Xavier Remongin / agriculture.gouv.fr

The ambition of the United Nations’ sustainable development goals (SDG) is to provide a way forward toward a better, more just and sustainable world. The international commitment of France translates into a roadmap that has been developed with all parties and in which the Ministry of Agriculture has an important role to play.

In September 2015, the United Nations adopted the 2030 sustainable development program: 17 goals, broken down into 169 targets, to create a more just and sustainable society. 193 countries agreed to get behind this 2030 Agenda after two years of negotiations on a common project on the scale of humanity. These countries committed themselves to the same goals, which concern all sectors: poverty, health, education, food, labor, infrastructure, environment, etc.

The Ministry of Agriculture and Food is leading France’s implementation of two of these SDGs:

  • SDG #2, “zero hunger”, which consists of “Ending hunger, achieving food security and improved nutrition and promoting sustainable agriculture”
  • SDG #14, “Life below water” or in developedConserve and sustainably use the oceans, seas and marine resources for sustainable development”

The Ministry of Agriculture is also associated with nine other SDGs, which are good health and wellbeing (SDG 3), quality education (SDG 4), gender equality (SDG 5), clean water and sanitation (SDG6), affordable and clean energy (SDG7), decent work and economic growth (SDG 8), responsible consumption and production (SDG 12), climate action (SDG 13), and life on land (SDG 15), where one finds issues linked to preserving biodiversity and managing soils and forests). This makes the Ministry of Agriculture one of the most involved ministries in the development of the 2030 Agenda.

The program is ambitious. The number of target (169), shows the complexity of this commitment. Numerous indicators allow to measure the advancement of progress. Certain indicators are selected by the UN and other were able to be chosen by France (99). The SDGs offer a framework for change, a project for the future which indicates the direction to take. Before implementing an action, ideally, it should be analyzed under the prism of the SDGs: Does it contribute to meeting one of the target? Does it risk causing negative impacts for another target? If yes, do we decide to nonetheless take the action? And it is not only governments that are concerned: NGOs, charities, organizations, businesses, local governments and citizens must also be involved in the decision-making.

This logic of collaboration has predominated in developing the national roadmap of France for implementing the SDGs.

Implementing SDG #2

The Ministry of Agriculture is showcasing agroecology, written into French law since 2014, as the guiding principle of transitioning the agricultural modes of production. This agro-ecological transition, which requires changing mindsets and a deep reorganization of conventional agricultural production systems, is naturally a long-term plan with a holistic approach. It can notably help to meet many of the important targets of the SDGs. Among other issues laid out by the ministry, one can find the following goals: improving farmers’ incomes through better value-sharing, and promoting healthy, safe, and sustainable food systems that are accessible to all.

Implementing SDG #14

SDG 14 is part of the sustainable development program for the sustainable conservation and use of the oceans, seas, and maritime resources: Reducing sea pollution, protecting marine ecosystems, reducing acidification, effective fishing regulations, preserving marine and coastal ecosystems, and deepening scientific knowledge.
This action plan will be regularly examined to take into account changes, successes, and failures in order to not lose sight of our sustainable development goals. These documents will replace former national strategies on sustainable development, which were developed periodically, then broken down into different industry strategies.