ESDN Conferences

Conferences are the ESDN's flagship event. They take place each year on topical issues facing Europe when it comes to sustainable development. Since 2015 and the adoption of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), the ESDN has focused on this as a driving force behind its work in fostering exchange, peer learning, trust, and so much more to further the goal of successful implementation and fulfilment of the SDGs.

The 2023 Conference has already taken place. More information can be found below. 

A photo gallery of ESDN Conferences from the past few years can also be found below, as well as an archive of all Confereces over the ESDN's long history dealing with sustainable development issues. 

ESDN Conference 2024

The ESDN is happy to announce that the ESDN Conference 2024 will be taking place in Brussels, Belgium on 05-06 June 2024! The title of this year’s Conference is “Upgrading Europe: Building Transformative Policies to Reach the Sustainable Development Goals”. The ESDN is organizing the Conference in cooperation with the Belgian Federal Institute for Sustainable Development and the European Economic and Social Committee. The Conference will be an official event of Belgium’s EU Council Presidency.

As we find ourselves just over the halfway point to reaching the 2030 Agenda and the SDGs, with only six more years left, the ESDN and co-organizers will focus this year’s Conference on transformative policies. The Global Sustainable Development Reports (2019 and 2023) have identified the entry points to transformational change. The purpose of this Conference is to learn more about transformations and how to bring them about, as well as learn from good practice cases from national governments, local governments, the business sector, academia, and science. The Conference will offer ample opportunities for discussions, networking, and information exchanges with colleagues from all parts of Europe.

A draft of the Conference agenda will be made available in a few weeks!

ESDN Conference 2023

The ESDN, together with our co-organizers, the Nordic Council of Ministers and Nordregio, are proud to share that the ESDN Conference 2023 took place on 15-16 March in Stockholm, Sweden! The title of this year’s Conference was: “Halfway to 2030 – Where does Europe stand and how does it move forward?”

This year also marks the 20-year Anniversary of ESDN! The Anniversary marked the Conference kickoff on 15 March.

The Conference was then continued bright and early on 16 March. It was an all-day event and featured many keynote discussions that provided the framing and stock taking of where Europe stands and how it will move forward until 2030 for the 2030 Agenda and the SDGs. This was followed by interactive sessions that will showcase national level, subnational, and local good case examples of successes in implementing the 2030 Agenda and the SDGs. Participants were able to ask in-depth questions, gain insights, share their own experiences, learn, and seek advice from their peers on how to solve sustainable development challenges.

All Conference documents and PowerPoint presentations can be found below.

Speakers, Topics & Presentations
ESDN 20-Year Anniversary Celebration

Wednesday, 15 March 2023

Conference Welcome

Daniel Dubas, ESDN President, Delegate of the Federal Council for the 2030 Agenda, Federal Office for Spatial Development, Switzerland

Kicking off the Conference - Topics and Goals for Tomorrow

Rolf Elmér, Director of Nordregio, Sweden


Åsa Hildestrand, Nordregio, Sweden

European Council Working Party on the 2030 Agenda – Guiding Europe to 2030

 Parasto Nosrati, Ministry of Climate and Enterprise, Sweden


Viggo Barmen, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Sweden

20-Year ESDN Anniversary and Ambitions of the ESDN until 2030

Marguy Kohnen, ESDN Vice President, Ministry of the Environment, Climate and Sustainable Development, Luxembourg


Annika Lindblom, ESDN Advisory Board Member, Ministry for the Environment, Finland

Session 1: Europe and the 2030 Agenda – Where do we stand and what do we need until 2030?

Thursday, 16 March 2023

Global Sustainable Development Report - Using the science-policy interface for the SDGs

 Åsa Persson, Stockholm Environment Institute, Sweden

European Union Voluntary Review 2023

Carlos Berrozpe, European Commission – Directorate-General for International Partnerships, Belgium

 Highlighting Europe’s SDG Challenges until 2030

Guillaume Lafortune, Sustainable Development Solutions Network, France

“Everyone can Flourish: Sustainability beyond the 2030 Agenda” – Initiative of the Åland Islands

Micke Larsson, Government of the Åland Islands, Finland

Local Level Perspectives on Agenda 2030 Progress

Jasmin Miah, ICLEI-Europe, Germany

Civil Society Perspectives – Relaunching the 2030 Agenda

Peter Schmidt, President of the Agriculture, Rural Development and the Environment (NAT) Section, European Economic and Social Committee, Belgium

Youth Perspectives on the Pathway to 2030 & Video

Dana Novacescu, ESDN Youth Representative, Romania


Marvin Huber, ESDN Youth Representative, Austria


Domokos Peter Kovács, ESDN Youth Representative, Hungary

Exchange Spaces - Practical SDG solutions and experiences from the national, subnational, and local levels

Exchange Space 1

Table 1: Czech Republic – Communication campaign of SDGs

Pavla Cvachovcová, Ministry for the Environment

Table 2: Finland – Government policy sustainability assessment

Eeva Furman, Prime Minister’s Office

Table 3: Iceland – Sustainable Iceland

Áslaug Karen Jóhannsdóttir, Ministry for Foreign Affairs – Directorate for International Affairs and Policy

Table 4: Ireland (unable to make it to the ESDN Conference)

Table 5: Slovenia – Annual Development Report and the 2030 Agenda

Špela Rotar, Ministry of Cohesion and Regional Development

Table 6: Spain – The Spanish SD Strategy for 2030: Process and Challenges

Gabriel Castañares Hernández, Ministry of Social Rights and 2030 Agenda

Table 7: Åland Islands – “Everyone can Flourish – Sustainability beyond the 2030 Agenda”

Micke Larsson, Government of the Åland Islands, Finland


Martha Hannus, Development and Sustainability Council of Åland, Finland

Table 8: Catalonia – Catalonia Alliance 2030

Arnau Queralt Bassa,Director of the Advisory Council for the Sustainable Development of Catalonia, Spain

Table 9: Tallinn – EU Green Capital of the Year

Krista Kampus, Tallinn City Office, Estonia

Table 10: Värmland County (unable to make it to the ESDN Conference)

Table 11: Council of the Baltic Sea States – Handbook for Local Climate Change Adaptation Planning in the Baltic Sea Region

Ugis Zanders, Council of the Baltic Sea States, Sweden

Exchange Spaces - Practical SDG solutions and experiences from the national, subnational, and local levels

Exchange Space 2

Table 1: Cyprus – Active citizenship for the SDGs

Lefteris Eleftheriou, Ministry of Finance

Table 2: Estonia – Public sector innovation plans

Eili Lepik, Government Office


Laura Viilup, Government Office

Table 3: Italy – Enabling the NSDS - Policy Coherence for Sustainable Development

Francesca De Crescenzo, Ministry of Environment and Energy Security

Table 4: Latvia – Getting the most out of your VNR under conditions of limited resources

Mara Simane, State Chancellery

Table 5:Netherlands – Integrating themes of wellbeing with the SDGs

Sandra Pellegrom, Ministry of Foreign Affairs

Table 6: Norway – Executive Forum on the Sustainable Development Goals

Jesper Tangenes Bæverfjord, Ministry of Local Government and Regional Development

Table 7: Poland – Capacity Building Program for the Public Administration and examples of putting knowledge into practice

Agnieszka Jabłońska, Ministry of Economic Development and Technology

Table 8: Sweden – The delicate task of vertical and horizontal coordination of the 2030 Agenda

Cristina Mattsson Lundberg, Ministry of Climate and Enterprise


Måns Fellesson, Ministry for Foreign Affairs

Table 9: Flanders – Integrating the SDGs into existing local policy processes

Heleen Voeten, Association of Flemish Cities and Municipalities, Belgium

Table 10: Ljusdal – Sweden’s first internationally certified sustainable tourism destination Järvsö

Linnéa Van Wagenen, Ljusdal Government - Unit for Strategic and Sustainable Development, Sweden