Luxembourg faces four key challenges
In July, Luxembourg presented the contents of its 2030 Agenda in New York, at the United Nations conference on the 17 sustainable development goals. Luxembourg's agenda focuses on four challenges arising from these goals that are relevant for the country: dynamic demographic development, the diversity of the resident working population, the economy's heavy dependence on one sector and the pressures on the environment and climate in a globalised world.
In view of these challenges, the report drafted by the Commission interdépartementale de développement durable (Interdepartmental Sustainable Development Commission) defines six priority fields of action:
- Ensure social inclusion and an education for all, in order to enable a very large section of the population to participate in society;
- Plan and coordinate land use, in order to meet the increasing need for housing and ensure the protection of natural resources and biodiversity;
- Ensure sustainable mobility to curb the negative impact of traffic on climate change, land use and economic competitiveness;
- Stop the degradation of the environment in order to safeguard natural heritage and ensure the proper functioning of terrestrial and aquatic ecosystems;
- Diversify the economy, in order to avoid the negative effects of a major shock in one sector;
- Protect the climate, so assume responsibilities in the context of the Paris agreement by reducing greenhouse gases.
A worrying demographic change
Over the last decade, demographic change has accelerated in Luxembourg: while 469.086 people lived in Luxembourg in 2006, the population rose to 576,249 people in 2016, with a forecast of 1,066,377 inhabitants by 2080. This trend is exceptional in the European Union. For comparison, Eurostat forecasts an almost stagnant population for the EU by 2080 (+1.7%).
Yet Luxembourg is also characterised by its cross-border workers, who represent some 45% of domestic employment, adding to the resident population in terms of wealth creation, but also the consumption of resources, traffic, etc.
All this has a negative impact on the environment that makes Luxembourg a great place to live, but which also limits the available space. According to the report, the danger of land fragmentation is the highest among the 29 European countries , which has negative effects on biodiversity and ecosystems.
A final point highlighted by the report is the relatively high dependence on the financial sector – this sector alone accounts for 27% of Luxembourg's GDP.
So in order to combine healthy demographic change, a dynamic economy and a healthy environment, the government has adopted the report 'Mise en œuvre de l’Agenda 2030 au et par le Luxembourg – Transformer les vies tout en préservant la planète' (Implementation of the 2030 Agenda in and by Luxembourg – Transforming lives while preserving the planet'.
(Article written by the editorial team of the luxembourg.lu portal)