In the ESDN Spotlight video series, the ESDN features informative videos on important topics in sustainable development. The videos cover a wide range of stakeholders who are active in sustainable development, such as academia, NGOs, the businesses sector, research and youth.
“Ahead of us lies the path towards a truly comprehensive transformation."
Europe has "a leading role to play in this regard. We must prove that economic growth can be decoupled from emissions and the consumption of resources."
"We must not stop encouraging, informing, inspiring and also criticizing each other time and again when it comes to pursuing the most sustainable way of living and working possible."
Verena Madner talks about the procedures and challenges of working out the Viennese Smart City Strategy and the importance of monitoring progress.
National policy makers can learn a lot from the city level, according to Verena Madner, for example the holistic approach towards tackling challenges.
When we discuss the future, it is crucial to listen to the voices of the future. That’s why we asked Youth Representatives from all over Europe to tell us their concerns, wishes and demands for a sustainable future and their vision of Europe in 2050. Their message is clear: In a sustainable Europe, we address climate change and biodiversity loss as the most urgent challenge. Luckily, we have the solutions. As it turns out, it is not so hard to design a transition that keeps in mind the concerns of the youth, guarantees social harmony and justice and holds decision-makers accountable.
In the interview, Leena-Kaisa describes how Sitra, the Finnish Innovation Fund, involved all stakeholders in establishing a roadmap towards a sustainable Finland. She explains the different dimensions of circular economy that Sitra works on, including those that go beyond natural resources. One of the core mechanisms to promote a circular economy is legislation. Leena-Kaisa identifies the key regulatory mechanisms that are necessary to make the circular economy more competitive.
The biggest challenge of multi-stakeholder councils is to find a consensus between up to fifty members with different perspectives and visions. The different structures, tasks and capacities of councils around Europe make it so their agenda setting ability is different and not all councils are taken equally serious by the governments they are advising.
The SDGs are global in their outlook so they have to be localized to be integrated into cities’ strategies. Jasmin Miah argues that when change happens at a local level it is more effective in changing people’s beliefs and attitudes, as they can see the impacts more directly. Yet, there is a lot of room for improvement for the European Union in terms of integrating cities and other sub-national stakeholders.
According to James Gomme, there are huge opportunities for businesses who embrace the SDGs and sustainable development. He predicts that those businesses that adopt principles of sustainable development into their business strategy and practice right now will be more successful in the long run. Business as usual is no longer an option.
Finnish scientist Eeva Furman was part of a group of fifteen scientists who co-authored the Global Report on Sustainable Development for the UN. This report aimed at bringing together the knowledge about sustainable development from different regions and disciplines. While the situation is serious, the report finds that from a scientific perspective, a sustainability transformation is still possible.
In his interview, Guillaume discusses many topics relating to sustainable development, the 2030 Agenda and the SDGs, such as the Science Policy Interface, the role of businesses in implementing the SDGs, the SDSN Sustainable Development Report 2019, sustainability as the EU’s new narrative, the Six Transformations for a sustainable future, and the vision for the next 10 years of the 2030 Agenda.