Implementing the SDGs at EU level

The implementation of the UN Agenda 2030 and its Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) were prominent on the European agenda in June 2021. Not only launched Eurostat its report entitled  “Sustainable development in the European Union. Monitoring report on progress towards the SDGs in an EU context”, also the Council of the EU reaffirmed strong EU commitment to the implementation of the SDGs.

Following these developments, the EEAC Working Group on Sustainable Development organized an online policy briefing. The aim oprovided participants with the monitoring report’s findings, and put the Council conclusions in the context of the report’s findings.

Ms. Mayer (Eurostat), Ms. Humphries (WWF EU), and Ms. Lindblom (ESDN) shared their insights during the briefing. Read More

FRDO-CFDD, RNE and EEAC organized a joint webinar on corporate sustainability reporting

The Belgium Federal Council for Sustainable Development (FRDO-CFDD), the German Council for Sustainable Development (RNE) and the EEAC Network organized a webinar entiteled:  “Corporate sustainability reporting: recent developments”. The webinar took place on June 17th.

Background

Since the launch of the European sustainable finance action plan, the financial sector is asking for improved information on the exposure of companies to sustainability risks. Diverse stakeholders think that companies should better account for their social and environmental impacts. Moreover, companies facing increasing transparency requirements consider that the related reporting costs are too high.

The EU Commission’s proposal for a new Corporate Sustainability Reporting Directive (CSRD), and the proposal for an EU sustainability reporting standard-setting should address these various expectations and concerns.

Aim of the webinar

To give you further information about these initiatives and to highlight their implications for the financial sector, for stakeholders of sustainable development and for enterprises, the FRDO-CFDD, RNE and EEAC organized the webinar. The morning session focused on the EU reforms for sustainability reporting, and the afternoon session focused on their practical implications at the national level.

Over 150 people particiapted in the session on June 17th. Follow-up documentation and presentions will be made available on the website soon.

 

EEAC member councils discussed CAP Strategic Plans

The EEAC Working Group on Ecosystem Services gathered for an online session on the national implementation of the new EU Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) 2022-2027, and the potential role that advisory councils can play in that process. With this session the Working Group informed the colleagues of the different advisory councils about the policy process that will start after the finalized CAP negotiations, and what role advisory councils at national and sub-national level can play in the pursuit of a CAP implementation that does justice to the specific challenges in the different countries and/or regions. Additional attention was paid to optimizing policy coherence between CAP, climate, environment and biodiversity policies. Read More

EEAC member councils held an exchange on the EU’s proposed Climate Law

The EEAC Working Group on Climate and Energy organized an online policy briefing on the EU Climate law. The session provided the colleagues of the different advisory councils with : A) a brief overview of the law; B) an assessment of its strengths, its possible loopholes, and the proposed European Scientific Advisory Board on Climate Change. After the presentation by Elisa Giannelli (E3G), colleagues held an exchange touching upon the implementation of the EU Climate Law, the next steps coming up, and what this might mean for national and regional advisory councils on Climate Change, Environment and Sustainable Development. Read More

OECD & EEAC jointly organized a webinar on better policies for food systems // Session Recordings now available

The OECD and EEAC Network organized a joint webinar on the findings from the OECD’s Making Better Policies for Food Systems report. The report brings together decades of OECD research and policy recommendations into a coherent view on food systems to support policy makers around the world develop better policies for food systems. Following a presentation on the report by the authors, an assessment of the report and possible policy implications from the perspective of the European Environment and Sustainable Development Advisory Councils Network was shared. Experts from the German Advisory Council on Global Change, the Dutch Council on the Environment and Infrastructure and the Council for the Sustainable Development of Catalonia contributed. Following the presentation and reflections, interaction on the performance of the global food system followed. Participants also discussed the design of coherent policies, factors complicating the task of achieving better policies and key priorities for food system policy approaches. You can view the session recordings here.

Report presentation // Hydrogen: the missing link

Hydrogen can play a role in making the economy more sustainable in two ways: as an energy carrier, and as a feed stock for industry. The Dutch Climate Agreement, Climate Plan and various sector-specific scenarios all assign an important role to hydrogen. Hydrogen is also receiving considerable attention internationally, as illustrated by the many strategies, vision documents, reports and investments by governments and global companies. Hydrogen, in other words, has potential.

There are however multiple challenges and possible infringing interests when it comes to the use of hydrogen in the future. In this context the Dutch Council for the Environment and Infrastructure (Rli) produced its report aiming to answer the question: What is a realistic prospect for hydrogen as a feed stock and/or energy carrier in a sustainable economy, and what role should the (Dutch) national government and other parties play in that regard? During an online presentation, Folmer de Haan (Deputy Director Rli) introduced the advice and its finding and engaged in collegial exchange. Read More

Minister João Pedro Matos Fernandes discussed Portugal’s EU Presidency Agenda with EEAC member councils

The Minister and the Secretary General of the Ministry for Environment and Climate Action of Portugal provided an EEAC-exclusive policy briefing on the agenda of the Portuguese Presidency of the Council of the European Union. The member councils of the EEAC met with the Minister and the Secretary General online on Februari 17th 2021.

Portugal took over the Presidency of the European Council on January 1st 2021. The Portuguese Presidency organized its programme around five main pillars: A) Resilient Europe; B) Social Europe; C) Green Europe; E) Digital Europe; and F) Global Europe. In the e-presentation the ‘Green Europe’ pillar was centre-staged.

The Presidency has an ambitious agenda, including the finalization of the EU climate law, approval of the EU’s Circular Economy Strategy and a successful wrap-up of the negotiations on the EU’s Common Agricultural Policy. A packed Presidency agenda that needs to be delivered amidst the challenges of the covid19-pandemic.

WBGU presents its latest publication to the colleagues of the EEAC Network

The German Advisory Council on Global Change (WBGU) presented its recent publication, entitled: ‘Rethinking Land in the Anthropocene: from Separation to Integration’ to the colleagues of the EEAC Network. The session took place on February 11th . During the hour-long session, Jan Siegmeier and Susanne Neubert (WBGU) presented the findings and recommendations of the report, and engaged in collegial exchange. Read More

An EEAC background paper: Economic instruments to enhance sustainable development

A consortium of advisory bodies – under the auspices of the National Council for Sustainable Development in Hungary (NFFT) drafted an EEAC background paper, entitled: ‘Economic instruments to enhance sustainable development’. This exploratory note was presented to the members of the EEAC Network on Tuesday January 26th 2021.

While having pledges, strategies and ambitions in place, the EU and its Member States still struggle to meet the SDGs and the related targets. This leaves Europe with a void. A void between ambitions and reality on the ground. In the EEAC explanatory note, the authors dedicate their attention to a specific issue that might play a role in this void: the use of economic instruments to enhance sustainable development. With the valuable inputs of five EEAC member bodies, the explanatory note touches upon the fundamental benefits of economic instruments to enhance sustainability.

EEAC members discussed possible exchange and cooperation on overarching theme of ecosystem services

A consortium of EEAC member councils discussed possible exchange on the overarching theme of ecosystem services. Since quite a few EEAC members work on topics that can be brought together under the heading “ecosystem services”: 1. food production (supply services); 2. biodiversity (support services) and 3. freshwater (supply and regulatory services), this first exchange took place . The analogy in the councils’ activities is their focus on protecting and improving ecosystems in order to ensure ecosystem services in a sustainable way. Following the meeting, a draft agenda for exchange and cooperation will be presented and further discussed.