ESDNewsletter July 2014

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

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New ESDN Quarterly Report on “Sustainability transitions at the international, European and national level: Approaches, objectives and tools for sustainable development governance”

This ESDN Quarterly Report (QR) provides an overview of the concept sustainability transitions and transformative environmental and sustainability policies and thus deepens the work that started by preparing the 11th ESND Workshop (Berlin, June 25-26, 2014) on the same topic. In general, sustainability transitions take place in the context of ongoing and very lively debates about future aspects of sustainable development on the international level (e.g. Rio+20 follow-up, post-2015 debate and SDGs) and important developments in Europe and on the national level. For example, EU level policy strategies formulate long-term visions for society and include objective for economic, societal and environmental innovations. In addition, several European countries (e.g. Belgium, Finland, France) work towards societal commitments for sustainable development, transformative issues, and long-term perspectives up to 2050 which signal important new angles for sustainable development.

In the first chapter of this QR, we provide an overview of the concept of transition/transformation in the context of environmental and sustainability policies. The second chapter looks at sustainability transition activities and initiative on the international and national level, with the aim to better understand the motivation and reasons for initiating a sustainability transition process; the development process; the selection of objectives for achieving transition; inter-ministerial cooperation and stakeholder involvement; and evaluation and monitoring schemes for policy learning. The third chapter includes results from the discussions with delegates at the 11th ESDN Workshop. Finally, the concluding chapter offers several reflections on sustainability transitions.

>> Read the current ESDN Quarterly Report online

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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 – full documentation online

The 11th ESDN Workshop, entitled “Transformative environmental and sustainability policy: new thematic issues, actor constellations and governance modes”, took place in Berlin on 25-26 June 2014. The workshop was 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 full documentation of the workshop – incl. the Workshop Discussion Paper, the Workshop Report documenting discussions and group work results, the PPTs of keynote presentations, and the participant list can be found on the ESDN website.

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ESDN Conference 2014 will be held on 6-7 November 2014 in Rome in cooperation with the incoming Italian EU Presidency

This year, the ESDN Conference 2014 will take place on 6-7 November 2014 in Rome (Italy) 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 topic of the ESDN Conference 2014 very soon. Please also check regularly at the ESDN website’s conferences information site for updates.

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2 new ESDN Case Studies online

In the context of the 11th ESDN Workshop on transformative environmental and sustainability policy, two ESDN case studies were prepared: ESDN Case Study No. 17 on ‘Transition management as a governance tool for sustainable development’ provides a more conceptual overview and transition management and how could be applied in the governance for sustainable development. ESDN Case Study No. 18 on ‘Sustainability transition in Finland: Society’s commitment to sustainable development’ looks more in-depth into a practical example of sustainability transition in the context of a national sustainable development strategy approach.

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

Germany: Sustainable Development Action Days in Germany & meeting at the Federal Chancellery to advocate for a European-wide SD awareness week

The German Sustainable Development Action Days too place from 23-29 June 2014. More information on the actions and events that took place during this week can be found on the Action Days website (in German only). As part of the Action Days, the German Federal Chancellery organised a meeting with representatives of the French, Austrian and German Governments to advocate for a European-wide sustainable development awareness week. The press release for the meeting at the Federal Chancellery can be found here.

Montenegro: Revision process for National SD Strategy initiated, revised NSDS planned for June 2015

The National Council for Sustainable Development and Climate Change, in its session in May 2014, adopted important documents, among them the revision of the National Strategy for Sustainable Development of Montenegro for the period 2015-2020. This also included a new structure, contents and dynamics of the revision process. An improved methodology will ensure better coherence with national policy priorities, but also with European policies in the area of sustainable development (especially Europe 2020) as well as obligations arising from Rio+20 Summit. According to the new process, it is expected to have preliminary draft of the revised NSSD in September 2014. It is planned that the National Council, in November 2014, will supplement the draft of the Strategy with an Action Plan which will contain a project portfolio. The Government will adopt new national SD strategy in June 2015.

European Commission: The Circular Economy package & Resource Efficiency Scoreboard 2014

The European Commission, on 2 July 2014, adopted the Communication, “Towards a circular economy: a zero waste programme for Europe” to establish a common and coherent EU framework to promote the circular economy.  Turning Europe into a more circular economy means for the European Commission: boosting recycling and preventing the loss of valuable materials; creating jobs and economic growth; showing how new business models, eco-design and industrial symbiosis can move us towards zero-waste; and reducing greenhouse emissions and environmental impacts. As part of the circular economy package, the Commission also adopted a legislative proposal to review recycling and other waste-related targets in the EU.

The European Commission also published a Highlights report of the Resource Efficiency Scoreboard 2014. The Resource Efficiency Scoreboard indicators illustrate the progress towards increased resource efficiency of the European Union as a whole and of individual Member States. It is based on the most recent statistics from Eurostat, the European Environment Agency and other internationally recognised sources. The complete scoreboard is available here. The 2014 Highlights contain a first illustration based on a selection of indicators from the Scoreboard. These highlights will be included in a more comprehensive report that will be available in the autumn of 2014.

Updates in ESDN country profiles

The ESDN country profiles provide the most up-to-date information on national SD strategy and policy processes in European countries. We regularly update them to make sure the information we provide there catches up with the developments in all of these countries. Recently, the country profiles of Belgium and Germany have been updated with latest pieces information.

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Other news:

‘A Balanced Future’ – 22nd Annual Conference of EEAC, Budapest, 16 October 2014

This year, the EEAC Annual Conference will focus on the often underestimated third dimension of Sustainable Development, the social capital and human aspects of SD. The improvement and utilisation of social resources has a two-fold benefit. First, a society within his ecological limits needs a trade-off between environmental and other capitals. The economy based more on human and social resources could consume less ecological resources. Second, not only natural resources have suffered from overexploitation, since we have overburdened our socio-economic systems as well. Therefore, the maintenance of our social capital is important in itself. For example, the population decline in Europe is putting our welfare services such as pension systems at risk.

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We wish you a relaxing summer time!

The ESDN Office Team at the WU Institute for Managing Sustainability

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

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