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Striving towards an equitable, democratic and sustainable society

The European Bureau of Library, Information and Documentation Associations is an independent umbrella association of library, information, documentation and archive associations and institutions in Europe.

Sustainable Development Goal 11.

1. EU Programmes likely to be relevant for libraries

LIFE programme

The LIFE Programme s the EU Funding instrument for the environment and climate action.

  • The Environment sub-programme includes Funds for nature conservation and biodiversity, environment and resource efficiency, environmental governance and information;
  • The Climate action sub-programme includes Funds for climate change mitigation, climate change adaptation, climate governance and information.

Cities and urban development

The Commission is working together with cities to ensure a good quality of life. The Commssion helps cities to grow sustainably through sharing of knowledge, funding and other urban policies and initiatives.

Priority themes for EU cities are:

1) Air quality in cities;

2) Circular economy in cities;

3) Climate adaptation in cities;

4) Culture in cities;

5) Digital transition in cities;

6) Energy transition in cities;

7) Housing in cities;

8) Innovative and responsible public procurement in cities;

9) Inclusion of migrants and refugees in cities;

10) Jobs and skills in the local economy;

11) Sustainable use of land and nature-based solutions in cities;

12) Urban mobility;

13) Urban poverty.

Sustainable Urban development

The 2014-2020 period has put the urban dimension at the very heart of Cohesion Policy. At least 50% of the ERDF resources for this period will be invested in urban areas. This could increase even further, later in the period. Around 10 billion euros from the ERDF will be directly allocated to integrated strategies for sustainable urban development. And about 750 cities will be empowered to implement these integrated strategies for sustainable urban development.

Landfill of waste

The Landfill Directive defines the different categories of waste (municipal waste, hazardous waste, non-hazardous waste and inert waste) and applies to all landfills, defined as waste disposal sites for the deposit of waste onto or into land. Landfills are divided into three classes: a) landfills for hazardous waste; b) landfills for non-hazardous waste; c) landfills for inert waste.

Bringing buildings into the circular economy

Sustainable buildings use less energy and materials, and are healthier and more comfortable spaces for occupants. Along with lower environmental impact, sus ainable buildings are relatively low cost to run and in the long term, more valuable properties. To move away from the linear economic model of ‘take, make, and waste’ and towards resource efficiency, Europe needs a sustainable built environment. And the buildings sector is one of the most resource consuming sectors in Europe - it accounts for approximately half of all extracted materials, half of total energy consumption, one third of water consumption and one third of waste generation.

That’s why the built environment is a key target in the European Commission’s policy for circular economy: a regenerative economic system in which resource and energy consumption are minimised.

Final Circular Economy package

On 4 March 2019, the European Commission adopted a comprehensive report on the implementation of the Circular Economy Action Plan. The report presents the main achievements under the Action Plan and sketches out future challenges to shaping our economy and paving the way towards a climate-neutral, circular economy where pressure on natural and freshwater resources as well as ecosystems is minimised. In 2015, the European Commission adopted an ambitious Circular Economy Action Plan, which includes measures that will helpstimulate Europe's transition towards a circular economy, boost global competitiveness, foster sustainable economic growth and generate new jobs.

The EU Action Plan for the Circular Economy establishes a concrete and ambitious programme of action, with measures covering the whole cycle: from production and consumption to waste management and the market for secondary raw materials and a revised legislative proposal on waste. Key elements of the revised waste proposal include:

  • A common EU target for recycling 65% of municipal waste by 2035
  • A common EU target for recycling 70% of packaging waste by 2030

EURES. The European Job Mobility Portal

EURES is a cooperation network designed to facilitate the free movement of workers within the EU 28 countries plus Switzerland, Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway.

The network is composed of: the European Coordination Office (ECO), the National Coordination Offices (NCOs), EURES Partners and the Associated EURES Partners.

Horizon 2020

By coupling research and innovation, Horizon 2020 is helping to achieve this with its emphasis on excellent science, industrial leadership and tackling societal challenges. The goal is to ensure Europe produces world-class science, removes barriers to innovation and makes it easier for the public and private sectors to work together in delivering innovation. Two year work programmes announce the specific areas that will be funded by Horizon 2020.

Construction and Demolition Waste (CDW)

Construction and demolition waste (CDW) is one of the heaviest and most voluminous waste streams generated in the EU. It accounts for approximately 25% - 30% of all waste generated in the EU and consists of numerous materials, including concrete, bricks, gypsum, wood, glass, metals, plastic, solvents, asbestos and excavated soil, many of which can be recycled.

CDW has been identified as a priority waste stream by the European Union. There is a high potential for recycling and re-use of CDW. Technology for the separation and recovery of construction and demolition waste is well established, readily accessible and in general inexpensive.


LEADER is a local development method which has been used for 20 years to engage local actors in the design and delivery of strategies, decision-making and resource allocation for the development of their rural arecultureas. It is implemented by around 2 600 Local Action Groups (LAGs), covering over 54% of the rural population in the EU and bringing together public, private and civil-society stakeholders in a particular area.

In the rural development context, LEADER is implemented under the national and regional Rural Development Programmes (RDPs) of each EU Member State, co-financed from the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development (EAFRD)

2. Library Policies

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3. Main Eurostat Indicators

Key trend in “Sustainable cities and communities” show the following evidence (Eurostat Report, pp 215 and ss):

  • Quality of housing in the EU has improved over the past five years;
  • Europeans perceive their residential areas as quieter and safer, but exposure to air pollution remains an issue;
  • Despite recent improvements, exposure of the urban population to fine particular matter remains high;
  • The degree of urbanisation only has a marginal influence on overcrowding, but strongly affects perception of noise pollution, crime and vandalism;
  • Poor people tend to face more challenges in their living situation, especially in cities;
  • Cars are the main means of transport in the EU;
  • Despite good progress since 2001, stagnation in reducing the level of road fatalities in recent years has pushed the EU off track to meeting its 2020 target;
  • More environmentally friendly modes of municipal waste management in the EU;
  • Connection rates to wastewater treatment are increasing;
  • Settlement area per capita has increased.


Goal 11’s attainment is monitored through the following main indicators: Source: EU SDG Indicator set 2019, p. 21-22:

Goal 11’s attainment is monitored through the following main indicators



4. Library Indicators

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Library Indicators enabling the evaluation of library performances and how they can match SDG indicators.


Goal 11: Make cities inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable

"Goal 11: Make cities inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable"


Almost three-quarters of the EU population live in urban areas — cities, towns and suburbs — with more than 40% residing in cities alone (1 ). The share of the urban population in Europe is projected to rise to just over 80% by 2050 (2 ). Cities, towns and suburbs are therefore essential for Europeans’ well-being and quality of life. They also serve as hubs for economic and social development and innovation. They attract many people thanks to the wide range of opportunities for education, employment, entertainment and culture on offer. This large concentration of people and wealth, however, often comes with a range of complex challenges. Ensuring sustainable and healthy mobility, such as walking or cycling, through better urban planning and by improving the accessibility and attractiveness of public transport systems, among other measures, is one of these challenges. Another is dealing with cities’ negative environmental impacts, such as the spread of the settlement areas or the large amounts of waste generated in urban areas.

Within the EU, the urban dimension is at the very heart of EU Cohesion Policy. More than EUR 100 billion is being invested up to 2020 to support urban mobility, energy efficiency, as well as urban renewal, research and innovation capacity, and regeneration of deprived communities. Making the Union's cities more sustainable is one of the priorities of the 7th Environment Action Programme.

Targets and Indicators:


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