What is the “Sustainable Romania” Project?
On December 8, 2023, the “Sustainable Romania” project held a concluding conference, which signified the culmination of the "Sustainable Romania" project, serving as the primary platform for the development of the strategic and institutional framework necessary for implementing the National Strategy for Sustainable Development in Romania by 2030. This initiative received co-financing from the European Social Fund under the Administrative Capacity Operational Program 2014-2020 and spanned a duration of five years.
What were the project results?
The project developed a concise but comprehensive action plan aimed at facilitating the smooth implementation of the National Strategy for Sustainable Development 2030. This comprehensive document meticulously outlines a strategic roadmap designed to achieve sustainability goals across diverse sectors and engage various stakeholders.
Furthermore, a dynamic communication plan was executed across a spectrum of channels. These channels included impactful mediums, such as television spots, online banners, social networks, newsletters, and strategically organized events. Notably, the initiative featured a prominent exhibition pavilion, a highlight during the European Sustainable Development Week. This multifaceted approach ensured widespread awareness, engagement, and participation in fostering sustainable practices among the public and various stakeholders. A dedicated website was also developed:
What effects did the project have on the statistical database and monitoring?
The National Institute of Statistics, in collaboration with the Department of Sustainable Development and the Consultative Council for Sustainable Development, elaborated a new set of national sustainable development indicators and a mechanism to monitor the implementation of the National Strategy. Data were integrated in a statistical database containing 291 sustainable development indicators, with public access. Additionally, within the project, perception data were collected through 50 public opinion barometers that are also available on the platform.
What were the effects on institutional frameworks and professional development?
The creation of sustainable development hubs within central authorities was another big step towards a more effective institutional framework for the implementation of the SDGs. Presently there are 21 hubs hosting a total of 90 representatives. Moreover, there was a great need for increasing their expertise, so the initiative included the introduction of the profession of sustainable development expert, complemented by the establishment of an occupational standard and the comprehensive professional training of 150 individuals within the central public administration. This strategic emphasis on training ensures a proficient cadre of professionals equipped to address the complexities of sustainable development.
How did the project lead to the Romanian Sustainability Code?
Another significant outcome, geared towards enhancing business contributions to sustainable development, was the development of the Romanian Sustainability Code. This code and its online platform function as tool for companies to transparently report non-financial data. The reports generated through these instruments are officially acknowledged by the Ministry of Finance as mandatory non-financial disclosures.
What milestones did the project achieve?
The project achieved remarkable milestones with non-reimbursable European funds totaling approximately 4,497,000 euros. It helped the accomplishment of 62% from the national SDGs, according to the statistical data. The success of the project garnered international acclaim, including recognition from the United Nations for innovation in the public system. Esteemed forums, such as the Organization for Economic Development and Cooperation (OECD) and the World Bank also acknowledged Romania's contributions.
What does the future look like for Romania and the 2030 Agenda?
László Borbély, State Counsellor and coordinator of the Department of Sustainable Development in the Romanian Government, emphasized the country's evolution into a recognized provider of expertise on the UN 2030 Agenda. Despite closing a chapter, he underscored the ongoing commitment and the need to continue working towards the 17 Sustainable Development Goals.
At least three primary accomplishments of the project will be further developed and updated by 2026, ensuring the sustainability of the initiative and the continuous enhancement of tools designed for the effective implementation of the 2030 Agenda:
- The Department of Sustainable Development endeavors to train up to 2,000 public servants as experts in sustainable development.
- The statistical database will undergo improvements, with additional information and functions incorporated to establish a comprehensive one-stop-shop for sustainable development.
- A center of excellence will be established as an institutional provider of expertise for public policies related to sustainable development.
The "Sustainable Romania" project not only achieved its objectives, but also positioned Romania as a regional hub in sustainable development. The established institutional framework, comprehensive database, and innovative approaches set the stage for continued success in implementing the National Strategy for Sustainable Development 2030.