ESDNewsletter June 2010

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

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New ESDN Quarterly Report on "Research & development for sustainable development: how European R&D activities and programmes contribute to SD"

This ESDN Quarterly Report (QR) focuses on the role and potential contribution of research and technological development (R&D) in relation to sustainable development (SD). The first section explores selected issues related to science, knowledge, policy making and sustainability. By doing so, it takes a look at the history of the relationships between environmentalism, science and policy making, investigates the role science plays in evidence-based decision making, and describes the characteristics of sustainability science. The second part of this QR presents some main results as regards how research funded with the EU’s seventh framework programme (FP7) contributes to the key challenges and operational objectives outlined in the EU Sustainable Development Strategy (EU SDS). It is based on the monitoring system that has been recently set up by DG Research. The third section aims at providing an overview of how research and development (R&D) targets are being addressed in National Sustainable Development Strategies (NSDS) of EU Member States. The QR is concluded by outlining the attempts of two countries (Germany and Austria) in compiling and funding national research programmes for sustainable development.

>> Read the current ESDN Quarterly Report

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News on the governance of sustainable development from various European countries and the EU

Finland: Report of foresight network in Finland on the global and domestic policy-making environment

A report on “Together and independently - the world and Finland in the 2010s: Description of the Finnish policy-making environment for the ministries future reviews”, has been recently prepared by the foresight network of the Finnish Prime Minister’s Office. The report provides a description of the global and domestic policy-making environment, offering background material for the ministries’ future reviews. Sauli Rouhinen, member of the ESDN Steering Group, was coordinating theme 3 of the report, “Responsible Natural Resource Economics – A Society Promoting Sustainable Ecosystem Services”.

Montenegro: Regional cooperation in the Western Balkans, National Council for Sustainable Development activities & revision of the NSSD action plan

Institutions in charge of sustainable development in the Governments of Montenegro and Serbia (the Office for Sustainable Development in the Government of Montenegro and the Sustainable Development Unit of the Cabinet of the Deputy Prime Minister of Serbia) initiated the idea of establishing a joint institution/body dealing with the issues of sustainable development for the countries of the Western Balkans. A close cooperation of this body with the ESDN is planned. The second regular session of the reformed National Council for Sustainable Development (NCSD) (17th session since the Council was established) was held on April 9, 2010. At the session, the Council adopted the Guidelines for public relations of Council for 2010All four Council’s working groups have been regularly meeting in between the sessions. The next session of the NCSD will be held in July 2010. A core team for coordination and preparation of the revised National Strategy of Sustainable Development (NSSD Action plan was formed, led by the Office for Sustainable Development and the Head of the NCSD’s Working group for the Revision of the National Sustainable Development Strategy Action Plan and core sustainable development indicators defined in the Strategy. A total of 45 coordinators, representatives from both governmental and expert institutions have been appointed to participate and contribute to this process. The draft of the revised document is expected to be deliberated by the National Council for Sustainable Development in October, after which, the Document will be opened for public consultations. The final adoption by the Government is planned for December 2010.

Wales: Wales Sustainability Week & launch of sustainable development charter for organisations

From 17-23 May 2010, the first Wales Sustainability Week was organised. More information on the Sustainability Week and a full list of organisations that participated in the events are available at the website of the Welsh Assembly. Moreover, the Welsh Assembly has launched a Sustainable Development Charter to encourage organisations in Wales to make sustainable development the central organising principle of the way that they work. For full details please see the website of the Sustainable Development Charter and this article on the website of the Welsh Assembly Government.

Montenegro: Reformed NCSD, revision of NSDS Action Plan and project on promoting SD

National Council for Sustainable Development (NCSD) of Montenegro was reformed and held its first regular plenary session in late January 2010. During this session, the NCSD adopted its work plan for 2010 and the Minister of Urban Planning and Environment was elected as vice chair of the Council. Moreover, a new mechanism of the NCSD was introduced: working groups will be held in-between plenary sessions. Thus far, four working groups have been established for four major topics of the Council’s Work of plan for 2010: (i) revision of the NSDS Action Plan and SD indicators, (ii) communication with the public, (iii) space as greatest challenge of future development in Montenegro, and (iv) strategic environmental assessment report for the construction of the hydropower plant on the Morača river. The revision of the NSDS Action Plan is foreseen for 2010 and has started in February 2010. A wide range of stakeholder will be involved in the revision process. Finally, the Office for SD, with the help of the Dutch Government, has begun to implement the project, “Promotion and Enforcement of the Concept of SD in Montenegro”, which aims to develop a national communication strategy for SD and develop local SD strategies and councils throughout Montenegro.

European Union: “Europe 2020” strategy adopted

Based on the communication by the European Commission, “Europe 2020 – A strategy for smart, sustainable and inclusive growth”, the European Council finally adopted the “Europe 2020” strategy at its meeting on 17 June 2010. The Council Conclusions outline the main strategy features and five headline targets. The “Europe 2020” strategy is the successor of the Lisbon Strategy, which ran from 2000-2010, and “responds to the challenge of reorienting policies away from crisis management towards the introduction of medium- to longer-term reforms that promote growth and employment and ensure the sustainability of public finances (...)”. How “Europe 2020” is related to sustainable development was discussed at the ESDN Conference 2010 (please see below).

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ESDN Conference 2010 in Ghent/Belgium, 4-6 July 2010: Documentation online

The ESDN Conference 2010 took place in the beautiful city of Ghent/Belgium on 4-6 July 2010. It was organised by the ESDN in cooperation with the Belgian EU Presidency. This year’s conference, entitled “Towards an Economy compatible with Sustainable Development Principles: ‘Green’ Strategies in the context of Sustainable Development”, drew 100 participants from 25 countries (including, for the first time, colleagues from Dubai and Thailand). Important keynote presentations, interesting debates, in-depth working group discussions and various interactive formats gave ample opportunity for the conference participants to learn about new developments and to exchange their experiences. Not to speak of the wonderful social event at the Gravensteen Castle with medieval performances and a great conference dinner. Please find the conference agenda, the discussion paper, all presentations at the conference, the working group results and participant list at the ESDN homepage. The conference report will follow later, so please check back regularly at the ESDN homepage.

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5th ESDN Workshop in Madrid: Full documentation now online

The 5th ESDN Workshop, entitled “From Green Growth towards a Sustainable Economy?”, was held in Madrid on 25-26 March 2010. The workshop was hosted by the Spanish EU Presidency. A total of 67 participants from 19 European countries attended the workshop. A full documentation of the workshop, including the agenda, the workshop discussion paper, the presentations at the workshop, the workshop report, the working group results and the participant list are online at the ESDN homepage.

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2nd ESDN Case Study: National assessment of sustainable development in Finland

The second ESDN Case Study is now online. The case study provides an overview of the national assessment of sustainable development in Finland. Apart from a description of the assessment methodology used, the case study gives insights into how the targets set in the Finnish national sustainable development strategy (NSDS) have been achieved so far and what role and importance the NSDS plays in the decision-making process of the various government ministries. The results are extremely interesting and we warmly recommend reading the case study as well as the assessment report of the Finnish Ministry of Environment.

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CORPUS project: Web platform online

“CORPUS – Enhancing the Connectivity Between Research and Policy-Making in Sustainable Consumption” is a project funded by DG Research in the current EU research framework programme (FP7). The project is closely linked to the ESDN and aims to develop and explore innovative ways of knowledge exchange between and among researchers and policy-makers in order to foster evidence-based policy-making in sustainable consumption (particularly in food, mobility and housing). The project has been presented at the ESDN Conference 2010 and its web platform is now online. Please sign up at and join the community of this important European knowledge network.

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Other news

EEAC Annual Conference, 14-16 October 2010

The EEAC is kind enough to invite ESDN members to their annual conference which will be held on 14-16 October 2010 in Bruges and Tournai, Belgium. As usual, a limited number of seats are reserved for ESDN members. The theme of the main conference day on 15 October is “Sustainable Land Use”. The EEAC Working Group Agriculture has elaborated a list of policy recommendations which are now under consultation with the involved councils. Over the summer, this will become an EEAC Statement that will be presented on the conference day. On 14 October in the afternoon, there will be two sessions for which ESDN members are also invited: one with presentations of councils' piece of advice, and one on international governance for SD. More information on the conference and regular updates for the programme are available on EEAC website at:

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We wish you all a relaxing summer time!

The ESDN Office Team at the Research Institute for Managing Sustainability

Andre Martinuzzi
Gerald Berger
Nisida Gjoksi
Markus Hametner
Ursula Kopp
Michal Sedlacko

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