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European Sustainable Development Week: goals to change the world

15 September 2023 Community
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The European Sustainable Development Week (ESDW) will be held from 18 September to 8 October to raise awareness about the goals of sustainable development. The Week is about how to concretely act at individual and collective scale to promote initiatives in this way. In the same time, the European Mobility Week (EMW) wants to encourage the general audience choose more sustainable means of travel.

A French initiative that turned European in 2015, the Sustainable Development Week was created in 2003 and aimed at sharing with all the 17 sustainable development goals (SDG) of the UNO 2030 Agenda. AS the French ministry for ecological transition underlines, this initiative reminds that “all actions matter, including the little gestures in the everyday life, to deeply transform our societies”.


17 objectives and a common platform


In September 2015, the 193 Member States of the UNO adopted the sustainable development programme to achieve by 2030. According to the French ministerial website dedicated to the sustainable development goals, the Agenda 2030 is “an agenda for populations, for the planet, for prosperity, for peace and for partnerships”. It provides “a vision of transformation of our world by eradicating poverty and ensuring its transition to sustainable development”.

In concrete terms, the goal of the European Sustainable Development Week, which is seamlessly in line with this project, is to “facilitate the organisation of activities promoting sustainable development” and, most of all, “make these contributions visible on a common platform”, say promoters of the project. On this platform, you can find all the initiatives, activities, projects and events from associations, individuals or institutions, in France and other European countries, including Germany, but also in most European countries, listed according to the 17 SDGs.

The main selection criterion to participate in the ESDW is that the project/initiative includes at least one of the three aspects of sustainable development (environment, social or economic). In detail, these initiatives may take the form of exhibitions, the organisation of markets, debates, film screenings, association activities, sustainable companies initiatives or education projects. You can access the database using an interactive map, by country.


50 countries in sustainable mobility and a phot contest


Almost at the same time, from 16 to 22 September, the European Mobility Week (EMW) is also held, which aims at “raising awareness among citizens and local authorities in many European countries to choose travel modes that are more respectful of the environment”.

Under supervision of the European Commission, this Week is also an opportunity for local and territorial authorities to “share the actions and activities they do in favour of green mobility”, such as: pedestrian ways, bike lanes, car-free days, and more. With this year’s theme Save Energy, most of these actions, listed and sorted by country on the website dedicated to the event, are deployed in 50 countries. There are about a hundred for France, ranging from the organisation of digital events to debate nights, experiences and presentations of new soft mobilities, and even bike repair workshops!

To be noted that in 2023, the European Sustainable Development Week and the mobility week join forces to launch the very first photo contest, Zoom sur la transition écologique en action (Focus on ecological transition in action) (in French) to show commitment in this field. The contest is open until 28 September, and the photo showcasing these actions must be in line with the 17 SDGs. It should particularly focus on “active mobilities, public transports or other clean and smart transport on the one hand, and the challenges of energy thriftiness”, say organisers of the contest.


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