Conference Update and Preview of Internal Workshops

With the first day of our annual EEAC Conference approaching soon, the programme is set and promises three days of expertise exchange and discussions. Under the title “Adaptation and Resilience – Taking stock of strategies to minimize climate risks in Europe”, we have shaped each day to centre a specific thematic focus.  

 

Monday 22 April – Internal EEAC Conference Day 

Monday is dedicated to one of the core values of the EEAC Network: internal knowledge exchange and networking. During this day EEAC internal member councils and invited guests come together for five council-led workshops centred around exchanging best practices and improving council work regarding:  

  • Implementing just transition elements into policy advice 
  • Giving cross-sectoral climate policy advice 
  • Incorporating synergies to maximize benefits of advisory council advice 
  • Effectively addressing acute conflicts like droughts 
  • Answering questions of feasibility for nature-based solutions in adaptation advice 

 

Tuesday 23 April – Public Conference Day dedicated to EU stakeholders 

Tuesday is the first public conference day and focuses on presenting and discussing pan-European issues related to climate adaptation and resilience. Specifically, four topics are highlighted:  

  • European Climate Risk Assessment (EUCRA) 
  • Financing of Adaptation 
  • Adaptation and Resilience: how to leave no one behind? 
  • Policy best practices as a guidance for a changing climate

Offering their insights on these topics during panel discussions are among others experts and representatives from the European Environment Agency (EEA), the European Economic and Social Committee (EESC), the European Investment Bank (EIB), the DG CLIMA of the European Commission and from the EEAC Member Councils. Multiple q&a sessions offer the opportunity for active engagement of the audience.  

 

Wednesday 24 April – Public Conference Day dedicated to cross-regional Cooperation  

Wednesday is the last day of our conference and is centred around cross-regional cooperation between the Benelux, France and Germany. Regional representatives present the adaptation strategies of their countries, and discuss topics such as: 

  • Lessons learned from the 2021 floods 
  • Interregional collaboration on events caused/aggravated by climate change 

Again, panel discussions and q&a sessions ensure an interesting and lively exchange before Patrick Dupriez, Chairman of the FRDO-CFDD ends the conference with closing words around 17:00. 

 

For the detailed programme visit the FRDO-CFDD website. 

 

Registration for Tuesday is closed. Registration for members of the EEAC Network on Monday and for the public on Wednesday is still possible. To sign up please email: secretariat@eeac.eu.  

EEAC Annual Conference on Adaptation and Resilience

The 32nd Annual Conference of the EEAC Network is titled “Adaptation and Resilience Conference – Taking stock of strategies to minimize climate risks in Europe.” 

This year’s conference will take place from April 22nd to April 24th, 2024, in Brussels and collectively we will take a look at the implementation of the EU adaptation policy and exchange insights on diverse national perspectives regarding climate resilience and adaptation. 

Day 1- Internal Day (Monday, April 22nd, 2024)  

Join us at the European Economic and Social Committee (EESC) for a day dedicated to EEAC councils and selected guests. In the morning, we’ll take stock of our collective efforts, followed by three consecutive workshops led by different member councils. The first workshop of the day we will focus on how the concept of a just transition can and should be seamlessly integrated into adaptation policy. After the lunch break workshop two will explore adaptation indicators and health, while workshop three focuses on nature-based solutions and their financing, with a special emphasis on water policy. EEAC members and invited guests have the opportunity to engage in lively discussions and get to know the work of fellow member councils on these topics. The day concludes with an informal dinner at a location to be announced. 

Days 2 & 3 – Open to All 

Day 2 – Examining EU Adaptation Policy Implementation (Tuesday, April 23rd, 2024)  

On day two we invite everyone to delve into the state of EU adaptation policy implementation and unpack the implications of the new European Climate Risk Assessment (EUCRA) for Member States and advisory councils. Morning sessions feature contributions from the Commission and the European Environmental Agency. Afternoon discussions revolve around the financing of adaptation, featuring insights from the EIB, OECD, and IISD. Concluding the day, we explore the process of designing inclusive policies, measuring progress, considering worker perspectives, and minimizing health risks. EEAC advisory council experts will engage with external actors and guests through public interventions and panel discussions. For participants who are interested the day will conclude with a tour and evening reception at the Museum of Natural Sciences. 

Day 3 – Regional Session (Wednesday, April 24th, 2024)  

On the last day we gather for a regional session focusing on cross-border lessons from Belgium, the Netherlands, Luxembourg, France, and Germany. Here we will explore and compare national adaptation strategies and engage in discussions on crisis management and interregional cooperation in addressing floods, droughts and other climate-related disasters. 

Don’t miss this opportunity to contribute to meaningful discussions, share insights, and collectively shape strategies to minimize climate risks in Europe. Mark your calendars and join us in this pivotal event for sustainable development. 

Detailed Programme Tuesday & Wednesday

For the complete programme please visit the FRDO-CFDD website.

Sign up

To sign up for Monday please email secretariat@eeac.eu.

General registration for participation on Tuesday and Wednesday is closed. For exceptions please email secretariat@eeac.eu.

EEAC + 6 Member Councils sign Call with Ten Priority Actions for the EU Elections and the Next Leadership of the EU

Today the new SDSN Europe Report was published. Alongside this report, together with scientists & civil society from over 20 countries, members of the European Environmental and Sustainable Development Advisory Council Network call on political parties and the future leadership of European Union to develop a new European Deal for the Future. This deal should answer to the multiple crises by implementing the 2030 Agenda with the SDGs and the Paris Agreement in an ambitious, integrated and coherent way, including a longer-term perspective for the EU until mid-century.

Please find their call here

These are the ten priority actions should be considered.

  1. Respond to the grave danger of negative “Social Tipping Points” – significantly reduce the risk of poverty and social exclusion of European citizens.

  2. Double down efforts to achieve net-zero emissions in the EU by 2050, with major breakthroughs by 2030.

  3. Strengthen regional and local authorities in achieving the SDGs – regularly monitor and report SDG progress at all levels.

  4. Curb negative international spillovers and support the transformation towards a sustainable trade system.

  5. Leverage team Europe for global SDG diplomacy – strengthen diverse and universal formats, especially the United Nations.

  6. Step up Europe’s multilateral role – lead global efforts to reform the global financial architecture.

  7. Re-focus the EU’s International Partnerships on the SDGs – Move towards Mutually Transformative Cooperation.

  8. Mobilise the financial means for the transformations toward a sustainable future.

  9. Institutionalise the integration of the SDGs into strategic planning, macroeconomic coordination, budget processes, research and innovation missions and other policy instruments.

  10. Set up new permanent mechanisms for structured and meaningful engagement with civil society, including youth, and within the European Parliament on SDG pathways and policies.

Please find the SDSN report here 

The Europe Sustainable Development Report 2023/24 (5th edition) was prepared by a team of independent researchers at the UN Sustainable Development Solutions Network (SDSN) in collaboration with SDSN Europe and the European Economic and Social Committee (EESC). It builds on the methodology of the annual Sustainable Development Report, including the SDG Index and Dashboards. This year’s edition aims to provide a useful contribution towards strengthening Europe’s SDG leadership ahead of key European elections taking place in June 2024 and the Summit of the Future to be convened by the UN Secretary-General in September 2024.

 

Advisory councils urge the Commission to build on the analysis of the ESABCC for the 2040 target

In a joint letter sent to the European Commission, nine advisory councils and committees on climate, the environment and sustainable development argue that an EU 2040 GHG emission target is a “useful and timely stepping stone to becoming a climate neutral continent in 2050”. In the letter, facilitated by the network, the European Environmental and Sustainable Development Advisory Councils Network (EEAC), these councils urge the Executive Vice-President Maroš Šefčovič, Climate Action Commissioner Wopke Hoekstra, and Director-General Kurt Vandenberghe, to follow through with the implementation of the full Fit for 55-package and to take the advice of the European Advisory Board for Climate Change (ESABCC) into account in the proposal for an EU-wide 2040 target. The ESABCC published an extensive study in June that recommend a 90-95% reduction target for 2040.

Before the start of his mandate, Commissioner of Climate Action Wopke Hoekstra promised to fight for a target of at least -90% net GHG emissions by 2040. At the end of October, Mr. Hoekstra repeated his intention to bring this matter to the College of Commissioners. With their letter, the councils want to provide the Commissioner of Climate Action with the support of not only the European advisory board, but also the undersigning national and regional advisory councils of individual member states. These councils consist of elected experts advising their governments on national legislation. The EEAC, in turn, is a network that fosters cooperation between these different European scientific and multistakeholder councils on climate, environment and sustainable development.

With COP28 less than ten days away, the need for ambitious targets by the EU is a matter of global importance. Arnau Queralt Bassa, chair of the EEAC, comments: “we reiterate the point Mr. Hoekstra made in his parliamentary hearing about the target when he said that the EU has and must continue to lead by example, setting ambitious targets in line with the goals set out in the Paris Agreement and in line with best available science.” The best way to do this is to establish an ambitious NDC for 2035 and a 2040 target that is in line with the most recent science and the advice of the European advisory board.

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Peter Møllgaard, chairman of the Danish Council on Climate Change: “An ambitious pathway to climate neutrality for the EU as a whole is absolutely necessary to meet the Paris agreement and will also help pave the way for a fair and feasible climate policy at member state level.”

Jan Willem Erisman, chair the Netherlands Scientific Climate Council (WKR): “The size of the climate challenge requires timely preparation and implementation of choices that must be made to phase out the old and build the new. An ambitious climate goal for 2040 ensures that we move faster now, so that later (2040-2050) we have time and space for the last difficult percent, to take stock and make adjustments as needed. An important consideration for the WKR is its justice, given historical emissions and available EU resources.

Markku Ollikainen, chair of the Finnish Climate Change Panel: “The ESABCC’s recommendation to cut net emissions 90-95 % by 2040 compared to 1990 levels should be considered as the EU’s minimum fair share of effort in global climate action”.

Andrew Ferrone, chair of the Luxembourgish Climate Policy Observatory: “The Luxembourg Observatory of Climate Policy considers that the concept of Climate Resilient Development as highlighted by the IPCC should be the Guideline for the EU and its member states on their way to climate neutrality.

 

The co-signatories of the letter

The undersigning councils are the Finnish Climate Change Panel, the Danish Council on Climate Change,  the Netherlands Scientific Climate Council, the German Advisory Council on the Environment, the Luxembourgish Sustainable Development council, the Luxembourg Climate Policy Observatory, the Advisory council on Sustainable Development of Catalonia, the Committee of Experts on Climate Change of Catalonia and the Portuguese National Council of the Environment and Sustainable Development. The EEAC facilitated this collaboration.

 

Media Inqueries

For more information or interview requests, please contact Fee Kirsch, network coordinator of the EEAC, secretariat@eeac.eu, Tel.: (+ 31) 611 83 15 94

 

31st Annual Conference less than a month away!

The 31st Conference of the European Environment and Sustainable Development Advisory Councils (EEAC) Network is titled “Sustainability, Solidarity, and Resilience: Shared Values in the European Union.”  

 The conference will take place from October 4th to 5th, 2023, in Bucharest, Romania, at the Parliament Palace. On the 6th of October, the EEAC is inviting all councils to stay in Bucharest to attend the Annual Plenary Session in the morning hours.

In light of the ongoing HLPF and the SDG Summit in September, we will meet in Bucharest to discuss the future of sustainable development. This year’s halfway point for reaching the sustainable development goals is a moment for reflection and reassessment of priorities. 

Our priority in Bucharest will be to focus specifically on SDG 16, a critical pillar for promoting peace, justice, and strong institutions. The high level events at the UN will bring many lessons and we believe that reflecting on what policymakers and councils can do to provide a strong foundations for better institutions is one of utmost importance.  

The Conference will therefore focus on two main questions: 

What is the future of sustainable development policies in a changing world?  

How can peace, justice and strong institutions be promoted, as stipulated in SDG 16? 

We will look at sustainable development governance and the role of advisory councils on the road to strong institutions through the conference’s three lenses: sustainability, solidarity and resilience. By adapting and strengthening institutions to meet evolving needs, SDG 16 enables societies to respond effectively to new threats and opportunities, fostering resilience and sustainability 

In the two days in Bucharest, we will facilitate interactive sessions on challenges and trends of the past years. Hereby taking a bird’s eye perspective and investigating what has changed for advisory councils in the past years and how their role as “strengtheners” of good institutions can be improved.

The sessions will deal with financial strategies concerning the MFF, the way that the SDG Summit should be interpreted and how cross-border partnerships such as the Danube River Cooperation can lead to answers for building transnational institutions. Lastly we are happy to welcome most relevant speakers from Brussels NGOs for civil society engagement in the fight for better and stronger sustainable development.  

Choosing SDG 16 as the central topic of this conference, the Romanian Consultative Council for Sustainable Development hopes to provide an engaging and concrete program that has take-home messages for every participant. We have all been adjusting to governance in permacrisis mode and the emerging challenges that need new coping strategies.  

One of SDG 16 specific focus points is dealing with these emerging challenges. The world is undergoing profound transformations, driven by rapid technological advancements, globalisation, and climate change. We cannot wait to spend time together to find answers to how advisory councils can continue to foster dialogue, share best practices, and formulate collaborative strategies to address the multifaceted challenges.  

To register please use the following link: https://shorturl.at/pvHLZ 

 

EEAC at the HLPF

Today marks the start of the 2023 High-Level Political Forum in New York. The EEAC network is represented by its national councils and its president Arnau Queralt Bassa travelling to speak at a range of events. Below are the two events the EEAC is cohosting this year.

On the 12th of July, Arnau will be speaking at an EEAC event cohosted with the European Sustainable Development Network (ESDN) titled: Experiences in Peer Learning in Achieving the2030 Agenda and the SDGs. This side event will focus on the contribution of peer learning for the implementation of the 2030 Agenda. The ESDN has launched its Peer Learning in 2015, and they have become a core activity of the network. Partner organizations, such as our network and the International Institute for Sustainable Development (IISD), and the UN Sustainable Development Solutions Network (SDSN), have also put in place their respective peer learning activities. This Side Event will seek to share collective experiences made over years of peer learning activities and how these can be improved upon. Youth Delegates from the ESDN Youth Network will also share their experiences in peer learning through the ESDN with other Youth Delegates from Europe.

12 July, 08:00 am, UNHQ, CR C

On the 18th of July, the EEAC is cohosting an event titled: Transformative potential of Continental Voluntary Reviews (VR): Peer-learning and experience sharing between Europe and Africa. This is an initiative by the German Council for Sustainable Development. This event aims to discuss the potential for supranational and regional actors to deliver voluntary reporting on Agenda 2030 and other continental agendas with the aim of strengthening regional cooperation for sustainable development. It aims to provide answers the following questions. How to foster more continental coherence through subnational sustainable development and in how far can VRs be helpful on this way? In what areas of the 2030 Agenda and the Agenda 2063 are supranational organizations important actors to deliver the SDGs? What are the connections and impulses of supranational VRs for the national delivery of the 2030 Agenda and, conversely, what are the effects of national strategy and reports on supranational organizations? What role do regional agendas, such as the European Green Deal and the 2063 Agenda of AU, play with regard to sustainable development and how can their interfaces with the 2030 Agenda lead to mutual acceleration? How can the HLPF serve as enabler for regional/supranational reporting and stimulating regional strategizing and delivery of sustainable development?

18th July, 2:45 pm at the Mission of the African Union

Both events are held live in New York. In case online participation becomes available, this will be shared on the website.

EEAC at the 21st ESDN Workshop in Vienna

Multiple members of the EEAC actively participated in the 21st Workshop of the European Sustainable Development Network (ESDN). László Borbély, EEAC member and ESDN Vice President, delivered a speech on Theater and Cultural Models for Sustainability. Gábor Bartus, EEAC Working Group Co-Chair and Fee Kirsch, EEAC network coordinator, took on the role of hosting a roundtable session focused on SDG output efficiency and the European Voluntary Review.

The workshop, held in Vienna, Austria, brought together more than 80 participants from 15 European countries over two days. The first day of the workshop centered around the theme of “Culture and Sustainable Development,” while the second day focused on “SDG Implementation in Policymaking – Approaches in SDG Budgeting, Mainstreaming, and Performance Management.”

During the workshop, László Borbély delivered a keynote speech that emphasized the importance of literature, theater, and the audiovisual as integral components of culture in successfully implementing Agenda 2030.  Lazlo highlighted that culture has always been a vital part of human development, social cohesion, and sustainable societies. He specifically emphasized the power of theater to connect people emotionally, transcending language and cultural barriers. Theater has the ability to inspire, educate, entertain, and raise awareness about social and environmental issues, making it a valuable tool for achieving the goals of Agenda 2030. He showcased Romania’s Department of Sustainable Development’s cultural projects as examples of this integration. These projects, such as the exhibition at the Antipa Museum and the National Educational Theatre Caravan, demonstrated the younger generation’s openness to sustainability and their desire to be actively involved in positive change.

In their roundtable session, Fee Kirsch and Gábor Bartus provided insights and discussions on the practical aspects of SDG implementation, including budgeting, mainstreaming, and performance management. They shared good practice examples and approaches from Hungary and other EEAC member countries. The session also delved into the European Union Voluntary Review, which was recently published for the High-Level Political Forum. Through their active discussion with participants, they discussed the question of what the analytical annex can do for  SDG implementation in policymaking beyond the EU and how we can use the Voluntary Review for the better.

Find the presentations on the ESDN website.

 

Photos via ESND. Credits: BMK/Viktoria Miess

Recordings from Webinars Sustainable Finance online

This month the EEAC hosted two webinars on sustainable finance. The first was on the Corporate Sustainable Due Diligence Directive (CSDDD) and the second on the Capital Requirements Directive (CRD).

Both are now available for rewatching on YouTube. Find the CSDDD here and the CRD here.

 

 

 

Vice chair of EEAC at the European Water Association Conference

Jan Verheeke, vice chair of the EEAC, spoke at the European Water Association Conference in Antwerp on the 11th of May.

The European Water Association (EWA) is an independent non-governmental organization, dealing with the management and improvement of the water environment. As a professional association, it covers the whole European water sector (wastewater as well as drinking water and water related waste).

In their yearly conference, the EWA focused on the proposed changes to the Urban Wastewater Treatment Directive: What are the  challenges and instruments? There were about 70 participants.

Here is Jan’s report from the conference:

Rejane Beurrier (European Commission) presented an overview of the proposed changes and of other water-related initiatives: taken together, the proposed changes form a once-in-a-lifetime chance to get urban water policy at a higher level. In the second introductory speech, I myself explored the challenge to build the connections between an existing more ‘structural’ policy and the potential of the proposed, more ‘systemic’, approach. Next, speakers from WAREG (the water regulators), Aquapublica and EEA showed a broad support for the overall direction of the proposal: a further reduction of the pollution, new measures in relation to emerging and micro-substances, the ambition towards energy-neutrality and the circular economy, an amplified application of the polluter pay’s principle and an increased transparency. In the afternoon, talks were about water policy and innovation, about technological challenges in relation to energy-neutrality, digital transformation, the problem of toxic cocktails in the stormwater, the funding opportunities in Horizon Europe and the effects of climate change on water quantity management – with repercussions on quality. It was definitely useful to participate, and some networking delivers that we could try and find good speakers for our own plans.

Fourth EEAC/ESDN European Council Presidency Exchange

The EEAC Network, together with the colleagues of ESDN, has established recurring exchange cycles with delegates from the Council Working Party on the 2030 Agenda and delegates from the European Commission. These exchanges aim to support inter-collegial exchange on Europe’s sustainability challenges. During the latest exchange in Brussels on May 4th, Delegates discussed the Voluntary Review that the EU will provide to this year’s United Nations High-Level Political Forum, the work of the Council Working Party on the 2030 Agenda and the upcoming global SDG Summit.

Arnau Queralt Bassa, Gabor Bartus, Jan Mertens, and Fee Kirsch were representing the EEAC Network in this exchange.