28th EEAC Annual Conference: Make Sure To Register Now

Public registration for the 28th EEAC Annual Conference is open! Over three days from Tuesday 27th October to Thursday 29th October, a diverse mix of experts, academics, councils and policy makers will contribute to the 28th EEAC Annual Conference, which will comprise a mix of keynote speakers, panel discussions and spotlight sessions.

In this short video address, Dr Larry O’Connell, Director of NESC (host of this year’s EEAC Annual Conference, shares further details of the online conference.

REGISTER YOUR ATTENDANCE HERE

COPY OF PROGRAMME HERE

INFORMATION ON SPOTLIGHT SESSIONS HERE

The conference will provide a forum for Irish and European colleagues to share perspectives, experiences and practices and develop a common understanding and concrete strategies for making progress. The conference will shed light on how other countries are managing the transition process, with special attention paid to managing the impacts of climate policy that might disproportionately impact specific groups in society. This is required because transitions represent enormous challenges and the ambition of the 2030 Agenda states that no one should be left behind. Read More

Latest position paper: No sustainable financial planning means no green future for Europe

In its position paper the German Council for Sustainable Development (RNE) declared that the package of measures put forward by the European Council in July, with its 30% climate target and the financial assistance for those states and sectors hit especially hard by the corona virus crisis, contains many elements worthy of support. The RNE thus welcomes the proposal from heads of state and government as a sound basis for discussion. However, in the course of negotiations with the member states in the European Parliament further, improvements must be achieved.

In its position paper , the RNE recommends, among other things, that:

  • The guiding compass to follow be that of sustainability, in particular the landmark announcements from Commission President Ursula von der Leyen regarding the European Green Deal and climate protection,
  • The New Generation EU recovery fund be implemented swiftly, and;
  • That the currently insufficient allocation of monies to international cooperation within the multiannual financial framework (MFF) be increased.

The RNE further welcomes the EU summit supporting the allocation of additional EU funds for sustainability-related topics, such as for expanding EU emissions trading. Own monies for non-recycled plastic waste as well as a digital tax and a carbon border tax are planned. These funds can, however, only be allocated if all members states give their approval. Read More 

 

Latest publications: The Annual Review

As set out in the Climate Action and Low Carbon Development Act 2015, a key task of the Climate Change Advisory Council in Ireland is to conduct an annual review of progress made over the previous year in reducing greenhouse gas emissions and furthering the transition to a low-carbon, climate-resilient and sustainable economy and society by 2050. This is the Climate Change Advisory Council’s fourth Annual Review of progress on transition. Read More

New articles on Covid-19 & Sustainable Development

During the European Sustainable Development Week and Global Goals Week in September, EEAC member councils organized a variety of activities. Among others, a series of interesting articles was published that focused on the relation between the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic and the United Nations 2030 Agenda.

With a co-authored editorial by EEAC Chairman Arnau Queralt, and two articles by EEAC members and partners (Eeva Furman, Chair of the Expert Panel for Sustainable Development in Finland + Sandrine Dixon Decléve, Vice Chair Club of Rome, Elise Buckle,  Founder and President of Climate & Sustainability) an interesting light is shed on how systemic transformation for people, planet and prosperity might help us to emerge from emergency and how the Covid-19 pandemic is a test case to deal with broader sustainability deficiencies.

The articles were published in the IDEES Magazine. IDEES is the online magazine on contemporary issues edited by the Centre for Contemporary Studies an in-house think tank of the Government of Catalonia.

Letter on the promotion of international rail passenger transport endorsed by fellow advisory councils

Together with four other governmental advisory councils on sustainability and the environment, the Dutch Council on the Environment and Infrastructure (Rli) has written a letter to the European Commission on the promotion of international rail passenger transport. In recent months, an additional four advisory councils (from Ireland, Portugal, Germany and Hungary) have expressed their support and endorsed the letter. The letter and the list of endorsements can be found here

The latest contribution on a Green Recovery

Early August, The Dutch Council for the Environment and Infrastructure (Rli) published it’s advisory letter entitled ‘Green Recovery’. In this letter the Council discusses the concurrence of economic recovery policy and the transition towards a sustainable society, which will have an important impact on the choices to be made. Among others things, the Council argues in favour of a green recovery from the corona crisis, in which economy, employment and a sustainable physical environment go hand in hand. According to the Council, increasing the sustainability of the economy and physical environment is, as yet, not adequately incorporated into considerations about economic recovery policy. Furthermore, the Council offers an assessment framework that can help policymakers and political parties in designing green recovery policy, when drafting election manifestos or drawing up the next Coalition Agreement. The Council also presented numerous concrete suggestions for green recovery measures.

This advisory letter by the Dutch Rli, is one of many contributions made by advisory bodies on the Covid-19 crisis and the issue of a Green Recovery. For the other publications visit the EEAC Network’s special Covid-19 & Green Recovery page.

Latest publication: Using the CO2 budget to meet the Paris climate targets

In this chapter of the Environmental Report 2020, the German Advisory Council on the Environment (SRU) exemplifies how the temperature goals of the Paris Agreement can be translated into a national CO2 budget that can serve as a yardstick for future national climate policy.

In this chapter the SRU recommends that the Federal Government should set a German CO2 budget compatible with the Paris Agreement and tighten the climate targets accordingly. The budget should not replace existing targets, SRU argues, but shouldserve as an overarching basis for assessment. At the same time, it is urgently necessary to implement measures that will pave the way to climate neutrality, for example by accelerating the expansion of renewable energies.Only in this way can the use of fossil resources be quickly brought to an end. In order to keep within budget, progress on reductions must be regularly reviewed and measures must be continuously refined, the council stated in this chapter f the Environmental Report 2020. Read More

Arnau Queralt in the latest ESDN spotlight video

In the latest #ESDNspotlight, Arnau Queralt Bassa (Chairman of the EEAC Network) talks about the challenges and opportunities that governmental advisory bodies on climate change, environment and sustainable development face. Click here to see the ESDN’s spotlight video.

 

 

28th EEAC Annual Conference to be hosted online

Given the likelihood that the Covid-19 crisis will still be ongoing in October, the National Economic and Social Council and the Board of the EEAC Network have now decided to opt for a virtual conference format. This format will ensure, regardless of possible public health restrictions, that the 2020 Annual Conference will go ahead. This is important since the crisis has made this conference more important.

The public health crisis is transforming economies, societies, and the environment in ways that cannot yet be fully understood. In the face of what is unprecedented change and uncertainty we believe that Just Transition can, and indeed must, provide guidance and practical support to policy makers across Europe.

By going online, the conference will be held over the three days, from Tuesday 27 October to Thursday 29 October. In this short video address, Dr Larry O’Connell, Director of NESC, shares further details of the online conference. More information about the conference can be found here

European sustainability councils call for a boost in the post-pandemic shift to rail for international travel

1 July 2020 – Europe can and must do more to improve international passenger travel by rail. This will contribute towards the EU’s environmental goals, will enhance the economic competitiveness of agglomerations and stimulate sustainable tourism. Moreover, the transport sector will need support from the EU to prevent decline in the wake of the current COVID-19-crisis. This support can be used as an incentive for a post-pandemic shift to a more sustainable and efficient mobility system throughout the European Union. Now is the time to support a shift from aviation to trains, specifically for short-haul flights. A European consortium of governmental advisory councils therefore urges the European Commission to take this opportunity to boost international passenger rail.

Lack of international cooperation due to focus on domestic needs
Up until now, the international rail network consists primarily of interlinked national systems which are optimised to meet domestic needs. This pushes the needs of the international traveller to the background. The councils conclude that the lack of international cooperation persists because public authorities, rail carriers and infrastructure managers are primarily held to account for their performance in providing domestic services and to a lesser degree for international services.

Travel info, ticketing and passenger rights
The quality of international travel information and ticketing is below par. Travelers want a single service point and a single ticket for their international train journey. In a short space of time, much can be achieved by providing adequate travel information, simplifying ticketing, and improving passenger rights. To that end, there is urgent need for better EU regulation on travel information and ticketing and the ongoing revision of the EU Regulation on passengers’ rights presents an opportunity to improve just that.

Need for a corridor authority
The councils see a need for an improved international coordination on the main rail links between the major urban centres in Europe. The councils are in favour of an EU regulation establishing an European governance structure for the rail network, as better coordination on this level is essential for improving  international rail connectivity. This pan-European initiative could start with international coordination along separate core corridors for passenger transport within Europe: Rail Passenger Corridors. Ultimately, a European corridor authority should be able to supervise and monitor international rail traffic. This authority should also be able to coordinate between public and private rail parties concerned, to accommodate with international rail services in the interests of international rail passengers.

Call for a major boost
The councils call upon the European Commission to give priority to further improvement of international passenger transport by rail. So far the European approach has leaned heavily on stimulating market mechanisms, harmonising regulations and technical standardisation. This has not yet brought about the development of a thriving international rail market. The major boost that is needed implies an increase in political attention, speeding up policy effort and stimulating all parties concerned to improve international passenger rail even further. Better coordination across the European rail network should provide easy accessibility to excellent railservices for international travellers and bring about a huge improvement. However improvements to the speed and connectedness of the network itself are also fundamental. Read More