The pandemic has set back progress along the path towards implementation of the 2030 Agenda. One million deaths, deteriorating health and sanitation, the halt to normal education, the economic crisis and rising unemployment, increased violence against women during lockdowns and the financial difficulties of the poorest countries are just some of the factors that are having a negative impact on many of the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Italy too is undergoing a very serious crisis, with no clear endpoint in sight due to uncertainty about the evolution of the pandemic. Despite the extraordinary financial commitment made by the Italian government, the impact on income, employment and rising inequality is unprecedented, as described in last May’s ASviS Report. The 2019 updates of the composite indicators for the SDGs and the projected trends for 2020 set out in this Report confirm that Italy was not on a sustainable development path even before the pandemic.
One of the positive aspects to be noted in the last year is the European Union’s decision to focus on sustainable development. In the light of the European guidelines, the Government is also invited to:
• define the new procedures to be adopted by the Interministerial Committee for Economic Planning and Sustainable Development (CIPESS) – scheduled to start work on 1 January 2021 – for the evaluation of investment projects, including those financed by European funds, by undertaking a “sustainability audit”;
• create a public research body for studies of the future and strategic planning, to conduct research on the foreseeable evolution of social, environmental and economic aspects and assess their implications for public policies;
• adapt the legislation that provides for reporting on Fair and Sustainable Wellbeing indicators within the budget cycle, to bring it into line with the SDGs used in the European Semester;
• entrust the Parliamentary Budget Office with the task of carrying out quantitative assessments of the impact of the main planning and budgetary documents regarding the SDGs, in line with the approach adopted as part of the European Semester;
• set up a permanent civil society consultation platform for “cross-cutting” evaluation of the impact of legislative measures on the 2030 Agenda;
• propose a review of the structure of Parliamentary Committees, made necessary by the reduction in the number of members of parliament and senators, in order to encourage a more integrated analysis of the legislative measures regarding the various dimensions of the 2030 Agenda;
• review the content of Legislative Decree 254/2016 regarding non-financial reporting, making such reporting mandatory for all large companies, and gradually for medium-sized companies as well, whilst keeping it voluntary for small companies.
Several calls to action are set out in the final chapter of the Report, broken down into seven thematic areas: the climate crisis and energy; poverty and inequality; the circular economy, innovation and employment; human capital, health and education; natural capital and environmental quality; cities, infrastructure and social capital; and international cooperation.