Expert Session: International rail services

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



EU Water Directives are fit for purpose: Now what’s next

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

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.

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.