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.

 

The EU Energy Union: let’s engage in learning from each other

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.

Round table

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.

The EU Water Framework Directive: beyond the analysis of the partial success

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:

  1. a) Lack of adequate financing;
  2. b) Limited uptake of the WFD’s economic thinking;
  3. 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.

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The Open SDGclub.Berlin ’19

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.

UN Global Festival of Action

The EEAC Network and GIZ co-organised an interactive workshop at the United Nations Global Festival of Action 2019 focusing on multi-stakeholder partnerships (MSPs). More than 70 participants from all over the globe raised and debated such questions as How can we actually make partnerships work? and When is forming partnerships a suitable approach, and when not?

EEAC and GIZ succeeded in organizing a workshop which allowed participants to share practical experience, knowledge and tips, to make new connections, to create opportunities for new partnerships and to improve existing ones. Both organizations stressed that the supportive nature of the session made it possible to share and discuss not only best practices but also ‘failures’.

This year’s Global Festival of Action also provided a dynamic and interactive setting for showcasing the latest innovations, tools and approaches to SDG advocacy and SDG action. It brought together leaders in national and local government, international organisations, and civil society as well as activists, young advocates and representatives of the creative industry and private sector, all seeking to scale up the impact of their work and strategise joint actions while motivating new organisations and individuals to join the movement and take action on the SDGs. Read More

Sustainable Europe 2030: from goals to delivery

The High Level EU Conference entitled Sustainable Europe 2030: from goals to delivery took place on Monday, 8 April 2019 in Brussels. It followed the publication of the recent European Commission Reflection Paper ‘Towards a Sustainable Europe by 2030’, and will gather leading experts from around the world to discuss how to best translate the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals at European level.

Several EEAC member councils joined the event. Among the conference’s keynote speakers was Prof. Dr. Hans Joachim Schellnhuber (Council member of the German Advisory Council on Global Change, WBGU). On behalf of the EEAC Network’s board Arnau Queralt attended the conference and the related EU Multi Stakeholder Platform activities. Read More

 

Alliances to transform Europe on the basis of Agenda 2030

Complementary to  initiatives taken and recommendations made by the EU 
Multi-Stakeholder Platform on SDGs, Think 2030, IUCN, and the report to the Club of Rome  ‘Transformation is feasible’  and after the events it  hosted in Rome,  Brussels and Milan in 2017 and 2018, the  informal group Europe Ambition 2030, of which the EEAC Network is a partner, will organize a debate on the issue of alliances to transform Europe on 
the basis of Agenda 2030. The debate will be co-organized together with the European Economic and Social Committee (EESC) in Brussels on February 25th 2019. Read More

Discussing the EU Reflection paper ‘Towards a sustainable Europe by 2030’

By being an active contributor and observer to the EU’s high-level multi-stakeholder platform; by for example providing input to the targeted consultations on this issue and by participating in several other European initiatives, the EEAC Network has been closely involved in the preparatory process of the Reflection Paper. The Paper will be analyzed and discussed in several forums at EU level in the weeks to come. In prelude to these discussions, the EEAC Working Group on Sustainable Development will have an video-conference to discuss the paper among fellow advisory councils.

Sustainable investment: Better safe than sorry

Several Advisory Councils for Sustainable Development work on the issue of Sustainable Finance. The EEAC Network is glad to facilitate European cooperation among councils and stakeholders on this important issue. In 2019, we kicked off with a joint event together with our Belgium colleagues.

In the context of their work on financing the transition towards a
carbon-neutral economy, the Federal Belgium Council for Sustainable
Development organized, together with the European Environment and
Sustainable Development Advisory Councils network (EEAC), a
seminar on: A) the implementation of the EU Action Plan:
Financing Sustainable Growth; B) The proposal for a regulation on
disclosures relating to sustainable investments and sustainability risks
(COM (2018) 354 final) and C) the revision of the guidelines on
non-financial information.

The programme included an in-depth discussion about the related key
issues for actors involved in financing the transition in Belgium and in
other European countries: institutional investors, asset managers,
savers, NGOs andfinancial regulators. Speakers included among others: Marie Dominique Blanc (Novethic, Paris); Sven Genter (EuropeanCommission); Jean-Marc Gollier (Eubelius, Bruxelles) and Yvonne Zwick (Rat fürNachhaltige Entwicklung, Berlin).

The seminar was conducted in English. Please click here to see the seminar’s presentations. An outcome document will be published in due time.C