ESDNewsletter April 2011

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

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ESDN Conference 2011 – “Framing and Focussing: European Resource Policies in the Context of Sustainable Development”, Szentendre/Hungary, 27-29 June 2011

The ESDN Conference 2011 will take place in Szentendre (near Budapest) in Hungary on 27-29 June 2011. The conference is organized by the ESDN in cooperation with the Hungarian EU Presidency. This year’s conference is entitled “Framing and Focussing: European Resource Policies in the Context of Sustainable Development” and has two main objectives:

More information about the conference and the draft program can be found at the ESDN homepage.

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New ESDN Quarterly Report on “Resource policies in the context of sustainable development: Current trends and challenges ahead”

This ESDN Quarterly Report (QR) is intended as a first stocktaking of major international and national initiatives related to natural resource policies and management and in particular, resource efficiency, for the forthcoming ESDN Conference 2011 which takes place in Szentendre, Hungary in late June 2011. The QR aims to frame the discussion on sustainable natural resource policies by outlining various recent concepts, approaches and paradigms as well as their implementation at the international and national levels. The report is divided into four chapters. The first chapter includes a reflection on the various paradigms related to natural resource use in the political and scientific debates. The second chapter outlines applications of these various concepts in the major international initiatives, in particular in the OECD work on sustainable materials management, the UNEP International Panel on Sustainable Resource Management and the EU activities on resource efficiency (the Thematic Strategy on the Sustainable Use of Natural Resources and the Europe 2020 flagship initiative, “A Resource-Efficient Europe”). The third chapter highlights some of the recent developments on the Member-State level, focusing on best practice strategies, action plans and policy tools used to boost efficiency improvement in Austria, Finland, Germany and the Netherlands. In the fourth chapter, the report sketches some issues and future challenges related to resource efficiency policies and their measurement which can serve as a basis for further discussion at the ESDN Conference 2011.

>> Read the current ESDN Quarterly Report

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Major update of the “country profiles” section on the ESDN homepage

The “country profiles” section on the ESDN homepage is the most frequently visited and used part of our website. In order to provide the most up-to-date information for the visitors of our homepage, we have undertaken a major update on the individual country profiles. You can now find the most current information on SD strategy processes of more than 30 European countries (incl. all EU Member States) on the ESDN homepage, ranging from basic SD strategy information (i.e. NSDS documents, responsible ministries, strategy updates, etc.), horizontal and vertical integration, participation, evaluation, indicators, to sub-national activities. Many thanks to all national NSDS coordinators for their cooperation during the update!

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

Croatia: Action Plans for the implementation of the NSDS are currently developed

Croatia is working on the implementation of its National Strategy for Sustainable Development (NSDS). Four of the action plans for the implementation of the NSDS are coordinated by the Ministry of Environmental Protection, Physical Planning and Construction (MEPPPC) and work on them has started in 2009 and 2010: the Action Plans for Environmental Protection; for Sustainable Production and Consumption; for the Protection of the Adriatic Sea, Coastal Areas and Islands; and for the Education for Sustainable Development. In development of those Action Plans, a multi-stakeholder approach is being used: Steering Committees and Working Groups consisting of representatives of various stakeholder groups (governmental bodies, business sector, scientific community, NGOs and media) have made drafts of the above mentioned Action Plans, which are planned for adoption by the Croatian Government in 2011. The Croatian Sustainable Development and Environmental Protection Council is being consulted in the development of those Action Plans. The Action Plan nearest to completion, the one for Education for Sustainable Development, has been published on the MEPPPC’s web-site on 11 February 2011 (information available only in Croatian: and comments from the public are being taken into account before finalising the Action Plan.

Estonia: Sustainable Transport Report

Sustainable transport was one of the research topics the Estonian Commission for Sustainable Development focused in 2010. The aim of the Sustainable Transport Report was to evaluate the Estonian transport system and mobility trends from the point of view of sustainable development and to give recommendations for a more sustainable transport policy. The report focuses on several aspects how the government could enhance transport energy efficiency and increase public transport use, encouraging cycling and walking instead of intensive car use. A summary of the report is available in English.

Montenegro: News on inter-ministerial teams for SD, local council for SD, and activities of the NCSD

Based on the conclusions of the annual progress reports on the implementation of the National Strategy of Sustainable Development (NSSD), the Office for Sustainable Development, as the coordinating cross-sectoral institution, led the establishment of two interministerial teams for sustainable development: (a) a cross-sectoral team of coordinators for sustainable development, is set to monitor the progress of implementing principles of sustainable development within the ministries and to submit regular reports on their implementation; (b) the Inter-ministerial group for communications for sustainable development, will monitor the implementation of the Communication Strategy of Sustainable Development (CSSD) of Montenegro, while also striving to achieve a synergy across various governmental communication campaigns.

In December 2010, with the support of the national and the Dutch government, the first Local Council for Sustainable Development in Montenegro was established in the municipality of Danilovgrad. The municipality also prepared the first Local Strategy for Sustainable Development, which is to be adopted by the Local Assembly in April 2011.

Recent structural changes in the Montenegrin Government influenced changes in the membership of the National Council for Sustainable Development (NCSD), the multi-stakeholder consultative body of the Government on SD issues. The new members are Ministers for Economy, Sustainable Development and Tourism as well as Agriculture and Rural Development, who replaced the Ministers of Tourism, Urban Planning and Environmental Protection, and Agriculture, Forestry and Water Management. The first session of the Council with its new members will be held in April 2011.

Switzerland: Evaluation Strategy Sustainable Development 2011, and study about the institutional anchoring of SD in the federal administration and three cantons

In January 2011, the “Evaluation Strategy Sustainable Development, 2011” was published as an external evaluation of the NSDS. The evaluation intended to provide a foundation for updating both the NSDS and the Action Plan and had two major aims: (a) to conduct a retrospective assessment of the relevance, appropriateness and effectiveness of the Swiss NSDS and to formulate recommendations for its future development; (b) with a view to the NSDS update, to record the needs of the parties concerned – especially the Interdepartmental Sustainable Development Committee (ISDC) offices and those in charge of implementing the measures. The report is in German, but it includes a summary in English and can be downloaded from the ARE homepage.

As part of the implementation of the SNDS 2008-11, the Interdepartmental Sustainable Development Committee (ISDC) has the duty to collect best practice examples of integrating SD in the sectoral policy domains and to communicate those to the federal administration and the public. To provide an overview of best practices, ISDS has commissioned a study that shows how SD has been institutionalised in the different policy sectors at the federal level and in three cantons. The study can be downloaded in three languages:

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RESPONDER - Linking SC and Growth Debates: Web platform online, date of the first events fixed

“RESPONDER – Linking Sustainable Consumption and Growth Debates” is a new project funded within the 7th EU Framework Programme and closely linked to the ESDN.

RESPONDER aims at promoting sustainable consumption by assessing potential contradictions with economic growth - taking into account aspects of green growth, non-growth and de-growth. The project will explore novel ways of knowledge brokerage between research and policy making. For this purpose, RESPONDER will carry out participatory system mapping in a series of EU dialogues and multinational knowledge brokerage events. Please sign up at and join the community of this important European knowledge network. The dates for the first RESPONDER events have already been fixed. If you would like to join, please save the following dates:

19-21 October 2011: 1st EU Dialogue on Sustainable Consumption and Economic Growth, Berlin (DE) 
26-27 January 2012: Sustainable Food Consumption, Lisbon (PT) 
15-17 February 2012: Sustainable Household Electronics, Vienna (AT) 
7-9 March 2012: Sustainable Household Savings and Debts, London (UK) 
21-23 March 2012: Sustainable Mobility, Bratislava (SK) 
28-30 March 2012: Sustainable Housing, Barcelona (ES)

Further events are scheduled as follows:
June/July 2012: 
2nd EU Dialogue on Sustainable Consumption and Economic Growth, Brussels (BE) 
Dec. 2012 - Feb. 2013: 2nd round of Multinational Knowledge Brokerage events focusing on pathways and options in five consumption fields 
June/July 2013: 3rd EU Dialogue on Sustainable Consumption and Economic Growth, Paris (FR) 
April/May 2014: RESPONDER conference on managing the contradictions of sustainable consumption and economic growth, Brussels (BE)

For more information on the project and the scheduled events, please go to

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CORPUS project: Final workshop on Sustainable Food Consumption and first workshop on Sustainable Mobility

The final CORPUS workshop of on sustainable food consumption will take place in Vienna on 12-13 Mai 2011 at the premises of the Austrian Federal Ministry of Environment. It will bring together policy-makers and researcher to discuss scenarios for sustainable food futures. This workshop is the third and last in series of three. The prior two events (in October 2010 and January 2011) attracted about 90 policy-makers and researches from all over Europe. For more information on the forthcoming workshop, and a documentation of the previous ones, please visit the CORPUS website.

The first in a series of three workshops on sustainable mobility will take place in Szentendre/Hungary on 5-6 May 2011. The workshop will address major sustainable mobility objectives and trends and discuss their policy relevance. The draft agenda and background information on the workshop can also be found on the CORPUS website

“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. For more information on the project and the workshop, please go to

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Other news

Reports published by the UK Sustainable Development Commission (SDC) on SD priorities and food policies; SDC ceased operations on 31 March 2011

The Sustainable Development Commission (SDC) in the UK has recently published two very interesting reports. The fist report, entitled “Making Sustainable Lives Easier: A Priority for Governments, Business and Society”, is based on research with over fifty government officials and experts from business, civil society and academia. It concludes that while an increasing number of us recycle, insulate our lofts and choose more ‘green’ products we are far from living lives that are ‘sustainable’ for future generations.  Those who do  try to ‘do the right thing’ often find themselves swimming against the tide – their behaviour doesn’t fit society’s norms. The report stresses the need for governments to provide the right incentives and infrastructure that make sustainable choices the easy choices.  It concludes that the UK Coalition Government’s favoured approach – nudge – with a reliance on personal choice and responsibility will not be sufficient without these wider structural changes. More information on the report is available on the SDC homepage.

The second report, entitled “Looking back, Looking Forward: Sustainability and UK food policy 2000 – 2011”, reviews progress towards sustainable food policy in the UK from 2000 to 2011. It draws on previous work by the SDC and others in this area and the findings of a survey of 145 experts within government, business, academia and civil society carried out during November and December 2010.  It concludes that while progress has been made, not enough has occurred to dispel our concern about failures to achieve systemic change.

Generally, however, it is very sad to report that on 31 March 2011, SDC ceased its operations. The SDC homepage informs that, “Since 2000, the SDC has worked to help decision makers and advisors embed sustainable development as the operating system of choice in the four Governments of the UK. As of 31 March 2011 we have ceased operations and there are new arrangements in the four governments.” A closing statement from the SDC Chair and Chief Executive can be downloaded here.

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Order ESDN T-Shirts

We have some remaining ESDN T-shirts available that we originally handed out at the ESDN Conference 2010 in Ghent. The T-shirts are white with blue text, “ESDN on tour – 2002-2010” (front), and the ESDN logo and dates of the ESDN conferences (back). If you would like to receive a T-shirt (sizes XL, L, M), please drop us an email and we’ll send one to you!

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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
Nisida Gjoksi
Markus Hametner
Ursula Kopp
Umberto Pisano
Michal Sedlacko

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