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Spotlight An ESDN Interview Series about the SDGs and Sustainable Development

February 2020 marks the launch of the European Sustainable Development Network’s new interview series, Spotlight, in which experts in the fields of sustainable development, the implementation of the 2030 Agenda, and the SDGs are interviewed. The series addresses current topics in the debate surrounding sustainable development and the SDGs, such as the “Global Sustainable Development Report 2019”, the role of businesses in achieving the SDGs, the Circular Economy, the 6 transformations, and the role of the local level, to name only a few.

Spotlight interviews will be released every month on the ESDN website and on the ESDN’s YouTube channel. Therefore, we encourage everyone to subscribe to the channel: European Sustainable Development Network, so you do not miss any of Spotlight’s interviews.

July 2020

This month’s Spotlight features Arnau Queralt Bassa, Chairman of the European Environment and Sustainable Development Advisory Councils (EEAC). The EEAC is comprised of councils at the national and subnational level that give advice to governments and parliaments. Arnau explains that the biggest challenge of multi-stakeholder councils is to find a consensus between up to fifty members with different perspectives and visions. He talks about the different structures, tasks and capacities of councils around Europe. They vary in their agenda setting ability and not all are taken equally seriously by the governments they are advising.

The SDGs play a crucial role in the EEAC’s work. Arnau explains how councils in different countries use them in their work in very different ways. The EEAC is also an observer at the European Commission’s Multi-Stakeholder Platform on the SDGs. Arnau argues that this is an excellent space for debate and exchanging ideas. However, he also explains that it is not as inclusive as it could be. For the Green Deal, he hopes that it will soon go beyond the speeches and the framework and translate into concrete policies.

The interview was conducted by Prof. André Martinuzzi, Coordinator of the ESDN Office and Head of the Institute for Managing Sustainability.

Disclaimer: This interview was conducted in October 2019 and does not reflect recent developments or impacts of Covid-19!

00:00 Challenges of Multi-Stakeholder Platforms
03:01 SDGs as Landmark of Policy Counselling
06:00 Impact of the Global Sustainable Development Report in Policy Councils
09:19 A Common Vision for a Sustainable Europe
12:40 Multi-Level Governance Approaches guide SD Policy Implementation
13:59 Excellent Visions need Concrete Policies

May 2020

This month’s ESDN spotlight interview features Jasmin Miah, Officer for Governance and Social Innovation at ICLEI Europe. ICLEI is an international network of municipalities and local and regional governments that are committed to sustainable urban development. Jasmine Miah talks about the five pathways that ICLEI has developed to guide all actions and strategies. She explains why cities and local level change are crucial aspects in achieving the SDGs. Therefore, the EU must increase its efforts to include the subnational level in its sustainability strategies and policies.

Equitable and people-centered sustainable development is key to leaving no one behind. According to Jasmin Miah it can help to counteract populism and frustration of voters at the subnational, national and European level. She explains how the Green Deal could achieve just that.

The interview was conducted by Prof. André Martinuzzi, Coordinator of the ESDN Office and Head of the Institute for Managing Sustainability. If you would like to inform colleagues who may be interested in sustainable development, there is a teaser of the interview available on the ESDN’s YouTube Channel.

Disclaimer: This interview was conducted in October 2019 and does not reflect recent developements or impacts of Covid-19!

00:00 Five pathways towards urban sustainable development
01:59 SDGs as benchmark for sustainable cities
03:55 Current activities of ICLEI – Local Governments for Sustainability
05:58 The European landscape of sustainable cities
08:07 Equitable solutions crucial for implementing sustainable development
10:08 The subnational level is where the action happens
12:37 Sustainable development as new narrative for rural areas?
13:20 The way ahead for urban sustainability

April 2020

April’s ESDN Spotlight interview features James Gomme, director of SDGs at the World Business Council for Sustainable Development. The WBCSD is a network of over 200 leading businesses around the world, cooperating to accelerate the transition to a more sustainable future. The objective is to leverage the innovation and leadership capacity of businesses to achieve a vision for a good life within planetary boundaries by 2050. The WBCSD has always oriented its work by the principles of SD, and the SDGs have provided a stress test for previous efforts.

Companies can make use of the SDGs by incorporating them into their business strategy and into their monitoring. According to James Gomme, there are huge opportunities for businesses when they embrace the 2030 Agenda. In fact, he predicts that those businesses who adopt the 2030 Agenda early on will be more successful in the long run. For this, however, there needs to be clear government policy on the SDGs, and governments need to communicate the expectations they have of businesses. Overall, James Gomme notices a strong desire of governments to work together with businesses in order to tackle systemic challenges.

The interview was conducted by Prof. André Martinuzzi, Coordinator of the ESDN Office and Head of the Institute for Managing Sustainability. If you would like to inform colleagues who may be interested in sustainable development, there is a Teaser Video of James’ interview available on the ESDN’s YouTube Channel.

00:00 The Incumbent Role of SDGS for the World Business Council for Sustainable Development
02:42 Integrating Sustainable Development into the Business DNA
04:46 Tool for Leveraging the SDGs in Business
06:43 Leadership Engagement with Sustainable Development
08:50 Systems Transformation on the Road to 2050
11:26 Business as Usual is no longer an Option!
14:05 Sustainable Development as Business Opportunity
16:23 Latecomers and Frontrunners in Sustainable Business
17:50 Policy support for adopting the SGDs in the Private Sector

March 2020

The second ESDN Spotlight Interview features Finnish scientist Eeva Furman. She was part of a group of fifteen scientists who co-authored the Global Report on Sustainable Development for the UN. This report aimed at bringing together the knowledge about sustainable development from different regions and disciplines. While the situation is serious, the report finds that from a scientific perspective, a sustainability transformation is still possible. Eeva Furman talks about the role of science for sustainable development and policy-making. She also explains, why we need a stronger and more diversified sustainability science. Finally, she argues that the European Union and the Green Deal have the potential to drive forward real change in Europe. The interview was conducted by Prof. André Martinuzzi, Coordinator of the ESDN Office and Head of the Institute for Managing Sustainability. If you would like to inform colleagues who may be interested in sustainable development, there is a Teaser video of Eeva’s interview available.

00:00 Main Objectives of the Global Sustainable Development Report 2019
01:36 Four Critical Levers of Change
04:47 Sustainability Science in A Complex World
06:02 A New Generation of Evidence-Based Policy
09:47 Sustainable Development as Imperative for Policy-Making
12:25 Sustainability Science in Horizon Europe

February 2020

Spotlight’s February 2020 interview is with Guillaume Lafortune from the Sustainable Development Solutions Network (SDSN). The interview was conducted by Prof. André Martinuzzi, Coordinator of the ESDN Office and Head of the Institute for Managing Sustainability. In his interview, Guillaume discusses many topics relating to sustainable development, the 2030 Agenda and the SDGs, such as the Science Policy Interface, the role of businesses in implementing the SDGs, the SDSN Sustainable Development Report 2019, sustainability as the EU’s new narrative, the Six Transformations for a sustainable future, and the vision for the next 10 years of the 2030 Agenda. If you would like to inform colleagues who may be interested in sustainable development, there is a Teaser video of Guillaume’s interview available.

00:00 Introduction to SDSN (Sustainable Development Solutions Network)
03:17 Science Policy Interface
05:16
Role of Business
08:28
Sustainable Development Report 2019
11:50
Sustainability as the new Narrative for the EU
15:53
Six Transformations
18:25
Vision for the next 10 years 

 

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