ESDNewsletter January 2015

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

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New ESDN Quarterly Report on “The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and their impact on the European SD governance framework - Preparing for the post-2015 agenda”

This ESDN Quarterly Report is about the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in the broader context of the post-2015 agenda, with the main focus on the impact that such a process is currently having and will have on the European SD governance framework and, hence, on EU Member States. The first chapter of the report gives an overview of the post-2015 agenda in the context of SD, providing the current status of the process, its timeline, and the governance challenges and opportunities for implementing SDGs at the European level. In the second chapter, we provide an analysis of how the European Union’s SD goals and targets relate to the targets included in the list of the zero draft of the SDGs. In addition, we offer a picture of how the EU is doing in those areas and issues highlighted by the SDGs. By referring to and using the EU SD Indicators Framework developed by Eurostat, we present the main differences and commonalities between the two frameworks: the SDGs and targets, and the European SD Indicators. The third chapter presents a comparative overview of national activities on SDGs put in place and expected in Europe in the context of the post-2015 agenda. It summarizes the results from a survey the ESDN Office undertook among SD policy-makers in European countries, mainly focusing on the following three main areas: (i) the process (before and after September 2015); (ii) the foreseen implementation phase; and (iii) the governance mechanisms. The fourth and final chapter describes the key topics, relevant discussions and main results of the ESDN Conference 2014, held in Rome in November 2014. Entitled, “A renewed policy framework for sustainable development – The international SD agenda and its impact on Europe”, the ESDN Conference 2014 mainly reflected on how the UN process impacted the EU and the national level with regards to sustainable development, also considering the role of National SD Strategies in the context of current socio-economic and environmental policy challenges.

>> Read the current ESDN Quarterly Report online

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ESDN Conference 2014, “A renewed policy framework for sustainable development – The international SD agenda and its impact on Europe”, 6-7 November 2014 in Rome, Italy – full documentation now online

The ESDN Conference 2014 took place in Rome, Italy on 6-7 November 2014. The conference was organized by the ESDN in cooperation with the Italian EU Presidency. In total, 67 participants from 22 countries (21 European countries and Egypt) attended the conference.

The ESDN Conference 2014 was entitled “A renewed policy framework for sustainable development – The international SD agenda and its impact on Europe”. During the Italian EU Presidency, important decision on the SDGs and the post-2015 process were taken. Therefore, the ESDN Conference 2014 reflected on how the UN process will impact 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, and more general issues of governance for SD (e.g. cross-sectoral coordination, stakeholder involvement, etc.). Moreover, the conference reflected upon the role of National SD Strategies in the context of current socio-economic and environmental policy challenges.

A full documentation of the conference, including the Agenda, Discussion Paper, Conference Report, PowerPoint presentations of the keynotes, list of participants, and photo documentation are now online at the conference section of the ESDN homepage.

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ESDN Conference 2015 in cooperation with the incoming Luxembourg EU Presidency

The ESDN Conference 2015 will take place in November 2015 in cooperation with the incoming Luxembourg EU Presidency. Further information on the topic, venue and exact date will follow in the next few months here in the newsletter and on the ESDN homepage.

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12th ESDN Workshop, “Monitoring and Reviewing Sustainable Development Goals in Europe”, 16 June 2015

The next ESDN Workshop, tentatively entitled “Monitoring and Reviewing Sustainable Development Goals in Europe”, will take place in Brussels on 16 June 2015, with an evening reception on 15 June 2015. The finalization of the post-2015 agenda for SD, its SDGs and the monitoring and reviewing process will be discussed intensively in New York, the EU and on the national level. The workshop will offer the opportunity to exchange on monitoring and reviewing within EU Member States and other European countries and to share experiences and perspectives on how to design these processes and link it to national SD stratgies and related mechanisms.

More information on this ESDN Workshop will be provided soon, also on the ESDN homepage.

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European Sustainable Development Week (ESDW): 30 May - 5 June 2015

The ESDN is happy to announce the first European Sustainable Development Week (ESDW) which will take place from 30 May - 5 June 2015. The ESDW is a European-wide initiative supported by the ESDN to stimulate and make visible activities, projects and events that promote sustainable development.

The aim of the ESDW is to initiate a diverse spectrum of activities, projects and events from all stakeholders willing to promote sustainable development in all its different and interlinking aspects: social, environmental and economic. This, in turn, will be beneficial for raising awareness, exploring practical solutions, and encouraging individual behaviour change. To visualize how the sum of initiatives throughout Europe can have a greater impact, the organizers are invited to register their activities, projects or events on the ESDW website at from early March until 29 May 2015. The activities, projects and events registered should then take place during the week from 30 May - 5 June 2015.

To encourage inclusiveness and diversity, the registration for organizers is open to all forms of government agencies, research centres, educational institutions, museums, foundations, community organizations, associations, businesses and NGOs, as well as individual citizens, etc. The central criterion for eligibility to take part in the ESDW is that the proposed activities address one or more dimensions of SD and are not exclusively profit-oriented. This could include, but is not limited to: conferences, exhibitions, markets, film screenings, community activities, sustainable business initiatives, education projects, etc.

Very successful national sustainable development action weeks already exist in France (, Germany (, and Austria ( The Environment Ministers of these three countries have jointly presented the initiative for an annual European-wide sustainable development week that acts as an umbrella for existing national weeks and motivates new initiatives, activities and events in EU Member States and other European countries at the Environment Council on the 28 October 2014, where it was welcomed by the Commission and several EU Member States. The ESDW will be coordinated by the ESDN Office at the Institute for Managing Sustainability at the Vienna University of Economics and Business in Austria.

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

Finland: On the Path towards a Model country? How Sustainable Development Took Root in Finland

Sauli Rouhinen from the Finnish Ministry of the Environment and Secretary General of the Finnish National Commission on Sustainable Development has recently completed his PhD thesis, entitled “On the Path towards a Model country? How Sustainable Development Took Root in Finland”, in which he shares important and interesting insights on how one of the frontrunner countries approaches and designs SD policy and governance.

The study shows how Finland has adopted the idea of sustainable development within the political framework and is applying the principle for guiding the transition within the society. Additionally, the study shows how the governance model used by Finland has performed in international comparison. The author concludes that a one-size governance style does not fit everyone. Rather, numerous proven and innovative good practices are needed. Finland has been preparing itself for the post-2015 development agenda by  adopting a new approach outlined in the intergenerational policy document, “The  Finland  We  Want  by  2050”.

You can download the study from the Finnish country profile on the ESDN homepage. The study is in Finnish, with an English abstract. An English short version is in the talks.

Nordic Council of Minister: 2014 update of the Nordic Sustainable Development Indicators

The Nordic Council of Minister has published a 2014 update of the Nordic Sustainable Development Indicators. The indicators are used to monitor progress and to identify areas where action is needed to ensure sustainable development in the Nordic countries. 

The publication briefly describes long term trends in the following areas: the Nordic Welfare model; viable ecosystems; changing climate; sustainable use of the earth’s resources and education, research and innovation. Some of the results show that people in the Nordic countries can expect to live longer than the average European, birth rates are generally higher, renewable energy is increasing and greenhouse gas emissions are decreasing. Although these results show that the Nordic countries are performing well in many areas there is still room for improvement. The financial crisis has had its impact and unemployment has grown, especially youth employment remains high. Furthermore the sustainability of fish stocks and pollution of the Baltic Sea are still sources of concern.

The complete set of indicators, including individual national graphics is available on the Nordic Council of Ministers’ website at

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 various South and Eastern European countries (Czech Republic, Estonia, Greece, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Slovenia, Slovakia, and Spain) have been updated with latest pieces information on NSDS processes (e.g. current NSDS document and link, horizontal and vertical integration, stakeholder participation, evaluation, etc.)

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Other news:

COBALT Closing Conference on “Sustainable raw materials management in Europe – Fostering stakeholder dialogue to deliver on the future” on 23-24 March 2015 in Brussels

The conference, “Sustainable raw materials management in Europe – Fostering stakeholder dialogue to deliver on the future”, will be held on 23-24 March 2015 in Brussels. This is the closing conference of the COBALT project, a 2-year project funded by the 7th Framework Programme for Research of the European Commission. COBALT aims to foster networking and exchange between policy making, business and industry, civil society, academia, and geological surveys to foster sustainable management of raw materials within Europe. Thereby, the project will contribute to creating a favourable framework for the implementation of the European Innovation Partnership on Raw Materials.

The various past COBALT stakeholder dialogues, events and activities have highlighted that achieving sustainable raw materials management to deliver on the EU's socio-economic and environmental goals requires involvement and co-management of a multitude of actors across the entire value chain from extraction through to production and consumption to re-use and after-use. The closing conference will bring together experts and perspectives from industry and business, policy making, civil society, academia and geological surveys to describe thematic challenges, facing industry and society and discuss how stakeholder engagement would best be shaped to be part of the solution. Participants will exchange in keynote presentations, panel and interactive roundtable discussions and workshop formats on the challenges, needs and solutions in relation to

For more information on the event and registration, please to the project homepage:

NETGREEN facilitates the use of sustainable development and green economy indicators with its “measuring progress” website

NETGREEN, an FP7 funded project of six research institutes and think tanks, develops a database and website to facilitate the use and the interpretation of sustainable development and green economic indicators. The Measuring Progress website will enable users from policy making, advocacy and other stakeholders in the policy making progress to search for indicators and to develop a robust indi9cator set for their specific policy questions. The website will provide information on the relationships of indicators and potential interpretation pitfalls of indicators as well as more technical information on the indicators.

The Beta version of the website will be available at the end of January 2015 and will subsequently be tested with stakeholders and presented in four thematic workshops from March to June 2014. More information is available on

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We wish you all the best for 2015!

The ESDN Office Team at the WU Institute for Managing Sustainability

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

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