Germany started its Presidency of the Council of the European Union on July 1st 2020. Rarely have there been so many sustainability related topics on the agenda – plus the opportunity to put the billions of euros earmarked for the coronavirus recovery to transformative use. Therefore, expectations seem high.
However, due to the Covid19 crisis Germany will not be able to execute its previously stipulated Presidency agenda. This raises the question what changes the Covid19 crisis might bring to the agenda, and what the possible risks and opportunities of these changes are. Furthermore, the focus will be on the Presidency’s ambitions regarding issues such as climate change, digitalization, environmental policies and the complex Multi Annual Financial Framework negotiations.
Karsten Sach, Director General International and European Policy at the Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation, and Nuclear Safety provided insight into the Presidency’s agenda during an EEAC exclusive policy briefing. The briefing aimed to inform EEAC members about the focus of the German Presidency of the European Council, with special emphasis on issues related to climate change and environmental and sustainable development policies.
Climate change will affect the availability, quality and quantity of the water needed to meet basic human needs. This will inevitably increase risks in energy production, food security, human health, economic development and poverty reduction, and consequently represents a serious threat to the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals. At the same time, both climate change and the human responses to it will add to the existing pressures on water systems and ecosystems. For this reason, the EEAC Working Group on Fresh Water Affairs dedicated an online session to the challenges of water quantity governance in the context of climate change. Read More
The Dutch Council for the Environment and Infrastructure (Rli) organised an on-line debate session with live presentations, on Monday, 8 June 2020. At this meeting, the Council presented and discussed its advisory report concerning national and EU policy on hazardous substances. With the discussion and reflection involving experts, stakeholders and NGOs, the Council contributed to the debate on a European level. Read More
The German Advisory Council on the Environment (SRU) published its new Environmental Report, entitled: “Towards an ambitious environmental policy in Germany and Europe” on the 15th of May 2020. With this Environmental Report, the SRU is addressing environmental policy topics that require urgent action. These topics include: climate policy, the circular economy, water protection, sustainable neighbourhood development, noise regulation, urban mobility and the future of EU environmental policy.
In a sequence of two online sessions, SRU experts will present and discuss with EEAC colleagues:
1. The future of EU environmental policies and climate policy
2. Circular economy and urban mobility.
The first online session was held on June 5th, World Environment Day. The second session is scheduled to take place after summer.
The context in which the European energy and climate transition is taking place changes by the day due to the Covid19 crisis. Inevitably this changing context will affect the EU’s energy and climate policies. In order to obtain a better understanding of how the Covid19 crisis will influence European energy and climate policies, the EEAC Working Group invited Milan Elkerbout of the Center for European Policy Studies to provide the working group with an online policy briefing on this issue.
During the session, Milan touched upon both the short-term and the longer-term impacts of Covid19 on EU energy and climate policies. With this session the EEAC Working Group on Energy and Climate Change provided participants with an enhanced understanding of the short-term and longer-term impact of the Covid19 crisis on EU Energy and Climate Policies. An outcome document will be shared in due time.
In response to the Covid19 pandemic, the Board of the EEAC Network hosted a meeting of council members, secretary-generals and directors of its member bodies to discuss the pandemic and what it will mean for the sustainable development and environmental agendas. There was a consensus that the pandemic reinforces the need to actively pursue an enhanced European Green Dealand the UN
2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. Following the meeting, EEAC Chairman Arnau Queralt Bassa drafted a messages, entitled Responding to Covid19, Building social, economic and environmental resilience with the European Green Deal
THIS EVENT IS CANCELLED DUE TO CORONA RESTRICTIONS
Subsequent to the expert meeting in January 2020, the advisory bodies from Belgium (FRDO-CFDD), the Netherlands (Rli) and Luxembourg (CSDD) will organize an expert meeting to present and discuss the insights gained from their work so far. This exchange will help to enrich and focus the Council’s advice and determine the most effective target audience and form of recommendations.
The advisory bodies aim to meet representatives from rail infra, train operating companies, service providers, government authorities and representatives of EU organisations and institutions who are involved in improving international passenger rail transport.
The expert meeting will take place in Brussels on April 15th in the afternoon. The language of the meeting will be English. Simultaneous interpretation in French will be provided. If you are interested to joy the meeting, please contact Tim Zwanikken (project leader, firstname.lastname@example.org, 00 31 (0)6 5287 4404).
The EU Environment Council discussed the fitness-check of the EU water directives during its session on Thursday, March 5th. To provide the latest information and insights coming from the Council discussion, the EEAC Network’s Working Group on Water organized an online working session a week later, on Thursday March 12th.
This meeting was subsequent to our recent online working session on the fitness-check of the EU water directives. This time we focused on the outcomes and possible consequences of the Environment Council meeting. Hagar Ligtvoet of the Permanent Representation of the Netherlands to the European Union kindly introduced the outcomes and possible consequences of the Council meeting during our working session.
The EEAC Network formally endorsed the Global Forum for National SDG Advisory Bodies in September 2019 and joined the Global Forum’s inaugural meeting in Bogota from February 17 to 19 2020. The focus of this inaugural meeting was to identify the demands and capacities for SDG delivery for all network members, and to propose potential pathways and competencies for accelerated SDG implementation.
This unique gathering allowed all network members to become engaged in implementation through the structured exchange of experience with other network members and by developing roadmaps for implementation back-to-back with the identified demands and capacities. The EEAC Network was represented by its Working Group Co-Chair Gábor Bartus, supported by the Network’s coordinator Michiel de Vries.
The EEAC Network organized a working session on the European Green Deal in Brussels on Thursday February 13th, 2020.
During the one day working session, EEAC members engaged with think-tanks and other EU oriented organizations to learn how these organizations perceive the ambitions and proposals included in the European Green Deal.
Experts from – among others – Bruegel; IDDRI; IEEP, EEB, EESC-SDO, and EPC shared an overall assessment of the Green Deal’s content and potential, as well as more sector specific analyses.
Please click here to read the EEAC Working Session Outcome Summary.