Two advisory bodies have joined EEAC Network on Junuary 1st, 2020

The EEAC Network  welcomed two new members on 1 January 2020. Both the Danish Council on Climate Change and the Finnish Expert Panel for Sustainable Development have joined the EEAC Network. In his capacity as Chair of the EEAC Network, Mr Queralt Bassa welcomed the two advisory bodies by stating that he looks forward to peer-exchange and informed deliberation with colleagues from Denmark and Finland, ‘in order to mutually strengthen the advice that we give to our governments and parliaments’.

The Danish Council on Climate Change advises on the most effective and cost-efficient ways for Denmark to undertake the transition to a low-carbon economy by 2050. The council is engaged in working with all aspects of the transition to a low-carbon society. Its work therefore includes issues concerning the areas of energy, buildings, transport, agriculture, the environment, nature and the economy. In order to tackle this major task, the Danish Council on Climate Change is composed of experts with knowledge of the various areas. Read more about the Danish Council on Climate Change.

The Finnish Expert Panel for Sustainable Development supports the Finnish Commission for Sustainable Development in order for it to have an impact on decision-making and public discussion by bringing evidence-based understanding. Furthermore, the Panel promotes societal change that considers both the environment and human wellbeing and aims to be the focus of the debate on sustainability. To this end, the Panel is composed of panellists from Finnish universities, research and science institutes. These scientific experts represent many aspects of sustainable development. Read more about the Finnish Expert Panel for Sustainable Development.

Update: Serving the science, society, policy interface for a better world

Serving the science, society, policy interface for a better world: An overview of Advisory Councils on the Environment and for Sustainable Development in Europe.

Implementing the UN 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development requires multi-layered decision making, multilevel coordination and cooperation with a multitude of stakeholders. In order to arrange an institutionalised gathering of these various stakeholders, it is broadly recognised that advisory councils on the environment and for sustainable development and similar bodies (hereafter ‘advisory councils’) play a significant role.

Advisory councils are – mostly – established by national or regional governments or parliaments. These councils offer independent advice to their respective national and regional governments and parliaments relating to the environment and sustainable development.

To provide interested parties with an updated overview of different advisory bodies on the environment and for sustainable development as st established in the European area, the European network of Advisory Councils on the Environment and for Sustainable Development (EEAC Network) drafted this overview study.

By means of this study, we hope to shed light on the different compositions, governance structures, tasks, mandates and working methods of advisory councils. This overview study is a living document, meaning that the study will be regularly updated. The document is based on open source data and is not intended to provide a complete and exhaustive overview of advisory councils. Rather, it should merely serve as a source of general information and inspiration. an overview of different advisory councils on the environment and for sustainable development as established in the European area

EU MSP sent letter to Commission President Ursula von der Leyen

The members and observers – including the EEAC Network – of the EU Multi-Stakeholder Platform for the implementation of the SDGs sent a letter to Ms von der Leyen congratulating her on taking up her role as President of the European Commission.

In their letter, the Platform members and observers reiterated their call – shared by the European Council and Parliament – for an overarching Sustainable Europe 2030 strategy and implementation plan. In addition, members and observers of the Platform called upon the President of the European Commission to show political leadership in steering the whole-of-Commission approach towards sustainable development. To conclude, the members and observers called for the renewal of the platform’s mandate – expiring at the end of 2019 – to advise the Commission President.

The letter was signed by twenty-seven members and three observers and was sent to the office of the President of the European Commission on Tuesday, 17 December 2019.  Click here to read the full text of the letter.

Out now: European way to a common digital future

Germany should build upon the Green Deal announced by EU Commission President-designate Ms. von der Leyen and work towards a close integration of digital change and sustainability. To this end the German Advisory Council on Global Change (WBGU) presents cornerstones of a European way to a common digital future.

In its Policy Paper, WBGU argues that particularly during its presidency of the Council of the EU in 2020, Germany’s Federal Government should work towards a close integration of digital change and the Transformation towards Sustainability. The new EU Parliament and the new European Commission should also pursue this goal, according to WBGU. Read More

Out now: Mainline Summary of the 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.  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. This is why, at the 27th EEAC Annual Conference partnerships for sustainable development (SDG 17) were the main lens through which we engaged with challenges such as the energy transition, fresh water, and the preservation and sustainable use of our seas and oceans.

During the 27th EEAC Annual Conference, national and sub-national advisory councils on the environment and sustainable development met with experts from academia, society and the public sector. This annual gathering of councils and their partners fostered our common European debate on the implementation of the SDGs in Europe.

On the basis of the rich diversity of contributions, a Mainline Summary of the conference is drafted. Click here to read the summary.

RNE’s Sustainability Code receives UN award

The German Sustainability Code (DNK) – as initiated by the German Council for Sustainable Development (RNE) –  has been awarded the ISAR Honours 2019 by the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD). The award ceremony took place on 30th October 2019 in Geneva at the annual session of ISAR (Intergovernmental Working Group of Experts on International Standards of Accounting and Reporting).

This international award recognises initiatives that deliver an outstanding contribution to transparency regarding sustainability in businesses, particularly through enhancing the comparability and quality of companies’ reporting on sustainability issues. A Review Committee of distinguished international experts selects the award winners based on their effective encouragement and assistance for companies’ reporting on sustainability performance. The experts were impressed by the Sustainability Code’s user friendliness for both the reporting companies and the reports’ target audience. Readers can access and compare the reports by means of the Code’s free online database and external users can also conduct meta-analyses. A technical interface allows immediate usage of the published information in other evaluation systems. As an open source solution for ecological, social and governance (ESG) data, the Code therefore also contributes to Sustainable Finance.

For Yvonne Zwick, Deputy Secretary General of RNE and Head of the Sustainability Code Office, the Code’s users are a pillar of its success. “We are very grateful to accept the ISAR Honours 2019 Award on behalf of all the companies that comply with the Sustainability Code and thus promote standardised and focused sustainability reporting”, she commented. “We would like to thank the Review Committee for its positive evaluation of the Code. This award supports our ambition to establish the Code internationally – as a standard that is open to all and easy to use”, she added.

‘Our Common Digital Future’ – a Charter for a Sustainable Digital Age

The institutional framework for global sustainable development in the Digital Age needs a normative reference point in the form of an international charter for a sustainable Digital Age. The German Advisory Council on Global Change submitted a draft for such a charter. On its website the Council invites people to respond to the draft.

The draft ties in with the 2030 Agenda and the Declaration of Human Rights and, at the same time, goes beyond them. The charter is intended to serve as a system of principles, objectives and standards for the international community and to link digital change with the necessary global sustainability perspective. It formulates objectives and principles for the protection of human dignity, natural life-support systems, inclusion in and access to digital and digitalized infrastructures and technologies, as well as individual and collective freedom of development in the Digital Age. On this basis, the charter sets out concrete guidelines for action to be drawn up by the international community with a view to the challenges of the Digital Age.

The charter contains three core elements: First, digitalization should be designed in line with the 2030 Agenda, and digital technology should be used to achieve the SDGs. Second, beyond the 2030 Agenda, systemic risks should be avoided, in particular by protecting civil and human rights, promoting the common good and ensuring decision-making sovereignty. Third, societies must prepare themselves procedurally for future challenges by agreeing, among other things, on ethical guidelines and ensuring future-oriented research and education.

SDG Action Day: Launch of the Global Forum of National Councils for Sustainable Development

During the HLPF 2019, a global dialogue among a variety advisory councils and similar bodies on sustainable development considered and endorsed the presentation of a Global Forum of National Councils for Sustainable Development and similar multi-stakeholder bodies. The Global Forum will help national councils and similar multi-stakeholder bodies to be better positioned to deliver SDGs through shared knowledge on national sustainable development policy-making, peer-exchange, shortcuts to understanding policy cycles, and institutional capacity building, and by elevating and enriching access to communities of practitioners and their collective knowledge on national and sub-national SDG implementation, as well as to other SDG-relevant networks.

From approximately 3:00 to 4:00 PM on Wednesday 25 September, the UN’s SDG Media Zone will be highlighting the launch of the Global Forum. Two of the Global Forum founding partners, Annika Lindblom and Charles Nouhan, will be interviewed along with Rita Schwarzelühr-Sutter, Parliamentary State Secretary, German Federal Environment Ministry, who’s department is providing the first tranche of funding for the Forum, and Cristina Gallach, High Commissioner for the 2030 Agenda of Spain. Consult here the Programme schedule. Live coverage on UN Web TV.

António Guterres opened 27th EEAC Annual Conerence

The plenary day of the 27th EEAC Annual Conference took place in Lisbon on the 19th of September 2019. A variety of politicians, and high level policy makers and experts addressed the conference participants in the National Assembly of Portugal.

At the 27th EEAC Annual Conference partnerships for sustainable development (SDG 17) were the main lens through which we engaged with challenges such as the energy transition, fresh water, and the preservation and sustainable use of our seas and oceans. The conference built upon the work of national and sub-national advisory councils on the environment and sustainable development. This annual gathering of councils and their partners fostered our common European debate on the implementation of the SDGs in Europe. The diversity of EEAC’s scientific and stakeholder councils met to engage in exchange and deliberation with high-level experts from academia, society and the public sector.

Click Here to consult conference programme and check a first selection of photos Here. The conference’s presentations and a conference summary will be uploaded soon.

Tentative NECPs: An EEAC stocktaking excercise

The EEAC Working Group on Energy and Climate Change concluded that the EU Energy Union Governance Regulation will largely define the overarching governance framework within which the climate and energy transition takes place. It is therefore imperative that the EEAC Working Group Chairman – Folmer de Haan – putted one of the main pillars of the Energy Union Governance Regulation, the National Energy and Climate Plans (NECP), at center stage in the working group’s work this year.

To produce an EEAC stocktaking document, advisory bodies on the environment and for sustainable development and climate change (hereafter: advisory bodies) have submitted their preliminary views on the draft NECPs of their respective nations. The EEAC stocktaking document distils and summarizes the input provided by these advisory bodies and serves to kick off the process of knowledge exchange and building.

Besides the stocktaking document, the EEAC Working Group on Energy and Climate Change met with European experts to discuss the draft NECPs. Based on the outcomes of the stocktaking document and following the remarks made during the workshop, Folmer de Haan drafted a cover letter in which he shares some mainline observations with regard to the draft NECPs. Read More