Three questi­ons for Eva Schmassmann

Eva Schmass­mann is head of the Coor­di­na­tion Office at Plat­form Agenda 2030. A co-initia­tor of the plat­form, she guided its stra­te­gic orien­ta­tion as direc­tor during its first two years before moving to her present role. In 2015 she was a CSO repre­sen­ta­tive in the offi­cial Swiss dele­ga­tion at the launch of Agenda 2030 for Sustainable Deve­lo­p­ment in New York.

1. Where does Switz­er­land stand in terms of imple­men­ting
Agenda 2030?

Switzerland’s progress on many of the SDGs is far ahead of other coun­tries: we enjoy a high stan­dard of educa­tion and excel­lent health­care. But there are still people in our coun­try whose disa­bi­li­ties or resi­dence status leave them with inade­quate access to educa­tion or medi­cal services. As a wealthy coun­try, we have a parti­cu­larly poor record in terms of resource consump­tion. We have a huge foot­print abroad and that means our pro capita contri­bu­tion to global warming is high. Because we import over half our consu­mer goods, we burden people in other coun­tries with envi­ron­men­tal pollu­tion and green­house gas emissions.

2. What can Swiss NGOs do to help us meet the SDGs?

The 17 SDGs offer broad scope for invol­ve­ment – and, unfor­tu­n­a­tely, there is plenty to do. It is important to me that we don’t just focus on one area – gender equality, health or preven­ting biodi­ver­sity loss, for example – because syner­gies are important. The SDGs are inter­con­nec­ted in many diffe­rent ways. As stake­hol­ders for sustaina­bi­lity, we also need to under­stand the import­ance of
networ­king. Because no one can achieve Agenda 2030 on their own.

3. In terms of the goals, where do you feel Switz­er­land has a parti­cu­lar responsibility?

As one of the wealt­hiest coun­tries, Switz­er­land must ensure that no one in our coun­try is left behind – ‘leave no one behind’ is a key Agenda 2030 pledge. If we are unwil­ling to spend money on this, we are a setting a bad example for poorer coun­tries. We also need to help ensure that other coun­tries are better posi­tio­ned to imple­ment Agenda 2030. It is parti­cu­larly important here that we gear our trade and tax poli­cies toward sustainability.

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