At the ESDN 2019 Conference in Helsinki, the informal nature of the ESDN changed and the ESDN officially became the ESDN Association under Austrian Association Law. However, this new legal classification shall not change the informal nature of ESDN Association events, the nature of policy learning between peers, nor the Network. The ESDN Association Statutes outline the purpose and function of the Network:
- ESDN Association is a non-profit-oriented association dealing with relevant challenges and opportunities related to sustainability and sustainable development that are in the public interest and of particular concern to the members of the Association.
- The purpose of the Association is to establish a pan-European networking platform connecting people who are, primarily in national ministries or sub-national authorities, responsible for the preparation and implementation of national strategies and processes serving the implementation of the international commitments related to sustainable development, mainly the UN 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and its related Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The Association also fosters the pan-European dialogue and experience exchange of practices to promote sustainable development, and advises political decision-makers at European, national and sub-national levels.
- The Association’s purpose is to be implemented by performing the following activities:
- promoting sustainable development at European level, as well as at EU and at Member State level and enhancing the exchange of experiences concerning good practices for sustainable development in the whole of Europe;
- reflecting and advising on how to strengthen vertical and horizontal integration of Sustainable Development at the political level of the EU, the national and the subnational level, in particular inclusion of the SDGs into the executive arm and the steering cycle of the EU;
- maintaining the ESDN’s website as a “one-stop shop“ for information on sustainability strategies and practices for sustainable development in Europe;
- organizing structured discussions and providing expertise on current issues of sustainable development and “good practices”;
- supporting the methodological abilities, subject-matter and communication skills and competencies of the ESDN members;
- communicating with other international and European networks and exchange mechanisms dealing with sustainable development.