The EU’s Role in the Implementation of the SDGs in Asia Pacific

The Jean Monnet Sustainable Development Goals Network brings together researchers, policy think tanks and Non-Government Organisations who share a primary interest in enhancing the effective contribution of the EU to the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in the Asia Pacific. It is supported by the Erasmus+ Programme of the European Union.

In September 2015, the United Nations unanimously adopted the 2030 Agenda, seventeen Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to shape international efforts to promote a sustainable, peaceful and equitable world by 2030. Each Goal is accompanied by a set of more specific targets with indicators to measure progress.

The European Union (EU) is the global leader in development policy and aid. The EU was an active contributor throughout the process of the development of the SDGs. In June 2016, the EU released Shared Vision, Common Action: A Stronger Europe, the EU’s Global Strategy for its Foreign and Security Policy. It aims for global prosperity and speaks about building resilient societies which require fulfilling the SDGs worldwide. In November 2016, the European Commission released a statement for the EU institutions: Proposal for a new European Consensus on Development – Our World, our Dignity, our Future. The paper outlined a framework for implementation of the SDGs under the priorities of People, Planet, Prosperity and Peace. It emphasised that the Goals can best be met through enhanced cooperation of the EU and its Member States which is possible only through the EU integration process. Since then, this principle of collaboration and implementation has been reinforced for EU Member States and Asian nations through forums such as the Asia-Europe Meeting and the Asia-Europe Foundation. In the European Union, the SDGs are a central pillar of internal and external policy and action, across all levels of governance.

The Jean Monnet Sustainable Development Goals Network was established in 2017. The Network formalises the relationships amongst researchers, policy think tanks and Non-Government Organisations who share a primary interest in enhancing the effective contribution of the EU to the implementation of the SDGs in the Asia Pacific.

By strengthening collaboration amongst researchers and policy makers, the Network promotes a more effective evidence-base for EU institutions to engage with nations in the region to implement the SDGs. Its core question is: how can European Union integration be more effective in supporting the implementation of the SDGs in Asia and the Pacific than would be possible for individual Member States? How can this role be developed further?

PI Professor Bruce Wilson, Director of EU Centre, RMIT University and Honorary Professor of Education, University of Glasgow

Other partners in the network are:

  • National Centre for Research on Europe, the University of Canterbury (NZ)
  • School of Education The University of Glasgow (Co-Is Professor Michele Schweisfurth and Professor Michael Osborne)
  • Centre for European Studies, Australian National University (ANU)
  • European Union Centre in Singapore, National University of Singapore (NUS) and Nanyang Technological University (NTU)

Start and End Date: 2017-2020

The Jean Monnet SDG Network is co-funded by the Jean Monnet Activities Erasmus+ Programme of the European Union. Project number: 587660-EPP-1-2017-1-AU-EPPJMO-NETWORK.   €300,000

Related Publications

Policy Briefs

SDG 1: End poverty in all its forms everywhere

By Dr Mathew Doidge and Dr Serena Kelly
National Centre for Research on Europe
University of Canterbury, New Zealand    

SDG 2: End hunger, achieve food security and improved nutrition and promote sustainable agriculture

By Associate Professor Lauren Rickards
and Dr Emma Shortis
School of Global, Urban and Social Studies
RMIT University

SDG 3: Ensure healthy lives and promote well-being for all at all ages

By Dr Debbi Long
Senior Lecturer, School of Global, Urban and Social Studies
RMIT University

SDG 4: Ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all

By Associate Professor Jose Roberto Guevara
RMIT University

SDG 5: Achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls

By Lavinia Hirsu, Lamiah Hashemi, and Zenaida Quezada-Reyes,
University of Glasgow, University of Kurdistan, Philippine Normal University

SDG 6: Ensure availability and sustainable management of water and sanitation for all

By Naomi Francis

Nossal Institute for Global Health and the School of Social and Political Sciences

University of Melbourne

SDG7: Ensure access to affordable, reliable, sustainable and modern energy for all

By Bradley Davison
RMIT University

SDG8: Promote sustained, inclusive and sustainable economic growth, full and productive employment and decent work for all

By Associate Professor Sharif As-Saber
RMIT University & GAIN International

SDG 9: Build resilient infrastructure, promote inclusive and sustainable industrialisation and foster innovation

By Associate Professor Jerry Courvisanos
Federation University

SDG10: Reduce inequality within and among countries

By Dr Mathew Doidge and Dr Serena Kelly

University of Canterbury, New Zealand    

SGD 11: Sustainable Cities and Communities

By Campbell Hughes
RMIT University

SGD 12: Responsible Consumption and Production

By Campbell Hughes
RMIT University



Spotlight on Australia's Progress on SDG 4

Australian Coalition for Education & Development (ACED)
May 2019

Jean Monnet SDG Network Research Roundtable 1 Report
October 2018

Jean Monnet SDG Network Research Roundtable 2 Report
October 2019



Wilson, Bruce, Doidge, Mathew, Shortis, Emma and Guevara, Roberto, "Collaborative Approaches to Implementing the United Nations SDG Agenda: A Policy Dialogue" Singapore, 13 June 2019.

Wilson, Bruce, “Introduction to the Jean Monnet Network,” RMIT Global Compact Cities Programme event “Building the SDGs from the Ground Up,” RMIT University, 20 March 2019.

Shortis, Emma, “Introducing the SDGs,” Workshop: Innovating with Purpose for the SDGs, RMIT University Engaging for Impact Conference, 20 February 2019.

Wilson, Bruce, “Keynote Address: Regional Resilience and Wellbeing: The Relevance of the Sustainable Development Goals,” Regional Studies Association Australasia Conference, University of Canterbury, New Zealand., 11-13 February 2019.


Journal Articles

As-Saber, Sharif, “The ‘Global/Local Black Value Chain’ in the Readymade Garment (RMG) Industry: An Ethics, Legal and Governance Perspective,” South Asia Journal, October 2018, 28-44.

As-Saber, Sharif, Waheduzzaman, Wahed, and Hamid, Mohotaj Binte, “Elite capture of local participatory governance,” Policy and Politics, Volume 46, Number 4, October 2018, pp. 645-662(18).

Doidge, Mathew, “The Changing Place of Development in EU–Asia Relations,” The European Journal of Development Research, Volume 29, Issue 4 (August 2017), pp 926–941.

Doidge, Mathew Shannon, William, and Holland, Martin, “A clash of internationalizations: New Zealand and the Bologna Process,” European Journal of Higher Education, 31 December 2018.

Guevara, Roberto, Osborne, Michael and Wilson, Bruce (eds.), Special Issue: Lifelong learning and sustainable development, Australian Journal of Adult Learning (AJAL), Volume 58, Number 3, November 2018.

Lai S., Holland M. and Kelly S. (2019) The Emperor's new clothes? Perceptions of the EU's strategic partnerships in Asia. Asia Europe Journal 17(3): 341-360.

Mori Junior, Renzo., Fien, J. and Horne, R., “Implementing the UN SDGs in Universities: Challenges, Opportunities, and Lessons Learned Implementing the UN SDGs in Universities: Challenges, Opportunities, and Lessons Learned,” Sustainability: The Journal of Record, Volume 12(2), 2019, pp.129-133. 

Neary, Joanne and Osborne, Michael, “University engagement in achieving sustainable development goals: A synthesis of case studies from the SUEUAA study,” Special Issue: Lifelong learning and sustainable development, Australian Journal of Adult Learning (AJAL), Volume 58, Number 3, November 2018.

Azizi, N.A., Borkowska, K., Houston, M., Ketuly, KA., Mohammad, S.A., Mwaikokesya, M., Neary, J., Nherera, C., Osborne, M., Reyes, Z. and Swanepoel, E. (2019) The Role of Higher Education for Displaced and Marginalized Peoples – The SUEUAA Project. Project Report. Centre for Research & Development in Adult and Lifelong Learning (CR&DALL), Glasgow. 

Borkowska, K. and Osborne, M.(2018) Locating the fourth helix: rethinking the role of civil society in developing smart learning cities. International Review of Education, 64(3), pp. 355-372.

Osborne, M. and Borkowska, K.(2017) A European lens upon adult and lifelong learning in Asia. Asia Pacific Education Review, 18(2), pp. 269-280.

Schweisfurth, M. and Elliott, J. (2019), When ‘best practice’ meets the pedagogical nexus: recontextualisation, reframing and resilience. Comparative Education, 55(1), pp. 1-8.

Carney, S. and Schweisfurth, M. (Eds.) (2018) Equity In and Through Education: Changing Contexts, Consequences and Contestations. Series: Comparative and international education (Sense Publishers). Koninklije Brill NV: Leiden.

Schweisfurth, M. , Davies, L., Pe Symaco, L. and Valiente, O. (2018) Higher education, bridging capital, and developmental leadership in the Philippines: Learning to be a crossover reformer. International Journal of Educational Development, 59, pp. 1-8.

Moskal, M. and Schweisfurth, M. (2018) Learning, using and exchanging global competence in the context of international postgraduate mobility. Globalisation, Societies and Education, 16(1), pp. 93-105.

Spiel, C., Schwartzman, S., Busemeyer, M., Cloete, N., Drori, G., Lassnigg, L., Schober, B., Schweisfurth, M. and Verma, S.(2018) The contribution of education to social progress. In: International Panel on Social Progress, (ed.)Rethinking Society for the 21st Century: Report of the International Panel for Social Progress. Cambridge University Press: Cambridge, pp. 753-778. 



Mascitelli, Bruno and Wilson, Bruce, So Distant, So Close: Australia and the European Union in the 21st Century(Australian Scholarly Publishing, 2018). 


Project news (impacts)

The European Union Centre at RMIT, which co-ordinates this network initiated a seminar series to address each of the 17 Sustainable Development Goals. Each seminar focuses on one Goal, offering an opportunity to explore the intent of the Goal, its targets, and some of the initiatives being undertaken to deliver on the targets. Each seminar will be accompanied by a Policy Brief, with those that are published listed above

The Jean Monnet SDG Network has also announced a series of workshops for graduate students and early career researchers (broadly defined) aimed at making sense of the emerging place of the SDGs in universities. The first workshops were held in 2019 at RMIT University.



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The EU’s Role in the Implementation of the SDGs in Asia Pacific