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 firstname.lastname@example.org
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
Prof. Dr. Eeva Furman presented the Global Sustainable Development Report 2019 to interested EEAC members during a video conference on Thursday November 14th. Prof Furmann introduced the
GSDR and its main findings and paid special attention to the role of the science, policy, society interface in enhancing sustainable development. Click Here to consult the presentation
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
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.
In line with the EU Energy Union governance regulation, Member States need to draft Integrated National Energy and Climate Plans (NECPs). These NECPs need to cover ten-year periods (middle-long term focus) starting from 2021 running to 2030, with a clear link to 2050 (long term focus). Within this 10-year cycle, it is possible for the Member States to adapt their National Integrated Climate and Energy Plans, so as to take into account the changing circumstances. For the period 2021-2030, the Member States can thus update their plans in 2024.
From 2021 onwards, Member States have to report on the progress they made in implementing their NECPs, this will take place on a two-yearly basis (short term focus). The variety of terms (long-;middle-; short term) offers on the one hand a stable basis (investors security for a 10 year period with a link to 2050), while on the other hand the cycle includes sufficient short term focus to ensure adequate flexibility for adaptation; improvement and implementation of lessons learned by Member States.
All in all, the EU governance structure requires that the NECPS are in line with EU and global long-term strategies and goals as well as include integrated reporting, monitoring and data publication mechanisms. Consequently, the EU Energy Union regulation will largely determine the overarching governance framework within which the climate and energy transition will take place in EU Member States. This means that it also sets a framework in which advisory work on the climate and energy transition will take place.
What did the EEAC Working Group on Energy and Climate Change do?
The EU Energy Union Governance Regulation is uncharted territory. There are no blueprints showing how best to operate in this context, and flexibility and a willingness to learn are required. All stakeholders – including advisory bodies – need to engage in a learning curve. The EEAC Working Group on Energy and Climate Change offers an operational framework for participative learning and exchange among fellow advisory bodies and external parties.
An initial stock-taking exercise has served to kick off this process. Advisory bodies filled in a questionnaire, providing valuable information and insights on how EU Member States are preparing their ‘National Energy and Climate Plans’ for December 2019. The input provided by these bodies is synthesised and summarised in an EEAC stock taking note that was used to identify common challenges and proposed solutions.
The findings were offered to several external experts for analysis during a working group session that took place in Brussels on July 2nd, 2019. A selection of national, subnational and European stakeholders joined advisory bodies on environment; sustainable development and climate change with a view to information-sharing and informed debate. A summary document of the meeting will be published soon. Below you will find the introduction presentation and the programme.
In the run-up to its third management cycle, the EU Water Framework Directive (WFD) is under review. Public consultation (part of the WFD fitness check) took place through March 2019. In early 2019, the European Commission launched its fifth WFD Implementation Report. These processes shed light on the partial success of the WFD’s implementation. Three issues stand out for the EEAC Network:
- a) Lack of adequate financing;
- b) Limited uptake of the WFD’s economic thinking;
- c) Lack of a paradigm shift to a systemic approach in water policies.
The EEAC Working Group on Fresh Water Affairs organized a round-table session in Brussels on 19 June 2019 to study possible solutions to these issues. A selection of national, subnational and European stakeholders joined the advisory bodies with a view to information-sharing and informed debate.
At the invitation of the German Council for Sustainable Development (RNE), around sixty sustainability practitioners from over thirty countries discussed deficits in implementing the 2030 Agenda worldwide. Several EEAC members also attended the three-day conference. Besides a meeting document (soon to be released), participants in the Open SDGclub.Berlin meeting drafted a call for action calling on leaders to increase their commitment, to strengthen the role of the United Nations’ High Level Political Forum (UN HLPF), and to advance multi-stakeholder approaches for sustainable development.