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The European Commission, in response to a proposal from CSR Europe and in support with the EU Multi-stakeholder Platform on SDGs, has launched the first European Sustainability Award to recognise the initiatives working towards reaching the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
The award will be given to inspiring initiatives from business, organisations and European people, that are focused on turning the SDGs into concrete solutions and opportunities.
The competition is divided into four stakeholder categories: private, public, civil society and youth. The category for private sector is further divided into two subcategories: large companies and SMEs (small and medium-sized enterprises).
The first edition of the award will run under the theme “Empowering people and ensuring inclusiveness and equality”, linked to the goals 4, 8, 10, 13, 16 and 17. Every year a new them will be chosen, based on the theme selected by the High Level Political Forum of the United Nations.
The winners will be selected by a jury of members from the Multi-Stakeholder Platform and announced at a high-level ceremony in spring 2019 by the European Commission First-Vice President Frans Timmermans and Vice-President Jyrki Katainen.
First Vice-President Frans Timmermans said: "The EU led the way in negotiating the Sustainable Development Goals, and now we must lead the way in implementing them. This award will celebrate those that help to make it happen".
Vice-President Jyrki Katainen added: "Innovation and creativity are crucial elements of making the Sustainable Development Goals a reality for Europe and the world. I am pleased that we can draw attention to some of the great projects which are making a contribution."
Jan Noterdaeme, Senior Advisor at CSR Europe, said: “Our ambition, when proposing the Award to the European Commission in 2016, was to raise awareness of the SDGs in the EU by giving a human face to the efforts and creativity of European people, businesses and organisations.”
CSR Europe is one of the members of the EU Multi-stakeholder-Platform on SDGs, chaired by the EC Vice-President Frans Timmermans. In response to the proposals of CSR Europe, SDG Watch and the European Economic and Social Committee (EESC) in 2016, the Platform was set up by the European Commission in 2017 to support and advise the Commission on the implementation of the SDGs in the European Union.