High-Level Conference


SDGs, Climate and the Future of Europe


Milan - May 31st 2018
UniCredit Pavilion
Piazza Gae Aulenti, 10


The European conference on “SDGs, Climate and the Future of Europe” of May 31st 2018 in Milan, hosted by the Italian Alliance for Sustainable Development (see www.asvis.it), will take place at a critical moment when Europeans reflect on their future. It is the responsibility of each one of us, as suggested by President Macron's call for Conventions on the future of Europe. It is the responsibility of the Commission, in shaping its Communication on the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), the EU budget & 2020-2025 programme. It is the responsibility of the Heads of State and Government, who should be ready to ‘innovate’. An 'Enhanced Partnership' between European Union Members and state and non-state actors will be proposed, in order to make Europe the world leader in ‘polylateralism’, to accelerate the implementation of the SDGs and climate agreements, together with a new narrative for Europe.

The conference will advance a new narrative for Europe based on the SDGs. The 2030 Agenda’s 'Transforming Our World' is an invitation to 'Transform Our Europe' and to make Europeans the champions of the 'leap forward of humanity' that is necessary to face the challenges of the 21st century. Achieving the 17 SDGs of the 2030 Agenda, including No Poverty, Zero Hunger in an inclusive economy and financial system would definitely be a leap forward for humankind. Europeans should catch the vast opportunities offered by the implementation of the SDGs and the climate agreements to improve the well-being in Europe and to exercise a global constructive role to reach the targets of the SDGs in time.

To do that, it is necessary to build the 'new social contract' generated by the SDGs and the climate agreements, as highlighted by the United Nations, and to show 'resilience' to the threats that weigh in, especially by reinforcing the effectiveness of coalitions and partnerships. Indeed, the latest Eurostat report on the 'performance' of the European Union in the implementation of the SDGs shows that the objectives for which Europeans are the least successful are, in decreasing order: Gender Equality, Decent Work, No Poverty, Zero Hunger, and, lastly, Reduced Inequalities. That says a lot about the state of society in Europe, its values and the way to go.

The push needed to achieve the 2030 Agenda and the SDGs within 12 years has not been strong enough, neither globally nor at the European level. It is no longer about walking, it is about running! At the European level, in the areas covered by the SDGs and the climate agreements, multiple coalitions are in place with their commitments and champions. It is time to innovate, to be inclusive and to upscale cooperation through a 'Revolutionary Alliance' based on a synergy between the four revolutions (digital, environmental, financial, ethical) and an ‘enhanced partnership’ at the highest level between the EU and its Member States on the one hand and all other state and non-state actors on the other.

The Milan Conference will discuss these issues with the participation of European Institutions, businesses, civil society representatives and subject matter experts, including some members of the «Multistakeholder Platform» established by the European Commission. It will provide a unique opportunity to develop a strong contribution to the European Commission’s «reflection paper», which is under preparation.

Read the preparatory documents:

On May 30th, two side events of the international Conference will take place:



8:30 - 9:30 Registration and welcome coffee

9:30 – 10:00 Welcome addresses

  • Giuseppe Sala, Mayor of the City of Milan
  • Gianni Franco Papa, General Manager of UniCredit
  • Pierluigi Stefanini, President of the Italian Alliance for Sustainable Development
  • Beatrice Covassi (Head of the European Commission representation to Italy)

10:00 – 10:20 The European Union and the SDGs

10:20 – 11:00 Introductory speeches: Make the European Union “the” world champion of sustainable development
Co-facilitated by Dasa Sasic Silovic, Europe Ambition 2030 & CEE Gender and Virgilio Dastoli*, Europe Ambition 2030 & European Movement-Italy

  • Europe New Narrative, by Marta Bonifert, Europe Ambition 2030 & Hungarian Business Leaders Forum
  • Enhanced Partnership, 2018 the year of "polylateralism", by Raymond Van Ermen, Europe Ambition 2030.
  • Poverty increase, inequalities, debt and the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals, by Bruno Colmant, Head of Macro Research Banque Degroof Petercam, Solvay Business School ULB

11:00 - 11:20 Keynote speech by Frans Timmermans, First Vice-President of the European Commission

11:20 – 12:30 Roundtable “Towards a EU2030 Strategy for sustainable development”
Chairperson: Mark Bendeich, Bureau Chief, Southern Europe, Thomson Reuters

  • Udo Bullmann, Chair of the Group of the Progressive Alliance of Socialists and Democrats in the European Parliament
  • Silvia Ganzerla, Policy Director of Eurocities
  • Luca Jahier, President of the European Economic and Social Committee
  • Antonio Tajani*, President of the European Parliament
  • Nathalie Tocci, Director of the Institute for International Affairs


12:30 – 13:00 Keynote speech by Paolo Gentiloni Silveri, Prime Minister of Italy

13:00 – 14:15 Lunch

14:15 – 15.15 High-Level Dialogue on “The role of the private sector in achieving the SDGs in Europe”
Co-facilitated by Sergio Rizzo, Deputy Editor-in-Chief, la Repubblica

  • Pietro Bertazzi, Head of Sustainable Development, Global Reporting Initiative
  • Stefan Crets, Executive Director of CSR Europe
  • Alain Dehaze, CEO of The Adecco Group
  • Jeffrey Hedberg, CEO of Wind Tre
  • Simone Mori, Head of European Affairs of Enel
  • Giovanni Ronca, Co-Head Italy of UniCredit

15:15 - 15:35 Keynote speech by Guy Ryder, Director General of the International Labour Organisation

15:35 – 16:45 High-Level Round Table on “Climate change, circular economy, innovation and social pillar: key instruments for achieving sustainable development”
Co-facilitated by Peter Schmidt, President of the EESC's Sustainable Development Observatory and Ingeborg Niestroy, Steering Group, SDG Watch Europe

  • Carlo Carraro, President of the European Association of Environmental and Resource Economists and Senior Fellow, CMCC
  • Lieve Fransen, Rapporteur of the High-Level Task force on Investing in social infrastructure in Europe
  • Montserrat Mir Roca, Confederal Secretary of ETUC
  • Pietro Negri, President of the Italian Sustainable Investment Forum

16:45 - 17:30 Conclusions: Rethink Europe
Co-facilitated by Bettina Laville, Europe Ambition 2030 & Comité 21 and Geraldine Walsh, Europe Ambition 2030 & EPE, co-signatories of the letter ‘Rethink Europe’

  • Vincenzo Boccia, President of the General Confederation of Italian Industry
  • Enrico Giovannini, Italian Alliance for Sustainable Development
  • Rossalina Madjirova*, Chair of the Council working group on Agenda 2030 (invited)
  • Malini Mehra, Executive Director of Globe International, Ambassador of the Global Challenges Foundation 


* To be confirmed


Download the Programme

Download the preparatory documents:

New narrative on the Future of Europe

Transformed Europe. VISION 2030 of a Europe that has successfully implemented the SDGs