30th EEAC Annual Conference. Helsinki, 14 to15 September 2022

This year, the EEAC Annual Conference entitled: ‘The Critical Decade of Action: Mobilising Sustainability Transformation in Europe’ took place in Helsinki on September 14th and 15th 2022.

The conference was hosted by Finland’s three independent science panels, the Finnish Expert Panel for Sustainable Development, the Finnish Climate Change Panel and the Finnish Nature Panel.

The two-day conference brought together experts from academia, civil society, the private sector and government to discuss the next steps for facilitating the much-needed transformation in the critical decade of action. We heared interesting keynote speeches and engaged in workshops and parallel sessions, including on the following themes:

  • Joining forces for sustainability transformation
  • Europe’s global responsibility in combating climate change
  • Mid-term policy actions needed against the biodiversity crisis

Read More

Inter council exchange on Planetary Health and adjacent concepts

Representatives from the Advisory Council for the Sustainable Development of Catalonia, the Environment and Nature Council of Flanders, the Finnish Expert Panel for Sustainable Development, the German Advisory Council on the Environment and the German Advisory Council on Global Change e-met on September 12th 2022 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, 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.

Global Forum Network Meeting 2022. 4-7 September 2022

SDG advisory bodies from more than 20 countries gathered in Cape Town, South Africa, in the context of the Global Forum Network Meeting 2022. The Global Forum is a network of multi-stakeholder bodies that accelerates SDG delivery through sharing experiences and jointly visioning forward across national perspectives. The EEAC Network is an active member of the Forum and was represented by the Co-Chair of the EEAC Working Group on Sustainable Development, Gábor Bartus and the Network Coordinator, Michiel de Vries.

On day one Global Forum members compiled the individual accomplishments, lessons learnt from pilot projects as well as reflected on their respective working contexts with a view to identifying common priorities and focus areas.

On day two, the Global Forum started forming Communities of Practice (CoP) for 2022/23. Based on the discussions of the most urgent topics and existing barriers and hurdles, as well as the joint identification of entry-points for the work for national SDG advisory bodies, the Global Forum members took forward a process of forming and planning of the communities of practice.

On day three, a public event explored South Africa’s journey towards implementing the 2030 Agenda. The topic of the political panel was the country’s journey towards implementing the 2030 Agenda, particularly in terms of how South Africa has integrated the SDGs into national policy processes. Speakers discussed the role of various stakeholders contributing to the transformation of key development sectors.

During the Network Meeting a joint call to action was discussed. Following the meeting the German Advisory Council for Sustainable Development (RNE) drafted a meeting report, and finalized the call to action. In the call to action representatives of advisory bodies that are part of the Global Forum, called for all governments and national stakeholder groups to support the United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres’s proposals in “Our Common Agenda”. They also called on all respective national governments and other stakeholders to take bold action, by taking concrete steps at both national and local level and bridging them with international tools and mechanisms. Read More

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.