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This section summarises the history of the ESDN (see below), and it gives an overview on the following elements that make up the governance and structure of the ESDN:

This section is based on the ESDN Joint UnderstandingESDN Joint Understanding that describes the key issues of network governance more in detail.


History – from annual networking events to an informal network

The history of the ESDN goes back to 2002, when public administrators in charge of national sustainable development (SD) strategies from several EU Member States (MS) met for the first time for a workshop-like exchange of experiences in the Netherlands. Since then, annual conferences have taken place across Europe. For a full documentation of these events click here.

With the Vienna meeting in 2003, the target group of the conferences was broadened considerably. Besides the co-ordinators of national SD strategies and the national coordinators of EU environmental integration and SD policies, experts from the European Commission, representatives from various National Councils for Sustainable Development, and national members of the SD Working Group of the European Environment and Sustainable Development Advisory Councils (EEAC) have joined the meetings.

Meanwhile, the annual conferences that facilitate an exchange of experience and knowledge in various ways have resulted in an informal network of SD strategy coordinators and other sustainability experts. A key purpose of the ESDN is to develop this exchange further in order to make SD strategies more effective.

At the European Sustainable Development Network Conference 2005 in Windsor/UK delegates supported the idea of strengthening the network by establishing a Steering Group and a permanent support mechanism for the ESDN - the “ESDN Office”.


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