ESDNewsletter December 2008

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

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New ESDN Quarterly Report on "Interfaces between the EU SDS and the Lisbon Strategy: Objectives, governance provisions, coordination and future development"

The ESDN Quarterly Report December 2008 provides an overview of the interfaces between the EU SDS and the Lisbon Strategy. After a brief outline on two major governance issues in relation to both strategies (policy integration and multi-level governance), the QR presents an overview of objectives and governance provisions of both strategies and reflects on their similarities, differences and interfaces. This is followed by two scenarios of future strategic development in the EU post-2010. Finally, the QR presents the results of a survey among SD coordinators, conducted by the ESDN Office, on the links between the EU SDS and Lisbon Strategy processes on the Member States level.

>> Read the current ESDN Quarterly Report

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Extensive update of the 'country profiles' section on the ESDN homepage

The ‘country profiles’ section on the ESDN homepage has been updated extensively. The country profiles of 33 European countries have been updated on all topics, plus another topic on ‘sub-national activities’ has been added. Moreover, the country profiles are now more easily accessible and the design of the individual country profiles has been renewed.

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Documentation 3rd ESDN Workshop in Brussels

The 3rd ESDN Workshop on ‘Post-2010: The Future of the EU SDS and its Interface with the Lisbon Process’ took place in Brussels on 19 November 2008. It was hosted by the ESDN in cooperation with the Sustainable Development Observatory of the European Economic and Social Committee (EESC). For a full documentation of the workshop, including a workshop summary report, please click here.

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News on the governance of SD from European countries

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

Cyprus: Update of NSDS and sustainable development indicator set

Cyprus is currently in the process of updating its NSDS and preparing a national SD indicator set. More information on the proceedings regarding these issues will follow in 2009.

Denmark: Update of sustainable development indicators

On 30 September 2008, Denmark published an update of its sustainable development indicators. The new indicators are currently only available in Danish. The indicators show continued challenges regarding nature protection, marine environment and agriculture. Despite some reduction achieved in air pollution, there are also some challenges left in this topic.

Finland: Workshop on sustainability assessment in February 2009 and new term of sub-committee on regionally and locally sustainable development extended

The Finnish National Commission on Sustainable Development (FNCSD) will organize a workshop on Sustainability Assessments on 11 February 2009 in Helsinki. The objective of the workshop is to identify potential tools and outline various feasible ways in assessing the impacts of sustainable development policy objectives. The special focus is to find out how the tools developed could be used to assess in an integrated way the likely environmental, social and economic impacts of a National Sustainable Development Strategy.

In order to learn from various experiences and good practices, some European researchers and policy-planners working on sustainability assessments are invited to the workshop. One important objective of the workshop thus is to create a dialogue between scientists and civil servants and to outline a roadmap from methodology development to policy-process and an actual assessment outcome. In the Finnish case, the workshop aims to feed into a comprehensive sustainable development assessment process taking place in 2009 and ultimately to produce an assessment report in December 2009. The ESDN member countries will be provided with more information on the workshop in early January.

The ‘Sub-committee on Regionally and Locally Sustainable Development’ of the Finnish National Commission on Sustainable Development (FNCSD) was established in June 2007.  Its term was now extended until the end of 2012. The sub-committee has 35 members from national ministries, regional organizations and municipalities, association of local authorities, employers and trade federations, labour union, local NGOs (consumer, youth, women, indigenous people, health and environment) and the church. The work plan of the sub-committee has been revised in December 2008. The sub-committee will concentrate in the future on the promotion of sustainable climate and energy policies as well as on eco-efficient land-use and transport systems and sustainable community structures in the regional and local levels. 

Germany: Progress Report 2008 on the NSDS and monthly meeting of State Secretaries' Committee on Sustainable Development

On 29 October 2008, the cabinet of the German Federal Government adopted the Progress Report 2008 on the National Sustainable Development Strategy, ‘For a Sustainable Germany’. Currently, the progress report is only available in German; an English version is expected to be available in January/February 2009. The development of the progress report was accompanied by a wide ranging consultation process, running from November 2007 to June 2008. A documentation of the process (in German) was published together with the progress report in October 2008. With this progress report, the German government adopted sustainable development as a leading principle for policy-making.

The purpose of the progress report 2008 is - similar to the previous reports – twofold: to evaluate the progress of the NSDS on the basis of concrete targets and indicators and to further develop the strategy of 2002 by setting up new topics. The report focuses on four thematic topics: climate and energy, steps towards a sustainable resource management, demographic change/opportunities for greater social cohesion, and world food affairs. Furthermore, the report includes additional thematic chapters along the EU-SDS structure, an independent analysis of sustainability indicators by the Federal Statistical Office and contributions of the German Parliament, the federal regions (Bundesländer), the German Council for Sustainable Development and from the national associations of local communities.

Additionally, the report stresses and adopts the management rules for sustainable development which were revised slightly due to different global conditions and the experience made since the NSDS was adopted in 2002. For the first time, the report explains the governmental organisation of sustainability politics and specific institutional responsibilities. The report strengthens the management of sustainable development in Germany’s federal government. A new management tool for implementing the strategy in daily policy-making will be the assessment of new regulations concerning impacts on sustainable development; it will be an obligatory part of the law-making process.

Beginning in December 2008, the State Secretaries' Committee on Sustainable Development will have monthly meetings. The work programme for the committee will deal with relevant sustainability issues like sustainable use of resources, land use, demographic change or the EU SDS. Additionally, there will be reports of the different ministries on the implementation of sustainable development in specific policy fields and on their priorities concerning sustainability.

Lithuania: Report on NSDS implementation and update of NSDS

The report on the implementation of the National Sustainable Development Strategy 2005-2007 has been finished recently. At the moment, the report on only available in Lithuanian: . Moreover, the process to renew the NSDS and the SD indicators has been set up. The process will start when the new government has given its approval. More information can be found on the homepage of the Ministry of Environment.  In August 2008, the government approved a resolution on the regulation of the National SD Commission which resulted in changes in the membership and the organisation of the Commission’s meetings.

Romania: Renewed NSDS approved

The renewed National Sustainable Development Strategy of Romania was approved by the Government and officially launched on 16 December 2008, including a presentation at the European Commission. The review process of the current NSDS was a common project of the Romanian Government, through the Ministry of Environment and Sustainable Development (MESD), and the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) in Romania. The reviewing process ensured a broad dialog between different stakeholders, and included national authorities, public bodies, universities, the business community and civil society. The renewed NSDS takes into account the objectives of the EU SDS. Please click here to view the renewed Romanian NSDS.

Switzerland: Monitoring Sustainable Development - Switzerland in a Globalised World

Switzerland’s lifestyle and economic system are closely intertwined with other countries through a variety of global interplays. A number of indicators show whether these interplays are sustainable with respect to the use of environmental, economic and social resources. This publication is available in German, French and Italian at

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Other news

ESDN Conference 2009 in Prague: 17-19 June 2009

Next year’s ESDN Conference will take place in Prague. It will focus on the interface between the EU SDS and the Lisbon Strategy. We invite all ESDN Members and Associated Partners to mark this date already now. For an overview of previous ESDN Conference, click here.

EEAC: Bordeaux Declaration / 16th Annual Conference

At the annual plenary session of the European Environment and Sustainable Development Advisory Councils (EEAC), held in Bordeaux on 11 October 2008, representatives of national environmental and sustainable development councils decided to give their view on the current financial situation in the context of their statement on Sustaining Europe for a long way ahead. As a result the EEAC steering committee created the "Bordeaux declaration". It is addressed to the Council of the EU and the European Commission, as well as for EEAC member councils to take to their national governments. For more information on the EEAC’s annual conference, click here.

5th Annual Meeting of the OECD LEED Forum on Partnerships and Local Governance

The OECD Local Economic and Employment Development (LEED) Program invites members and partners of the ESDN to its 5th Annual Meeting on Partnerships and Local Governance to be held at Austria Trend Hotel Savoyen Vienna, Austria on 9 - 10 February 2009. For more information, click here.

EASY-ECO Trainings on Evaluation of Sustainable Development

EASY-ECO offers a special opportunity for researchers (with less than 10 years of research experience) and public administrators (dealing with SD or evaluation of projects and programmes) to attend trainings on evaluation of SD. The participants of EASY-ECO trainings learn about key elements in sustainability evaluation, e.g. roles of evaluation in the policy cycle, stages of evaluation as well as methods and techniques to conduct an SD evaluation. The trainings consist of an online training phase and a 5-day case training. Two trainings are foreseen in 2009: The online course for the upcoming training in Lund/Sweden (14-18 April 2009) starts at the end of December 2008. The second training will take place in Bilbao/Spain (6-10 July 2009), with online courses starting in February 2009. To register for either of the trainings, please contact the EASY-ECO coordinator, Mr Michal Sedlacko ( as soon as possible. For more information on the EASY-ECO trainings, please click here.


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e wish you a peaceful Christmas and all the best for 2009!

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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