Greece is significantly lagging behind in the implementation of the SDGs. In 2018, it ranked fourth from last amongst the 35 OECD countries and, although OECD countries on average had achieved 58% of the 17 targets over time, Greece had an implementation rate of 49%. It also records lower performance in terms of gender equality and education, while in the areas of poverty and health it is just below the OECD average.
Good performance in the process of achieving sustainable development goals requires good economic performance. Greece, which has recently emerged from a prolonged economic recession – accompanied by a shrinking labour market, a loss of social structures and benefits, uncertainty, migration of young people in search of better economic conditions – achieving the sustainable development objectives by 2030 is becoming difficult, «as solid economic foundations are lacking». Efforts to implement the SDGs have been set back by the pandemic, which threatens a sharp halt to the recovery of the Greek economy that had previously experienced growth in the order of 2%. The pandemic crisis risks exacerbating the long-term challenges facing Greece in the labour market. It is noted that while the employment rate has increased over the last six years, it is still among the lowest among the OECD countries, while wages remain low.
In conclusion, the chronic shortcomings in integration policies combined with the economic recession impeded the integration and participation on an equal footing of the refugee and migration population of the country in its economic and social life, as well as the harmonious coexistence of all social groups, thus weakening their dynamic contribution to sustainable development efforts. It seems that the pledge to ‘leave no one behind’ will not be realised in Greece easily.
This background paper is based on ActionAid’s monitoring report which explores Greece’s steps towards achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) under the UN Agenda 2030. The report presents the main actions of the central government with the aim to integrating both refugees and migrants and explores the ways integration connects to SDGs. Finally, it includes a section with recommendations to the Greek authorities for a national strategy for the successful implementation of the SDGs.