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‘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.

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.

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.

 

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

Latest Publication: Stance on the Portuguese draft NECP

The National Portuguese Council for Environment and Sustainable Development (CNADS) created a Working Group (WG) with the objective of elaborating a Stance on the National Integrated Energy and Climate Plan (NECPs). This Stance briefly analyses the main lines of reflection and action advanced by the NECPs and includes 1. An elaboration process of the National Integrated Energy and Climate Plan; 2. An analysis of its general objectives and issues; 3. a characterisation of the current situation of the national energy sector and defined objectives for 2020; 4. A strategy for 2030; and touches upon the issue of energy poverty. Read More

Cooperation and Partnerships for Sustainable Development

The ambition to live well within the boundaries of our planet is an increasingly deep-rooted desire among a growing number of Europeans. 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.

From the final conference programme you can see that 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. Read More

Latest Publication: Democratic government within environmental limits – on the legitimization of environmental policy

Progressive environmental degradation is a cause for deep concern. Environmental policy thus finds itself in a dilemma: on the one hand, it has to raise its level of ambition and its effectiveness. In its report, the German Advisory Council on the Environment (SRU) would like to show that environmental policy can draw on strong scientific, legal, social and economic sources of legitimation. The report also addresses the question of how existing political institutions, processes and instruments can be improved to give greater priority to vital ecological needs. Read More

National Councils for Sustainable Development Workshop at HLPF 2019

On 8 July 2019, the day before the July 2019 High-level Political Forum on Sustainable Development meeting at the United Nations in New York, Stakeholder Forum for a Sustainable Future, on behalf of the German Council for Sustainable Development (RNE), and co-sponsored by UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs (DESA), convened a one-day workshop for representatives from established National Councils for Sustainable Development and other types of multi-stakeholder platforms at global, national and sub-national levels, as well as some Governments who have multi-stakeholder platforms. The EEAC Network – through it’s coordinator – contributed to the session by presenting the network and its work.

The workshop initiated a global dialogue to exchange experiences, lessons learned, identify good practice, and revealed gaps in cross-sectoral and cross-governance exchange that could be more effectively addressed by councils and platforms at all levels; and it assessed how National Councils for Sustainable Development and other types of multi-stakeholder platforms could help countries and governments deliver the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

In addition, participants considered the presentation of a Global Forum of National Councils for Sustainable Development and other similar multistakeholder bodies at the SDG Summit in September 2019. In support of this idea, the workshop organizers aimed to determine whether there is sufficient interest in such a platform on the part of the UN Member States and other stakeholders. This process is now (August/September 2019) ongoing.