ESDNewsletter April 2013

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 “The Future of the EU SDS in light of the Rio+20 outcomes”

This ESDN Quarterly Report (QR) provides a comprehensive overview on the Rio+20 final outcome document, the EU SDS and the Europe 2020 Strategy and how they relate to each other. In this sense, the comparative analysis presented focuses on objectives, topics and governance mechanisms stressed in these policy documents. The goal of this QR is thus to shed light on similarities and differences between Rio+20 outcomes and important European policy strategies. Moreover, this QR takes into account the discussions and exchanges held among participants at the 9th ESDN Workshop, “The Future of the EU SDS – Expectations and Possible Contributions from the ESDN” that took place in Brussels on 21-22 February 2013 as well as recent policy developments at European level.

The QR is divided into five main chapters: The first chapter presents the Rio+20 process and its implementation on the EU level. The second chapter offers a comparative analysis of Rio+20 outcome document and EU policy strategies, including two subchapters that take into consideration, on the one hand, the SD topics in Rio+20 and how the EU policy strategies relate to these topics; on the other hand, special attention is dedicated to governance mechanisms and structures. In the third chapter, we describe those objectives included in the EU SDS of 2006 that have not been achieved yet; and, therefore, we analyze them also in the light of the Europe 2020 Strategy objectives and targets. In the fourth chapter, we consider recent developments at European level, such as the proposal for a 7th EAP and the EU Commission Communication on Rio+20 that was published in February 2013. Finally, as concluding chapter, we provide some interrogatives and points for reflection that aim to stimulate discussion are considered as important for further debates.

>> Read the current ESDN Quarterly Report online

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ESDN Conference 2013, “Vienna+10: National Sustainable Development Strategies in Europe – Taking stock, new developments and future challenges“, Vienna/Austria, 13-14 June 2013

The ESDN Conference 2013 will take place in Vienna, Austria on 13-14 June 2013. The conference will be organized by the ESDN in cooperation with the Austrian Federal Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry, Environment and Water Management.

The ESDN Conference 2013 is entitled “Vienna +10: National Sustainable Development Strategies in Europe – Taking stock, new developments and future challenges”. Ten years after the first ESDN Conference in Vienna, in 2003, which provided important insights on SD strategies in Europe, we revisit NSDSs as one of the core themes of the ESDN. The objective of the ESDN Conference 2013 is to take stock of NSDSs processes and objectives, investigate past achievements, explore new developments, and identify future challenges.

If you’re interested in the conference, please send an email to the ESDN Office at

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Full documentation now online: 9th ESDN Workshop, “The Future of the EU SDS – Expectations and Possible Contributions from the ESDN”, 21-22 February 2013, Brussels

The 9th ESDN Workshop took place in Brussels on 21-22 February 2013. In total, 50 participants from 11 European countries attended the workshop. The main objectives of the workshop were: (a) to reflect upon the Rio+20 outcomes document and which of its objectives and targets are particularly important to be addressed in the EU; (b) on the basis of this, which topics should be addressed in the forthcoming EU SDS review and how could a future governance structure for the EU SDS look like; and (c) to identify a potential role and services the ESDN could fulfil for the EU SDS review and in the post-review EU SDS process.

A full documentation of the workshop, including the workshop report, the background paper, the PowerPoint slides of the presentations, photo documentation, and the participant list, is now online at the ESDN homepage.

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Two new ESDN Case Studies online

Reflecting on the very topical debate on MDGs and SDGs for a post-2015 framework, the ESDN Office prepared two new case studies: ESDN Case Study No. 13 provides a general overview on the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) and the post-2015 debate, whereas ESDN Case Study No. 14 more specifically investigates methods and tools for impact measurement of the MDGs and SD. Both case studies can be downloaded at the ESDN homepage.

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

Belgium: New English language brochure on Flemish Strategy for Sustainable Development

In 2011, the Government of Flanders adopted the second Flemish Strategy for Sustainable Development, built around a central vision for 2050, for which a brochure is now available in English. The brochure provides a solid overview of the strategy, focusing on the vision for 2050 and some good practices from Flanders and abroad. You can download the brochure by clicking on this link:

Finland: Preparations for new NSDS have begun, news on Finnish National Council for SD

In 2012, the Finnish National Council for SD (FNCSD) once again started preparations for a new National SD Strategy (NSDS). A new concept to be incorporated is ‘society's commitment to sustainability’ and for this, the Ministry of the Environment in late 2012 appointed a strategy group to formulate the national concept of society's commitment to sustainability. The strategy group is a broad group of experts consisting of members of ministries and central organisations involved in national SD work. The national SD strategy process also includes an assessment of the FNCSD and a proposal for a new SD coordination mechanism or body. The proposal for society's commitment to sustainability should be ready in June 2013. Moreover, a new set of SD indicators or an update of indicators will be published in 2013 as part of the national set of indicators on society's commitment to sustainability.

General news on the FNCSD: Until April 2007, the Commission was chaired by the Finnish Prime Minister. For the 2007–2011 period, the Commission was chaired by the Minister of Labour. After that, it was chaired by Prime Minister Jyrki Katainen, whose mandate ended on 31 December 2012. After an assessment of the current model of SD coordination, the Finnish Government will decide upon a new national SD coordination mechanism or body. The main responsibility of this coordination mechanism/body will be to oversee and monitor the new national commitment of the society to sustainability. A new Commission will be appointed in spring 2013. The new model may also include an independent “committee of science” which will provide input to the FNCSD.

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RESPONDER project: Knowledge Brokerage events on "Changing the Finance System to enable the Transition to a Sustainable Economy" and "Sustainable housing in a post-growth Europe"

RESPONDER is a European project funded within the 7th EU Framework Programme aiming to link research and policy making in the area of sustainable consumption with the debates about economic growth. It is closely linked to the ESDN: RIMAS, that manages the ESDN Office, is coordinating the project; and two ESDN Steering Group countries are consortium partners (German Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety; Swiss Federal Office for Spatial Development). The project brings together policy-makers and researchers for an extensive exchange of knowledge.

Outcomes of the 2nd multinational knowledge brokerage event "Towards Sustainable Mobility in European Cities" (21-22 March 2013, Bratislava/Slovak Republic)

Urban mobility is crucial for making Europe’s cities more sustainable. The key for improvement is concerted and goal-directed planning, say Europe’s leading mobility experts. It is important that the cities develop long-term goals for their respective mobility future.

On 21-22 March 2013 , more than 60 professionals from 16 European countries discussed in Bratislava the trends, barriers and approaches for sustainable mobility in European cities. The experts agreed that it is necessary to focus on clever combinations of technological and infrastructural solutions with measures to stimulate changes on the demand side. In a nutshell, sustainable urban mobility in the future has to opt for clean technologies, smart infrastructures and to favour the change of modal split towards more walking, cycling and public transport.

For further details please have a look at the press release and the event documentation available on the RESPONDER website.

Upcoming RESPONDER events

We are happy to cordially invite you to participate at the following RESPONDER Multinational Knowledge Brokerage Events:

1) Changing the Finance System to enable the Transition to a Sustainable Economy (14-15 May 2013, Brussels)

We invite you for this high-level discussion and participative workshop on using policy to change the finance system into one that can enable a transition to a sustainable economy. The event will draw together a selected group of researchers, finance professionals, policy-makers, advocacy groups and business representatives from across the EU.

Questions we plan to explore include:

Registration will be open until 6 May 2013! For further details on the event and for registering online, please visit the RESPONDER website.

2) Sustainable housing in a post-growth Europe: Exploring Policy Options and Open Research Questions (6-7 June 2013, Barcelona)

Housing responds to fundamental human needs. However, the past growth in the building and real estate sectors in some European and non-European countries did not bring us to sustainability considering the social, ecological and economic problems it created. Housing has been regarded a key sector for economic growth. But what are the consequences for this sector when growth is more and more questioned: in post-growth Europe? Housing policies contain complex interrelations between economic, environmental, and social systems; housing is a key area where the urgent changes are needed.

The 2nd Multinational Knowledge Brokerage Event brings together policy-makers, high-level scientists, and business representatives to address pressing questions on the potentials and challenges of sustainable housing and to provide an impetus for effective policy. We will specifically explore the following questions:

Registration will be open until 30 April 2013! For further details on the event and for registering online, please visit the RESPONDER website.

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We wish you a (finally) blossoming spring!

The ESDN Office Team at the Research Institute for Managing Sustainability

André Martinuzzi
Gerald Berger
Andreas Endl
Markus Hametner
Umberto Pisano
Michal Sedlacko

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