Latest EEAC document: the EU Water Framework Directive: Beyond the analysis of the partial success

The chairman of the EEAC Working Group on Fresh Water Affairs launched today (12/7/2019) the mainline summary of the working group’s latest event, entitled ‘The EU Water Framework Directive: Beyond the analysis of the partial success’.

The mainline summary is structured along the lines of the three main themes (1. Funding, 2. Economic thinking and 3. A systemic approach). It includes an introduction (starting point of the debate) to each of the themes, a status report and a summary of suggested solutions to overcome the issues affecting the three main themes. At the end of the document, some preliminary recommendations are presented, with the aim of supporting discussions in the EEAC’s member councils on the topic of the implementation of the WFD, as well as its future.

The summary, and the preliminary recommendations contained within it, were drawn up by Jan Verheeke in his capacity as Chair of the EEAC Working Group on Fresh Water Affairs. They are not directly binding on the three speakers, the participants to this round-table session, nor to the advisory councils that are part of the EEAC Working Group on Fresh Water Affairs. However, Jan Verheeke stated that he sincerely hopes that the summary proves useful in some shape or form towards achieving the targets of the Water Framework Directive by 2027. Read More

Hungarian SD Council submits proposal on the protection of natural heritage and the sustainable use of natural resources

The Hungarian National Council for Sustainable Development (NFFT) urges to promote social agreement in order to protect natural resources and their services essential for human existence and to maintain social prosperity thus serving the public good. This proposal exclusively focuses on the natural, environmental aspects of the sustainability shift but we would like to stress that the centre point of the National Framework Strategy on Sustainable Development is people and that the Council has always emphasized the crucial importance of the human and social dimension of sustainable development including the significance of common values and communities based on solidarity and love, in the transition to sustainability. Read More

Beyond the partial success of the EU Water Framework Directive

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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EEAC Annual Conference 2019: Registration is open

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. Read More

Please click Here to register your attendance. Click Here to consult the tentative external programme. The internal EEAC-Programme can be consulted Here. A list of hotels conveniently located for the conference venue can be found Here.

Sustainable development can form a new social contract for the 21st century

Belgium’s Federal Council for Sustainable Development (FRDO-CFDD) has prepared a set of recommendations for the federal government that will take office after the elections, which took place on the 26th of May 2019. The council expects a greater ambition for a coherent sustainable development policy that can respond to the major societal challenges .

François de Donnea (chairman of the FRDO) stated that: “Sustainable development can form a new social contract for the 21st century. A contract that at the same time guarantees economic prosperity and also ensures fair and sustainable well-being, all while respecting the ecological limits of the planet. We expect a clear vision and concrete actions from the new federal government that can give a new impulse to sustainable development policy.”

The council’s report include recommendations with regard to for example climate change adaptation and mitigation; the energy transition towards a low carbon economy; air quality; mobility; fiscal policies and biodiversity. Read More (Original texts are in French)

Latest publication: Converging national and regional challenges

The Netherlands must transition to sustainability. Over the coming decades energy supply, food systems and the economy will be radically transformed. The Netherlands will also have to adapt to the changing climate. All tiers of government are working on these four development agendas, but their implementation comes together in the regions. Here there are overlaps, common interests and conflicts, not only among the agendas themselves but also with specific regional challenges. The Dutch Council for the Environment and Infrastructure has explored what this means for making the transition to sustainability in the Netherlands by examining the case of the Southwest Delta region. Read More

Latest publication: Climate-Change Policy: Getting the Process Right

There is a growing consensus that ambitious action is needed if we are to stop climate change. Ireland is ready to do more as evident from the efforts of our children and young people, as well as the Oireachtas Joint Committee’s report and ongoing work to produce an all-of-Government plan. To safeguard our future, protect coming generations, achieve a just transition and meet international obligations, actions have to urgently and continuously deliver results. The report by the Irish National Economic and Social Council focuses on how to combine an ambitious long-term climate change mission with an urgent and active policy process that can discover, try out and support practical actions that reduce carbon emissions. Read More

Sustainable Finance: The German Sustainability Code as a blueprint for other countries?

Following the joined Brussels seminar ‘Sustainable Finance: better safe than sorry‘ EEAC Member Councils continued their exchange on Sustainable Finance, this time within the framework of the Athens Sustainability Outlook 2019. Several councils gathered with experts from different European countries representing different stakeholder groups, -government, business, academia and opinion leaders in Athens on 4 and 5 April 2019. On behalf of the German Council for Sustainable Development (RNE) Yvonne Zwick gave a keynote (Speech text). In addition, also Nathalie Boucquey (Speech text) of the Federal Council for Sustainable Development Belgium (FRDO-CFDD) addressed the audience.

Thematically the discussions in Athens focused in particular on sustainable finance and the reporting of companies’ non-financial performance. “We talked about other countries’ interest in establishing an instrument similar to the Sustainability Code in Germany,” commented Yvonne Zwick, who also leads the German Code’s office. Some three years ago, following a two-year development process, Greece became the first country in Europe to introduce its own Sustainability Code based on the German example. At the Athens conference Turkey announced that it is about to establish a national Sustainability Code as well.  This Turkish Sustainability Code, the result of a cooperation between the German Sustainability Code by RNE and the Turkish Center for Sustainable Production Research and Design (SÜRATAM), will soon be implemented.

The partnership between the Code and SÜRATAM shows that the contents of the Code are cross-border relevant and applicable. A look at the widely varying standards of sustainability reporting and the growing interest in standardization underlines that an instrument such as the Code, which focuses on materiality, commitment and transparency, can offer a good and feasible option to internationally promote sustainable business practices. Commenting on the announcement by Turkey, Yvonne Zwick, noted: “The team in Turkey is laying the foundation to kick start the disclosure of sustainability efforts from companies of all sizes in Turkey. We are delighted to witness the announcement of the Turkish Sustainability Code and welcome them to the Code family.”



Open SDGclub.Berlin ’19: a call for action

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.



a call for action

Latest Council Publications: National Energy and Climate Plans

Belgium’s Federal Council for Sustainable Development (FRDO-CFDD) and the Portuguese National Council for Environment and Sustainable Development (CNADS) both issued papers reflecting on their countries’ draft National Energy and Climate Plans (NECPs). According to the energy union and climate action rules, which entered into force on 24 December 2018, EU Member States are required to develop integrated NECPs. The NECPs should cover the five dimensions of the energy union for the period 2021 to 2030 (and every subsequent ten-year period) based on a common template. Like the other EU Member States, Belgium and Portugal must submit their final plans to the European Commission by 31 December 2019. Read more (Note: the FRDO-CFDD advisory paper is available in Dutch and French, the CNADS paper is available in Portuguese.)