ESDNewsletter April 2014

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

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New ESDN Quarterly Report on “The 7th Environment Action Programme: Reflections on sustainable development and environmental policy integration”

The main aim of this ESDN Quarterly Report (QR) is to investigate the recently adopted 7th Environment Action Programme (EAP) of the European Union, which is the European Union’s main strategy for environmental policy and, in particular, environmental policy integration. In this respect, the 7th EAP builds on existing policy initiatives, such as the Europe 2020 Strategy and the renewed European Sustainable Development Strategy, and aims to tackle environmental challenges which should help achieve long-term sustainable development goals. To this context, this QR provides an analysis to investigate the 7th EAP with respect to the concepts of sustainable development and environmental policy integration.

In the first chapter, in order to better understand the logic of environmental policy and how it is linked to sustainable development policy, the QR explores the underlying concept of natural resource and environmental management (NREM) and its relation to the concept of sustainable development. The second chapter provides an overview of the most pressing environmental challenges Europe is facing by drawing on environmental monitoring data, and follow up of objectives, targets and policy implementation. The indication for urgent action of environmental impacts informed the assessment of the previous 6th EAP and, furthermore, mirrored with new aspects taken up in the recent 7th EAP. This third part of the QR is dedicated to the analysis of the 7th EAP, undertaking by applying three lenses: a conceptual and thematic one with regard to natural resource and environmental management; a she second lens refers to the way environmental policy integration has been approached in the 7th EAP; in addition, we highlighted what is the added-value when applying a sustainable development (SD) perspective. In the concluding forth chapter, we shed light on 7th EAP’s contribution to sustainable development and where critical ambiguities with respect to environmental policy integration and sustainable development exist.

>> Read the current ESDN Quarterly Report online

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

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

The full documentation of the workshop – incl. the Workshop Discussion Paper, the Workshop Report documenting discussions and group work results, the PPTs of keynote presentations, participant lists, and photo documentation can be found on the ESDN website.

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11th ESDN Workshop, “Transformative environmental and sustainability policy: new thematic issues, actor constellations and governance modes”, Berlin, 25-26 June 2014

The 11th ESDN Workshop, “Transformative environmental and sustainability policy: new thematic issues, actor constellations and governance modes”, will take place in Berlin on 25-26 June 2014. The workshop is organized by the ESDN in cooperation with the German Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation, Building and Nuclear Safety, and the German Federal Environment Agency.

The background for the workshop topic is related current debates and activities on sustainable development:

Based on this background, the workshop will

For more information on the workshop, please go to the ESDN website or contact the ESDN Office team at

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ESDN Conference 2014 at the end of October 2014 in cooperation with the incoming Italian EU Presidency

This year, the ESDN Conference 2014 will not, as usual, take place in June, but at the end of October 2014 in cooperation with the incoming Italian EU Presidency. During the Italian EU Presidency, the decision on SDGs and the post-2015 process will be taken. Therefore, the ESDN Conference 2014 will reflect on how the UN process impacts on the EU and national level with regards to sustainable development. This also refers to the Greening of the European Semester which provides a good opportunity in the future for policy strategies to integrate environmental aspects.

We will provide more information on the exact date, location and topic of the ESDN Conference 2014 in our next newsletter. Please also check regularly at the ESDN website’s conferences information site for updates.

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

Finland: The Finland we want by 2050 - Society’s commitment to sustainable development proceeds

The first operational commitments to sustainable development were published in May in Helsinki. Companies and organisations committed themselves to reducing waste and energy consumption, hiring and training young people, and reducing their ecological footprints, among other things.

By establishing their operational commitments, the different operators will do their part to implement society’s commitment to sustainable development, “The Finland we want by 2050”, which the Finnish National Commission on Sustainable Development approved in December 2013. The commitments will be recorded on a web-based database, where their progress will also be monitored with the help of indicators.

Companies, municipalities, organisations, schools, the authorities and the science community were encouraged at the launch event to take part in promoting the shared objectives: equal prospects for well-being, a participatory society for citizens, sustainable work, sustainable local communities, a carbon-neutral society, an economy that is resource-wise, lifestyles that respect the carrying capacity of nature, and decision-making that respects nature. Through the commitment, organizations pledge to promote sustainable development in all their work and operations.

The following companies and organisations have now made their commitments: Outotec, Energiateollisuus ry, S Group, Kanniston Leipomo, Ahlstrom, the Regional Council of Northern Karelia, the City of Oulu, Kanttia 2 Ltd Architecture Bureau, Sitra, the Educational Municipal Federation of Savo, the Finnish Environment Institute (SYKE), Tekes, Vapo, the Martha Organisation, the Finnish Association for Nature Conservation, Solved – The Cleantech Company, Kepa, Äänekoski Federation of Municipalities for Vocational Education, and the Ministry of the Environment. At the same time, all the day care centres, schools and educational institutions in Finland were challenged to take part and make their own commitments.

The operational commitments include concrete measures, changes in operating procedures and innovative trials that promote our shared goals. The commitments have to be new and measurable. The Finnish National Commission on Sustainable Development (FNCSD) is responsible for promoting national and international sustainable development goals in Finland. In the next meeting of the FNCSD (22 April), the indicators of the Society’s commitment will be finally approved.

France: Sustainable Development Week and National Strategy for Ecological Transition towards Sustainable Development

From the 1-7 April 2014, the French Minsitry of Ecology, Sustainable Development and Energy organized the 12th “Sustainable Development Week” in France. This year, the theme was “Consuming another way, yes, but how?" Please find more information on the Sustainable Development Week here. Key messages were “recycle, re-use, repair, carpool, eat seasonal products, etc”.  

Cities, local authorities, associations, businesses, school, etc. organized nearly 3,000 events, such as repair/recycling workshops, local products tastings, visiting positive-energy houses, sustainable development villages, conferences, competitions, exhibitions, associations, festivals, markets, etc. More information on five very interesting initiatives can be found here.

The elaboration process of the French National Strategy for Ecological Transition towards Sustainable Development, which started at the beginning of 2013 and is steered by the Office of the Commissioner General for Sustainable Development  (CGDD), has now entered the phase of consultations :

Feedbacks from those consultations processes should be taken into account before the end of May 2014, when an inter-ministerial meeting will discuss the final document. The Strategy should then be completed and adopted by the governmental SD committee (Comité interministériel de développement durable – CIDD) at the end of the first half of 2014.

Montenegro: New mechanisms for cross-sectoral integration and participation in the NSDS policy process

 The renewed National Council for Sustainable Development and Climate Change had its first session on December 2, 2013. The Council has 21 members and it is chaired by President of Montenegro. The Council has 3 working groups (on revision and monitoring the implementation of the National Strategy for Sustainable Development; sustainable management of resources; for mitigation and adaptation to climate change). All working groups held their first meetings in January 2014 and defined their mandates, work plan and membership and continued to work according to mandate. They will report to the Council on their work on the next session of the Council at the end of April 2014. Main topics of this session will be process of revising the National Strategy for Sustainable Development.

Within the process of the revision of the National Strategy for Sustainable Development, which has started in August of 2013, wide participatory consultations have been used. Eight regional consultative workshops have been held throughout Montenegro. Inputs from consultative workshops will be included in the first draft of the strategy that will be prepared in May 2014 and will then be open for wide consultations with representatives of all stakeholder groups.

European Commission: Policy recommendations on resource efficiency policy

The European Resource Efficiency Platform (EREP) – established to provide high-level guidance to the European Commission, EU Members States and private actors on the transition to a more resource-efficient economy – held its final meeting on March 31, 2014. The EREP members (representing a variety of different stakeholder interests) developed their second and final set of policy recommendations, “Towards a resource efficient and circular economy”. This final set of policy recommendations add to those made in June 2013 and comprises:

More information on the EREP’s work and the Policy Recommendations document can be found here.

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We wish you a blossoming spring!

The ESDN Office Team at the Research Institute for Managing Sustainability

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

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