ESDNewsletter September 2008

This ESDNewsletter informs you about the following topics and activities on SD in Europe:

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New ESDN Quarterly Report on "Participatory mechanisms in the development, implementation and review of national sustainable development strategies"

Public participation is one of the key elements of NSDS processes as it builds a basis for involving various stakeholder groups and aims to link top-down and bottom-up approaches. Viewed from a ‘new governance’ perspective on policy-making, participatory mechanisms are crucial for multi-stakeholder and cross-sectoral settings of collaboration to successfully address the challenges of sustainable development (SD). However, practical experiences show that establishing meaningful and effective exchange mechanisms between different stakeholders remains a challenge that needs to be addressed more systematically.

The Quarterly Report September 2008 attempts to provide an overview of various aspects of participation in policy-making in general and its application in NSDS processes in particular. After a general introduction on public participation in policy-making and SD strategy processes, the QR includes several empirical findings on public participation in NSDS processes. In order to demonstrate how participatory mechanisms are applied in practice in NSDS processes, the QR includes three case studies of experiences made in Austria, Finland and the UK.

>> Read the current ESDN Quarterly Report

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Documentation of the ESDN Conference 2008

The ESDN Conference 2008, “Coordinating SCP and CSR policies with Sustainable Development Strategies” was hosted by the French EU Presidency on 29 June – 1 July 2008 in Paris. The “ESDN Conferences” section on the ESDN homepage now features a full documentation of the conference, including

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News on the governance of SD from European countries and the European Commission

This part of the ESDNewsletter provides regular updates on the governance of SD across Europe and internationally.

Belgium: Federal Plan for Sustainable Development currently developed
The third Federal Plan for Sustainable Development (covering the time period 2009-2012) is currently developed. In May and June 2008, a public consultation process on the preliminary draft of the plan was organised. Moreover, the Federal Council for Sustainable Development formulated an opinion on the preliminary draft plan. After the consultation period, the comments were examined by the Interdepartmental Commission on Sustainable Development which elaborated the draft plan. In a last step, the Federal Government will need to adopt the plan. In addition to the new Federal Plan for SD, the SD indicators will be udpated.

Canada: Canada’s new Federal Sustainable Development Act
The Parliament of Canada passed a new Federal Sustainable Development Act in June 2008. The new Act seeks to improve SD planning and reporting and establishes the requirement for the development of a Federal Sustainable Development Strategy by June 2010. As an overarching approach to SD, this Strategy will include a clear set of federal SD goals and targets as well as an implementation strategy for each target. Federal departments will be expected to specify in their individual strategies how their activities will contribute to the achievement of these federal goals and targets. Departmental strategies must be in place by June 2011. This Federal Sustainable Development Act replaces previous amendments under the Auditor General Act which came into effect in 1995 requiring departments to develop SD strategies. The new Act will also ensure that citizens have a clear understanding of the Government’s environmental priorities and progress in achieving its SD goals and targets. More information on SD in Canada can be found on the Canadian Government’s website on SD.

Germany: New brochure on public procurement policies
Recently the German Council for Sustainable Development published recommendations for sustainable public procurement under the title, "Credible - cost-effective - viable for the future: New brochure on public procurement policies". The brochure is now available online in German and English by clicking here.

Romania: Preparation of renewed NSDS
The reviewing process of the current NSDS started in December 2007 as a common project of the Romanian Government, through the Ministry of Environment and Sustainable Development (MESD), and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) in Romania with the aim to develop a renewed NSDS. The review process ran until summer 2008 in order to ensure a broad dialogue among various stakeholders. Following this, the MESD organised a process of public consultation and a communication campaign for the renewed NSDS. Additionally, the MESD is drafting an implementation scheme including all responsible bodies. The renewed NSDS is currently in the process of being adopted by the Romanian Government.

Sweden: Recent activities of the Swedish Commission on Sustainable Development
The Swedish Government set up the advisory Commission on Sustainable Development in 2007. It comprises a dozen members coming from the business sector, academia, NGOs and politics. The Commission is chaired by the Prime Minister with the Minister for the Environment as vice-chair and the Minister for Finance as a member. The Commission holds both closed and open meetings. Recently, the Commission focused on climate policy and discussed studies and proposals from the ongoing review of Swedish climate policy as well as the EU climate and energy package. The Commission has also discussed topics with a wider SD perspective. Particular attention has been devoted to market based instruments. For the period up to the start of the Swedish EU Presidency in July 2009, most activities of the Commission will be concerned with various topics related to the international climate negotiations.

Switzerland: English version of renewed NSDS now available
As reported in the last ESDNewsletter, the Swiss Federal Council has adopted the renewed NSDS in April 2008. The new strategy includes revised conceptual guidelines and an action plan for the legislative period 2008-2011. The English version of the renewed NSDS is now available on the website of the Federal Office for Spatial Development (ARE).

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Other news

EcoProcure 2009 Conference
ICLEI - Local Governments for Sustainability and Reykjavik City Council organised the EcoProcura 2009 Conference, “Climate Neutral through Procurement”, in Reykjavik, Iceland on 25-27 March 2009. The aim of this conference is to exchange ideas, experiences, concepts and opinions on how sustainable procurement can contribute to reducing greenhouse gas emissions and adaptation to climate change. Please find an overview of the programme and information on how to register by clicking here.

Sustainable society index
During the peer review of the Dutch NSDS 2006-2007, a group of people presented a sustainable society index (SSI). An article describing the SSI can be found here. This index has already been applied in practice in Romania: The ‘SSI Romania 2008’ has been launched in June 2008 in Bucharest. For more information, please click here.

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We wish you a colourful autumn!

The ESDN Office Team at the Research Institute for Managing Sustainability

Andre Martinuzzi
Gerald Berger
Markus Hametner
Ursula Kopp
Wilhelm Zwirner

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