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.

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.

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 overview of different advisory councils on the environment and for sustainable development as 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.

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.

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

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.