Online working session on the outcomes of the EU Environment Council Meeting

The EU Environment Council discussed the fitness-check of the EU water directives during its session on Thursday, March 5th. To provide the latest information and insights coming from the Council discussion, the EEAC Network’s Working Group on Water organized  an online working session a week later, on Thursday March 12th.

This meeting was subsequent to our recent online working session on the fitness-check of the EU water directives. This time we focused on the outcomes and possible consequences of the Environment Council meeting. Hagar Ligtvoet of the Permanent Representation of the Netherlands to the European Union kindly introduced the outcomes and possible consequences of the Council meeting during our working session.

 

EEAC joined the inaugural meeting of the Global Forum for National SDG Advisory Bodies

The EEAC Network formally endorsed the Global Forum for National SDG Advisory Bodies in September 2019 and joined the Global Forum’s inaugural meeting in Bogota from February 17 to 19 2020. The focus of this inaugural meeting was to identify the demands and capacities for SDG delivery for all network members, and to propose potential pathways and competencies for accelerated SDG implementation.

This unique gathering allowed all network members to become engaged in implementation through the structured exchange of experience with other network members and by developing roadmaps for implementation back-to-back with the identified demands and capacities. The EEAC Network was represented by its Working Group Co-Chair Gábor Bartus, supported by the Network’s coordinator Michiel de Vries.

Out now: The EEAC Working Session Summary: the ambitions and proposals of the EU Green Deal

The EEAC Network organized a working session on the European Green Deal in Brussels  on Thursday February 13th, 2020.

During the one day working session, EEAC members engaged with think-tanks and other EU oriented organizations to learn how these organizations perceive the ambitions and proposals included in the European Green Deal.

Experts from – among others –  Bruegel; IDDRI; IEEP, EEB, EESC-SDO, and EPC shared an overall assessment of the Green Deal’s content and potential, as well as more sector specific analyses.

Please click here to read the EEAC Working Session Outcome Summary.

 

Expert Session: International rail services

Better international accessibility by rail will contribute to economic competitiveness, international tourism and is increasingly important as a safe, energy-efficient and low carbon emission means of transport. In the light of climate change and the political wish to reduce short-distance flights (< 750-800 km), we see a new interest in international rail passengers transport. There are, however, multiple physical, technical and institutional obstacles to be tackled before Europe has a well-functioning network of frequent and fast international connections.

In this context, the Council for the Environment and Infrastructure (Rli) – in cooperation with fellow advisory bodies from Belgium (FRDO-CFDD) and Luxembourg (CSDD) – is preparing an advice on international passenger rail transport. To this end, a stakeholder meeting is organized in The Hague (the Netherlands) on January the 22nd.

The sessions are about identifying and prioritizing obstacles and possible solutions and will last about three hours. The morning session (in Dutch, 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.) or afternoon session (in English, 2 p.m. to 5 p.m.). If you are interested to join the event, please send an e-mail the secretariat@eeac.eu

 

 

EU Water Directives are fit for purpose: Now what’s next

The Working Group on Fresh Water Affairs met, together with other stakeholders, online to discuss the outcomes and possible consequences of the fitness checks of the EU Water Directives. Hans Stielstra (European Commission, DG Environment) guided the participants through the fitness check, its outcomes and its possible consequences for the work ahead.

Background

The European Commission launched the fitness check outcomes of the EU Water Directives just before the Holiday Season. In its communique, the European Commission made it clear the Water Framework Directive (WFD) is ‘fit for purpose’ and a critical pillar of the EU’s environmental legislation.

In its statements, the European Commission expressed its expectation that the momentum of the European Green Deal will allow to make a leap forward with regard to the fresh water policies in the EU. The Farm to Fork Strategy and the Zero-Pollution ambition are for example very relevant in this perspective.

Purpose

The purpose of the online gathering was to develop a clear and shared view of developments ahead and of the activities that we as network and as advisory bodies could undertake. In due course, a mainline summary will be produced on the basis of the session. For more information click here

Launch of the Sustainable Romania Project

The implementation and success of the 2030 Agenda also relies on the capacity of national policy-makers to formulate and set up their own agendas as well as their potential to foster connections with various stakeholders and to establish partnerships.

Romania has made important steps in the national implementation of the 2030 Agenda. In 2017 the Government established the Department of Sustainable Development which in 2018 revised the National Sustainable Development Strategy in accordance with the Agenda’s goals. The Department of Sustainable Development will continue to work closely with a wide range of stakeholders in order to implement in the next 3 years the project titled “Sustainable Romania Development of the strategic and institutional framework for the implementation of the National Sustainable Development Strategy of Romania 2030.

The main objective of the project is the implementation of the NSDS 2030 through the provision of an appropriate implementation framework, to increase institutional capacity of central authorities, to streamline communication and interinstitutional collaboration, ensure consistent monitoring of progress and integrate evidence-based public decisions.

The event aimed to launch the project and to facilitate the dissemination of information to relevant stakeholders regarding the objectives, the activities that will contribute to the achievement of the objectives and expected results of the project. The event also facilitated the exchange of best practices and knowledge in order to identify best directions to be followed for achieving the goals of the project. To this end both EEAC Chairman Arnau Queralt as well as representatives of the German Advisory Council for Sustainable Development were made a contribution.

Presenting the 2019 Europe sustainable development report

UNSDSN and IEEP  organised a conference to launch the 2019 Europe Sustainable Development report.

Together with the UN Sustainable Development Solutions Network (UNSDSN), IEEP developed the first EU Index and Dashboard on SDGs, following on the footsteps of the Global SDG Index produced by UNSDSN annually since 2015. This work is supported by the European Environment and Sustainable Development Advisory Councils Network (EEAC) and the Heinrich-Böll-Stiftung, and developed in cooperation with the European Economic and Social Committee (EESC) and the Finnish Presidency of the Council.

It is worth noting that the report complements the work by Eurostat, including assessing EU spillover effects in the global context. It identifies policy priorities for the European Union to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals and implement the Paris Climate Agreement. It compares the performance of the EU and its 28 member states on all 17 SDGs and provides detailed country profiles using a mix of data sources. The findings cane at a critical time for Europe. At the beginning of the new mandate for both the European Parliament and the European Commission.

The conference presented the report’s findings and provided the opportunity to explore strategies for achieving the Sustainable Development Goals in Europe. MEPs from across the political spectrum and SDGs experts debated on this challenging topic, with reactions from civil society and public institutions. Click here for more information.

Feeding on Future

The Advisory Council for the Sustainable Development of Catalonia (CADS) and the Public Diplomacy Council of Catalonia (Diplocat) hosted the ‘Feeding on Future’ International conference on food systems in Barcelona on 11 October 2019. This conference brought together relevant experts to debate the future of our food systems to deliver inclusive, sustainable and resilient societies. The conference was organized with support of the EEAC Network.

By 2050, the world population will exceed 9.8 billion inhabitants. This growth, the increase in purchasing power of large sections of the population that are in currently developing countries and the change in diet that this may bring about has led the FAO to estimate that there will be a gradual increase in global food demand as high as 60% by 2050. This, alongside the pressure that it may place on increasingly scarce natural resources, the impacts of climate change and the global change in food and agriculture production, has sounded the alarm over a possible world food crisis of vast dimensions.

The United Nations has long been focusing on the reduction of hungry people and by September 2015, through the resolution “Transforming our world: the 2030 Agenda for sustainable development” they have set the goal to make hunger disappear by 2030.

In this context, many international organisations are providing reflections on the necessary transformation of the food system to face all of these challenges. An example is the report that the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) presented in early August 2019, focusing on the need to transform food production and consumption models.

This debate has reached European institutions and many national and regional governments. In Catalonia, in 2018, CADS issued the “Feeding on Future” report, a reflection on the challenges facing the Catalan food system and proposing recommendations in order to face them. Given the relevance of this issue, the CADS and the Diplocat – Public Diplomacy Council of Catalonia – organize the conference “Feeding on Future”, where leading European experts in the field of food security and sustainability presented their analyzes on the food system, the challenges that the current context raises and the proposals of actions to overcome them:

Professor Eeva Furman. Director of the Environmental Policy Centre of the Finnish Environment Institute and Chair of Finland’s Sustainable Development Expert Panel.

Dr Alberto Garrido. Professor of Agricultural Economics and Policy, Vice-Rector for Quality and Efficiency of Universidad Politécnica de Madrid and member of European Academies Science Advisory Council (EASAC) Food and Nutrition Security and Agriculture Working Group.

Drs KJ (Krijn) Poppe. Chair of the Independent EC FOOD 2030 Expert Group and Member of the Dutch Council for the Environment and Infrastructure (Rli).

Professor Marta G. Rivera-Ferre. Director of the Chair on Agroecology and Food Systems for social transformation at University of Vic and lead author of Rural Areas (AR5) and Food security (SRCCL) chapters of the IPCC.

Mr Peter Schmidt. President of the EESC Sustainable Development Observatory, European Economic and Social Committee (EESC).

Click here for the programme

27th EEAC Annual Conference

The ambition to live well within the boundaries of our planet is an increasingly deep-rooted desire among a growing number of Europeans. Thousands of students are dedicating themselves to expressing serious concerns about the ecological crisis and climate change, and these concerns are clearly shared broadly by other participants in society. And concerned citizens are not alone. Their outcry is publicly supported by a vast group of scientists from across the globe. The support of citizens, scientists, entrepreneurs and organized civil society will be essential for embarking on an unprecedented journey of systemic transformation. And this is a journey that the European Union must undertake in order to meet the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) by 2030.

This societal support should be leveraged to create new partnerships and alliances. Through partnerships we achieve more: more impact, greater sustainability, increased value to all. This is why, at the 27th EEAC Annual Conference partnerships for sustainable development (SDG 17) will be the main lens through which we will engage with challenges such as the energy transition, fresh water, and the preservation and sustainable use of our seas and oceans.

To a large extent Sustainable Development Goals 6 (Water), 7 (Energy) and 14 (Oceans) address regional and global issues that are crucial to achieving well-being and economic prosperity for EU citizens. We face multiple and complex challenges with regard to water, energy and oceans, not only in the European Union and its Member States but globally. It is for this reason that the National Council on the Environment and for Sustainable Development in Portugal (CNADS) has put these three themes at center stage for the 27th EEAC Annual Conference.

Aim of the conference
During the 27th EEAC Annual Conference, national and sub-national advisory councils on the environment and sustainable development will meet with high-level experts from academia, society and the public sector. The conference aims to use exchange of knowledge, viewpoints and experiences to contribute to the development of a European Sustainability Strategy. Such a strategy will be essential to move forward from reflections on the challenges we face on issues such as water, energy and oceans to the implementation of solutions.

The Conference intends to produce recommendations on current EU policies regarding the water, energy and ocean sectors and their future development. By doing so, Councils and their partners hope to provide the newly elected members of the European Commission and the European Parliament with tangible analyses and solutions at a timely moment, right at the start of their mandate.

Set-up and Targeted Audience
The conference will build upon the work of national and sub-national advisory councils on the environment and sustainable development. This annual gathering of councils and their partners should foster our common European debate on the implementation of the SDGs in Europe. The rich diversity of EEAC’s scientific and stakeholder councils will meet in Lisbon, Portugal, to engage in exchange and deliberation with high-level experts from academia, society and the public sector. In inclusive and participatory conference formats, this rich network will further strengthen its bonds across both national boundaries and academic and policy silos.

Registration, Programme & Hotels 
Please click Here to register your attendance. Click here to consult the updated tentative external programme. The  Internal EEAC Conference Programme can also be consulted online. A list of hotels conveniently located for the conference venue can be found Here.