"Perspectives for European SD Policy & Governance in the context of recent EU policy strategies and Rio+20"

27 - 28 October 2011, Berlin, Germany

The 7th ESDN Workshop took place in Berlin on 27-28 October 2011. The workshop was entitled “Perspectives for European SD Policy & Governance in the context of recent EU policy strategies and Rio+20”. In total, 45 participant from 16 European countries attended the workshop.

Currently, the framework for SD policy and governance in the European Union is in a state of change. On the one hand, the EU SDS of 2006 requires the European Council in 2011 to decide “when a comprehensive review of the EU SDS needs to be launched” (para 45); a decision on the review will also influence the future of the EU SDS. On the other hand, SD issues and targets are increasingly included in other important EU policy strategies, most notably in the Europe 2020 strategy, Europe’s major policy strategy to achieve “smart, sustainable and inclusive growth”, and the Europe 2020 flagship initiative, “A resource-efficient Europe” (2011), and its forthcoming road map.

Additionally, the UN Conference on Sustainable Development (Rio+20) will focus as one of its major themes on the institutional framework for SD and issues of SD governance, including SD strategy processes at the national level. At a recent UNCSD High Level Dialogue in preparation of Rio+20 in Solo/Indonesia on 19-21 July 2011, the chair summarized important messages to move the theme forward. Among them were (i) the renewed political commitment for SD and a translation of this into concrete implementation; (ii) ensuring the integration of economic, environmental and social policies; (iii) increased support for national SD strategies; (iv) SD governance at all levels needs to be reviewed, supported and strengthened; and (v) budgetary resources for SD implementation, capacity-building and technology transfer.

All these recent developments and new emerging issues (e.g. fiscal consolidation, demographic changes, etc.) call for discussions on how SD policy and governance can be best addressed in current EU policy strategies and in preparation to the Rio+20 conference. The ESDN, which is mentioned in the EU SDS as mechanism to facilitate the exchange of good practices and experiences as well as to support Member States to enhance mainstreaming SD issues and horizontal and vertical policy-making, is the ideal network to foster discussions about the current state of SD policy and governance and future developments. The workshop focused on questions such as: Which SD topics and targets are currently included in EU policy strategies and which governance mechanisms are applied? Which experiences have been made with SD policy and governance in Europe? What is the added-value and future of national SD strategies (NSDSs)? Which monitoring/evaluation mechanisms are necessary to assess the achievement of SD policy and governance? What is the future role of SD institutions and mechanisms in the SD governance process (i.e. ESDN, national SD councils, bi-annual progress reporting period, etc) in Europe in? How should SD policy and governance in Europe look like in the future?

Keynote presentations
Session 1: Reflectionson SD policy & governance in EU policy strategies

SD policy & governance in Europe in the context of EU policy strategies – the stakeholder perspective

Jan-Gustav Strandenaes: Senior Advisor, Northern Alliance for Sustainability (ANPED)

Session 2: Experiences with SD policy & governance at the EU and Member States level
Session 3: Future development and role of the institutions/mechanisms