Covid19: We must work closer together than ever before

Following the impact of the SARS-CoV-2, the board and working group chairs of the EEAC Network discussed in a video conference the overarching  challenge the Covid19 crisis poses to sustainability, and the role and activities of the EEAC Network in this altered context.

Covid19: An extensive crisis

The impact of the SARS-CoV-2 on public health, life, wellbeing and the economy is vast. Governments respond with measures that focus on immediate containment, control and relief. In addition, medium-term measures to battle the expected economic and social fallout are being prepared. These measures are all necessary. However, some governments and non-governmental actors are already proposing to curtail sustainability policies, in the name of crisis management. At the European level, Member States are also facing substantial difficulties in finding common solutions to the immediate crisis and its aftermath, putting pressure not only on the Green Deal ambitions and related transitions but on the core of the European project itself. We see this as a time for the EEAC to focus on what we can share with and learn from each other.

The role of advisory councils and similar bodies

This extensive crisis requires a proactive and future oriented response from all, including from advisory bodies like ours. Operating at the interface of science, society and policy making, the councils as gathered in the EEAC Network are in a position to suggest steps towards a sustainable response to the crisis.

The major challenges and uncertainties stemming from the crisis require meaningful and creative ideas so that societal, environmental, and economic resilience can be strengthened against future disasters. The EEAC board hopes that the members of the network will be able to share and compile ideas, views and insights which may profit not only ourselves, but also society and policymakers alike. It is therefore that all secretary generals, directors and council representatives of EEAC member councils are invited to join a conference call in early April 2020.

The agenda of this meeting will include a discussion on possible effects of the Covid19 crisis on the work of each council and the EEAC as a whole, as well as on the transition towards sustainable development. The session will facilitate open exchange on how policy initiatives to reboot European societies and economies can be in line with the EU Green Deal ambitions and the UN 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

ESDN Interview with Prof. Furman

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.

Online working session on the outcomes of the EU Environment Council Meeting

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.