ESDNewsletter October 2019

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

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ESDN Conference 2019, 30-31 October 2019, Helsinki, Finland –“Towards a Sustainable Europe 2030 – From Reflection to Action”

The ESDN Conference 2019 will take place in Helsinki, Finland from 30-31 October, 2019. It is being organized by the ESDN in cooperation with the Finnish Prime Minister’s Office. The conference will be a 1.5-day event (30 October is a full day and 31 October is half-day that runs until 13:00) and will be organized as in conjunction to the Finnish EU Presidency. The conference will bring together sustainable development policymakers and experts from different stakeholder groups from all over Europe.

The title of this year’s Conference is “Towards a Sustainable Europe 2030 – From Reflection to Action”. The Conference will focus on many topics relating to the implementation of the 2030 Agenda and the SDGs in Europe and take stock of where Europe stands after four years of implementation, which will feature the experiences that European countries have had in that regard. Other Conference topics will include the linking of the 2030 Agenda to economic reality and looking at meta-governance for sustainability. In addition, the Conference will focus on various challenges for Europe in reaching the 2030 Agenda and the SDGs and will delve deeper into 5 key themes: Circular Economy; Citizens’ Europe; Economy of Well-Being; Sustainable Finance; and Global Responsibility. Please find a Conference Draft Agenda on the ESDN Website.

The Conference will be comprised of three sessions:

More information about the Conference is available on the ESDN homepage. If you are interested in the Conference or want more information, please send an email to the ESDN Office at   

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ESDN Strategic Workshop, 12 November 2019, Brussels – “Sustainability & Sustainability Policy as Opportunity and Answer to Democratic Challenges of EU Policy and Politics”!

The upcoming ESDN Strategic Workshop will take place in Brussels on 12 November 2019 and it entitled “Sustainability & Sustainability Policy as Opportunity and Answer to Democratic Challenges of EU Policy and Politics”. The workshop is organized by the ESDN in cooperation with the German Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety and The Open Society European Policy Institute.

The main aim of this Strategic Workshop is to have an expert discussion on the democratic challenges of EU policy and politics and determine how much sustainable development, the 2030 Agenda and the SDGs can provide possible answers and avenues towards transformation for all of Europe. The Workshop will focus, in part, on the current state of democracy in Europe, where topics, such as fake-news and the challenges it poses to democracy and journalism will be discussed, as well as how to sustain positive politics when faced with climate change denial. Other overarching topics of the Workshop will be governance for sustainability and its transformative capacity regarding the implementation of the 2030 Agenda and the SDGs. These topics will be discussed amongst policymakers, think-tankers and Members of European Parliament, in order to find ways to positively transform European policy and politics.

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Next ESDN Quarterly Report in December 2019 on the current state of the implementation of the 2030 Agenda and SDGs at the national level in Europe

The next ESDN Quarterly Report will be published in December 2019. It will be a comprehensive study on the current state of the implementation of the 2030 Agenda and SDGs at the national level in Europe. The report will include a comparative analysis of more than 30 European countries on issues like policy strategy, leadership, responsibility, and budgets for the 2030 Agenda/SDGs; horizontal and vertical policy integration mechanisms and experiences; stakeholder participation, including activities with, and for, the future generation; evaluation and monitoring; and the cooperation between the European and national level. The analysis will be based on a survey that was conducted among sustainable development policymakers from national government ministries responsible for the 2030 Agenda and SDG implementation that the ESDN Office undertook, information from the Voluntary National Reviews, and other reports and literature on the topic.

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News on the governance of sustainable development from various European countries

Belgium: Second Belgian SDG Forum

After the first successful SDG Forum in 2018, the second Belgian SDG Forum on 24 September 2019 gathered more than 1,000 participants, who came from public authorities of various levels, business, NGO, academics, and consultants. The audience participated in plenary sessions to listen to keynotes and ministers and could choose between 30 workshops during the day. This major SDG event in Belgium is the result of a multi-stakeholder participatory process, bringing together various actors working on sustainable development.

Belgium, Wallonia: Communication Strategy for the SDGs

To better communicate SDGs in Wallonia, the Sustainable Development Directorate of the Public Service of Wallonia has defined a dedicated communication strategy focused on three priority target groups: local authorities, businesses and young people (aged between 15 and 20). Various tools are now available on their website, including visual tools, methodological guides and videos adapted to each audience. For discovering them, please go to their website (which also has an English part).

France: Roadmap for the 2030 Agenda

In 2018-2019, a community of approximately 300 public and private stakeholders from various backgrounds worked together to draft the national Roadmap for the 2030 Agenda. Parliament, ministries, companies, associations, local authorities, trade unions and researchers met in dedicated working groups and workshops on collective intelligence. This work was carried out under the guidance of a steering committee involving the State and civil society, chaired at ministerial level (Ministry for the Ecological and Inclusive Transition of France and the Ministry for Europe and Foreign Affairs). They determined France’s issues with regard to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and their implementing procedures. The road map is, therefore, not solely for government, but for all stakeholders in French society.

This road map, which France recently adopted, addresses the many issues on the 2030 Agenda all at the same time, in order to take society towards a model that is more prosperous, more inclusive and more respectful of the environment. It proposes to step up the pathways to progress starting with national issues and measures that are already in place, so that France can meet the SDGs in 2030. The road map sets the course for an entrepreneurial, inclusive and ecological France that leaves no one behind and that does not live at the future expense of its children or their environment. The search for social justice, environmental ambition and France’s development are at the core of the six main issues and commitments of this road map, taken on by all stakeholders: (1) Act for a fair transition; (2) Transform society models; (3) Focus on lifelong education and training; (4) Act for the health and well-being; (5) Make citizen participation effective; and (6) Work at a European and international level. The French approach aims to gain momentum for tangible action to achieve the SDGs. The 2030 Agenda is now the go-to reference for sustainable development in France and engages all stakeholders.

More information can be found at: Website:; Social media: @Agenda2030FR.

Germany: German Sustainability Forum and kick-off event for the update of the German SD Strategy

On 13 June 2019, the German Sustainability Forum took place for the third time with more than 150 participants from approximately 60 civil society organisations taking part. Among others, the following topics were discussed: indicators, global sustainability policy, cooperation between the Federal and the Federal Statelevel, and communication. In addition, the German communication strategy was discussed, which had already been launched at the end of 2018:

Looking ahead, Germany is planning a kick-off-event for the next comprehensive update of the German SD Strategy on 29 October 2019. As in the past, a series of dialogue conferences are planned for broad stakeholder and public involvement in this process. The event in October marks the beginning of this dialogue phase.

Germany: First network report of the German Regional Hubs for Sustainability Strategies (RENN)

Just in time for the Climate and SDG Summits in New York in September 2019, the first network report of the German Regional Hubs for Sustainability Strategies (RENN) was published. The RENN, with their 20 partner organisations in all of the 16 Federal States of Germany, contribute very successfully to the implementation of the SDGs and the German Sustainability Strategy on the local and regional level since 2016. The report focuses on how the four hubs advance the implementation and which opportunities and challenges they face in their respective regions. The report can be downloaded here in German and English. Current events and contact details of RENN can be found on their website at:

Spain, Basque Country:  Monitoring Report about the Agenda Euskadi Basque Country 2030, Summer School about the 2030 Agenda, and course material for business to support the 2030 Agenda implementation

As established in the first Agenda Euskadi Basque Country 2030, through its own instruments and channels for monitoring and evaluation, a monitoring report is produced annually including the contribution to the achievements of the SDGs and the progress made. That report is sent to the Basque Parliament. Recently, the second monitoring report (year 2018) has been produced.

Within the framework of the summer courses that are organized annually at the University of the Basque Country, a Summer School was created with the title, “2030 Agenda and the SDGs. Making our public policies more efficient”. It targeted people from public administrations and key agents in the implementation of the 2030 Agenda.

Within the agreement with Global Compact and business associations to facilitate access to course materials for the dissemination and implementation of the 2030 Agenda in Basque companies, the second phase of the course is currently being developed.

Switzerland: External evaluation of the Swiss Sustainable Development Strategy

Switzerland has commissioned an external evaluation of its Sustainable Development Strategy 2016–2019. The evaluation reviews the effectiveness and achievement of its objectives and their contribution to achieving the 2030 Agenda. It also contains recommendations for the renewal of the SDS. The results of the evaluation have been published recently. Please click here for the evaluation report in German with summaries in French and Italian.

Switzerland: Sustainable Development Monitoring in Switzerland – a single system for several uses

Social cohesion, mobility and culture – three important themes for sustainable development in Switzerland, now complement the MONET 2030 indicator system. These themes are not, or hardly, touched upon in the UN's 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. Eighteen indicators are thus added to the 85 indicators dedicated to the monitoring of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) of the 2030 Agenda in Switzerland. The system also makes it possible to highlight connections and interdependencies between the SDGs, in particular, aspects related to gender equality and the spillover and responsibilities of Switzerland towards other countries. The 103 system indicators are presented with the latest data available on this website:

The Federal Statistical Office FSO has been monitoring sustainable development in Switzerland for more than 15 years using the MONET indicator system (MONET is an acronym for “monitoring of sustainable development in German). Based on a definition of sustainable development adopted at the Rio Earth Summit in 1992 and revised several times, it is considered as a good practice example for measuring sustainable development. In 2018, and under the mandate of the Swiss Federal Council, some of the MONET indicators, supplemented by other indicators, were integrated into a new MONET 2030 system dedicated to the monitoring of the sustainable development objectives (SDGs) of the 2030 Agenda translated into a Swiss context.
These two systems are now merged into a single MONET 2030 system in order to continue monitoring the SDGs while monitoring progress in themes that are important for sustainable development in Switzerland, but which are missing or not very present in the 2030 Agenda. This new system includes 103 indicators and maintains the concepts and methodologies of the original MONET system.

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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News on the governance of sustainable development from the EU

Eurostat: Smarter, greener, more inclusive? Indicators to support the Europe 2020 strategy — 2019 edition

The 2019 edition of “Smarter, greener, more inclusive? Indicators to support the Europe 2020 strategy” continues the series of Eurostat flagship publications supporting the Europe 2020 strategy by monitoring progress towards the targets and goals defined under the three mutually reinforcing priorities of smart, sustainable and inclusive growth. The analysis is based on the Europe 2020 headline indicators chosen to monitor progress towards the strategy’s targets. Additional breakdowns focusing on specific subgroups of society or the economy are also used to deepen the analysis and present a more detailed picture. The data mainly come from official statistics produced by the European Statistical System and disseminated by Eurostat. The 2019 edition covers the time period up to the most recent year for which data is available (2017 or 2018). The five thematic chapters of the publication are followed by a country profile for each Member State, providing an overall picture of the situation in relation to the national Europe 2020 targets. The country profiles provide for each Member State a table with the national Europe 2020 indicators and illustrate the situation in each Member State in the form of a radar chart, which shows the distance between the most recent data and the defined national targets. The report can be downloaded here.

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Other news:

Nordregio: Knowledge-sharing event on Agenda 2030 at the local level   

On 28 October 2019, Nordregio (a leading Nordic and European research centre for regional development and planning, established by the Nordic Council of Ministers) will be holding a knowledge-sharing event on Agenda 2030 at the local level in Stockholm, entitled “Help Shape A Sustainable Future: Agenda 2030 At The Local Level”.  The event, under the auspices of the Nordic Council of Ministers, has the aim to learn about how Nordic municipalities are working with the 2030 Agenda and the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The goal is to generate new inspiration and knowledge, enable potential partners to meet, and help send a strong message to governments about what is needed to further their work for a sustainable future. Held at one of the most sustainable venues in the Nordic countries, this knowledge-sharing event will provide an opportunity to either start up, fine tune or evaluate one’s work with sustainable development, whether representative of a municipality, a regional authority, an NGO or any other relevant party. The event agenda can be accessed here, and register by clicking on this link.

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We wish you a colourful autumn!

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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