The colleagues of the European Sustainable Development Network (ESDN) launched a series of interviews, in which experts in the fields of sustainable development, the implementation of the 2030 Agenda, and the SDGs are interviewed. The series addresses current topics in the debate surrounding sustainable development and the SDGs.
The March edition features Finnish scientist Eeva Furman. She was part of a group of fifteen scientists who co-authored the Global Report on Sustainable Development for the UN and is Chair of the Finnish Expert Panel for Sustainable Development, one of the EEAC Network’s members.
In her interview Eeva Furman touches upon e.g. the GSDR ’19, the need a stronger and more diversified sustainability science and finally, she argues that the European Union and the Green Deal has the potential to drive forward real change in Europe. Click Here to see the whole interview.
The EU Environment Council discussed the fitness-check of the EU water directives during its session on Thursday, March 5th. To provide the latest information and insights coming from the Council discussion, the EEAC Network’s Working Group on Water organized an online working session a week later, on Thursday March 12th.
This meeting was subsequent to our recent online working session on the fitness-check of the EU water directives. This time we focused on the outcomes and possible consequences of the Environment Council meeting. Hagar Ligtvoet of the Permanent Representation of the Netherlands to the European Union kindly introduced the outcomes and possible consequences of the Council meeting during our working session.
The Catalan government has approved the National Plan for the 2030 Agenda in Catalonia. The Plan was prepared under the auspices of the Advisory Council for the Sustainable Development of Catalonia, together with the participation of the 13 departments of the Generalitat.
The plan includes 696 unique commitments, reflecting the broad nature of the UN 2030 Agenda and the plan. Of the 920 commitments, 810 are focused on Catalonia and 110 are actions managed from Catalonia that will have a worldwide impact, strengthening the commitment with the international community to contribute to the achievement of the SDGs on a global scale. Read More (in Catalan)
The EEAC Network formally endorsed the Global Forum for National SDG Advisory Bodies in September 2019 and joined the Global Forum’s inaugural meeting in Bogota from February 17 to 19 2020. The focus of this inaugural meeting was to identify the demands and capacities for SDG delivery for all network members, and to propose potential pathways and competencies for accelerated SDG implementation.
This unique gathering allowed all network members to become engaged in implementation through the structured exchange of experience with other network members and by developing roadmaps for implementation back-to-back with the identified demands and capacities. The EEAC Network was represented by its Working Group Co-Chair Gábor Bartus, supported by the Network’s coordinator Michiel de Vries.
The EEAC Network organized a working session on the European Green Deal in Brussels on Thursday February 13th, 2020.
During the one day working session, EEAC members engaged with think-tanks and other EU oriented organizations to learn how these organizations perceive the ambitions and proposals included in the European Green Deal.
Experts from – among others – Bruegel; IDDRI; IEEP, EEB, EESC-SDO, and EPC shared an overall assessment of the Green Deal’s content and potential, as well as more sector specific analyses.
Please click here to read the EEAC Working Session Outcome Summary.
The EEAC Network published it’s Annual Plan 2020 on January 24th 2020. The Network aims to enrich the advice that individual advisory bodies can give to their governments and parliaments, to bridge the gap between scientific knowledge and policy making and to connect the work of the (sub)national councils and the European policy level with regard to climate change, the environment and sustainable development. To achieve these aims, the board of the EEAC Network presents an Annual Plan. The Plan is a framework for action. Including, a list of thematic areas of common interest; proposed exchange and activities as well as an overview of the tentative agendas of the EEAC member bodies. Click here to read more
The EEAC Working Group on Fresh Water Affairs met online with other stakeholders to discuss the outcomes and possible consequences of the recent EU Water Directives fitness check. These Directives are crucial tools for achieving the goals set out by the European Commission in the Green Deal, and are to be considered important pillars to achieve the SDGs, especially SDGs 6, 14 and 15. Hans Stielstra (European Commission, DG Environment) guided the participants through the fitness check and its outcomes. Possible consequences of the fitness check for the work ahead were debated among all participants. In his session outcome letter, Jan Verheeke (Chairman of the EEAC Working Group on Fresh Water Affairs) wishes to share the main observations and findings of our gathering. Click here to read the session outcome letter.
Climate change, raw materials scarcity and loss of biodiversity make the transition to a sustainable economy inevitable. To ensure a smooth transition the government must provide greater direction, and this should be based on a guiding vision that gives primacy to the pursuit of well-being – a broad concept of prosperity and welfare. This is the conclusion of the Council for the Environment and Infrastructure’s advisory report ‘Towards a Sustainable Economy: The governance of transitions’.
Sustainable economy requires a vision based on well-being
The Dutch government has set ambitious goals for sustainability for both the short and long term, such as a 49% CO2 emissions reduction by 2030 and a fully circular economy by 2050. But there is no coherent vision of what a sustainable society will look like, nor a roadmap for getting there. Such a vision should make the connection between economic, social and economic objectives. In view of the limits to growth that the earth sets on our current economic system, this vision should be based on a broad concept of well-being which goes beyond material prosperity to include aspects such as health and quality of life. Furthermore, creating this vision as advocated by the Council is not a one-off exercise, but a gradual process.
The government must strike a balance between old and new
The government wants the transition to a sustainable economy to inflict the least possible damage on society and rightly attaches importance to striking a balance between maintaining the existing economic structures and fostering structural change. However, the Council notes that, in practice, too often the source of economic renewal is sought within the existing economic system, and that this can hamper progress towards the sustainability targets as well as depress long-term national economic prospects. Right from the start of the transition, therefore, the government should pay more attention to phasing out particular economic activities wherever necessary. This will require not just a sector-by-sector approach to sustainability, but also a macroeconomic perspective on a sustainable economy as a whole. Moreover, existing legislation and institutional structures – which includes the government itself – favour established parties and interests over innovative newcomers wanting to enter the market.
The government should be more willing to regulate and adopt pricing measures
During transitions, the government is reluctant to use the effective instruments of pricing and regulation to get producers and consumers to embrace sustainability. This is particularly the case for internationally operating industries. The Council concludes that because these instruments are so effective they should be used sooner and more often in the transition process. In the Council’s view, the argument that sustainability harms international competitiveness is used selectively to avoid introducing appropriate measures, which can lead to unnecessary delays.
Click here to read the report
Hosted by the Irish National Economic and Social Council, the European network of advisory councils on environment and sustainable development (EEAC Network) will hold its Annual Conference in Dublin on the 29th October 2020, ‘Delivering a Just Transition for All: Principles, Policies and Practice.’
The 28th Annual Conference of EEAC Network will focus on how principles of justice, fairness, equality and equity of a just transition can act as a lever and guide to shape policies and practices to deliver the transformation.
With no single definition or blueprint for action, this conference provides a timely forum for Irish and European colleagues to share perspectives, experiences and practices and develop a common understanding and concrete strategies for making progress.
The conference aims to shed light on how other countries are managing the transition process, with special attention paid to managing the impacts of climate policy that might disproportionately impact specific groups in society. This is required because transitions represent enormous challenges and the ambition of the 2030 Agenda states that no one should be left behind.
This unique gathering in Dublin Castle will bring together European and Irish Advisory Councils, their stakeholders, international experts, policy makers and practitioners to reflect on what a just transition means and how it is shaping policy and practice. Read More
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 firstname.lastname@example.org