ESDNewsletter July 2018

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

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New ESDN Quarterly Report on “The Implementation of the 2030 Agenda and the SDGs in Europe: Overview and Updates”

This ESDN Quarterly Report (QR) will provide an overview of and update on the implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development (2030 Agenda) and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in various European countries, based on a survey the ESDN Office undertook and the most recent information on national implementation activities that can be found in the country profiles section on the ESDN homepage.

To be more specific, information for this QR was collected through a survey that the ESDN Office sent to the ESDN National Focal Points (NPFs) of the government ministries that are responsible for the implementation of the 2030 Agenda. The survey, which was conducted between May and early July 2018, contained 8 main questions, with a few questions having sub-questions, that all pertained solely to the implementation of the 2030 Agenda and the SDGs within the respective country. In total, the ESDN Office received a filled out survey questionnaire from 11 countries.

This QR and its subsequent chapters will be broken down by survey topics for the 11 countries (Belgium, Czech Republic, Estonia, Finland, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Italy, Poland, Slovenia, and Switzerland) that have filled out the survey and provided the most current information and overview of what is transpiring within their country regarding Agenda 2030 and SDG implementation. An overview of identified trends will be included in the conclusions chapter and focus on potential reoccurring themes between European countries regarding their implementation mechanisms.

Countries for which no replies to the survey were returned, but the country’s section on the 2030 Agenda on the Country Profile section of the ESDN website had been updated in 2017 or 2018, will also be included in the Annex (9 countries in total: Austria, Croatia, France, Latvia, Luxembourg, Malta, Montenegro, Slovakia, and Sweden). Please find the information on these 9 countries in Annex I of this QR.

So overall, this QR provides and overview and update on the implementation activities for the 2030 Agenda and SDGs of 20 European countries.

>> Read the current ESDN Quarterly Report online

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ESDN Annual Conference 2018, 1-2 October 2018, Vienna, Austria – “Stakeholder-Policy Cooperation in the Age of the SDGs: What new approaches are required to be successful?”

The ESDN Annual Conference 2018 will be organized by the ESDN in cooperation with the Austrian Federal Ministry of Sustainability and Tourism. The conference will be a 1.5-day event (1 October is a full day and 2 October is a half-day) and will be organized as an official event of the current Austrian EU Presidency. The Conference will bring together policymakers and experts from different stakeholder groups from all over Europe.

The SDGs are broad and complex, which necessitates the cooperation with, and knowledge from, all stakeholders. Given the broad and complex nature of the SDGs, have they changed the way in which the policy world and stakeholder world collaborate? If so, then what is now required to develop successful stakeholder-policy cooperation regarding the implementation of the SDGs?

This conference will therefore look into new ways, approaches, and examples of how the policy world and stakeholder world collaborate by looking at the practical implementation of diverse stakeholder-policymaker collaboration methods, activities, etc. Cutting-edge examples will be presented from many European countries, in which speakers will share the new ways and approaches they are employing stakeholder-policy cooperation methods. In addition, there will be ample time to discuss and reflect upon stakeholder-policy cooperation experiences and needs in various exchange activities throughout the conference.

More information and a draft agenda is available on the ESDN homepage soon! If you are interested in the conference or want more information, please send an email to the ESDN Office at

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3rd ESDN Peer Learning Platform and Visit, 12-13 June 2018, Rome, Italy – “Implementing the 2030 Agenda in Countries and Regions: Sharing for Learning” – documentation now online

The 3rd ESDN Peer Learning Platform and Visit took place this year in Rome, Italy from June 12th-13th, 2018 . This ESDN event was organized in cooperation with the Italian Ministry of the Environment, Land and Sea and the CReIAMO PA Project. During the Platform, participants heard interesting experiences from the 2030 Agenda and SDG implementation at the national and regional level, including positive examples, challenges that were encountered, difficulties that were part of the process and how they have been overcome. A documentation of the event, including the Background Paper and Peer Learning Even Report can be found on the ESDN homepage.

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16th ESDN Workshop, “Communication of Sustainable Development and the SDGs: Strategies and Best Practices”, 19-20 November 2018, Berlin, Germany

The role of communication in the implementation of sustainable development, in general, and the 2030 Agenda and the SDGs, in particular, is very important. Sustainable development and the 2030 Agenda need to be embraced not only by policy-makers and experts in the field, but also by all the different stakeholder groups, in order to achieve their objectives in practice. Due to the fact that sustainable development and the 17 SDGs are so broad and wide ranging, bringing in the knowledge and skills of all types of actors is key.

The 16th ESDN Workshop will focus on this topic and focus on best practice examples of various communication activities at the national and sub-national level in Europe as well as from different stakeholder groups. Moreover, we will identify and discuss future needs of better communicating SD and the SDGs. More information about the Workshop will be soon available on the ESDN homepage, so check back regularly!

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European Sustainable Development Week (ESDW) 2018: With 6,035 events in 34 countries the highest turnout in the ESDW’s history

The ESDW 2018 was organized for the fourth time this year and took place from May 30th to June 5th 2018. The ESDW 2018 reached 6,035 events in 34 countries. This marks the highest turnout so far in the ESDW’s history in terms of registered events the ESDW has received. A special thanks goes out to all the ones who supported the ESDW on the national and sub-national level, and, of course, to all the event organizers who not only organized fantastic and inspiring events, but also shared them with other on the ESDW website or on the various national SD week website!

As was the case for the ESDW 2016 and ESDW 2017, activities were also linked to the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and its 17 Sustainable Development Goals for the ESDW 2018. The ESDW 2018’s activities were linked most frequently to SDG 12: Responsible Consumption and Production (3,869 activities); SDG 11: Sustainable Cities and Communities (2,758 activities), SDG 13: Climate Action (2,569 activities), and SDG 15: Life on Land (2163 activities).

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

Austria: International Growth in Transition Conference, “Europe’s Transformation: Where People Matter”, 14-15 November 2018 in Vienna

This year, the Initiative Growth in Transition is organising its fourth international conference, entitled “Europe’s Transformation: Where People Matter”, on 14 – 15 November 2018 at the Austria Center Vienna. During the two-day event, plenary and parallel sessions will feature inspiring speakers from politics, science, civil-society and the private sector. Participatory conference formats will enable a dialogue between relevant stakeholders. The conference will address the transformation towards a sustainable society from very different perspectives. Conference topics will range from social and distributional aspects of a fair society to the role of the financial sector enabling a sustainability transformation. In order to sustain and increase prosperity and quality of life in the long term, we will need economic strategies which use the planet’s resources responsibly. A special focus will be put on the sustainable management of natural resources use and the mitigation of climate change. What measures need to be taken to achieve decarbonisation and a low-carbon society on the National and European level? In view of the challenge of a sustainable transformation of society, the role of the media will be examined. How can we create an encouraging vision of the future? The digital revolution has already transformed the world we live in. The question raised at the conference will be whether there is a chance of shaping a sustainable digital economy. Here is a list of confirmed speakers: Ban Ki Moon | Christoph Badelt | Hans Bruyninckx | Willibald Cernko| Emma Dewberry | Brenda King | Elisabeth Köstinger| Michaela Moser| Marcel Haraszti | Tim Jackson | Kate Raworth | Frans Timmermans | Stientje van Veldhoven. With Austria holding the Presidency of the Council of the European Union in the second half of the year 2018, the conference will reach out to an international audience. More information on the conference programme and registration process can be found the Growth in Transition website.

Germany: Peer Review of the German Sustainable Development Strategy

An international group of experts presented their assessment of sustainability policy in Germany at the German Council for Sustainable Development’s annual conference in June 2018 – and made 11 recommendations regarding what needs to change. When adopting the 2030 Agenda, the German government committed to its ambitious implementation and presented at the UN High-Level Political Forum, HLPF, meeting in 2016 first steps undertaken. The German Sustainable Development Strategy (GSDS) is the main framework for national implementation of the 2030 Agenda. Regularly updated and refreshed since 2002, the GSDS 2017 is the result of a full redesign and is now mapped on the 17 SDGs and the basic principles of the 2030 Agenda. There is a common understanding that the GSDS, even in its most updated version, can and must profit from international guidance and from an expert’s view from outside. Continued learning is essential in order to stay fit for purpose. Germany is using various ways to ensure the exchange of experiences and in-depth analysis, the most ambitious one being the peer review exercise. The German Federal Government called for a third international peer review as early as 2017 and made this decision part of the GSDS. Thus, the ownership for the review lies with the Government. The Government asked the German Council for Sustainable Development (RNE) to act as facilitator. More information on the peer review, the concrete recommendations, and the full text of the peer review document can be found on the RNE website.

Germany: German Environment Agency is hosting the fourth European Resources Forum on 27-28 November 2018 in Berlin

Following its successes in recent years, the German Environment Agency is hosting the 4th European Resources Forum on 27-28 November 2018 in Berlin. The European Resources Forum (ERF) has been established as an important European and international platform for discussion on the issue of sustainable resource use by focusing on the political and scientific debate on this subject. The conference will take place at the Ludwig-Erhard-Haus in Berlin. The ERF addresses European decision-makers and experts from the fields of policy development, industry, academia, civil society and the media. About 400 participants from up to 40 countries are expected. More information can be found on the ERF website.

Netherlands: Publication “The SDGs: the situation for the Netherlands”

The second SDG report with updated and new information on the position of the Netherlands with respect to the SDG indicators has recently been published. In 2016, Statistics Netherlands (CBS) was the first statistical institute in the world to report a baseline measurement of the Sustainable Development Goals. It reported on 64 indicators from the official list of indicators, 35 indicators as an alternative to official indicators and 30 extra indicators to provide a more complete picture or to cover missing topics. In doing this, CBS kept to the international list of indicators where possible. Extra indicators are only used where this is unavoidable. For 34 of the then 192 official goal indicators, the report assumed that they had either already been achieved by the Netherlands or were not relevant. Following the publication of the first report, there was an extensive consultation with more than thirty parties, such as ministries, policy analysis organisations, knowledge institutes and NGOs. Within CBS, too, steps were taken to be able to include some of the indicators that were missing from the baseline measurement. As a result, it is now possible to report on 98 official indicators – 34 more than in 2016 – and 21 alternative indicators. This publication addresses a limited number of indicators for each SDG and does not pretend to be comprehensive in doing so. For more information and downloading the report, please visit the CBS website.

Netherlands: Policy brief on translating global SDG ambitions into national policy targets by the Netherland Environment Assessment Agency

On 12 July 2018, the Netherland Environmental Assessment Agency (PBL) has released a policy brief on translating global SDG ambitions into national policy targets. In this study, PBL analyses translation steps and normative choices that are required to translate the global ambition of environment-related SDG targets into national policy targets, and the role scientific knowledge can play. The study builds on the rich literature on planetary boundaries, allocation approaches from the climate change literature, and national footprints indicators. The report concludes that the Netherlands is not living within its safe operating space. The policy brief is the executive summary of a more in-depth background report that will be published in September 2018. The study stresses the relevance of global target setting and national footprint indicators for addressing the global environmental challenges that are included in the SDGs. Furthermore, it provides insights into the implications of different distributive choices for national target setting. The outcomes of the study are relevant in the context of the High Level Political Forum (HLPF) currently taking place in New York; especially with respect to SDG 12 and 15, but also for SDG 13 and 14. The policy brief can also be accessed here.

Poland: Voluntary National Review (VNR) presented and Side Event organized at HLPF 2018 and inauguration of the National Forum of Stakeholders of the 2030 Agenda

On June 5, 2018, the Council of Ministers adopted the National Report on the Implementation of Sustainable Development Goals in Poland. This VNR Report will be presented by Jadwiga Emilewicz, Minister of Entrepreneurship and Technology and the Polish delegation on July 18, 2018 during the Ministerial segment of HLPF.

Poland also organizes a Side Event at HLPF 2018, “SDG 17: Cooperation as key to success - lessons from Poland”, on July 17 (from 13:15 – 14:30) at the UN Trusteeship Council Chamber in the UN Conference Building. This side event is organized by the Permanent Mission of Poland to the United Nations with Polish Ministry of Entrepreneurship and Technology and Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Representatives of the Partnership signatories will also take part. Poland strongly supports global efforts to implement the 2030 Agenda. Bearing in mind that cooperation is of importance in achieving the SDGs, the Side Event presents Poland's experience in this area and good examples of cooperation for the implementation of SDGs as part of a special initiative in our country – the Partnership for the implementation of SDGs in Poland. Selected projects implemented for partner countries in the framework of bilateral development cooperation will also be presented.

On June 27, 2018, the inauguration of the National Forum of Stakeholders of the 2030 Agenda took place at the Ministry of Enterprise and Technology. The Forum is a platform for conducting debate, exchange of experiences and establishing cooperation between representatives of various groups and stakeholders for the implementation of SDGs in Poland. The Forum formulates recommendations for the administration and other participants of the process to increase the efficiency and effectiveness of implementation of the SDGs and recommendations on the proposals of tools that will contribute to the development of the system for measuring the progress in implementation. The event is organized once a year in cooperation with the signatories of the Partnership for the implementation of SDGs and other partners. This year's event coincides with the Polish VNR process. The Opening Session was an opportunity to summarize the effects of preparations for the review and presentation of the Report on the implementation of the 2030 Agenda in Poland for a wider audience.

Spain: Basque Country 2030 Agenda Strategy

Recently the Basque Country published its 2030 Agenda Strategy for 2016-2020. It links the 17 Sustainable Development Goals and 100 of the 2030 Agenda target to 93 of the Commitments acquired by the Basque Government in its government programme, 80 planning instruments, 19 legislative initiatives and 50 indicators. You can access the Basque 2030 Agenda Strategy, which has an English translation included at the end of the document, here.

Switzerland: 2030 Agenda in Switzerland – an initial assessment using 85 sustainable development indicators

The monitoring of the 2030 Agenda in Switzerland expresses contrasting and somewhat contradictory trends with regard to the goals pursued. Thirty nine indicators show a development in line with expectations, fourteen show a reverse trend while twelve do not show any marked change. These are the findings of the monitoring system published for the first time by the Federal Statistical Office (FSO). This range of 85 indicators, broken down into the United Nations' 17 sustainable development goals of the 2030 Agenda (SDGs), was developed to statistically monitor the implementation of these goals in Switzerland. Around twenty indicators cannot yet be assessed as the time series are too short. Almost every indicator benefits from being put into perspective with other indicators from the system, whether within the same goal or across several goals. Please find more information about the general results for individual SDGs here

European Union: The European Sustainability Award

In 2018, the European Commission launched for the first time ever a European Sustainability Award to reward the efforts and creativity of European people, businesses and organisations. The ambition of this award is clear: championing inspiring cases of initiatives that are turning the global Sustainable Development Goals into concrete solutions and opportunities. Given the cross-cutting nature of the Sustainable Development Goals, the Sustainability Award focuses on a specific theme, linked to the annual theme chosen by the High Level Political Forum of the United Nations. For this year's edition, the theme of the award is “Empowering people and ensuring inclusiveness and equality”. The competition is open to 4 stakeholder categories: Youth; Public bodies; Private bodies; and Civil society. The winners will be announced by the European Commission First-Vice President, Frans Timmermans, and Vice-President, Jyrki Katainen, during a high-level ceremony in spring 2019. The award is immaterial and brings high visibility in the form of renewed public interest and increased media coverage.

More information on how to enter the competition can be found here. The deadline for applications is 14 September 2018.

ESDN Country Profile information and updates

Please regularly check the Country Profiles on the ESDN homepage for information on national SD strategy and policy activities and regular updates!

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Other news:

UN High Level Political Forum (HLPF) 2018 from 9-18 July 2018 in New York

The HLPF 2018 is still taking place while writing this newsletter. This year’s theme is "Transformation towards sustainable and resilient societies". The set of goals to be reviewed in depth will be the following, including Goal 17. Strengthen the means of implementation and revitalize the Global Partnership for Sustainable Development, which are considered each year: Goal 6. Ensure availability and sustainable management of water and sanitation for all; Goal 7. Ensure access to affordable, reliable, sustainable and modern energy for all; Goal 11. Make cities and human settlements inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable; Goal 12. Ensure sustainable consumption and production patterns; and Goal 15. Protect, restore and promote sustainable use of terrestrial ecosystems, sustainably manage forests, combat desertification, and halt and reverse land degradation and halt biodiversity loss. The following European countries present their Voluntary National Reviews (VNRs) at the HLPF 2018: Albania, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Latvia, Lithuania, Malta, Poland, Romania, Slovakia, Spain, and Switzerland.

Council of the Baltic Sea States: Implementation of the 2030 Agenda in the Baltic Sea Region

The Council of the Baltic Sea States recently published a report, “Baltic 2030: Bumps on the Road. How the Baltic Sea States are performing on the SDGs?” The Report  provides an overview of the progress in 2030 Agenda implementation in the Baltic Sea Region and identifies the most challenging goals for the BSR countries. Based on analysis, the Report recommends seven avenues for action where greater collaboration in the region can support SDG achievement. The report was commissioned by the Council of the Baltic Sea States (CBSS) Expert Group on Sustainable Development and was elaborated by the consultancy company Nordic Sustainability. It was jointly published by CBSS and the Nordic Council of Ministers (NCM). You can find the report here.

The Council of the Baltic Sea States is also organizing two events that will support the implementation of the 2030 Agenda in the Baltic Sea Region, and in particular of SDG12 – Responsible Consumption and Production. Both these events are targeting young people, present and future change leaders, but they also highlight the need for intergenerational learning, and for this reason we would like you all to consider participating or spreading the word with interested colleagues and partners.

ReGeneration 2030 Summit, 18-12 August 2018: The Youth of the Nordic and Baltic Sea Region Countries will meet in Åland on the 18-20 August 2018, in the first ReGeneration 2030 Summit. The Summit will elaborate a Manifesto of young people’s commitment to the SDGs, with a particular focus on SDG12. The Manifesto will be delivered to the Baltic Sea Parliamentary Conference in the end of August, and will guide the youth’s actions in doing their part for the support of the 2030 Agenda. The Summit will also be an occasion for overall capacity building of participants on SDGs and will foresee several workshops where youth will reflect on consumption and production and will be prepared to bring the messages of ReGeneration 2030 back in their home countries. The target participants are 16-29 year old young men and women, but intergenerational learning is a key feature for the Summit, so anyone older than 29 but interested in taking part in the Summit and sharing your knowledge with participants you are welcome to contact the Council of the Baltic Sea States.

Baltic Leadership Programme on Youth & Bioeconomy: The Swedish Institute is initiating a new Baltic Leadership programme, aimed at better integrating younger generations into the field of bioeconomy and contributing to the goals of the EU Strategy for the Baltic Sea Region. The BLP is organized in cooperation with the Nordic Council of Ministers, the Swedish Youth Council, Jordbruksverket, as well as PA Bioeconomy and PA Innovation in the EU Strategy for the Baltic Sea Region. The programme targets representatives from youth organisations, as well as experts working in the field of bioeconomy, who will increase knowledge and skills on the topic of bioeconomy, and will help a stronger integration of youth in relevant fields of the EUSBSR. Attached to this e-mail you can find more information about the programme. Training and accommodation are free of charge, and for the youth representatives travel costs will also be covered. Registration is open until 22 August. Follow this link to submit your application.

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The ESDN Office Team at the WU Institute for Managing Sustainability

André Martinuzzi
Gerald Berger
Sara Gottenhuber
Markus Hametner
Eric Mulholland

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