The Chair of the EEAC Network together with two experts met today with European Commission Executive Vice President Frans Timmermans to discuss the need to make food systems in Europe more sustainable.
During the exchange, the findings and recommendations of the EEAC Position Paper ‘Towards a sustainable food system’ were discussed, and the position paper was presented to the Commissioner.
A consortium of advisory councils and their members worked together during the recent past to formulate the position paper, which aims to feed the debate on sustainable food systems and contribute to the creation of a legislative framework for a sustainable food system at EU level.
Read the EEAC Position Paper ‘Towards a sustainable food system a position paper on the framework law’ here
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 November 18th, Delegates from the different organizations discussed the Voluntary Review that the EU will provide to next 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.
The Federal Council for Sustainable Development in Belgium (FRDO-CFDD) together with Brussels Region Environment Council (RLBHG) published an own initiative opinion on biodiversity policy. The opinion was prepared by the “Biodiversity and Forests” and “International Relations” working groups and was approved by the FRDO-CFDD General Assembly by written procedure. The original language of this opinion is Dutch, the translation in English became available in November 2022. Read More
The European food system does not deliver sustainable diets, with low environmental impacts which contribute to food and nutrition security and to a healthy life for present and future generations. To make the system more resilient, an EU Framework Law on Sustainable Food Systems should foster human and planetary health in a coherent and balanced approach between an agricultural supply policy, environmental policy and food (consumption) policy. A policy on a sustainable food system should direct the strong innovation capacity of actors away from ever lower food prices towards more sustainable farming, food processing and food consumption. However, a just transition is key: to the extent that healthy diets are not affordable for consumers compensation should be given by changes in minimum wages, social security or income taxes. This advice is given by a consortium of national advisory councils on environment and sustainable development, in an EEAC Network Position Paper on the framework law. Read More
Today ( 18 October 2022) the Chairman of the EEAC Working Group on Ecosystem Services published a summary of the observations, insights and recommendations that were discussed in the context of the upcoming CBD COP15 by experts that are part of advisory councils on the environment and sustainable development. The experts from seven different advisory councils met online twice and shared their insights during several written rounds.
As a starting point, the experts took note of the state of negotiations on the text of the Post-2020 Global Biodiversity Framework. They focused their exchange on the content of some crucial targets in the negotiation text and on the relationship between those targets.
The experts make a plea to better integrate biodiversity in 1) all spaces, and 2) within all domains. Both tasks must be properly anchored in the system of targets of the Post 2020 Global Biodiversity Framework, so as to have a ‘spinal role’ for the other targets in the text. Experts further underline that the European Union should opt for a realistic, fair and results-driven approach in the run up to and during CBD COP15 itself. In this process, the EU’s active and ambitious stance in the negotiation process needs to be reinforced, by also explicitly reflecting critically on the actions of the EU and its Member States in the context of biodiversity, they argue. Read More
The EEACNetwork, together with the Belgian Federal Council for Sustainable Development (FRDO-CFDD), the German Advisory Council for Sustainable Development (RNE), and the Department of Sustainable Development from Romania organised a joint webinar “Implementing the Corporate Sustainability Reporting Directive: Opportunities and Challenges”. The webinar took place on October 13th.
The Corporate Sustainability Reporting Directive
A provisional political agreement on the Corporate Sustainability Reporting Directive (CSRD) has been reached at EU level. By implementing the CSRD, the EU intends to make ambitious but standardised and accessible sustainability reporting mandatory for more than 50,000 companies across EU Member States. After the official adoption of the CSRD at EU level (end of 2022), EU Member States will have eighteen months to integrate the CSRD into national law. The way in which Member States implement the Directive is expected to influence the extent to which the objectives of this European proposal are actually achieved.
During the webinar a panel of high level experts addressed the following issues: 1) Which aspects need to be taken into account to ensure that the ambitious goals of the CSRD can actually be achieved? 2) What leeway do the Member States have in the implementation process, and how big a risk is this? And 3) How can we learn from the implementation of the CSRD’s predecessor, the Non-Financial Reporting Directive?
The webinar provided guidance and recommendations for action in the final phase of the implementation of the CSRD, so that the transformative potential of the new Directive can be fully achieved.
We were pleased to have contributions from a variety of international policy makers, including: Tom Dodd, European Commission, DG FISMA, Karen Hofmans, the Federal Public Service Economy (Belgium), Jan Witzmann, the Federal Ministry of Justice (Germany), and László Borbély, State Councilor, the Romanian Prime Minister’s Office – Department of Sustainable Development (Romania).
A new network of over 72 organizations from 12 countries was activated during a convening in Amsterdam on September 26-27, 2022. Representatives are aligned around the transdisciplinary field and social movement of Planetary Health, which analyzes and addresses the impacts of human disruptions to natural systems on human health and all life on Earth. The Planetary Health European Hub consists of organizations from sectors including universities, healthcare, youth, business, civil society, and more.
Co-organized by the Planetary Health Alliance (PHA) and the EEAC Network, the new hub was conceived to focus on the policy, funding, and organizational landscapes that make Europe rich in opportunities for building transformational change.
“From the European Green Deal, the Health Environment Research Agenda for Europe, to the upcoming Horizon Health 2023 Agenda, now is the time to connect the dots, build collaborations, make links within the policy community, and fund Planetary Health priorities at scale,” said Sam Myers, Director of the Planetary Health Alliance and Principle Research Scientist at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health.
Members of the European Hub, came together in person and online and agreed on the Hub’s principles, developed working groups to tend to plans in research, education, policy, and movement building, shared lessons learned, built relationships, and set the framework for sustaining the Hub into the future. Read More
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
In 2020, the Germany Advisory Council on the Environment (SRU) recommended aligning Germany’s climate targets with a CO2 budget. This budget was transparently derived from the targets of the Paris climate agreement. The analysis was widely received in Germany and also an important scientific basis of Germany’s Federal Constitutional Court’s historic decision on climate policy in 2021.
In June 2022, the SRU has updated the CO2 budget calculations and addressed a number of questions that came up in public discussion in an accessible Q&A format. This paper has now been published in English language.
Our latest figures show that Germany’s remaining fair CO2 budget for a 1.5°C path expires in 2031 and that for 1.75°C in 2040 (assuming linear reduction). According to our calculation, the current German Climate Change Act corresponds to a pathway which limits global warming to less than 2°C, but significantly more than 1.5°C. Read More