ESDNewsletter September 2009

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

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New ESDN Quarterly Report on “Sustainable development strategies beyond Europe”

The Quarterly Report (QR) focuses on sustainable development strategies beyond Europe in order to provide an overview of strategic policy documents for sustainable development in countries of various world regions. After outlining some basic international developments with regard to national sustainable development strategies (NSDSs) and different types of NSDSs, the QR provides an overview of selected sustainable development strategies of countries in the Asian & Pacific region, South and Latin America & the Caribbean, North America and the non-European Mediterranean region. In total, 16 countries and two regional cooperations (Pacific Islands Forum, Mediterranean Strategy for Sustainable Development) are covered in the QR. For each country, the QR provides background information, lists the objectives and topics of the sustainable development strategy, includes information on responsible institutions and on implementation processes, and shows how efforts of strategy delivery are monitored and evaluated. Finally, the QR presents some concluding remarks on similarities and differences among these countries and regions.

>> Read the current ESDN Quarterly Report

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News on the governance of sustainable development from various European countries & the European Commission

Austria: Update of indicator report for monitoring sustainable development

The indicator reports for monitoring sustainable development must be updated every two years. The last report was published in 2007. In June 2009, the new indicator report has been published and shows the development of the sustainable development indicators. Further information can be found here.  A brochure presenting the 26 headline indicators has also been updated and can be downloaded in English. Moreover, all indicator graphs, texts and data files can be downloaded (in German only).

Cyprus: Revision process of NSDS started

The Environment Service of Cyprus is currently revising the country’s NSDS which has been prepared within the framework of the renewed EU SDS. Moreover, sustainable development indicators to measure the delivery of the NSDS are currently developed. The revision process is scheduled to be completed by the end of 2009. Further information on the revision will be presented in the next ESDNewsletter.

Germany: Report on sustainable development, innovation and climate protection in Germany

In June 2008, the German Advisory Council on the Environment (SRU) has published the“Environmental Report 2008: Environmental Protection in the Shadow of Climate Change”. The report provides a comprehensive evaluation of national and European environmental policies covering 2004 to 2008. Key sections of the SRU report have now been made available in English in a series of volumes. Volume 1 covers the German Sustainable Development Strategy, the benefits of innovation-oriented environmental policies and the new challenges of climate change. The report can be downloaded here.

Switzerland: Mid-term report on the implementation of the NSDS 2008-2011 & report on sustainability evaluation of projects on sub-national level

In July 2009, a mid-term report about the implementation of the Swiss NSDS, covering the period 2008-2011, has been published. The mid-term report can be downloaded in German, French and Italian. Moreover, a report has been published in June 2009 on the sustainability evaluation of projects carried out on the canton and municipal level in Switzerland. The report is available in German and French. Finally, the Federal Office for Spatial Development (ARE) publishes on its website good practice examples on sustainable development, e.g. on international solidarity, sustainable consumption, communication, etc.

Nordic Council of Ministers: New strategy for sustainable development

The Nordic Council of Ministers has adopted a new Nordic strategy for sustainable development 2009-2012. The strategy defines goals and prioritized areas of action for climate and renewable energy; sustainable production and consumption; the Nordic welfare state as a tool for sustainable development; and education and research, public participation and local sustainability strategies. This is the third joint Nordic strategy, the first one was adopted already in year 2000. This joint Nordic strategy complements the countries' national strategies and forms the principal cross-sectoral framework for the Nordic co-operation on sustainable development. The strategy acts also as an instrument for joint initiatives in the wider international work on sustainable development. In order to monitor the goals set out in the strategy a set of sustainable development indicators has been developed as well. Nordic co-operation involves Finland, Iceland, Norway, Denmark and Sweden, as well as the autonomous territories of Åland, the Faroe Islands and Greenland.

European Commission: 2009 Review of the EU SDS & Communication on ‘GDP and beyond’

The European Commission adopted the second progress report on the EU Sustainable Development Strategy on 24 July 2009. The report is a response to the request of the December 2007 European Council. The report takes stock of developments at EU level and launches a reflection on how the EU SDS could be taken into the future. The report argues that in recent years, the EU has mainstreamed SD into a broad range of its policies. In particular, the EU has taken the lead in the fight against climate change and the promotion of a low-carbon economy. At the same time, unsustainable trends persist in the EU in several areas and the efforts need to be intensified. The review invites a reflection on how the EU SDS could evolve in the future. Greater alignment with the Lisbon Strategy for growth and jobs and other cross-cutting EU strategies, further streamlining of the strategy and better monitoring and coordination are examples of points that are suggested for consideration. The report can be downloaded here in all Community languages.

In August 2009, the European Commission adopted the communication “GDP and beyond: Measuring progress in a changing world”. The communication presents a road map for action on how Gross Domestic Product (GDP) can be complemented to steer policies towards green growth and a low-carbon, resource-efficient and inclusive society. It is argued that GDP is the best available measure of macro-economic activity, but it cannot be regarded as a good proxy indicator for overall societal development and progress in general as it does not take into account issues like environmental sustainability or social inclusion. The communication, therefore, identifies a number of actions aimed at developing more inclusive indicators that provide a more reliable knowledge base for public and policy making: (i) developing a comprehensive environmental index; (ii) stepping up efforts to produce environmental and social data more rapidly; (iii) more accurate reporting on distribution and inequalities; (iv) developing a European Sustainable Development Scoreboard and research for environmental threshold values; and (v) extending National Accounts to environmental and social issues. The communication can be downloaded here.

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ESDN Conference 2009: Conference proceedings online

The Conference Proceedings of the ESDN Conference 2009 are now available on the ESDN website. The annual conference of the ESDN was held in Prague in June 2009 (in the context of the Czech EU Presidency) and focused on options and opportunities for the future EU Sustainable Development Strategy. On the ESDN website, you can also find the Conference Discussion and Background Papers, the PowerPoint slides of the keynote and other presentations as well as the list of participants.

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Next ESDN Workshop in Brussels on 3-4 November 2009

The 4th ESDN Workshop, “New Drive for Sustainable Development Strategies – The Power of Smart Linkages: Approaches for integrated governance at national level and their innovative potentials for the EU SDS” will take place in Brussels on 3-4 November 2009. More information is available at the ESDN website.

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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
Nisida Gjoksi
Markus Hametner
Ursula Kopp
Michal Sedlacko
Wilhelm Zwirner

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