Wednesday, 15 July 2020
National — sub-national linkages
Several institutional arrangements foster the cooperation and coordination between the national and sub-national levels in the ÖSTRAT process:
- The ‘Actors Network Sustainable Austria’ is intended to facilitate networking among SD coordinators from the national, regional and local levels. In order to exchange experience on SD issues, a network journal is published and regular network meetings are held. Since 1998, members of the Actors Network Sustainable Austria regularly have met in ‘round tables’ organised by the former Federal Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry, Environment and Water Management in cooperation with one of the Austrian regions. The round table meetings focused on the exchange of experience and information among actors of different working fields and different levels of implementation. During the preparation of the NSDS, one round table meeting was dedicated to discuss governance issues and the expectations of different stakeholders related to the strategy. In 2009, two round tables were held: the first one focused on sustainable resource use and transition towards sustainable lifestyles, at the second the actors network discussed the challenges of demographic development and options to cope with it (click here for more information on the round table meetings. Since 2010 onwards, the activities of the actors network have been closely linked with the implementation of the ÖSTRAT, the joint SD strategy of the Federal and provincial authorities, its implementation by means of joint work programmes, and its further development. As a consequence, the “Round Table Sustainable Austria” was given a new design. In November 2010 the Actors Network Sustainable Austria met at the “1. ÖSTRAT Platform” to develop the first joint ÖSTRAT work programme. More than 50 actors from key institutions of the national and regional levels discussed the further development of existing initiatives as well as options for new partnerships and new initiatives
- The ‘Expert Conference of National and Regional SD Coordinators’ was approved by the “Conference of the Environmental Ministers of the Federal Provinces” in 2000. National and regional SD coordinators meet twice a year in order to develop common activities and to coordinate the implementation of SD strategies and policies. In 2019, the “Expert Conference of National and Regional SD Coordinators’ was merged with the “SDG Focal Points” from the federal level to promote the exchange of information and experience on the 2030 Agenda implementation.
- The chair of the Regional SD coordinators participates in the ‘Committee for a Sustainable Austria’, the key (governmental) mechanism at Federal level that -in previous years- managed the NSTRAT implementation by means of work programmes and progress reports, and today manages both the renewal of the 2002 NSTRAT, as well as the Federal contributions to the ÖSTRAT work programmes and the progress reports. External support for the ÖSTRAT-process: An external support office provides technical assistance for the implementation of the present and the development of the next work programme. It also supports the preparation of progress report and provides back office support for the cooperation and coordination mechanisms that link the national and sub-national levels in the ÖSTRAT process (see above).
- Local Agenda 21 (LA 21) is regarded as an important approach to implement SD at the regional and local level. In 2002, a sub-group of the ‘Expert Conference of National and Regional SD Coordinators’ was established to improve coordination of LA 21 activities which include a standardized quality assurance and evaluation of LA 21-processes, arranging events for exchange of views and experiences and organizing EU-subsidies for LA 21-processes. In 2019, the quality management process was adapted to the objects of the Agenda 2030.
Members of the Actors Network Sustainable Austria regularly have met in ‘round tables’ organised by the former Federal Ministry of Sustainability and Tourism in cooperation with one of the Austrian regions.
Austria actively participates in EU processes connected to the implementation of the 2030 Agenda. As an EU Member State, Austria belongs to one of the most important actors in development cooperation worldwide. In this role, Austria is particularly committed to supporting sustainable economic development in the partner countries, mainstreaming of environmental protection, and the advancement of human rights, democracy and good governance.
During the Austrian Presidency of the Council of the European Union in 2018, the priority of the Council Working Group on the 2030 Agenda was to establish instruments, processes and structures that would promote the desired mainstreaming within the Council and make use of synergies. In addition to communications with external stakeholders (e.g. Multi-Stakeholder Platform on the implementation of the SDGs in the EU, SDG Watch Europe, UNECE), other Council Working Groups were also sensitised to the 2030 Agenda and the SDGs. For example, an informal dialogue on the implementation of the 2030 Agenda was initiated on the EU level.