds that EU and Member States having different forms of powers and competences on the 17 policy areas related to the SDGs is making coherent implementation difficult. Furthermore, the negotiations themselves have not been conducted by the EU as a whole and the Agenda 2030 has been formally adopted by the Member States. Nevertheless, the SDGs bring unique transformative potential in bringing together the internal and external dimension of EU policies. In that way the SDGs could finally set the scene for formal ‘external’ competences of the EU mirroring the internal competences which could enable effective implementation of the Agenda2030. From a political point of view, the SDGs could form a unique framework to work coherently towards sustainable development in the EU both within the EU as well as in its external relations. Bringing in the specific tools of effective implementation is nevertheless dependent on political will from the Member States, which is not so much apparent according to the semi-structured interviews. The paper is oriented on comparing political and legal approaches of competences, which are hardly confronted in academic practice. The case-study paves the way for more interdisciplinary approaches and methodologies towards a politico-legal analysis of EU and Member State action focused on empirical research.  

  • Politico-legal analysis SDGs article Glasgow CES conference KAMPHOF.pdf (560.1 kB)