ESDNewsletter March 2007

Dear ESDN colleagues,

This ESDN Newsletter informs you about the following recent activities and topics on sustainable development (SD):


New ESDN Quarterly Report on the EU SD Strategy governance cycle

The new ESDN Quarterly Report follows up on the EU Sustainable Development Strategy (EU SDS) which was adopted by the European Council in June 2006 (see ESDN Quarterly Report May 2006). It focuses on recently established governance arrangements that help to implement the renewed EU SDS at the Member State level , such as the SDS Coordinators and the biannual progress reporting scheme. The report also highlights that the EU SDS process increasingly resembles the so-called Open Method of Coordination/OMC. Finally, the issues covered are addressed in an interview with Alexander Italianer, Deputy Secretary General and chair of the SDS Coordinators Group.

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Presentation on "Possibilities of European Cooperation"

On 6 March 2007, the Nordic Council of Ministers held a workshop in Helsinki on "A Sustainable Nordic Region in a Region of Opportunities". The ESDN Office was invited to give a keynote presentation on "Possibilities of European cooperation in SD strategy cycles". The presentation first introduces key principles and steps of SD Strategies understood as cyclical processes. In a second step, it highlights realistic as well as demanding possibilities of European cooperation throughout the strategy cycle.
Click here for downloading the presentation from the ESDN website.
The programme and all other presentations given at the workshop can be downloaded from the "NORDEN" website.

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News on SD strategies in Europe:

This new section of the ESDNewsletter provides a regular update on SD strategies in Europe. It gives an overview of recent developments with regard to several SD strategy features, such as new SD strategy documents, mechanisms of horizontal and vertical integration, SD strategy monitoring/reviewing/evaluation and participation (click here for more details on these strategy features).

  • New SD strategy in Hungary: The National Development Agency, in partnership with the Ministry of Environment and Water Management, is currently preparing a new SD strategy, which will be officially approved by the Hungarian Government in June 2007. We will inform you as soon as the SD strategy will be published (scheduled for October 2007).
  • Peer review in the Netherlands: In autumn 2006, the Ministry of Environment and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs initiated a peer review process of the Dutch NSDS which is partially financed by the European Commission. Germany, Finland and South Africa have been selected as peer countries. A peer review workshop will take place in April 2007. The final peer review report will be presented in June 2007. Further information is available in the evaluation section of the Dutch country profile.
  • SD capital approach in Norway: In the theoretical discussion, SD is often related to a capital approach that regards economic, social and environmental issues as different forms of capital, treated either as substitutes for each other (weak SD) or as complementary assets (strong SD). A recent paper that describes how Norway applies this approach in its SD strategy process can be found in the Norwegian country profile by clicking here.
  • New advisory Commission on SD in Sweden: In March 2007, the Swedish Government has set up an advisory Commission on SD to strengthen cooperation and deepen the analysis of issues related to SD. The Commission is chaired by the Swedish Prime Minister, and its members include representatives from politics, businesses, civil society organisations and the research community. For details, please see the participation section of the Swedish country profile.
  • Evaluation and renewal of Swiss SD strategy: Switzerland has commissioned an external evaluation of its SD strategy in 2005. The evaluation was carried out in 2005/2006, and the results of the evaluation have been published in September 2006 (click here for the German version of the evaluation report). Based on the evaluation results, the Interdepartmental Sustainable Development Committee (ISDC) has adopted recommendations for the renewal of the SD strategy in January 2007 (click here for German, French and Italian versions of the recommendations report; an English version will be published in late April).

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Upcoming activities: ESDN Conference 2007 in Berlin – registration open until 10 April

This year's ESDN Conference "ESB07" will be hosted by the German Council for SD on 3-5 June 2007 in Berlin (click here for the Conference Programme). Since all ESDN members are invited to join the networking event, this is a good time and opportunity to join the ESDN – provided that you are a public administrator working in the SD policy field.

For more details about the ESDN and ESDN membership issues, see the ESDN Joint Understanding.

If you want to participate at the ESDN Conference in Berlin, please first contact us at and join the ESDN as a member as soon as possible (the conference registration is open until 10 April).

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We wish you all a nice Easter break!

The ESDN Office Team at the Research Institute for Managing Sustainability

Reinhard Steurer
Gerald Berger
Markus Hametner
Ursula Kopp
Andre Martinuzzi

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