ESDN Conference 2020

“The European Green Deal: Our Pact for the Future”

Berlin 12-13 October 2020

The ESDN Conference 2020 took place on 12 – 13 October 2020 virtually. It was organized by the ESDN Association in cooperation with the German Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety. The Conference will be a 1.5-day event (12 October was a half day and 13 October was a full day that runs until 16:00 CEST) and was an official event of the German Presidency of the Council of the European Union. The Conference brought together sustainable development policymakers and experts from different stakeholder groups from all over Europe.

The title of this year’s Conference was “The European Green Deal: Our Pact for the Future”. The Conference focused on many topics relating to the Green Deal and had a very future-oriented focus regarding sustainable development. Amidst the troubling times of the Corona-Pandemic, topics included how to address future challenges to sustainable development and what that means in concrete terms. The Conference also looked into repercussions the European Green Deal might have on other European Commission priorities, such as its ‘Farm to Fork Strategy’, Sustainable Growth, Democracy, Sustainable Finance and Resilience. It also looked at ‘missing links’, and thus discussed aspects of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development that are not included in the Green Deal.

To provide a true ’input by the future’, a group of 30 European young people gathered prior to the Conference at the BMU European Youth Camp on October 10 and 11 to formulate inspiring and challenging ideas for a sustainable European Green Deal as a roadmap towards a sustainable European future.

Speakers included the German Chancellor, Angela Merkel, the German Minister for the Environment, Svenja Schulze and the Parliamentary State Secretary for the German Minister for Economic Cooperation and development, Maria Flachsbarth.

The Conference was comprised of four sessions:

Session 1:  Our Pact for the Future - Inspiration and Intent

  • Results and Messages of the Youth Camp
  • Moderated Interactive Discussions
  • Key note: The European Green Deal
  • Reactions and Feedback from: Parliaments, national level, and subnational level

Session 2: The Future of Sustainable Development and how to Address Challenges

  • Panel Discussion
  • Broadening the discussion: the development perspective

Session 3: Sustainable Future in Concrete Terms

  • A History of Change
  • Key note: The Future of Europe in Light of the EU Green Deal

Session 4: Breakout Groups – Repercussions of the Green Deal and European Commission Priorities

  • Sustainable Growth: Ending the dogma of endless Growth
  • Sustainable Food: Farm to fork Strategy
  • A new push for Democracy
  • Sustainable Finance: integration of environmental concerns into national budgets
  • Resilience and Sustainable Development: Lessons still being learned from Covid-19
  • Future Mobility – Mobility of the Future
  • Missing links: Elements from the 2030 Agenda not yet included in the European Green Deal