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.

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

Voices of the future: Messages of the European Youth Camp

The European Green Deal: Our Pact for a Sustainable Future

Svenja Schulze: Minister, Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety, Germany

Source: German Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety

A History of Change

Ian Mortimer: Historian and Bestselling author, United Kingdom

Moderated Discussion and Feedback by Parliaments, National and Subnational Level

Frédéric Vallier: Secretary General of the Council of European Municipalities and Regions, Belgium

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

The Global Perspective

Achim Steiner: Administrator, United Nations Development Program, New York, USA

Panel Discussion: The Challenge of assuring an integrated view

Achim Steiner: Administrator, United Nations Development Program, New York, USA

Patrick Gaspar: President of the Open Society Foundations, USA

Christopher Hurst: Director General, European Investment Bank, Luxembourg

Broadening the Discussion: the Development Perspective and the Global South

Pierrette Herzberger-Fofana: Member of European Parliament, Vice-Chair of the Development Committee, Vice-Chair of the Delegation for Relations with the Pan-African Parliament, Group of the Greens/European Free Alliance, Germany

Panel Discussion

Maria Flachsbarth: Parliamentary State Secretary to the Federal Minister for Economic Cooperation and Development, Germany

Imme Scholz: Deputy Chair of the German Council for Sustainable Development, Vice Director of the German Development Institute, Germany

Manish Bapna: Executive Vice President, World Resources Institute, USA

Session 3: Transformation towards a Sustainable Future

The Future of a sustainable Europe in Light of the EU Green Deal

Angela Merkel: Chancellor, Germany (only available in German)


Session 4: Breakout Groups – Repercussions of the Green Deal and European Commission Priorities
Session 5: European Futures - Strategic Foresight

Panel Discussion

Daniela Jacob: Co-Chair of the Science Platform Sustainability 2030, Germany

Jock Martin: Head of Integrated Assessments for Sustainability (IAS), European Environmental Agency, Denmark

Manfred Rosenstock: Deputy Head of Unit, Unit on Environmental Knowledge, Eco-Innovation & SMEs, DG ENVI EU Commission, Belgium