Updated: One pandemic, numerous lessons and 17 goals that we must not put in lockdown

In a response to the Covid19 crisis that sweep the world, several EEAC member bodies drafted statements or posted blogs.

The German Council for Sustainable Development (RNE) just launched it’s recommendation, entitled: ‘A sustainable recovery from the coronavirus crisis’. In their recomendation, the RNE argues that the strategy for tackling the economic and social consequences of the pandemic should have a sound approach which complements the global Sustainable Development Goals right from the start. There will be no financial leeway for fundamental readjustments later on, the council argues. In their recommendation, the council members of the RNE propose eight steps for a sustainable recovery from the Covid19 crisis.

In addtion, the Luxembourg High Council for Sustainable Development published a statement (FR) in mid-May.  The statement addresses the Government of Luxembourg, and urges to draw lessons from and respond to the Covid-19 crisis and its aftermath. The Council  stresses that no country will be able to emerge from this crisis alone. In the context of Europe Day on 9 May, the Council thus joined the initiative of the EEAC Network, by reiterating the consensus that the pandemic reinforces the need to actively pursue the implementation of the Green Pact for Europe (Green Deal) and Agenda 2030.

Also the Irish National Economic and Social Council are undertaking research to contribute to Ireland’s policy response to Covid19. The Council dedicated a special area on their website where research reports are published. This research work, in normal circumstances, would be used to produce NESC reports, which would be published following detailed deliberation by the Council. By putting it in the public domain earlier, it is hoped this research can help those now working on the response to Covid-19. Learn more

The Council for the Sustainable Development of Catalonia earlier released a statement, entitled ‘One pandemic, numerous lessons and 17 goals that we must not put in lockdown’. In this statement the Council argues that the Covid19 pandemic force us to reinterpret the world and the way we live, and it stresses the need for the implementation of the 2030 Agenda and the importance to act.

The Finnish Expert Panel for Sustainable Development posted a blog based on the statement issued by the Expert Panel to the Parliament’s Committee for the Future on 25 March 2020 regarding the European Green Deal and the implications of the Covid19 crisis. In the blog, entitled ‘Coronavirus fostering the implementation of the European Green Deal and boosting sustainability transformation’ the Expert Panel touches upon the expected consequences of Covid19 for the European Green Deal and describes how the sustainability transformation should rise from the ashes of the crisis.

Latest publication: Sustainable supply chains

In this latest publication the German Council for Sustainable Development (RNE) shares recommendation for effectively embedding sustainability and human rights in global supply chains. The publication followed an update of the German National Sustainable Development Strategy.

In the course of updating this National Sustainable Development Strategy, the German Federal Government replaced the existing management rules with six principles of sustainable development. These principles are as follows: 1. Systematic application across the board of sustainable development as a guiding principle 2. Assumption of responsibility globally 3. Safeguarding of natural resources as foundation for a good life 4. Strengthening of sustainable business practice 5. Protection and improvement of social cohesion in an open society 6. Use of education, science and innovation as drivers of sustainable development.

Principles 2–4 in particular are the main focus of the RNE recommendation. The RNE is advocating that due diligence regarding social and environmental aspects be embedded in globally linked supply chains and business relations by means of a smart mix. This smart mix comprises legal requirements and mandatory framework conditions, the outlining of minimum standards as well as voluntary initiatives in the business world and civil society. Read More

How will the Covid19 crisis influence European energy and climate policies

The context in which the European energy and climate transition is taking place changes by the day due to the Covid19 crisis.  Inevitably this changing context will affect the EU’s energy and climate policies. In order to obtain a better understanding of  how the Covid19 crisis will influence European energy and climate policies, the EEAC Working Group invited Milan Elkerbout of the Center for European Policy Studies to provide the working group with an online policy briefing on this issue.

During the session, Milan touched upon both the short-term and the longer-term impacts of Covid19 on EU energy and climate policies. With this session the EEAC Working Group on Energy and Climate Change provided participants with an enhanced understanding of the short-term and longer-term impact of the Covid19 crisis on EU Energy and Climate Policies. An outcome document will be shared in due time.

Latest publication: Towards an ambitious environmental policy in Germany and Europe

The German Advisory Council on the Environment (SRU) published a new Environmental Report entitled “Towards an ambitious environmental policy in Germany and Europe” on May 14th 2020. Against the background of the Corona pandemic, climate change and biodiversity loss are currently receiving less attention. However, the long-term threat to the natural foundations of life persists.

The current crisis has also revealed that our lives and economic activities are vulnerable to a previously unsuspected degree. As different as the two crises are, one thing they have in common is that they can only be overcome through collective and decisive action. The resuscitation of the economy which is now required should be used to find new ways of doing things.

“Large-scale economic stimulus packages must be ecologically sustainable”, says SRU Chair Prof. Claudia Hornberg. “Investments should be made in solutions that promote an environmentally safe development of the economy.” The German government, she adds, should seek to ensure that the economic stimulus packages brought in by the EU are also designed to help implement the European Green Deal. Read More

Latest publication: A toolkit to promote sustainable systemic transformation in Finland

The Global Sustainable Development Report shows that we are heading towards the sustainable development goals of Agenda 2030, but much too slowly. Inequality is increasing, climate change is advancing, biodiversity is decreasing, and waste volumes are growing. These phenomena are affected by several interconnected factors. However, we can change course if we identify the interlinkages between the aforementioned problems and steer our societies comprehensively in a more sustainable direction. The Finnish Expert Panel on Sustainable Development has now published recommendations that focus more closely on what these interlinkages mean in the Finnish context and what actions need to be taken. Read More