ESDNewsletter March 2009

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

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New ESDN Quarterly Report on "Involvement of sub-national authorities in National Sustainable Development Strategy processes"

The ESDN Quarterly Report March 2009 focuses on the involvement of sub-national authorities (i.e. regions and municipalities) in the various processes related to National Sustainable Development Strategies (NSDSs). After outlining some general aspects of strategic public management of NSDSs and vertical integration, the Quarterly Report presents an overview of sub-national involvement in NSDS processes in the EU Member States. The four identified types of sub-national involvement (general consultation processes, national sustainable development councils/commissions and inter-ministerial committees, institutionalised mechanisms for better coordination between national and sub-national levels, links between NSDSs and sub-national sustainable development activities) are then explored in more detailed by describing examples of their application in individual Member States. This is followed by an exploration of general findings of sub-national involvement in NSDS processes and by conclusions and recommendations. Substantive parts of this QR represent a summary of the study ‘Contributions of regional and local authorities to sustainable development strategies’ which was commissioned by the Committee of the Regions (CoR) and conducted by the Research Institute for Managing Sustainability (RIMAS).

>> Read the current ESDN Quarterly Report

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News on the governance of sustainable development from European countries

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

Belgium: New strategic table with sustainable development indicators

The Task Force on Sustainable Development (TFSD) of the Federal Planning Bureau (FPB) drew up a "Strategic table with sustainable development indicators" (SDI). The new SDI table contains 88 SDI on 51 issues. The indicators are classified within one of the four categories of the 'Driving force-Pressure-Impact-State-Response' (DPSR) framework, as they inform on (i) driving forces, (ii) pressures, (ii) states of the human, environmental and economic capital, and (iv) responses of the authorities respectively. A trend assessment in relation to goals, established in the sustainable development strategies at different political levels (international, EU, Belgium) could be made for 54 of the SDI. The new SDI table is available in French and Dutch at the website of the Federal Planning Bureau.

Croatia: NSDS adopted by the parliament

The Croatian National Sustainable Development Strategy was adopted by the national parliament on 20 February 2009. The English version of the NSDS will appear in the Croatian country profile on the ESDN homepage as soon as it is translated.

Estonia: Implementation report on the NSDS and new mandate for the Sustainable Development Council

Two new developments regarding NSDS implementation have occurred over the last months:

(1) At the end of 2008, the report on the results of implementation of the Estonian NSDS was compiled and forwarded to the Estonian Government. One purpose of the report was to put together and agree on a set of indicator that could be used to measure sustainable development in Estonia. The set of indicators can be divided in 4 areas (according to the topics of the NSDS): viability of Estonian cultural space; welfare growth; coherent society; ecological balance. The report itself is only available in Estonian.

(2) The mandate of the Estonian Sustainable Development Council has been renewed recently. On 12 February 2009, the Estonian Government adopted a regulation for reviewing its functions and amending the membership structure of the Sustainable Development Council council. According to the new regulation, members of the Council are only representatives from non-governmental organisations (no members from the national ministries or parliament). The Strategy Office in the State Chancellery acts as the secretariat of the Council and provides the link to the national government and to the Lisbon process (the Strategy Office is also the national coordinator of the Lisbon process in Estonia).

Montenegro: New country profile on the ESDN homepage

The country profile of Montenegro has been added on the ESDN homepage with detailed information on important NSDS processes (strategy documents, participation, horizontal integration, indicators, evaluation, etc) in this country. The NSDS of Montenegro was adopted by their national government in April 2007 and can also be downloaded from the country profile.

Spain: Integrated assessment of NSDS

Recently, the integrated assessment of the Spanish NSDS of 2007 (undertaken by the Spanish Observatory for Sustainable Development) has been published in English. It can be found here and in the Spanish country profile on the ESDN homepage.

Moreover, the Spanish Observatory for Sustainable Development published a thematic report on the functionality of water basins in Spain, which follows other thematic sustainability reports that cover topics related to the EU SDS, such as land cover changes and urban air quality.

Switzerland: Indicators for monitoring sustainable development, guidelines for sustainability assessment and good examples in sustainable development

In order to achieve a better observation of global problems and the way in which they evolve, the monitoring of sustainable development in Switzerland (MONET) is being extended. A set of indicators measures interplays between Switzerland and other countries. More information can be found by clicking here.  

New sustainability assessment guidelines for federal agencies and other interested parties have been developed. These guidelines have been drawn up to help sustainability assessments to be carried out as efficiently as possible and in accordance with standard principles. They set out a procedure in nine steps and provide additional support in the form of a Sustainability Assessment Excel Tool that enables the relevance of an initiative to be reviewed from the sustainable development perspective and allows its impacts to be recorded in outline terms. The guidelines are available in English and in other languages (please go to the country profile of Switzerland on the ESDN homepage).

In the series, ‘good examples in sustainable development’, a new publication on international solidarity was issues in January 2009. The publication is currently only available in German and French.

Wales, UK: Consultation for the new Welsh Sustainable Development Scheme & news on sustainable development indicators

The Welsh Assembly Government has published for consultation their new Sustainable Development Scheme; please follow this link for more information and for downloading the draft scheme. The final Sustainable Development Scheme will be published in May 2009.

Moreover, the Welsh Assembly Government also published the latest sustainable development indicators, and a supporting document re-calculating Wales' Ecological Footprint.

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ESDN Conference 2009

The ESDN Conference 2009 will take place in Prague on 17-19 June 2009. It will focus on “Options and opportunities for the future EU Sustainable Development Strategy”. ESDN Conferences are open to ESDN members and associated partners only. For more information, please click here.

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Other news

Workshop on 'Redefining Growth and Prosperity' in Brussels on 21 April 2009

The Austrian Ministry for Agriculture, Forestry, Environment and Water Management and the UK Sustainable Development Commission organise a  workshop on ‘redefining growth and prosperity’ at the Austrian Permanent Representation in Brussels  on 21 April 2009. More information on the workshop and a detailed agenda can be found by clicking here. Please register until 15 April 2009.

Conference on sustainable development in the Mediterranean in Nice on 6-7 April 2009

The Sustainable Development Observatory of the European Economic and Social Committee organises a conference on ‘Responding to the Challenge of Sustainable development in the Mediterranean’ in Nice on 6-7 April 2009. More information about the conference, the programme and the registration form are availably by clicking here.

Workshop on assessing impacts of National Sustainable Development Strategies in Finland - Downloads and summary

The Finnish National Commission on Sustainable Development organised a workshop on assessing impacts of NSDSs (from methodology development to policy process and outcomes) in Helsinki in February 2009. Please click here for downloading individual presentation and the workshop summary.

Publication on Measuring Sustainable Development

The UN Economic Commission for Europe has recently published a report on ‘measuring sustainable development’. It includes an overview of existing policy-based indicators to measure progress towards sustainable development as well as the theoretical underpinnings and practical implementation of the capital approach. The report can be downloaded here.

Globe Awards - Leading Sustainability Awards

Since three years, the Globe Awards recognise and encourage societies, the corporate sector, individuals and academia that have excelled in the area of sustainability. Globe Awards are given out in four categories: Sustainability Research Award, Sustainability Innovation Award, Sustainable City Award and Sustainability Reporting Award. Applications for the 2009 awards are open until 26 April 2009; the winners are presented on 3 June 2009. More information can also be found here.


In the resources section on the ESDN homepage, we have added information and downloads on biodiversity conservation (including briefings and policy recommendations) that are results of the EU’s FP6 project ALARM.

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We wish you a blossoming spring!

The ESDN Office Team at the Research Institute for Managing Sustainability

Andre Martinuzzi
Gerald Berger
Markus Hametner
Ursula Kopp
Michal Sedlacko
Wilhelm Zwirner

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