Advisory councils got briefed on progress towards the SDGs in an EU context

Today (Monday June 27) the EEAC Network hosted a briefing for colleagues from national and regional advisory councils on sustainable development. 30 Colleagues from 11 EU Member States were updated by Eurostat on their recently published report on progress towards the SDGs in an EU context.

In order to place the findings of the EuroStat report in the right context, three European experts shared their reflections on the state of SDG implementation in the EU. On behalf of the European Economic and Social Committee, Maria Nikolopoulou shared her views. MEP Barry Andrews also shared his reflections, taking a more political angle. Civil Society was represented by SDG Watch Europe’s coordinator Jeffery Moxom.

The briefing took place in compliance with Chatham House Rule. Open and honest collegial information sharing and exchange were the goal of the briefing.

Experts discussed Voluntary National Reviews at joint EEAC&ESDN workshop

The EEAC Working Group on Sustainable Development, in cooperation with the colleagues of the ESDN, organised the 7th Peer Learning Platform, which took place in Brussels, Belgium on 14 June 2022.

The title of this Peer Learning Platform is “Voluntary National Reviews: Challenges, Successes and Lessons Learned” and the goal of the session was to offer national level and EU level policymakers the chance to exchange and learn from countries that have already done their second VNR. The Platform also focused on the European Union’s VNR for 2023. Read More

Discussing our work in the context of geopolitical developments

Council representatives, secretary generals and directors of eleven advisory councils e-met to discuss the impact of the war in Ukraine upon topics advisory councils work on, such as climate change, environment and the 2030 Agenda for sustainable development.

Participants also discussed how advisory councils can take the lead in the transformation process towards a sustainable Europe by 2030, while possibly facing a more challenging climate, including shifting budgets and political focus.

The matters discussed will: 1) feed into the EEAC Network’s contribution to the European policy level, 2) help to shape the EEAC Working Groups’ agenda’s and 3) enrich the advice that individual or consortia of advisory bodies can give to their governments and parliaments.

Advisory councils engage in joint work in the context of CBD COP15

A group of representatives from advisory councils from Belgium, Catalonia, Flanders, France, Germany, the Netherlands and Portugal met to discuss the post-2020 Global Biodiversity Framework. Council representatives took stock of the ongoing negotiations ahead of the Nairobi (June) and Kunming (August/September) meetings.

Furthermore, council representatives discussed issues such as Target 3 (which calls on countries to ensure that at least 30% of the world’s lands and marine areas are protected for nature by 2030) financing the Global Biodiversity Framework ( lack of finance to be considered on of the main reasons for not reaching Aichi targets) and the relation between climate and biodiversity.

Insights and views shared by council representatives are to be utilized as input for an EEAC Chairman’s letter that will be sent in the context of the finalization of the CDB COP15 negotiations this summer.  Next steps are scheduled for the period June and July.

Advisory councils continue joint work on sustainable food systems

Following the expert meeting on sustainable food systems in Brussels on April 5th, advisory councils e-met to analyze and discuss the reflections of the stakeholders. The councils also discussed the (expected) impacts of the geopolitical developments on the food systems. Following the exchange, a updated draft text will be circulated among the advisory bodies involved in the process in May 2022. Read More

Expert hearing: Sustainable Food Systems

Today (April 5th 2022) the EEAC Working Group on Ecosystem Services organized an expert hearing on sustainable food systems. European institutions, interest groups, think tanks and NGOs reflected on a zero-draft document in which the advisory councils that are member of the EEAC Network have set out observations and recommendations on a sustainable food system in Europe. The advisory councils will take the reflections of the stakeholders and the geopolitical context into account when drafting a follow-up text. The councils will e-meet  a to discuss further steps at the start of May.

The energy transition in the context of geopolitical developments

Geopolitical developments have changed the dynamics between the winding down of old energy systems and the building up of new ones. Developments around the world mean that the pace of  phasing out of old energy systems is increasingly influenced by the issue of energy security. As a result, the energy transition is now being driven by climate ambitions and the desire to continue to guarantee energy security with reduced dependence on countries outside the EU. This expected push for an enhanced energy transition or adjustments in direction comes with challenges

In this context the EEAC Working Group on Climate Change and Energy organized an internal policy briefing. Two experts shared their insights with the members of the EEAC Network. André Faaij (Director of Science TNO Energy transition) zoomed in on the impacts of the current energy crisis and an effective response that accelerates the energy transition. Elisa Giannelli (Senior Policy Advisor, E3G) focused on the options Europe has to reduce dependency on third country fossil fuels, while safeguarding energy security and affordability.

In conclusions, both experts shared their views on the questions whether – low carbon – energy sources can fill the void of fossil fuels in our energy mix in the short (next 2,5 years) and mid ( 2,5 to 8 years) term without jeopardizing energy security or affordability? Read More

Inter-council exchange on Planetary Health

Colleagues from five advisory councils e-met on March 16 for a collegial exchange on the topic of Planetary Health and adjacent concepts. They informed each other about their ongoing work and discussed, among others, the relationship between the concept of Planetary Health and sustainable development, the integration of ‘environmental health’ in sectoral policies, as well as Planetary Health as a scientific concept and the challenge of mainstreaming the concept of Planetary Health in policymaking. Colleagues further discussed possible synergies in their work and discussed possible next steps in exchanges among councils and between councils and external experts. Read More

European hub meeting

On February 24th the second Planetary Health European Hub meeting took place. Over 29 organizations and institutions participated. The meeting opened with a recap of the January convening followed by a group discussion regarding what organizations are looking for from this Hub. Organizations then broke out into four groups based on the most popular domains of interest from the post-January convening survey, including: 1)Research, 2) Education, 3) Implementation (movement building), and 4) Implementation (governance/policy). These break out sessions focused on concrete actions and next steps. A next Hub meeting is scheduled to take place early April 2022.