ESDNewsletter October 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 role of stakeholder participation in European sustainable development policies and strategies”

The most recent ESDN Quarterly Report reflects on the importance of stakeholder participation and engagement with particular emphasis on the processes and policies that concern National Sustainable Development Strategies (NSDSs) in Europe, but also in light of the recently adopted 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. The development and implementation of SD related policies take place in a multi-actor, multi-level and multi-sectorial contexts. Continuous learning and adaption of policies and political commitment to pursue long-term goals in an active and adaptive manner are necessary. Stakeholder participation and engagement is  necessary not only in the design and implementation of SD strategies, policies and projects, but also into the general decision-making process.

This QR also reflects on the discussions and exchanges held at the 13th ESDN Workshop, entitled “Strengthening environmental and sustainable development dialogue in Europe in the context of the 2030 SD Agenda”, which took place in Paris on 12-13 November 2015. The 13th ESDN Workshop was organised as a joint event with the EEAC Annual Conference 2015, “Civil Society and climate change: On the road to Paris”. Both events were organised in cooperation with the French Ministry for Ecology, Sustainable Development and Energy. The main aim of the 13th ESDN Workshop was to take stock of European experiences of environmental and sustainable development dialogues in different countries and reflect upon how to improve stakeholder dialogues, also in the context of the 2030 Agenda for SD. This theme is also reflected within this report.

This Quarterly Report has the following structure: Chapter 1 provides a definition of stakeholder participation by referring to the main discussions in the academic world, and concentrates on describing rationales, characteristics, challenges, and potential benefits of participation in the context of sustainable development. Chapter 2 describes the role and the usage of stakeholder participation in Europe in the context of environmental and sustainable development policies and strategies. For this reason, we include and reflect on the EU Sustainable Development Strategy (EU SDS), the Europe 2020 strategy, and reflect on its flagship initiatives. We also look into how stakeholder participation is dealt with in the newly adopted ‘Circular Economy Package’ by the European Commission. Chapter 3 then provides an overview on how stakeholder participation is incorporated in SD policies and strategies at the national level in Europe: we first give a more general European picture taken from an analysis of the contributions on the country profiles section of the ESDN website, and then present in more detail the experiences of four European countries: France, Finland, Germany and Switzerland. Chapter 4 summarises the main discussions and results of the 13th ESDN Workshop. Finally, chapter 5 concludes by providing a reflection on the main themes elaborated in the report.

>> Read the current ESDN Quarterly Report online

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ESDN Conference 2015, “Implementation of the Post-2015 Agenda at the EU and national level: Designing effective governance architectures and strategic frameworks”, Luxembourg, 8-9 October 2015 – full documentation now online!

The ESDN Conference 2015 took place in Luxembourg on 8-9 October 2015, organized in cooperation with the current Luxembourgish EU Presidency. A total of 82 participants from 21 European countries took part in the conference. The ESDN Conference 2015 was entitled “Implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development at the EU and national level: Designing effective governance architectures and strategic frameworks”. The United Nations launched the ‘2030 Agenda’ in New York in September 2015. There have been numerous inputs to the agenda, notably a set of Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The main aim of the ESDN Conference 2015 was to discuss how the 2030 Agenda and SDGs will be taken up and implemented at the EU and national level in Europe, which governance architecture and strategic frameworks need to be set up, and how the different stakeholder groups will be involved in the implementation process.

The discussion paper, the slides of the keynote presentations, the group work results, the participant list, and the conference proceedings are now all online at the ESDN Conference 2015 information on the ESDN website.

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13th ESDN Workshop, “Stocktaking and perspectives on environmental dialogue in Europe” as joint event with the EEAC Annaul Conference, Paris, 12-13 November 2015 – full documentation also online!

The 13th ESDN Workshop, “Strengthening environmental and sustainable development dialogue in Europe in the context of the 2030 SD Agenda”, took place in Paris on 12-13 November 2015. This ESDN Workshop was a joint event with the EEAC Annual Conference 2015, “Civil Society and climate change: On the road to Paris”. Both events were organized in cooperation with the French Ministry for Ecology, Sustainable Development and Energy. In total, 84 participants from 20 countries took part in the joint event-

The ESDN Workshop focused on environmental and SD dialogues in the context of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. In recent years, the environmental dialogue between policy makers and stakeholders has gained important momentum in France with the unique annual “conférences environnementale” that bring together all stakeholders around the ecological transition towards sustainable development. The ESDN Workshop took stock of European experiences of environmental and sustainable development dialogues in different countries and reflected upon how to improve stakeholder dialogues, also in the context of the 2030 SD Agenda.

The participants and organizers of this Joint Event were also invited to a special event on labelled COP21 projects in France by the French Minister for Ecology, Sustainable Development and Energy, Ségolène Royal.

The full workshop documentation, including the discussion paper, all PPT slides of the presentations, the group work results, the workshop reports with the main findings, and a photo documentation can be found online at the ESDN homepage.

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ESDN Proposition: Supporting national policy-making for the implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development: Peer learning and exchange of experiences

Inspired by the recently adopted 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and based on recommendations developed during the ESDN Conference 2015, the ESDN has put together an ESDN Proposition on “Supporting national policy-making for the implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development: Peer learning and exchange of experiences”. The ESDN aims to establish a European SD Platform for Peer Learning between national ministries responsible for the 2030 Agenda implementation process. This platform will facilitate the exchange of experiences and good practices between national policy-makers. The ESDN will strive to foster European policy-making on sustainable development, through targeted ESDN workshops with national policy-makers on 2030 Agenda for SD implementation, and annual ESDN conferences with a broader stakeholder audience, including a strong collaboration with EU institutions (Council, Commission, and Parliament). Please read more about the ESDN Proposition on the 2030 Agenda for SD here.

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ESDN now on Twitter

The ESDN recently went on Twitter (@ESDN_network) to be able to post important information and activities about our network more rapidly and to also report more directly from our events. Please follow us!

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European Sustainable Development Week (ESDW) 2016 from 30 May-5 June 2016

After the great success of the first European Sustainable Development Week (ESDW) with 4,116 activities in 29 European countries, the ESDW will also take place in 2016, again from 30 May-5 June. More information will follow soon! In the meantime, please visit the ESDW website ( and get inspired by the wide range of this year’s activities!

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

Finland: News on the National Commission on SD, the inter-ministerial coordination process, the implementation of the societal commitments, and preparation for 2030 Agenda implementation

The secretariat and coordination of the work of the National Commission on Sustainable Development will move from the Ministry of the Environment to the Prime Minister’s Office at the beginning of 2016. The National Commission on Sustainable Development will be renewed in January 2016, some new members from the development sector and civil society will be added. In addition, working methods will be renewed in order to make discussions and work more dynamic. The Inter-ministerial Network Secretariat will be also be renewed in January 2016: it will be an Inter-ministerial Coordination Group which will work also as a 2030 Agenda for SD coordination group as well as leading the work of National Commission for SD.

As for the implementation of Finland’s ‘Society’s Commitment to Sustainable Development, over 200 operational commitments has been submitted from all over society. An English database on the commitments will opened in January 2016 at

The decision on the overall national 2030 Agenda for SD coordination responsibility was taken in November 2015 in the meeting of the Permanent Secretaries of Ministries. The Prime Minister’s Office will become the coordination hub/secretariat for the national 2030 Agenda for SD implementation, follow-up and review. The Prime Minister-led secretariat will work in close cooperation with the Inter-ministerial Coordination Group, including SD Focal Points from all national ministries. The launching event of the 2030 Agenda implementation took place on 26 November 2015 and was jointly organized by the Prime Minister’s Office the Ministry for Foreign Affairs, the Ministry of Environment, and the National Commission on Sustainable Development. Some 200 participants from all spheres of the society attended the launch, including representatives from ministries, municipalities, civil society, trade unions, private sector, schools and universities, etc.

Montenegro: News on the National Council for SD and Climate Change and National SD Strategy until 2030

The 29th session of the National Council for Sustainable Development and Climate Change was held on 11 December 2015. The session was chaired by Mr. Filip Vujanovic, President of Montenegro. The main topic of the session was the Draft of the National Strategy of Sustainable Development (NSDS) of Montenegro until 2030. It was agreed that the NSDS is in accordance with UN 2030 Agenda for SD and that it also values Montenegro position in Mediterranean as well as SD in 4 groups of resources: human, social, natural, and economic resources. The Council has approved the Draft NSDS so it is expected that the Government will confirm the Draft and open public hearings during the session before Christmas.

The National Council for SD also supported the National Strategy on Employment and Development of Human Resources 2016-2020 by stating that this strategy represents one of the main documents that supports SD since employment growth represents one of the main goals of economic and social development of Montenegro. A public hearing and expert consultations on this strategy will be held in the first 4 months of 2016.

Switzerland: ‘Cercle Indicateurs‘ monitoring on sustainable development progress in Cantons

The sixth monitoring of the ‘Cercle Indicateurs’ took place in November 2015. A total of 17 Swiss cantons assessed, based on a selected number of indicators, how sustainable they are. This status quo monitoring should support the cantons to identify areas of improvement. The results of the ‘Cercle Indicateurs’ assessment showed the increasing quality of life in the participating cantons. More information on the ‘Cercle Indicateurs’ can be found in German, French and Italian. The data of the 2015 monitoring, together with the previous assessments, are made available in an interactive database of the website of Swiss Statistics in German and French

European Commission: Circular Economy Package adopted in December 2015

On 2 December 2015, the European Commission adopted an ambitious Circular Economy Package, which includes revised legislative proposals on waste to stimulate Europe's transition towards a circular economy which will boost global competitiveness, foster sustainable economic growth and generate new jobs. The Circular Economy Package consists of an EU Action Plan for the Circular Economy that establishes a concrete and ambitious programme of action, with measures covering the whole cycle: from production and consumption to waste management and the market for secondary raw materials. The annex to the action plan sets out the timeline when the actions will be completed. The proposed actions will contribute to ‘closing the loop’ of product lifecycles through greater recycling and re-use, and bring benefits for both the environment and the economy. More information on the Circular Economy Package can be found here.

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 Switzerland 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.). Please check the country profiles regularly for updates.


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Other news:

European-wide conference on resource efficiency and the Circular Economy Package, “Policy mixes promoting resource efficiency for a circular economy”, Brussels, 15-16 February 2016

After three years of intensive research and analysis, the DYNAMIX and POLFREE projects, both funded by the European Commission’s FP7 program, will come to a close in March 2016. Therefore, it is time to present and disseminate their main results and messages from the research outcomes on policy mixes for a resource efficient EU. This Joint Final Conference of the two projects will offer the unique opportunity to learn from two major research projects and their findings on policy mixes for resource efficiency, networking with a large pool of experts and practitioners from all over Europe, and taking part in a high-level debate to link science-based evidence to the upcoming Circular Economy Package. If you want to get more information, please send an email to and visit the websites of DYNAMIX and POLFREE.

3rd International Growth in Transition Conference, “How Constraints Make Us Grow – Society in Transition, Vienna, 22-24 February, 2016

The Austrian Federal Ministry of Environment together with more than 20 partner organisations will organize the conference “How Constraints Make Us Grow – Society in Transition”. The conference is scheduled to take place from the 22-24 February 2016 in Vienna, Austria. The conference will elaborate what form of prosperity we envisage, how to conduct alternative economic activities and how to shape possible social and economic models with the aim of leading over to a sustainable economy. In particular, the 3-day conference will (1) examine a wide range of constraints and boundaries hindering us from adopting a new direction towards sustainability; (2) highlight existing successful alternative approaches and initiatives, considering the biophysical limits of the planet; and (3) encourage participants for cross-shared discussions of mutual interest so as to develop concrete visions. The conference is part of the Austrian initiative “Growth in Transition”. For more details, please see About 600 participants attended the previous conference within the same context in 2012.


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We wish all of you and your loved ones a peaceful X-mas time and all the best for the New Year!

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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