How can science help to gear up the sustainability transition? How can we make sure policymakers have science-based advice available to them? Discussions at the 30th EEAC Annual Conference brought forward the importance of dialogue and cooperation in this critical decade of sustainability action. Time to move away from just talking the talk, and instead, walk the walk.
The Finnish scientific advisory councils – the Climate Change Panel, the Nature Panel and the Expert Panel for Sustainable Development – organised the European Environment and Sustainable Development Advisory Councils’ Network‘s (EEAC) 30th anniversary conference from 14th to 15th September in Helsinki and online. The conference brought together European experts to discuss how to advance the sustainability transition in Europe. The two-day conference gathered 130 international experts together in autumnal Helsinki and 200 people across Europe followed the discussions online.
The theme of the conference was the Critical Decade of Action. Experts from universities, research institutes, governments and the civil service deliberated on how to advance direct discussions between scientists and policymakers to push for a systemic and fair sustainability transition.
By learning from each other and discussing together, we can bridge the gap between science and policy. Keynotes and panel discussions highlighted the importance of interdisciplinary and cross-sectoral cooperation. Decision makers were presented with a plea from scientists – implementation is needed, instead of just inspired targets and speeches. We need explicit action to pave the way for reaching our climate, biodiversity and sustainability targets, both short and long-term.
In most discussions, the conclusion was that the alarming effects of climate change and the loss of biodiversity show an imminent need for a truly systemic change. The fairness of the sustainability transition must be guaranteed – giving people a say in the process is needed. At the EEAC conference we heard from for example high school students and how they are concerned for their future. In workshops we looked at how can young people be better involved in decision making processes. This kind of action and involvement is what we need in this critical decade.
Recordings of the keynote presentations are available HERE