ESDNewsletter July 2016

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

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New ESDN Quarterly Report on “Stakeholder activities in support of the 2030 Agenda and SDGs implementation”

In the context of the adoption of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and its 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), the new ESDN Quarterly Report tries to provide a picture of the extremely variegated, wide and multi-faceted world of stakeholders, other organisations and local initiatives that are relating to the 2030 Agenda.

With the intention to understand how different actors are contributing to and supporting the 2030 Agenda implementation, the report looks into a selected number of examples from civil society organisations, business, research, and local initiatives to present what these different experiences and initiatives are bringing into the debate, especially in connection to the implementation aspects of this crucial new sustainable development agenda.

>> Read the current ESDN Quarterly Report online

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ESDN Conference 2016, “Vertical integration in the implementation of the 2030 Agenda for SD: Addressing the role of sub-national and local levels”, in Bern, Switzerland on 10-11 November 2016

The ESDN Conference 2016, entitled “Vertical integration in the implementation of the 2030 Agenda for SD: Addressing the role of sub-national and local levels”, will take place in Bern, Switzerland on 10-11 November 2016, organized in cooperation with the Sustainable Development Section of the Federal Office for Spatial Development (ARE). The conference will be a 1.5 days event (10 November full day, 11 November until lunch time) and will bring together policy-makers and experts from different stakeholder groups from all over Europe.

The conference will focus on the vertical integration aspects in the implementation of the 2030 Agenda, addressing the role of sub-national and local levels. The implementation of the 2030 Agenda and the SDGs will require action and efforts at all political levels and also cooperation between the different levels. The conference will thus provide an excellent chance to reflect on first 2030 Agenda/SDGs implementation experiences in the different European countries, especially on the role of and activities on the sub-national and local levels.

More information about the conference can be found on the ESDN website or by writing to the ESDN Office at

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14th ESDN Workshop, “Developing the ESDN peer learning approach to support the implementation of the 2030 Agenda for SD and the SDGs: Experiences and needs for peer learning and peer review processes”, Berlin, 14 June 2016 – full documentation now online

The 14th ESDN Workshop “Developing the ESDN peer learning approach to support the implementation of the 2030 Agenda for SD and the SDGs: Experiences and needs for peer learning and peer review processes” took place in Berlin on 14 June 2016, in cooperation with the German Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation, Building and Nuclear Safety. In total, 54 participants from 17 countries took part in the workshop.

In the context of the adoption of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and its 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), the 14th ESDN Workshop focused on the topic of peer learning applied to policy-making for SD. The ESDN will establish a peer learning mechanism for national policy-makers to support national policy-makers in their challenging job of implementing the 2030 Agenda for SD. One important cornerstone of this mechanism will be the yearly ESDN Peer Learning Platform (the first in October 2016, see below) that will offer policy-makers from all European countries, experts and selected stakeholders the chance to exchange experiences and learn from implementation practice. The workshop participants discussed about peer learning and pee review experiences in the context of SD, and developed recommendations for the forthcoming ESDN Peer Learning Platform.

A full documentation of the workshop, including the discussion paper, final agenda, participant list, slides of keynote presentations, workshop report, and a photo documentation can now be found online at the ESDN homepage.

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First ESDN Peer Learning Platform in Brussels on 13 October 2016

The first ESDN Peer Learning Platform, “Policy coherence and cooperation for the 2030 Agenda and SDGs implementation”, will take place in Brussels on 13 October 2016. It will be a structured space for informal learning and exchange for policy-makers who are responsible for or involved in the 2030 Agenda and SDGs. The recommendations of participants at the ESDN Conference 2015 in Luxembourg, summarized in the ESDN Proposition on the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, included the suggestion to establish a “peer learning processes among policy-makers of European countries” to share experiences and practices of the 2030 Agenda and SDGs implementation. This suggestion has been now taken up by the ESDN. The concept and format for the ESDN Peer Learning Platform is based on suggestions gathered at the 14th ESDN Workshop that took place on 14 June 2016 in Berlin (see above).

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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 – great success with 4,212 activities taking place in 38 European countries & cooperation with final event of the European Green Week

The second European Sustainable Development Week (ESDW) took place from 30 May-5 June 2016. This European-wide initiative was initiated by Austria, France and Germany and supported by the European Sustainable Development Network (ESDN). Its aim is to stimulate and make visible all those activities, projects and events that promote sustainable development and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in Europe on a common online platform (

The ESDW 2016 was a great success with 4,212 activities taking place in 38 European countries. It showed the variety and breadth of sustainable development and how this concept is realized through practical activities at the European, national, regional and local level all across Europe! The ESDW has also received high level political recognition: First Vice-President of the European Commission Frans Timmermans endorsed the Week in a press release and the German Chancellor Angela Merkel highlighted the importance and success of the ESDW at the recent 16th annual conference of the German Council for Sustainable Development.

Please visit the ESDW website to view individual activities in the various countries and read the press release that offers details on the theme categories of activities and their link to the SDGs, the types of activities, organizers, and target groups. In general, it is important to note that activities that took place during the ESDW 2017 can be related to all 17 SDGs!

The final event of this year’s European Green Week, “Sustainable Development Goals for a Green Future: Investing for Future Generations”, was organized in partnership with the ESDW and UNEP Europe. Karmenu Vella, EU Commissioner for Environment, Maritime Affairs and Fisheries, and Andrä Rupprechter, Austrian Minister of the Environment, participated in this event and welcomed a video message to the participants from UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon. The participants also planted the ‘Vienna International Centre SDG Tree Alley’ - 17 local trees representing the 17 SDGs – in the centre of the UN Headquarters in Vienna. Please find a documentation of the event on the ESDW homepage.

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

Belgium: New sustainable indicators scoreboard

On 29 June 2016, the Federal Planning Bureau published a new sustainable indicators scoreboard. It will for the first time assess the progress of 31 indicators towards the new Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) adopted in 2015 by the United Nations. For more information, please see

France: Launching of SDG implementation

On 6-7 June 2017, Ségolène Royal, French Minister of Environment, Energy and the Sea, and André Vallini, Secretary of State for Development and Francophonie, officially launched the national implementation of SDGs in France. After establishing an international experts committee, which will provide interdisciplinary scientific insights, around 180 representatives from civil society organizations (from international solidarity, environment, social, economic and educational spheres) and European embassies gathered at the event to discuss the implementation of SDGs. The outputs will be presented in the High Level Political Forum in July 2016.

Germany: Info on the Sustainability Strategy of the Federal State of Hesse and the 4th Hessian Sustainability Day in September 2016

In 2008, the Hessian government established the Sustainability Strategy Hesse. Main topic: that the good quality of life, the diverse landscape, and the high economic potential of Hesse is safeguarded for future generations. This is made possible by a new style of politics, which is characterised by this sustainability strategy. Stakeholders from business, academia government and civil society have developed collaborative innovative solutions through dialogue. In this way sustainability is an initiative of the entire state. The Prime Minister is the patron of the strategy and therefore ensures the issue of sustainability in Hessen is a top priority. Working structure and transparency: (i) In main decision-making body of the strategy, the Sustainability Conference, about 50 decision-makers from politics, civil society, business, academia and government, discuss the priorities of the Strategy. Through these process guidelines, concrete joint activities and objectives are decided and the working outputs of the steering committees are agreed and commended. (ii) The Steering committees make concrete the main topics adopted by the Conference on Sustainability and implement measures and activities. Steering committees are established for the current topics "Biodiversity", "Sustainable Consumption", "Education for Sustainable Development" and "Climate Protection and Climate Change Adaptation". Hessen’s exemplary commitment is publicly visible in a state-wide day of action, the Hessian Sustainability Day. Simultaneously, citizens will become sensitized towards a sustainable lifestyle. Hundreds of actions and activities on one day will strongly anchor the topic of sustainability in society and encourage others to join in and to take the initiative. Individuals, associations, initiatives, foundations, schools, kindergartens, churches, businesses, social institutions, environmental and development organizations, municipalities, public utilities, government agencies and Ministries take part in the action day. The Hessian sustainability days are a contribution to the UN Decade of Education for Sustainable Development and the global action plan (GAP). The 4th Hessian Sustainability Day on September 22, 2016 will take place under the motto "Watch - Experience - Protect: Hessen active for Biological Diversity". For further information, please go to

Switzerland: New Sustainable Development Strategy 2016-2019, revised MONET SD indicator system, and new website on the 2030 Agenda

In its new Sustainable Development Strategy 2016-19, the Swiss Federal Council sets out the areas on which its sustainability policy will focus. It highlights sustainable development priorities for the medium to long term. The Strategy's Action Plan describes the measure that the Confederation will institute during the legislative period to meet its objectives. In addition, the Strategy lays down the contribution that Switzerland will make to achieve the United Nations' global Agenda 2030 for Sustainable Development (the 2030 Agenda) during this period.

The sustainable development monitoring (MONET) has been revised. The revised system enables monitoring of Federal Council’s renewed strategy on the subject by attaching particular importance to the UN's 2030 Agenda goals. The newly designed system is comprised of 73 indicators, 22 of which are new. This range of indicators now allows the topic of gender equality to be highlighted by means of a selection of indicators. The MONET system is published on the internet by the Federal Statistical Office (FSO) and can be accessed by following this link.

A new website with information on the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development was launched in early July. This website is a one-stop-shop for important general information on the 2030 Agenda and also provides information on Swiss activities in the context of 2030.

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 Croatia, Estonia, Finland, Germany, Latvia, Luxembourg, Malta, Montenegro, Slovakia, 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:

United Nations: High Level Political Forum 2016, New York, 11-20 July 2016

The High-level Political Forum on Sustainable Development (HLPF) is the UN’s central platform for the follow-up and review of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the Sustainable Development Goals, adopted at the United Nations Sustainable Development Summit on 25 September 2015. The Forum, which adopts a Ministerial Declaration, is expected to provide political leadership, guidance and recommendations on the 2030 Agenda’s implementation and follow-up; keep track of progress of the SDGs; spur coherent policies informed by evidence, science and country experiences; as well as address new and emerging issues. The HLPF in 2016 is the first since the adoption of the 2030 Agenda and the SDGs. The session will include voluntary reviews of 22 countries (including 7 European countries: Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Montenegro, Norway, and Switzerland) and thematic reviews of progress on the Sustainable Development Goals, including cross-cutting issues, supported by reviews by the ECOSOC functional commissions and other inter-governmental bodies and forums. The HLPF will also include a range of side events, a Partnership Exchange event, and SDGs Learning, Training and Practice sessions.

European Environmental Bureau (EEB) Annual Conference 2016: “From Sustainability Talk to Policy Walk: Stepping up EU action on climate, biodiversity and circular economy”, Vienna, 26 September 2016

After the adoption last year of the global 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the historic Paris climate deal, 2016 and the coming years must be years of delivery. This means agreeing on a strategy that will ensure the systematic implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals and move the EU away from firefighting to solving major challenges. The EEB conference will be one of the first opportunities for those concerned about the environment across Europe to come together and take stock of the developments after the UK referendum on EU membership and its implications for the environment and sustainability. We will debate how the EU needs to now embark on an agenda of transformational change that puts the interests of people and planet first. Within this framework, the conference will dig deeper into three issues that are high on the agenda this autumn, namely Climate and Energy, Biodiversity and Circular Economy. Please check out the full program and register now on

European Environment and Sustainable Development Advisory Councils (EEAC) 24th Annual Conference, “Resilient policies for the implementation of the 2030 Agenda for sustainable development”, Barcelona, 20-21 October 2016

The European Environment and Sustainable Development Advisory Councils (EEAC) will hold its 24th Annual Conference, entitled “Resilient policies for the implementation of the 2030 Agenda for sustainable development”, in Barcelona on 20-21 October 2016. This year’s event will be organized jointly by the EEAC and the Advisory Council for the Sustainable Development of Catalonia (CADS). The tentative programme will be shared in July 2016. Europe is being challenged by a variety of shifts and shocks. The ability to deal with these developments seems more important than ever. Therefore, the further integration of the concept of resilience in European policies is of major significance. Although the concept of resilience is increasingly used in several fields, also in the context of environmental and sustainable development, there still seems to be a gap between scientific output and the needs of policy makers on this topic. In order to try to bridge the gap between science and policy, the EEAC network will organize a two-day conference during which we will discuss how resilience should be taken into account in policy-making in order to deliver sustainable and forward looking policies. There will be contributions from a wide variety of representatives from different disciplines, who are invited to share their knowledge and insights. The plenary conference event will take place over a day and a half, and will bring together representatives from e.g. global and European institutions, national and regional governments, research institutes, non-governmental organizations and advisory bodies.

European Economic and Social Committee (EESC) meeting on “Next steps for a sustainable European future - Reforming Europe, implementing SDGs”, 7 July 2016 – documentation online

The European Economic and Social Committee (EESC) organized an event on the next steps for a sustainable European future in light of the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) that were adopted in 2015. Opened by the Commission’s First Vice-President Timmermans, the event provided civil society and stakeholders with a forum to express their ideas on how EU internal and external polices can best contribute to an effective implementation of SDGs. Working groups on sustainable consumption and production, social justice and decent work, sustainable business and investment and on global partnership and peace generated interactive discussions. The event reflected the outcome of recent major conferences in Europe and featured a debate with Karl Falkenberg, special adviser of the Commission President on ways to strengthen sustainable development in the EU. The documentation of the event can be accessed on the EESC homepage.

OECD: Policy Coherence for Sustainable Development (PCSD) Partnership

The PCSD Partnership brings together governments, international organisations, civil society, think-tanks, the private sector, and other stakeholders from all regions of the world committed and working to enhance policy coherence for sustainable development (SDG 17.14) as a key means of SDG implementation. Through its multi-stakeholder platform the members of the PCSD Partnership works together to: Share knowledge and experiences to address the policy implications of SDG implementation; mobilise political will to adapt institutional mechanisms and policy-making processes to the vision and principles of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development; build capacities to analyse policy coherence challenges, track progress, and assess the effects of policies on sustainable development; strengthen existing policy coherence monitoring and reporting systems; and support national efforts for reporting progress on SDG Target 17.14 to "enhance policy coherence for sustainable development". The main working method of the PCSD Partnership will be virtually through an online platform, with annual face-to-face meetings in the margins of the HLPF. More information can be found at the OCED homepage.

New study: “How are we getting ready? The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development in the EU and its Member States: analysis and action so far”

This recently published study, written by Ingeborg Niestroy and published by the German Development Institute, explores how the EU and its Member States are getting ready for the implementation of the 2030 Agenda and takes stock of the activities undertaken so far. With an analysis of existing ‘gap analyses’, it points to areas in which the EU and its Member States are facing specific challenges, where the need for action is comparably large in domestic and external policies, and/or where there are significant knock-on effects. It argues that the translation of the universal SDGs into a national and regional/EU context should be pursued in three parallel tracks: domestic (domestic policies with domestic impacts); domestic-external (domestic policies with external impacts); external (external policies with external impacts), taking into account feedback loops and impacts of global megatrends.

Council of the Baltic Sea States (CBSS): Baltic 2030 – Renewing the commitment to sustainable development in the Baltic Sea Region

With the adoption of the Baltic 2030 Declaration, the CBSS Member Countries reaffirm their commitment to take “bold and transformative steps, which are urgently needed” to increase the speed as regards to achieving sustainability for the Baltic Sea Region. The countries agreed to elaborate an Action Plan on sustainable development – “Baltic 2030”. The aim is to proactively contribute to implementing the global Agenda 2030 and to support regional governance on sustainable development, to shift our region to a sustainable and resilient path. In the coming months the CBSS Expert Group on Sustainable Development – Baltic 2030 will elaborate an Action Plan, leading up to our political seminar “Walk the Talk – Implementing Sustainable Development Goals in the Baltic Sea Region”. With a renewed mandate to support the implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, all pan-Baltic organisations and regional councils are invited to join the conversation. The organisations which have already joined include the Nordic Council of Ministers, HELCOM, the CPMR Baltic Sea Commission, Union of  the Baltic Cities, VASAB, Baltic Sea States Sub-regional Cooperation, Baltic Development Forum, Baltic University Programme, Coalition Clean Baltic, Swedish National Board of Housing, Building & Planning, IVL Swedish Environmental Research Institute, and the European Environment & School Initiatives. More information and a link to the the full Baltic 2030 Declaration can be found here.

European Environment Agency (EEA) report “More from less — material resource efficiency in Europe: 2015 overview of policies, instruments and targets in 32 countries”

This report presents an overview of approaches to material resource efficiency and to circular economy in 32 European countries. It explores similarities and differences in national policy responses, with respect to policy objectives, priority resources and sectors, driving forces, targets and indicators, and the institutional setup. The report also reviews the EU policy framework for resource efficiency and analyses trends in material use and resource productivity between 2000 and 2014. Finally, it includes a number of considerations for the development of future policies on material resource efficiency and the circular economy. The analysis is richly illustrated with some sixty examples of countries’ policy initiatives, described in more detail in the 32 country profiles published alongside the main report. To download the report and the individual country profiles, please go to the EEA website.

3rd European Resources Forum, 9-10 November 2016, Berlin

The German Environment Agency is hosting the 3rd European Resources Forum (ERF) on 9-10 November 2016. The ERF addresses European decision-makers and experts from the fields of policy development, industry, academia, civil society and the media. The 2016 ERF is expected to attract some 400 participants. The ERF seeks to contribute to the development and implementation of common positions for policy-making in Europe and internationally. The ERF 2016 will continue the discussion of the current European approach to resource policy and work out new impulses for a resource efficient Europe. The conference will present best practice cases and business models for the circular economy as well as European country initiatives for resource efficiency. Particular attention will be focused on the learning potential from international perspectives and experiences for a resource efficient world. Resource efficient land use within the rural urban nexus and advancing the idea of an international platform for resource governance are further issues of the conference. More information and the conference program can be found here.

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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
Umberto Pisano

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