News

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.

Latest publication: Urban Structure, Spatial Planning and Climate Emissions

The secretariat of the National Economic and Social Council (Ireland) published a paper, entitled ‘Urban Structure, Spatial Planning and Climate Emissions’.  The paper examines the relationship between urban structure, spatial planning and climate emissions, in particular transport-related emissions.  The paper focuses in particular on the some of the key literature that has sought to analysis this relationship.  The paper also considers the case for developing new approaches to evaluating the impact of urban structure and spatial planning on supporting sustainable development and reducing transport-related emissions.  The paper concludes with a focus on the enabling role of urban structure with regards to sustainable mobility. Read More

Federal Council for Sustainable Development (FRDO/CFDD) released: Update 2030 Agenda

The Federal Council for Sustainable Development (FRDO/CFDD) released the 30th edition of the – so called – Update 2030 Agenda. This newsletter is produced under the responsibility of the administrative office of the Federal Council for Sustainable Development (FRDO/CFDD). The FRDO/CFDD advises the Belgian government on the federal policy on sustainable development. The council moreover organises activities to enhance the base for sustainable development. Read More

The EU Water Framework Directive: Beyond the analysis of the partial success

The chairman of the EEAC Working Group on Fresh Water Affairs launched today (12/7/2019) the mainline summary of the working group’s latest event, entitled ‘The EU Water Framework Directive: Beyond the analysis of the partial success’.

The mainline summary is structured along the lines of the three main themes (1. Funding, 2. Economic thinking and 3. A systemic approach). It includes an introduction (starting point of the debate) to each of the themes, a status report and a summary of suggested solutions to overcome the issues affecting the three main themes. At the end of the document, some preliminary recommendations are presented, with the aim of supporting discussions in the EEAC’s member councils on the topic of the implementation of the WFD, as well as its future.

The summary, and the preliminary recommendations contained within it, were drawn up by Jan Verheeke in his capacity as Chair of the EEAC Working Group on Fresh Water Affairs. They are not directly binding on the three speakers, the participants to this round-table session, nor to the advisory councils that are part of the EEAC Working Group on Fresh Water Affairs. However, Jan Verheeke stated that he sincerely hopes that the summary proves useful in some shape or form towards achieving the targets of the Water Framework Directive by 2027. Read More

The EU Energy Union: let’s engage in learning from each other

In line with the EU Energy Union governance regulation, Member States need to draft Integrated National Energy and Climate Plans (NECPs). These NECPs need to cover ten-year periods (middle-long term focus) starting from 2021 running to 2030, with a clear link to 2050 (long term focus). Within this 10-year cycle, it is possible for the Member States to adapt their National Integrated Climate and Energy Plans, so as to take into account the changing circumstances. For the period 2021-2030, the Member States can thus update their plans in 2024.

From 2021 onwards, Member States have to report on the progress they made in implementing their NECPs, this will take place on a two-yearly basis (short term focus). The variety of terms (long-;middle-; short term) offers on the one hand a stable basis (investors security for a 10 year period with a link to 2050), while on the other hand the cycle includes sufficient short term focus to ensure adequate flexibility for adaptation; improvement and implementation of lessons learned by Member States.

All in all, the EU governance structure requires that the NECPS are in line with EU and global long-term strategies and goals as well as include integrated reporting, monitoring and data publication mechanisms. Consequently, the EU Energy Union regulation will largely determine the overarching governance framework within which the climate and energy transition will take place in EU Member States. This means that it also sets a framework in which advisory work on the climate and energy transition will take place.

What did the EEAC Working Group on Energy and Climate Change do?

The EU Energy Union Governance Regulation is uncharted territory. There are no blueprints showing how best to operate in this context, and flexibility and a willingness to learn are required. All stakeholders – including advisory bodies – need to engage in a learning curve. The EEAC Working Group on Energy and Climate Change offers an operational framework for participative learning and exchange among fellow advisory bodies and external parties.

An initial stock-taking exercise has served to kick off this process. Advisory bodies filled in a questionnaire, providing valuable information and insights on how EU Member States are preparing their ‘National Energy and Climate Plans’ for December 2019. The input provided by these bodies is synthesised and summarised in an EEAC stock taking note that was used to identify common challenges and proposed solutions.

Round table

The findings were offered to several external experts for analysis during a working group session that took place in Brussels on July 2nd, 2019. A selection of national, subnational and European stakeholders joined advisory bodies on environment; sustainable development and climate change with a view to information-sharing and informed debate. A summary document of the meeting will be published soon. Below you will find the introduction presentation and the programme.

Hungarian SD Council submits proposal on the protection of natural heritage and the sustainable use of natural resources

The Hungarian National Council for Sustainable Development (NFFT) urges to promote social agreement in order to protect natural resources and their services essential for human existence and to maintain social prosperity thus serving the public good. This proposal exclusively focuses on the natural, environmental aspects of the sustainability shift but we would like to stress that the centre point of the National Framework Strategy on Sustainable Development is people and that the Council has always emphasized the crucial importance of the human and social dimension of sustainable development including the significance of common values and communities based on solidarity and love, in the transition to sustainability. Read More

Beyond the partial success of the EU Water Framework Directive

In the run-up to its third management cycle, the EU Water Framework Directive (WFD) is under review. Public consultation (part of the WFD fitness check) took place through March 2019. In early 2019, the European Commission launched its fifth WFD Implementation Report. These processes shed light on the partial success of the WFD’s implementation. Three issues stand out for the EEAC Network:

  1. a) Lack of adequate financing;
  2. b) Limited uptake of the WFD’s economic thinking;
  3. c) Lack of a paradigm shift to a systemic approach in water policies.

The EEAC Working Group on Fresh Water Affairs organized a round-table session in Brussels on 19 June 2019 to study possible solutions to these issues. A selection of national, subnational and European stakeholders joined the advisory bodies with a view to information-sharing and informed debate.

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