ESDNewsletter September 2011

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

If you have colleagues who may be interested in SD governance in Europe, please feel free to forward this newsletter. We invite them to subscribe to the quarterly ESDNewsletter by clicking here.


New ESDN Quarterly Report on "Sustainable development governance & policies in the light of major EU policy strategies and international developments"

This Quarterly Report (QR) provides an overview and analysis of sustainable development (SD) governance and policies at the EU and Member States level. Currently, the framework for SD governance and policy in the European Union is in a state of change. On the one hand, the EU SDS of 2006 requires the European Council in 2011 to decide “when a comprehensive review of the EU SDS needs to be launched” (para 45); a decision on the review will also influence the future of the EU SDS. On the other hand, SD issues and targets are increasingly included in other important EU policy strategies, most notably in the Europe 2020 strategy as well as the flagship initiative, “A resource-efficient Europe” (2011), and its Roadmap that was published on 20 September 2011. Additionally, the UN Conference on Sustainable Development (Rio+20) will focus as one of its major themes on the institutional framework for SD and issues of SD governance, including SD strategy processes at the national level. All these recent developments call for a reflection on how SD governance and policies can be best addressed in current EU policy strategies and in preparation to the Rio+20 conference.

Chapter one of this QR provides a general introduction about the link between SD and governance. Chapter two focuses on the EU SDS and the Europe 2020 Strategy (incl. the resource-efficient Europe Flagship Initiative and Roadmap); it presents how SD is included in these major policy strategies and provides a table on similarities and differences of the governance processes of both strategies. In chapter three, an overview is given on one of the two major themes of the Rio+20 conference, “institutional framework for SD” and which specific recommendations have been developed as of yet for SD governance in general. Chapter four takes stock of experiences on the national level with SD governance and policies: on the one hand, experiences with NSDS implementation are provided; on the other hand, we give an overview of the new National Reform Program (NRPs) of the EU Member States that have been published in April 2011. Some conclusions are drawn in the final chapter five. 

This QR is one of the background documents for the 7th ESDN Workshop (Berlin, 27-28 October 2011).

>> Read the current ESDN Quarterly Report

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

Austria: Monitoring sustainable development – Indicator-Reports MONE

As reported in our last newsletter, the Indicator Report MONE 2011 was published by the Austrian Federal Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry, Environment and Water Management in June 2011 and is now available in English. The report monitors the achievements in Austria towards sustainable development, based on 26 headline indicators (including, for instance, inequality of income distribution, compatibility of work and family life, energy consumption absolute and relative to GDP, material input, etc.).

Basque Country, Spain: Approval of the Strategy of Sustainable Development

The Government of the Basque Country has approved its Strategy for Sustainable Development in July 2011. The strategy does not only outline objectives and targets, but also provides background on the development process and on the inclusion of stakeholders. The document can be found in the Spanish country profile on the ESDN homepage.

Czech Republic: Report on the practical implementation of the Czech NSDS at the local level by the Healthy Cities association

The Healthy Cities of the Czech Republic – a municipal association dealing with SD, LA21 and other relevant SD topics that is also participating in the activities of the Czech Governmental Council of SD – has finished a special report on the practical implementation of the Czech NSDS at the local level. The report is based on a database linkage of the national and municipal SD strategies and shows many interesting results for the NSDS process and the SD activities at the local level. The database system and individual data are in only available in Czech, but a summary report of the project results has been made available in English and can be downloaded at the Czech country profile on the ESDN homepage.

Finland: Revision for NSDS started; Prime Minister chairs FNCSD; tool for ex-ante assessment of SD impacts on policy planning and decision-making

The Finnish Government has stated in its Government Programme from June 2011 that “Sustainable development goals are taken into account in all administrative sectors. The Government will revise the national strategy for sustainable development, determining its goals and principles. During the process, indicators used for monitoring the achievement of the goals in various administrative sectors will be created. (...) The development of indicators to describe the state of the environment and sustainable development, and complement GDP data, will continue.” The preparations for revising the NSDS have started in the Ministry of the Environment. The new strategy is expected to be finalised in 2013.

Prime Minister Jyrki Katainen has taken the chairmanship in the Finnish National Commission on Sustainable Development (FNCSD). The present mandate of the FNCSD will last until 31 December 2012.

Jari Lyytimäki (Finnish Environment Institute) has developed a tool for ex-ante assessment of SD impacts in policy planning and decision-making. The tool will be tested in connection to the national action programme on sustainable consumption and production. The report is currently only available in Finnish; we will inform you as soon as an English version is available.

Montenegro: 3rd Annual Report on NSSD implementation; Office for SD integrated into the Ministry of SD and Tourism; trilateral cooperation between Montenegro, Serbia and Croatia

The Government of Montenegro is expected to adopt the Third Annual Report on the Implementation of the National Strategy for Sustainable Development (NSSD) for the period of October 2009-December 2010 in the session of October 2011. This was the first document drafted by the Cross-sectoral Team of Coordinators for Sustainable Development, comprised of 33 representatives from 22 different sectors and state institutions.

As of May 1, 2011, the Office for Sustainable Development is integrated into the Ministry of Sustainable Development and Tourism, operating as a Division under the Minister’s cabinet. While maintaining all of its previous responsibilities and functions, the Office has been renamed the Division for the Support to the National Council for Sustainable Development

As part of the “Fostering Dialogue and Partnerships on Sustainable Development between the Government and the Business Sector in Montenegro” project, established with the Government of Netherlands, a trilateral cooperation has been set up between the governments of Montenegro, Serbia and Croatia. The result of this collaboration will be the adaptation of the existing general handbook for sustainable development into nine new handbooks covering specific SD topics relevant to each of the participating countries.     

Netherlands: Second "Sustainability Monitor" published

The Netherlands published their second Sustainability Monitor in September 2011. A brochure and summary of the document can be found on the website of the Dutch Environmental Assessment Agency (PBL). One of the results of the Monitor is that quality of life is high in the Netherlands compared to other European countries, but it seems impossible to retain this level of prosperity, in the long run. More innovation, better education and a greener economy are required to maintain prosperity. The Sustainability Monitor for the Netherlands 2011 is a joint publication by Statistics Netherlands, CPB Netherlands Bureau for Economic Policy Analysis, PBL Netherlands Environmental Assessment Agency and the Netherlands Institute for Social Research. Those of you who want a hard copy of the Sustainability Monitor should contact Aldert Hanemaaijer (Senior Policy Researcher Sustainable Development at PBL) at

Wales, UK: Visit Wales (sustainable tourism); Sustainable Development Indicators 2011; Sustainable Development Annual Report 2010-2011

As directed by the Welsh Government’s Sustainable Tourism Framework (STF), “Visit Wales” focuses on sustainable tourism. Four key objectives support the STF’s vision for sustainable tourism: promoting local prosperity; supporting community well-being and involvement; minimising tourism’s impact on the environment; and protecting and giving value to natural heritage and culture. Visit Wales has developed a number of programmes in partnership with key stakeholders in delivering a more sustainable tourism industry. Visit Wales sets an annual work programme for sustainable tourism development that is divided into partnership working, establishing pilot projects, investing in tourism infrastructure, and improving the quality of the sustainable tourism product in Wales. Examples under this programme of work include: National Park Environmental Management Pilots 2010, Tourism Investment Support Scheme (TISS) or Destination Management website (

The latest National Statistics on Sustainable Development Indicators produced by the Welsh Government were released on 30 August 2011 and can be downloaded here. The ‘In Your Pocket’ booklet on Sustainable Development Indicators for Wales 2011 provides measures of everyday concerns including health, housing, jobs, crime, education and our environment. The statistical release presents some background to the publication, and a summary table from the booklet. The booklet is similar to the UK report Measuring Progress: Sustainable Development Indicators published in July 2010.

Moreover, the Welsh Government’s Sustainable Development Annual Report 2010-2011 has been published. The report covers the time from April 2010 to March 2011 and sets out how the proposals in the Welsh Sustainable Development Scheme have been implemented. You can download the report here.

And finally, he Welsh Government currently has a legal duty to have a scheme setting out how it will promote sustainable development. The First Minister of Wales has now announced that the Welsh Government now intends to strengthen this approach and develop legislation to: place a duty on the Welsh Government and the public sector in Wales to promote sustainable development, and to make sustainable development their central organising principle; and to create an independent adviser on sustainable development in Wales. To help the Welsh Government develop this legislation, officials in the Welsh Government are keen to hear from ESDN members and experts:

Please use this request for exchanging experiences with our friends in Wales by directly contacting Simon Bilsborough (Sustainable Development Branch, Welsh Government) at Simon.Bilsborough@Wales.GSI.Gov.UK.


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7th ESDN Worshop, “Perspectives for European SD Policy & Governance in the context of recent EU policy strategies and Rio+20”, 27-28 October 2011

Currently, the framework for SD policy and governance in the European Union is in a state of change. On the one hand, the EU SDS of 2006 requires the European Council in 2011 to decide on the review of the EU SDS. On the other hand, SD issues and targets are increasingly included in other important EU policy strategies. Additionally, the UN Conference on Sustainable Development (Rio+20) will focus as one of its major themes on the institutional framework for SD and issues of SD governance, including SD strategy processes at the national level. The workshop will focus on questions such as: Which SD topics and targets are currently included in EU policy strategies and which governance mechanisms are applied? Which experiences have been made with SD policy and governance in Europe? What is the added-value and future of national SD strategies (NSDSs)? Which monitoring/evaluation mechanisms are necessary to assess the achievement of SD policy and governance? What is the future role of SD institutions and mechanisms in the SD governance process (i.e. ESDN, national SD councils, bi-annual progress reporting period, etc) in Europe in? How should SD policy and governance in Europe look like in the future?

Please find the draft agenda and workshop outline on the ESDN website. For more information and registration to the workshop, please send an email to the ESDN Office at  

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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 - full documentation online, incl. ESDN Recommendations on resource policies in Europe

The ESDN Conference 2011 took place in Szentendre (near Budapest) in Hungary on 27-29 June 2011. The conference was organized by the ESDN in cooperation with the Hungarian EU Presidency. It was entitled “Framing and Focussing: European Resource Policies in the Context of Sustainable Development” hosted 105 participants from 19 countries.

The full conference documentation, incl. the conference proceedings, the PPT-slides of all presentations, the conference discussion paper, the conference program, the participant list and a photo documentation, can be found at the ESDN homepage.

You can also find there the ESDN Recommendations on resource policies in Europe that have been drawn from the conclusions of the ESDN Conference 2011.  

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RESPONDER project: Multinational knowledge brokerage events

The RESPONDER project aims at linking sustainable consumption and growth debates taking into account aspects of green growth, non-growth and de-growth. It is funded within the 7th EU Framework Programme and closely linked to the ESDN.  The project will explore novel ways of knowledge brokerage between research and policy making and carry out participatory system mapping on the following issues:

26-27 January 2012: Sustainable Food Consumption, Lisbon (PT)

  1. What factors influence the global environmental effects of a shift to a Mediterranean diet (less meat) in Europe?
  2. Could healthier and more sustainable diets lead to increased food waste in European households?
  3. How does increasing consumption of regional produce affect the employment in domestic agriculture?

15-17 February 2012: Sustainable Household Electronics, Vienna (AT) 

  1. What impacts on residential energy consumption can be expected from the introduction of energy labelling on consumer electronics?
  2. What does the promotion of ICT product innovations to increase energy efficiency imply for the amount of e-waste generated?
  3. Can “smart technologies” (e.g. in the transport, energy, housing and agricultural sector) contribute to reducing energy consumption and greenhouse gas emissions?

7-9 March 2012: Sustainable Household Savings and Debts, London (UK)

  1. Can a growing demand for socially responsible investments (SRI) result in a stock market overvaluation of sustainable enterprises?
  2. Could a more sufficient consumer behaviour with increasing household savings cause a recession?
  3. Does increasing financial innovation lead to an increase of the number of households at risk of poverty?

21-23 March 2012: Sustainable Mobility, Bratislava (SK)

  1. Which effect might increasing petrol prices have on the EU27 petrol consumption?
  2. How does road construction influence transport volume and modal split?
  3. Have the car scrapping premiums introduced in some European countries reduced the overall environmental impacts?

28-30 March 2012: Sustainable Housing, Barcelona (ES)

  1. What is the impact of the growth of financial investment in housing?
  2. How have economic growth and lifestyles changes offset the housing energy improvements achieved during the last 20 years?
  3. What effect has mono-functional urban planning to the lifestyle of citizens?

Please sign up at to receive regular updates on the project, the EU Dialogues and the knowledge brokerage events.

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CORPUS project: Forthcoming workshops on sustainable mobility and sustainable housing

The second CORPUS workshop of on sustainable mobility will take place in Szentendre, Hungary on 6-7 October 2011 at the Regional Environmental Centre (REC). It will bring together policy-makers and researcher to share knowledge on policy instruments that promote the sustainability of mobility. The first workshop on sustainable housing will take place in Helsinki on 24-25 November 2011 on the premises of the Finnish Ministry of Environment. At this occasion, policy-makers and researchers will discuss objectives and trends in sustainable housing and their policy relevance. For more information on the forthcoming workshops, please visit the CORPUS website.

The documentation of the finalised workshop series on sustainable food consumption can also be found at 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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We wish you all a colourful autumn!

The ESDN Office Team at the Research Institute for Managing Sustainability

Andre Martinuzzi
Gerald Berger
Markus Hametner
Ursula Kopp
Umberto Pisano
Michal Sedlacko

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