ESDNewsletter January 2014

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 “Framing Urban Sustainable Development: Features, Challenges and Potentials of urban SD from a multi-level governance perspective”

This ESDN Quarterly Report (QR) provides an overview of the concept of urban sustainable development (SD) as well as initiatives and programs of urban SD on the global and European level.

In the first chapter, we approach urban SD from a conceptual point of view and portray the reasoning and the trigger behind this ESDN Quarterly Report. Therefore, we look at terms and concepts, and define the basic understanding of urban SD. We then describe the main features, challenges and potentials that make it easier to narrow down the concept of urban SD. Furthermore, we present a reflection on the necessity of multi-level governance approaches to manage the development and transformation of cities and urban areas towards a more sustainable future.

In the second chapter, we guide the reader through several policy initiatives and programs as well as the main actors that define the arena of urban SD on the global and European level. Therefore, we provide an overview of international and European policy efforts on urban SD and the work of various city networks on this topic. We also review and present several concrete initiatives and institutions engaged in urban sustainability on a global and European level. Finally, we present several city networks, differentiating again between city networks acting on a global and on a European scale.

In the closing third chapter, we briefly reflect on the main points touched in the first two chapters and offer several points for discussion, especially for a further elaboration on the topic of urban SD.

>> Read the current ESDN Quarterly Report online

Back to overview

10th ESDN Workshop, “Fostering Urban Sustainable Development: Potentials and Challenges for National and European Policy”, Brussels, 28 January 2014

The 10th ESDN Workshop, entitled “Fostering Urban Sustainable Development: Potentials and Challenges for National and European Policy”, will take place in Brussels on 28 January 2014. The workshop is organized by the ESDN in cooperation with the German Federal Minstry for the Environment, Nature Conservation, Building and Nuclear Safety. 

The workshop will facilitate an international exchange on overarching strategic policy initiatives on urban sustainable development at the UN, EU, Member State and sub-national level, covering environmental issues, regional development, economic and social policy fields. Accordingly, the workshop aims to foster the exchange between experts to intensify co-operations and alliances between EU, national and local policies for urban SD. The outcomes of the workshop will suggest options to better link policy levels and governance structures for urban SD.

The final agenda and the Workshop Outline can be found on the ESDN website. Shortly after the workshop, we will summarize the presentations and discussions in a Workshop Report that will also be made available online.

Back to overview

ESDN Conference 2014

The ESDN Conference 2014 will not, as usual, take place in June, but in September or October 2014. We will provide more information on the location and topic of the ESDN Conference 2014 in our next newsletter. Please also check regularly at the ESDN website’s conferences information site.

Back to overview

Two new ESDN Case Studies online

In order to complement the ESDN Quarterly report (please see above) and as preparatory documents for the 10th ESDN Workshop, we have written two new case studies. One maps urban sustainable development initiatives and programmes in Europe and beyond (ESDN Case Study No. 15). The other one shows concrete examples and experiences with applying urban SD in three different European cities (ESDN Case Study No. 16).

Back to overview

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

European Commission: 2013 Monitoring Report of the EU Sustainable Development Strategy published by Eurostat

Eurostat has published the fifth edition of its Monitoring Report of the EU Sustainable Development Strategy, entitled "Sustainable development in the European Union". The new 2013 edition more clearly than ever shows the disruptions caused by the economic crisis on employment, poverty, resource and energy use, greenhouse gas emissions and other important aspects related to sustainable development. 

The Eurostat monitoring report, based on the EU set of sustainable development indicators and published every two years, provides an objective, statistical picture of progress towards the goals and objectives of the EU SDS. The statistics cover a wide range of issues related to sustainable development, and will contribute to raising awareness of the opportunities and challenges lying ahead. Quantitative rules applied consistently across indicators, and visualised through weather symbols, provide a relative assessment of whether Europe is moving in the right direction, and at a sufficient pace, given the objectives and targets defined in the strategy. 

The 2013 edition is accompanied by a "lite" version that makes use of the universal language of visuals, offering a shortcut to the essence of the messages delivered through the full version of the monitoring report. It thus provides a snapshot of the key trends related to sustainable development in the European Union. 

Both reports are available for download on the Eurostat website:

Montenegro: Renewed National Council for SD and new consultation process for National SD Strategy

The Renewed National Council for Sustainable Development and Climate Change had its first session on December 2, 2014. The Council has 21 members and is chaired by President of Montenegro. The composition of the Council is as follows: President of Montenegro, 5 national ministers and a representative of the Ministry of Finance, 3 mayors (from three different regions of Montenegro), 1 representative of the Academia, 3 members of the business sector, 1 representative of syndicates, 2 representatives of the civil sector, 2 independent experts (for sustainable development and for climate change), and Head of the Division for the support to the NCSD (formerly the Office for Sustainable Development; secretary of the Council). The Council has 3 working groups: (i) for the revision and monitoring the implementation of the National Strategy for Sustainable Development; (ii) Sustainable Management of Resources; and (iii) for mitigation and adaptation to Climate Changes. The next meetings of the Councils are planned for January and February 2014.

Within the process of revising the National Strategy for Sustainable Development (NSSD), which has started in August 2013 and will last until September 2014, broad participatory consultations has been used. The first draft of the NSSD will be prepared in January 2014, when it will be opened for wide consultations with representatives of all stakeholder groups. The emphasis on the consultations so far has been on ensuring the inputs from the local level. This entailed organization of four regional meetings as well as one national consultative conference with over 50 participants, representatives of relevant ministries, academia, business sector, NGOs and independent experts.

Switzerland: Interim progress report on NSDS implementation, and new “Cercle Indicateurs” survey on SD at the cantons and in cities

The interim progress report on the implementation of the Swiss National Sustainable Development Strategy (2012-15) was published in December 2013. In several parts of the NSDS Action Plan, progress could be achieved. In addition, the report shows that Switzerland is fostering the implementation of decisions taken at Rio+20. The interim progress report is available to download in German, French and Italian.

A new survey of the “Cercle Indicateurs” was undertaken in November 2013. 20 cantons (Swiss regions) and 18 cities have, on the basis of several indicators, calculated how they are doing with regards to sustainable development. This exercise should help orientate them for making further improvements. This was the fifth survey for cantons and the third for cities. More information on the Cercle Indicateurs can be found in German, French and Italian.

Wales, UK: Future Generations Bill: National Conversation

The Welsh Government is planning, under its Future Generations Bill, to secure a National Conversation cycle on the long term economic, social and environmental challenges facing Welsh communities. This is intended to be coordinated by a new, independent Commissioner for Future Generations. The National Conversation will involve a period of engagement with citizens and stakeholders.

Pilot National Conversation: The Welsh Government’s Minister for Communities and Tackling Poverty, with overarching responsibility for sustainable development, has announced in a statement that Peter Davies, the current Commissioner for Sustainable Futures, should test this approach through a pilot National Conversation in 2014.  The focus of the exercise will be in helping to inform the governance arrangements for the long-term in setting appropriate measures of progress against Wales’ long term goals. In addressing these issues the work may examine a small number of issues drawing potentially on the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), the emerging international Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and current suite of Welsh SD indicators. Planning work for the project has been underway for a number of months with the intention of holding ‘national conversations’ in spring 2014 with an interim draft report on behalf of Future Generations being published in summer 2014. The Commissioner will be aiming to engage extensively with business, community and public sector groups, focusing particularly on young people.

Back to overview

RESPONDER project: final conference "Austerity, Stimulus or Post-growth for Europe?", 21 March 2014, Brussels

The final RESPONDER conference entitled "Austerity, Stimulus or Post-growth for Europe?" will take place on 21 March 2014 in the European Parliament in Brussels. In this final conference we revisit the propositions of Sicco Mansholt, President of the European Commission in 1972-73, to explore the complex relations between economic growth and sustainability, and what they mean for dealing with the European crisis. A dynamic conference programme will feature:

Registration will be open until 11 March 2014. For more information on the conference, the programme and for registering please visit

Back to overview

Other news

Bertelsmann Foundation: Publication on “Winning Strategies for a Sustainable Future”

In 2013, the German Bertelsmann Foundation organized the “Reinhard Mohn Prize” for outstanding dedication and contribution to sustainable development. The prize was awarded to former UN Secretary-General, Kofi Annan, in November 2013. The publication for the Reinhard Mohn Prize 2013, “Winning Strategies for a Sustainable Future,” provides some general perspective on SD strategies and actions and global trends of SD. Moreover, the publication presents pioneering SD strategy approaches from different continents, including Bhutan, Costa Rica, Finland, Ghana and Tasmania. More information on the publication and a summary of the case studies on each of the five countries mentioned above can be found in English at the Foundation’s homepage.

Back to overview

If you want to give us feedback on this newsletter, please click here.

We wish you all the best for 2014!

The ESDN Office Team at the Research Institute for Managing Sustainability

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

Our subscription policy

We send you this newsletter because you have subscribed to receive it at If you wish to unsubscribe, please click here.