The ESDN Newsletter keeps you up to date about upcoming events, the newest publications and recent developments in sustainable development in Europe. The Newsletter gives an overview about new national strategies and future activities taking place in Europe. The Newsletter is sent out in March, June, September, and December.
Past ESDN Newsletters can be found at the bottom of the page.
ESDN’s HLPF Side-Event on Peer Learning
The #ESDN #HLPF2023 Side-Event was a huge success! We had 50 people attend, which for an 8:00 meeting is quite the achievement and speaks to how important the topic of peer learning is for the implementation of the #2030Agenda and the #SDGs.
The purpose of this Side-Event was to create a space for the ESDN and other organizations to exchange on their experiences with peer learning. The ESDN wanted to share its success factors, as well as hear what made other peer learning experiences successful.
From the presentations by ESDN President Daniel Dubas, Arnau Queralt-Bassa from the EEAC, our #ESDNYouth Diandra Ni Bhuachalla and Fenna Timsi, Guillaume Lafortune from UNSDSN, and Matthew TenBruggencate from IISD, we learned there are quite a few success factors when it comes to effective peer learning.
- Informality - Having an informal nature behind the setup of organizations practicing peer learning is key in building up trust between members so that honest conversations and discussions can take place. This helps in bridging silos.
- Providing a platform for people to exchange - What all the organizations present today confirmed was that providing platforms and spaces to exchange are vitally important in bringing actors together. This is most prominently felt by Youth, who are oftentimes not provided such platforms for peer exchange.
- Peer learning provides us with context-specific examples over many different topics that are relevant for the implementation of the SDGs. The ESDN has conducted 7 Peer Learning Platforms and many topics from VNRs to budgeting for the SDGs, to localizing the 2030 Agenda. This can also be seen in the IISD’s Geneva 2030 Ecosystem, in which actors exchange on topics of interest.
- Having a strong secretariat behind the organization - It was mentioned often in the discussions that peer learning activities can only happen if the organizations organizing them have strong secretariats working behind the scenes to being actors together and provide them with the space to exchange. Each one of the presenting organizations has a strong secretariat standing behind them to make exchange as effective and rewarding as possible for participants.
- Resist the urge to show off - failures, challenges and struggles are also important factors for successful peer learning exchange. Sharing what works well and not so well are both valuable and foster enhanced trust.
European Sustainable Development Week (ESDW)
The ESDN is happy to support the ESDW as it marks its 9th year to showcase Europe's massive efforts to make progress consistently and continuously towards reaching the #SDGs and the #2030Agenda!
The Week took place from 18 September – 08 October and this year we had a total of 5,133 events in 28 European countries! For 4,700 of these events, we have accurate information regarding which SDGs were targeted by these events and are as follows:
SDG 1: No Poverty – 330 events
SDG 2: Zero Hunger – 337 events
SDG 3: Good Health and Well-Being – 1,379 events
SDG 4: Quality Education – 960 events
SDG 5: Gender Equality – 314 events
SDG6: Clean Water and Sanitation – 332 events
SDG 7: Affordable and Clean Energy – 584 events
SDG 8: Decent Work and Economic Growth – 492 events
SDG 9: Industry, Innovation, and Infrastructure – 415 events
SDG 10: Reduced Inequalities – 823 events
SDG 11: Sustainable Cities and Communities – 2,281 events
SDG 12: Responsible Consumption and Production – 952 events
SDG 13: Climate Action – 1,894 events
SDG 14: Life below Water – 318 events
SDG 15: Life on Land – 1,235 events
SDG 16: Peace, Justice, and Strong Institutions – 297 events
SDG 17: Partnerships for the Goals – 1,091 events
The ESDN and ESDW also thank all event organizers for registering their events for this year’s edition of the ESDW. Many thanks also to all the ESDW National Focal Points for taking the time to read through all these events and supporting event organizers, and to our many European partners for acting as our multipliers in spreading the word around the SDGs and the ESDW.
We look forward to seeing everyone again in 2024!
ESDN Youth Event (25-28 October)
The ESDN Youth Event will take place on 25-28 October 2023 in Berlin. Under the title “How can Europe shape a sustainable world?”, the event will deal with the topic of spillover effects, Europe’s responsibility for them and policies to address such effects. Around 40 UN Youth Delegates and Representatives, as well as 10 young ESDN civil servants, from almost 20 European countries plan to attend the event. ESDN Executive Committee and Advisory Board members Daniel Dubas, Marguy Kohnen, László Borbély, and Peter Iwaniewicz will share their experience with the youth.
The event will serve as a platform for European youth, ESDN members and experts on the topic of spillover effects to exchange ideas and experience, to learn how different European countries are dealing with the topic and to network. On 25th October, Youth Delegates will have a chance to learn more about spillovers effects and Europe’s responsibility from experts, such as Sven Kaumanns from Federal Statistical Office of Germany, Marianne Beisheim from German Institute for International and Security Affairs, and the State Secretary of the German Federal Ministry for Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety, Christiane Rohleder. On the following days, the Youth Delegates will be joined by ESDN civil servants and experts, such as Marc-Oliver Pahl, German Council for Sustainable Development, and discuss how such effects are addressed and what further steps need to be taken.
8th ESDN Peer Learning Platform and Visit (09-10 November)
The 8th ESDN Peer Learning Platform and Visit, which will be held this year in Bern, Switzerland on 09 – 10 November! The topic of this year’s Peer Learning Platform and Visit is “Spillover Effects in the Context of SDG Implementation” and is being organized together with the Swiss Federal Office for Spatial Development (ARE), the Swiss Federal Department of Foreign Affairs, and with foraus – Swiss participatory Think Tank on Foreign Policy.
The Peer Learning Platform will kick off on 09 November with an opening event that is being organized by the Swiss Federal Department of Foreign Affairs and foraus – Swiss participatory Think Tank on Foreign Policy in the morning. This Opening Event will discuss challenges and objectives in addressing spillover effects in the context of sustainable development in Switzerland. The opening event will offer a rare opportunity to receive in-depth knowledge about the Swiss experience in handling spillover effects, exchange best practices, and participate in the ongoing debate.
Day 1 of the Peer Learning Platform will begin in the afternoon on 09 November and will focus on “Understanding Spillover Effects and their Relation to SDG Implementation”. There will be a mixture of presentations and interactive group work, which will focus on spillover effects in different policy areas. Day 1 will culminate in a Peer Learning Visit with the Swiss 2030 Agenda Advisory Group, which will share experiences on how experts and stakeholders can support policymaking.
Day 2 of the Peer Learning Platform will begin in the morning on 10 November. The focus of the day will be on “Strategic Governance Measures to Address Spillover Effects”, where we will hear how countries are dealing with this issue. This will be followed by more interactive exchanges that will seek to discuss and address spillover effects in public policymaking.
This event is designed for European civil servants who are working on the topic of sustainable development or spillovers.
News from European Countries on Sustainable Development
Unlocking Sustainable Futures: The 3rd Austrian SDG Dialogue Forum
For anyone curious about Austria's progress toward achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) by 2030 and interested in the strategies and solutions that can propel them forward - not just in Austria but globally - the SDG Dialogforum 3.0 provides answers and fosters dialogue! Taking place both in-person at Sofiensäle, Vienna, and online from October 3rd to 12th, 2023, this event is a milestone for the implementation of the agenda 2030 in Austria.
Deep Dive into Sustainable Development
At the heart of this event are discussions, on October 3rd, 5th, and 11th, that focus on four pivotal themes in stakeholder sessions known as "Innovations and Reflection Pools." These sessions will delve into concrete challenges and innovative approaches to SDG implementation. From "Skills for 2030 – Competencies for Sustainable Development" to "Protecting the Biosphere – Sustainable Development within Planetary Boundaries," these conversations promise to be both thought provoking and actionable.
Shaping the Future Together
The highlight of the SDG Dialogforum 3.0 unfolds on October 12th in a High-Level Segment. Here, not only the outcomes of previous discussions will be reported but also insights from the inaugural "Rebels of Change Youth Forum" on Sustainable Development will be incorporated. Ministers and representatives from the Global South will join forces to delve into specific aspects and deliberate on effective solutions. Following the High-Level Segment, networking spaces will facilitate informal exchanges, ensuring a rich and collaborative experience for all participants.
Flanders – Development of a Voluntary Subnational Review (2023)
Development of a Voluntary Subnational Review (2023), in cooperation with the Association of Flemish Provinces (VVP). The report gives an overview of the realisation of the SDGs in Flemish provinces and municipalities based on good practices and a data-analysis of more than 200 indicators for the period 2010-2021. In annex VVSG and VVP have described their process and lessons learned in support of other associations embarking on the same trajectory.
Preparation of first Climate Law
Estonia has started preparing its first Climate Law. The law will underpin the country's most challenging decisions, helping it to meet targets around the oil shale phaseout as well as much-needed investments in housing and transport. The Climate Act will be a social agreement on which direction to move forward and how the goals will be achieved. Therefore, the involvement of interest groups and wider public is important. The concept of the law is currently on public consultation. Climate Law working groups will start in November. The draft law should be ready in autumn next year and enter into force on January 1, 2025.
Here is an article about Estonia’s ambitions on climate and green transition.
Åland Islands – ReGeneration Week 2023
ReGeneration Week 2023 was held on 11.08.23 - 15.08.23, with a program filled with workshops, panel discussions, dialogues, climate march and cultural events in Mariehamn, Åland. The event was attended by 133 participants, including over 50 executive change-makers from businesses, government, and the non-governmental sector.
The theme of ReGeneration Week 2023 was Rising Tides, Rising Movements. We believe that the youth movements are extremely important actors in the advocacy for the just green transition. ReGeneration Week created the platform for youth social movements from our region to gather together and share strategies, knowledge, and experience in order to strengthen the overall climate action in the Nordic and Baltic Sea region.
Åland Islands and Iceland Sign a Memorandum of Understanding
Iceland and the Åland Islands have many things in common as small Nordic Islands and members of the Nordic Council of Ministers. This background is reflected in their approach to sustainable development, including:
- Both Island nations have created formal platforms to coordinate work on sustainable development, i.e. Sustainable Iceland and Bärkraft.ax.
- These platforms aim for a broad cooperation within the government as well as with the various stakeholders.
- Public participation in the development of a wide strategy is encouraged.
- Being small islands, both the Åland Islands and Iceland are faced with specific challenges, in particular in relation to climate change, such as ocean acidification and ecosystem changes.
To build on this shared background, we, the Ministers for Nordic cooperation in Iceland and the Åland Islands, today sign this Memorandum of Understanding to express our will of further cooperation in the field of sustainable development.
According to this Memorandum of Understanding, Iceland and the Åland Islands will seek to deepen our cooperation within the Nordic framework. This cooperation will focus on sharing experiences and learnings from the work on sustainable development, inspired by Sustainable Iceland, the Everyone can flourish Idea and the Åland Framework for sustainable governance.
Second VNR Presented at the HLPF
Ireland presented its second Voluntary National Review (VNR) of the Sustainable Development Goals to the UN High-Level Political Forum on Sustainable Development in July 2023. The theme of the report was Building Back Better while Leaving No One Behind. This progress report reviewed Ireland’s progress towards achieving the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, and the 17 Sustainable Development Goals, including the commitment to Leave No One Behind.
The 2023 VNR was presented by Minister for Environment, Climate and Communications Mr Eamon Ryan, at the UN High-level Political Forum in July. For the presentation, the Minister was joined by Mavis Ramazani from the Irish Refugee Council, who spoke about her lived experience as a refugee in Ireland. The presentation also included a video demonstrating how civil society had been involved in the process over the last year, through a public consultation, the National Stakeholder Fora and stakeholder engagement. There was a dedicated Youth Chapter written by Ireland’s UN Youth Delegates within the VNR, which was a first of its kind for Ireland. Thematic reviews of specific areas of national importance and key goals under the overall theme of Ireland’s 2023 highlighted the contribution made across Government on the areas of Education, Employment and Social Protection, Health, Community Engagement and Inclusion, Housing, Climate Action, and the Circular Economy. Stakeholder contribution chapters came from academia, disability groups, libraries, all-party parliamentary group, private sector, and Ireland’s SDSN.
The VNR reflects Ireland’s strong economic recovery following the pandemic and Ireland’s efforts to build back better while leaving no-one behind guided by the SDGs and Agenda 2030 and demonstrates the wide range of national policies which support and address the SDGs and their targets. These policies also ensure delivery across areas of national importance and provide strategic frameworks for progress and success.
Italian Alliance for Sustainable Development and Italian Ministry of Education sign Memorandum of Understanding
In July, ASviS and the Italian Ministry of Education renewed for three years a Memorandum of Understanding aimed at working together to spread a culture of sustainable development in the education system.
Furthermore, the article “The territorialization of the 2030 Agenda: a multilevel approach”, written by the ASviS research area, has been published in an academic journal "As a 2022 Data-Driven decision making”, published in July by Firenze University Press.
The second SDG Summit will take place on 18-19 September. Enrico Giovannini, ASviS Scientific Director, will be attending the Summit in New York, to bring the contribution of Italian civil society to this crucial appointment, in particular with an online event on the Alliance channels, on the 19th. ASviS, with its stakeholders, is planning many activities to mark the 'Global Week', the worldwide mobilization organized by the UN from the 15th to the 25th of September to inspire and connect change-makers.
The presentation of the ASviS 2023 Sustainable Development Report will take place in Rome and online on 19 October. The document, which will also be available in English in the coming months, includes analyses and proposals on Italy's progress towards the 17 SDGs.
Measuring Well-being and the SDGs
In the Netherlands ‘The Monitor of Well-being and the Sustainable Development Goals 2023’ measures the well-being and SDG-progress today (‘here and now’), and the impact of their present level of well-being on future generations in the Netherlands (‘later’) and on people in other countries (‘elsewhere’). The monitor includes an EU ranking showing the Netherland’s position in the EU for each of the measured indicators.
Presentation of Second Voluntary National Report at the HLPF
At the mid-point of the implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, Romania presented the second Voluntary National Review, drafted under the coordination of Department of Sustainable Development, with significant progress in the implementation of the 2030 Agenda. The review describes the robust multi-level governance structure, the efforts of strengthen mechanisms to ensure policy coherence for sustainable development, national and regional partnerships, and the current state of play for all 17 SDGs.
The Voluntary National Review is the result of a broad consultation process with all social segments. The goal of the process was to capture what the Romanian society managed to do well, but also to highlight the challenges. Specifically, according to statistical data, 62.1% of the national targets for 2030 were achieved.
The Romanian government was the only one, along with that of East Timor, among the 193 UN member states, which organized in collaboration with UN DESA, on July 17, an event in which the Romanian delegation shared the experience of the National Report drafting process Voluntary of Romania, the Subnational Voluntary Report on locating sustainable development objectives at the level of municipalities and communes in Romania, the Youth Declaration and the Children's Report from Romania presenting the voice of children in the process of implementing sustainable development objectives.
Romania's 2023 Voluntary National Review and the complementary reports are available here.
The presentation video clip can be watched here.
In parallel with the Voluntary National Review development, other important documents were produced:
State Councilor László Borbély, ESDN Vice President, received the Green Diplomacy award in New York at Cornell University
A delegation of the Romanian Department of Sustainable Development, participated in the 7th edition of the Green Schools Conference, organized in New York, at the prestigious Cornell University, on September 15, 2023. in the context of the SDG Summit, by the international organization Green Mentors. The event brought together opinion leaders, policymakers, innovators, diplomats, solution providers, and experts from around the world.
On this occasion, the State Councilor was awarded the Green Diplomacy award by the organizers of the Conference, in recognition of his efforts to achieve the sustainable development goals of the 2030 Agenda on an international scale. He also had the honor of handing the International Green University award to higher education institutions that promote green values and curricula. Details of the Green Schools Conference, including the agenda, are available here.
State Councilor László Borbély was also invited by UN DESA and UNDP, to be a speaker in the FutureGov panel. He reaffirmed Romania's commitment to confirming the capacities of the public sector to be ready for the future and to bring sustainable development and shared Romania's trajectory regarding the transformation of the sector through a system of governance, innovation, development of effective skills, and a change of mentality.
"FutureGov: Building public sector capacity for the future." one of the 12 UN`s high-impact initiatives designed to generate renewed momentum, strengthen the political leadership, and coordinate tangible, integrated support for sustainable national priorities. The launch session of this initiative took place on Sunday, September 17, 2023, during the SDG Action Weekend, an event organized on the sidelines of the SDG Summit in New York.
Bucharest hosted the 31st Conference of the Network of European Advisory Councils for the Environment and Sustainable Development
The Department for Sustainable Development and the Advisory Council for Sustainable Development organized the 31st Conference of the Network of European Advisory Councils for the Environment and Sustainable Development (EEAC) in Bucharest, Romania, on October 4-5, 2023. This prestigious event occurred at the Parliament Palace, with the theme “Sustainability, Solidarity and Resilience: Common Values in the European Union.” In line with recent global events, including the HLPF and the SDG Summit, this meeting focused primarily on SDG 16, emphasizing peace, justice, and the importance of strong institutions.
The president of ESDN, Daniel Dubas, and the Vice President, László Borbély, were both speakers at this great event, making statements about the importance of strong cooperation between different stakeholders in order to enhance to transition to sustainability. The conference brought together scientists, political leaders, civil society, and business representatives.
Throughout the conference, over 170 delegates explored two key questions: the future of sustainable politics in a changing world and strategies for building peace, justice, and strong institutions. Participants studied governance structures for sustainable development, evaluating the role of advisory councils in shaping institutions appropriate to this role. They also participated in interactive sessions, reliving the challenges, and discerning the trends of recent years. These sessions also included financial strategies and reflections on the SDG Summit. Cross-border partnerships, such as the Danube Cooperation, have shed light on building transnational institutions. In addition, influential voices from Brussels NGOs emphasized the role of civil society in promoting sustainable development. Benefiting from the support of the Chamber of Deputies, the event offered participants perspectives for action in the face of rapid global changes.
The ESDN Newsletter keeps you up to date about upcoming events, the newest publications and recent developments in sustainable development in Europe from our members. Read more to find out what has happened so far this year in the ESDN and our partner countries, as well as the exciting events that are still to come. Regular updates can also be found on the homepage of the ESDN website.
ESDN Conference 2023 (March)
The ESDN Conference 2023 took place in March in Stockholm, Sweden on the topic of “Halfway to 2030 – Where does Europe stand and how does it move forward?” The Conference was organized together with Nordregio and The Nordic Council of Ministers and The Nordic Council and brought together over 100 sustainable development civil servants and experts from over 15 countries!
If you were unable to attend the Conference in March, you can find more information about it, including the Discussion Paper, agenda, and keynote presentations, on the ESDN website.
4th ESDN and EEAC EU Council Presidency Exchange Event (May)
The ESDN and the EEAC once again co-organized another EU Council Presidency Exchange Event in early May between Sweden, Spain and Belgium. These Presidency Exchanges have been taking place since 2022, and seek to offer an informal space for current and upcoming EU Council Presidency countries to meet and exchange about their programs. The goal is to not only increase dialogue between colleagues, but to also keep the 2030 Agenda and the SDGs as a common thread throughout all EU Council Presidencies.
21st ESDN Workshop (May)
The 21st ESDN Workshop took place in Vienna, Austria on 22-23 May 2023! The ESDN organized the Workshop in cooperation with the Bundesministerium für Klimaschutz, Umwelt, Energie, Mobilität, Innovation & Technologie , Federal Ministry for Arts, Culture, the Civil Service and Sport (BMKOES), as well as the Austrian Federal Chancellery. There were over 80 participants from 14 European countries who took part over the two days! The two Workshop topics were “Culture and Sustainable Development” and “SDG Implementation in Policymaking – Approaches in SDG Budgeting, Mainstreaming, and Performance Management”.
If you were unable to attend the Workshop in May, you can find more information about it, including the Discussion Paper, agenda, and keynote presentations, on theESDN website.
ESDN Side-Event at the High-Level Political Forum in New York (July)
The ESDN will host a Side-Event at the HLPF in New York on 12 July 8:00 - 9:30 in Conference Room C! The topic of the Side-Event is "Experiences in Peer Learning in Achieving the 2030 Agenda and the SDGs" and will feature speakers from the ESDN - European Sustainable Development Network , the EEAC (European Environment and Sustainable Development Advisory Councils Network), the SDSN (Sustainable Development Solutions Network), and the IISD (International Institute for Sustainable Development).
This Side-Event was registered on behalf of the ESDN by the Government of Luxembourg through ESDN Vice President Marguy Kohnen, and through the Permanent Mission of Luxembourg to the United Nations.
European Sustainable Development Week 2023 (September - October)
The European Sustainable Development Week 2023#ESDW2023 will take place from 18 September - 08 October. The core of the Week will take place from 20-26 September. Registration for activities for the ESDW 2023 is open to all forms of government agencies, research centers, educational institutions, museums, foundations, associations, businesses, non-governmental organizations, individual citizens, etc. Take part and register your sustainable development related activity and become a part of this European-wide initiative! Events can be registered directly on theESDW website.
So far, the ESDW 2023 has 54 registered events that are taking place in 7 European countries. To find out which activities are happening in which country, visit the ESDW Homepage and click on the interactive map.
For those who are unfamiliar with the ESDW, the ESDW is an initiative to facilitate the organization of activities that promote sustainable development and make these efforts visible on a common platform. The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and its 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) articulates key issues that call for urgent action at all levels and by all stakeholders. The ESDW contributes to this ambitious, universal and transformative agenda by promoting the organization of bottom-up activities that have a thematic link to and support the SDGs. As such, the ESDW aims to raise awareness for the 2030 Agenda in Europe and calls upon local stakeholders to actively engage with sustainable development, in general, and the SDGs, in particular.
ESDN Youth Conference (October/November)
The ESDN Youth Conference will be taking place once again this year and will mark the third such event since October 2020. The date and topic of the Youth Conference will be made known over the next few weeks. More information will be provided via LinkedIn and the ESDN Youth Section on the website.
8th ESDN Peer Learning Platform (09-10 November)
The 8th Peer Learning Platform is scheduled to take place on 09-10 November in Bern, Switzerland. The topic of this year's Platform is "Spillover Effects".
More information will become available over the next few weeks. Check back on the ESDN Homepage for more updates.
News from European Countries on Sustainable Development
Austria - Governmental Updates on SDG Implementation
- April 2023: The Austrian Council of Ministers adopted the "Report on the Implementation of the 2030 Agenda in and by Austria 2020-2022". It is publicly available here (German only).
- April 2023: Statistics Austria has published an up-to-date SDG indicators report for Austria available for download here (German only).
- March 2023: the Austrian parliament voted by a majority in favor of a motion for a resolution tabled by Petra Bayr (Social Democrats) to make the implementation of the SDGs an integral part of draft legislation. The motion also provides for annual reports to communicate the extent to which the Goals set have been achieved. Download here (German only)
- October 2022: The Austrian Council of Ministers agreed on initiating the process for preparing and delivering a second Austrian Voluntary National Review – download here (German only).
Belgium (Flanders) - First Voluntary Subnational Review (VSR)
Last week, the VVSG (Association of Flemish Cities and Municipalities) and the VVP (Association of Flemish Provinces) published their first VSR. The process started in April 2022 to ensure proper data collection and analysis, involvement of colleagues and members, and to be able to weigh on the Belgian VNR of 2023. This approach paid off, with amongst others the inclusion of an extensive chapter on localizing the SDGs in the VNR, fully written by the Belgian associations of local governments and provinces themselves. To inspire other associations and regions wanting to develop a VSR, the VVSG and the VVP have thoroughly documented their approach and communication plan, included as annexes in the VSR.
The VSR discusses how Flemish provinces, cities and municipalities deploy the 2030 Agenda as a strategic and moral framework for their policies and gives an understanding of the achievement of the 17 SDGs through an extensive data analysis of more than 200 indicators and via good practices. The VSR observes clear progress towards the achievement of the SDGs in general. Based on the data analysis, SDGs 1, 8, 9 and 10 show the strongest improvement. One SDG has consistently deteriorated since 2010, and that is SDG 15 (Life on land). This is mainly due to a constant reduction in open space (paving) and a reduction in green space in 87% of municipalities. The analysis also registers big differences between cities and municipalities, amongst others due to median income and age structure of inhabitant, and size and location of the municipality.
VVSG's president Wim Dries will be present at the HLPF in July to share data, trends and lessons learned from the VSR with local governments and other actors from around the world.
Belgium (Flanders) - Sustainable Municipality Week
Do you want to establish a broad communication campaign about the SDGs? No need to re-invent the wheel! The Sustainable Municipality Week has been organized by the Association of Flemish Cities and Municipalities (VVSG) since 2018. It’s an annual public campaign aimed firstly at raising awareness of the SDGs among the general public in Flanders, and secondly at providing Flemish local governments with concrete tools for long-term sustainable and co-creative local policies. During the campaign week, participating municipalities will hang out an SDG flag at the town hall and highlight their 'sustainable heroes'. These heroes are local citizens, schools, businesses and associations who contribute to one or more SDG(s) in their work or daily life and therefore become the local faces of the 17 global goals.
VVSG wrote a paper on the approach and strategies used in organizing the campaign, and the lessons learned after 5 editions. VVSG wants to inspire local government associations and other organizations worldwide to set up similar campaigns, in which both local governments and SDG ambassadors are involved to get things moving on the local implementation of the 2030 Agenda.
Belgium (Flanders) - 3 Videos from 3 Flemish Municipalities on the SDGs
Flemish cities and municipalities are pioneers in translating the SDGs locally. In doing so, they not only focus on the 17 thematic domains, but also take the SDGs on board as a stepping stone for coherent sustainable local policies and use the 2030 Agenda as a structural framework for policy planning. The Association of Flemish Cities and Municipalities (VVSG) made 3 practical videos explaining the SDG trajectory of some inspiring local governments. Mayors, policy officers and thematic experts from the municipalities involved tell why and how they got started with the SDG framework, and what impact this had on the municipal organization and policy.
Watch the videos on the SDG trajectory of the city of Deinze, municipality of Edegem and city of Harelbeke in Dutch, English or French.
More videos will be released in 2023.
Belgium (Wallonia)- Third Walloon sustainable development strategy was adopted by the Walloon Government on 22 September 2022
This strategy consists of:
- A commitment by the Walloon Government to amplify the implementation of the Agenda 2030 and its 17 SDGs;
- A willingness to strengthen policy coherence for sustainable development and to adopt a 2030 roadmap ;
- A multi-scale and multi-stakeholder systemic approach to translate this commitment to the different levels of action in Wallonia ;
- A participative method of development and implementation through the multi-stakeholder organization « Walloon partnership for sustainable development ».
The document is structured in 4 main chapters:
- A map of the most structuring Walloon strategies and plans, showing their respective contribution to SDGs ;
- 89 quantified targets related to SDGs ;
- 91 monitoring indicators to assess Wallonia’s progress towards SDGs ;
- 16 actions to strengthen Wallonia’s capacity to implement SDGs.
More information can be found here.
Finland - 30 years of the National Commission on Sustainable Development
For the 30th anniversary of the National Commission on Sustainable Development, Finland is having different kinds of events and activities that involve the implementation of Agenda 2030 and the National Sustainable Development Strategy.
Finland - A new young people’s climate change and nature group in connection with the Agenda 2030 Youth group
Finland established a new young people’s climate change and nature group under the Prime Minister’s Office, in connection with the Agenda 2030 Youth group, which has been working since 2017. The new group supports ministries in the planning, implementation and impact assessment of youth participation. The aim is to ensure the fairness of different policy measures from the perspective of future generations. The task of the climate and nature group is to bring new and emerging perspectives and solution models to the knowledge base of decision-making. The group that serves as a sub-group of the Agenda 2030 Youth Group and will organize a youth climate and nature summit every two years.
Finland - Sustainable Development Document Updates
The New Finnish Sustainable Development Strategy is now available in English: "Strategy of the National Commission on Sustainable Development 2022–2030: A prosperous and globally responsible Finland that protects the carrying capacity of nature".
New Policy Brief on "Assessing the implementation of the Agenda 2030 in Finland".
Finland's Sustainable Development Roadmap "The 2030 Agenda Roadmap of the Finnish National Commission on Sustainable Development" is also available.
Finland (Åland Islands) - Status Report 5
Find out how the Åland Islands are doing regarding the 2030 Agenda and the SDGs by reading the 5th Status Report.
The Report can be found and downloaded here.
Finland (Åland Islands) - ReGeneration Week 2023 (August)
ReGeneration Week is an annual 4-day sustainability gathering on Åland, Finland for youth, social movements and sustainability actors in the Nordic and Baltic Sea region.
This 12-15th of August we will gather to learn, strategize, and build, the movement for a just sustainable transition that can win in the vital years ahead.
To find out more about the ReGeneration Week, please visit the ReGeneration website.
Iceland - 2nd Voluntary National Review
This summer Iceland will present its second Voluntary National Review (VNR), a status report on how integration of the SDGs is progressing, at the High-Level Political Forum on Sustainable Development. It builds on more extensive stakeholder involvement than before, more data and new institutional mechanisms. This year, not only did specialists from ministries assess Iceland's progress towards the SDGs, but multiple civil society organizations as well, allowing for more transparency in the review process. Additionally, local governments are preparing their own review on the localization of the SDGs.
Iceland - New Cooperation Platform "Sustainable Iceland"
This year, Iceland is piloting (has established) a new cooperation platform for sustainable development called Sustainable Iceland. Its purpose is to formulate a new national strategy for sustainable development by the end of 2023 and to coordinate the government‘s work with various stakeholders, using the SDGs as guiding principles. Its backbone is the National Sustainability Council, with representatives from across society.
Latvia - Sustainable Development Updates from the Government
The July 2022 HLPF
Latvia’s Minister of Education and Science presented the country’s VNR. At the HLPF in July 2022. Accounting for results of Latvia’s National Development Plan (NDP) 2014-2020 and outlining major commitments of the new NDP 2021-2027 that was created in an inclusive, multi-stakeholder process, the VNR emphasizes that the transition to an innovative and eco-efficient economy must reduce inequalities, leaving no one behind. It also highlights three accelerators of change trending in Latvia - sustainable finance, space for inquiry and well-informed dialogue online and offline, and the mission approach to managing urgent and complicated challenges
The NGO LAPAS. LV presented Latvia’s NGO Report on the Implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals in Latvia – 2022.
Latvia’s Online Side Event, Libraries and museums as safe space for dialogue and information literacy, spotlights the role of these culture institutions in fostering sustainability through peace and understanding. See key points by experts from Latvia, Ecuador’s Galapagos Islands, Ukraine, the UAE, and more.
Following Latvia’s elections on October 1, 2022
The MEPs (Saeima) in the Sustainable Development Commission have been focusing on key sustainability indicators.
A Ministry of Climate and Energy Ministry was launched in January 2023, taking over energy policy from the Ministry of Economics and climate policy from the Ministry of Environmental Protection and Regional Development.
The Cross Sectoral Coordination Centre, the policy planning unit under the Prime Minister coordinating sustainable development planning, including Agenda 2030, was merged into the State Chancellery as of March 1st, 2023 as the State Chancellery Cross-Sectoral Coordination Department.
Netherlands - Integral Circular Economy Report 2023
Every two years, the Integral Circular Economy Report (ICER) provides an overview of the status of the desired transition towards a circular economy in the Netherlands. PBL is producing this report at the request of the Dutch Government and in cooperation with other Dutch knowledge institutions.
The Dutch Government intends to achieve a fully circular economy by 2050 and to halve the use of primary abiotic raw materials by 2030. It sees monitoring as an important way of tracking the progress of the transition. This report is intended as a knowledge base for the societal and political debate on the transition towards a circular economy. It covers both physical trends in Dutch resource use, its effects on the environment and security of supply, as well as the activities undertaken by companies, citizens and government authorities to accelerate the transition. Beside the current situation around the transition towards a circular economy in the Netherlands, the report also offers tools to accelerate that transition.
The Report can be downloaded here.
Romania - Romania’s Sustainability Code Online Platform
The interactive and user-friendly platform developed by the Romanian Government's Department for Sustainable Development is now available online to facilitate the mandatory non-financial reporting process for all private entities with an average of 500 or more employees. In addition, the Sustainability Code will be available for voluntary adoption by organizations of all sizes and industries, including those that are not bound by reporting obligations. This platform is a key component of Romania's Sustainability Code, which is based on a tested German model and was established following a Memorandum of Understanding signed between the General Secretariat of the Romanian Government and the German Council for Sustainable Development in 2021.
The Romanian Code of Sustainability is a practical tool that provides clear guidance on the content requirements and the process of drawing up sustainability reports for interested entities. the use of the Romanian Sustainability Code for the elaboration of the (non-financial) sustainability statement by the entities that have this legal obligation, but also voluntarily by other entities, brings a series of benefits:
- It is a reporting tool that provides transparency to a company's activities in terms of impact on sustainable development;
- Simplify reporting. The report can be downloaded and submitted as a non-financial statement according to the regulations in force;
- Reporting entities receive the reporting mark that confirms the development and publication of a sustainability report. It can be used for promotion, given that sustainability is becoming an important theme for an increasing number of customers;
- All entity reports are available in one site;
- The platform is intuitive and can be used easily, including by entities that have never completed non-financial reports;
- Provides examples to guide users on how to comply with the (non-financial) sustainability reporting obligation and practical implementation of the EU taxonomy;
- It provides traceability and a way to monitor the progress of entities in the field of sustainable development, based on the periodic reports developed;
- The database of the Romanian Code of Sustainability generates visibility and is will be accessible to the interested public, supporting users who are looking for good practices in the field of sustainability, but also those who make commercial decisions based on how the principles of sustainability are respected;
You can learn more about Romanian Sustainability Code from here using the Google instrument for web-page translate.
Romania - Romania’s Transition to a Circular Economy
Currently, significant progress is being made in adopting a circular economy in Romania, and the Government has recently adopted the National Circular Economy Strategy. This strategy covers 14 economic sectors in the country and aims to accelerate the transition from a linear to a circular economic model. The objective is to decouple economic development from the use of natural resources and environmental degradation.
The next step in the process of adopting a circular economy in Romania is the development of the Action Plan, which will contain concrete measures to maximize the potential for circularity in seven economic sectors and two horizontal sectors: water and waste. The action plan proposes:
- cross-sectoral actions: education and vocational training, research, development and innovation, public procurement, and digitalization, which are essential to facilitate circular transformation in the economy.
- specific sectoral actions for nine economic sectors identified as having the greatest potential for circularity in the context of the Romanian economy: agriculture and forestry; auto; constructions; food and beverages; packaging (glass, paper, plastics, wood, and metal materials); textiles; electrical and electronic equipment, batteries; waste, water, and wastewater.
In the current international context, the circular economy can reduce dependence on imports of raw materials, a significant issue in Romania and Europe. However, statistics show that Romania has low performance in terms of resource productivity, waste treatment, and the use of recycled materials in the economy. Nonetheless, there are favorable prospects for improving these aspects. It is important to continue to make progress in adopting the circular economy in Romania to ensure the country's sustainable development and protect the environment.
More information about Circular Economy in Romania are available here.
ESDNewsletter October 2022
This ESDNewsletter informs about the following topics and activities on sustainable development in Europe.
- Announcements from the ESDN:
- 3rd ESDN Youth Workshop took place on 2-3 September 2022 in Berlin
- ESDN Conference 2022 - “Europe’s Position as Leading Change Agent against the Triple Planetary Crisis – Climate Change, Biodiversity Loss and Pollution” took place on 4-5 October 2022 in Bucharest
- European Sustainable Development Week – A record breaking year!
- 20th ESDN Workshop on “SDGs and Human Rights” – 23 November 2022 (virtual)
- News on Sustainable Development Governance from European Countries:
- Czech Republic – The Second Implementation Plan of the Strategic Framework Czech Republic 2030 was approved
- Estonia –Estonian Governance for Sustainable Development
- Estonia– Study of a Green Transition at Local Level
- Romania – Government has adopted the Circular Economy Strategy
- Switzerland – Switzerland has made progress since the last VNR in 2018
- News on European Governance for Sustainable Development:
- Project ‘Mainstreaming Sustainability in Regulatory Impact Assessment’ Continues
- Virtual Closing Event - Towards Sustainable Public Administrations in Europe on 25 October
3rd ESDN Youth Workshop on 2-3 September 2022 in Berlin
Following up on the successful Youth Workshops in 2020 and 2021, the ESDN Office developed a Concept for a more permanent youth involvement in the ESDN, based on desk research, interviews with youth delegates and observations at the workshops. The Concept for an ESDN Youth Network can be downloaded below.
In 2022, the ESDN held a physical Youth Workshop in Berlin on 2-3 September with a virtual getting-to-know meeting in June. 21 Youth Delegates from 13 countries met the German State Secretary for Consumer Protection, Dr. Christiane Rohleder, received several short expert inputs and then discussed the three main topics:
- Climate Justice, biodiversity, energy transition, and ecological economics
- Youth involvement, digitalization and education; and
- Human rights and forced migration.
For more information, please visit ESDN Website.
“Europe’s Position as Leading Change Agent against the Triple Planetary Crisis – Climate Change, Biodiversity Loss and Pollution” on 4-5 October 2022 in Bucharest
The ESDN Conference 2022 took place on 4-5 October in Bucharest, Romania! The title of this year’s Conference was “Europe’s Position as Leading Change Agent against the Triple Planetary Crisis – Climate Change, Biodiversity Loss and Pollution” and was organized by the ESDN in cooperation with the Romanian Prime Minister's Office - Department of Sustainable Development.
The two-day Conference not only featured keynote speakers and presentations, but also interactive group work and spaces for exchange. The Conference was broken up into 4 sessions that dealt with different topics with respect to the triple planetary crisis.
- Session 1: Europe’s Position in the Triple Planetary Crisis – Climate Change, Biodiversity Loss and Pollution
- Session 2: ‘Europa Cafés’ on National Level Good Practice Cases in Addressing the Triple Planetary Crisis
- Session 3: Effects of the Triple Planetary Crisis on a Just and Fair Transition
- Session 4: ‘Europa Cafés’ on Europe’s Position as Leading Change Agent – How does Europe move forward in tackling the triple planetary crisis and a just transition
To view the Conference agenda and read the Discussion Paper, please visit the Conference Page of the website.
A Record Breaking Year!
The European Sustainable Development Week 2022 ended on 08 October. This edition of the ESDW shattered the 2019 for the amount of events registered. This year the ESDW had a grand total of 7,047 events that took place in 24 European countries! This is the first time in ESDW history that there have been more than 7,000 events registered during the Week.
To find out more about next year’s ESDW, please check the ESDW website at the beginning of 2023.
SDGs and Human Rights – 23 November 2022 (virtual)
We will organize our 20th Workshop in cooperation with the Luxembourgish Ministries of the Environment, Climate and Sustainable Development and for Foreign and European Affairs on 23 November 2022 on “SDGs and Human Rights”.
We will keep you informed regarding further developments via email and the ESDN website.
The Second Implementation Plan of the Strategic Framework Czech Republic 2030 was approved
The second Implementation Plan of the Strategic Framework Czech Republic 2030 was approved by government on September 14th 2022. The implementation plan serves to cover policy gaps in achieving the objectives of the Strategic Framework Czech Republic 2030 (hereinafter Czech Republic 2030), i.e. problems and objectives that are not at all or well covered by existing public administration strategies. It has replaced the first implementation plan which was approved in 2018. The second implementation plan consists of the overview of existing key strategies to achieving relevant specific objectives of the Czech Republic 2030, through them are national sustainable development goals and targets mainstreamed. The main part of the implementation plan consists of 59 measures to cover "policy gaps" and 67 recommendations set for years 2022 – 2025.
The implementation plan represents the tangible measures for the achievement of the goals of the Strategic Framework Czech Republic 2030. Nowadays, the first update of the Czech Republic 2030 is prepared. Various forms of participation methods are used for the update. Activities like questionnaires and workshops based on the outcomes of foresight studies took place among public this autumn and the Government Council for Sustainable Development addresses the discussion on the update continuously. The new version of the Czech Republic 2030 is planned for 2023.
The Strategic Framework the Czech Republic 2030 translates the SDGs into the particular national conditions and it provides a long-term vision of sustainable future and goals and targets for the whole society. Czech Republic 2030 also serves as a guide for public administration – it forms a basis for a number of other sectoral strategies (e.g. education, health, regional development or social) that contribute to the achievement of the SDGs. The Strategic Framework Czech Republic 2030 had been prepared since 2015 and it was approved by government in 2017.
In June 2022, the Estonian Government changed the members and the management of the National Sustainable Development Commission. The Sustainable Development Commission was established already in 1996. So far, sustainable development issues have been coordinated in Estonia on two levels: in the Sustainable Development Commission, consisting of representatives of non-governmental organizations, and in the Sustainable Development Working Group, consisting of representatives of ministries and Statistics Estonia. Now, the Government decided to combine both levels and work together in the Commission. The tasks of the Commission are to monitor sustainable development goals in the national development strategy "Estonia 2035" action plan, to approve Estonia's sustainable development indicators for monitoring the achievement of the sustainable development goals, approve Estonian VNR of the UN Sustainable Development Agenda 2030 and implement the goals of sustainable development.
The National Sustainable Commission ordered a study, whose main aim was to determine the appropriate role of local governments in achieving the green transition in Estonia. Based on the results of the research recommendations for local governments for fulfilling this role effectively were established. Another important outcome of the work was the development of tools to support local governments in shaping, implementing and monitoring green policies. There were prepared specific guidelines and a list of suggested indicators.There were developed recommendations for shaping the knowledge network of the local government towards green transition. The main responsibility to share these outcomes to local level go to the Association of Estonian Cities and Municipalities.
Government has adopted the Circular Economy Strategy
The Circular Economy Strategy for Romania was elaborated under the coordination of Romanian Department of Sustainable Development. The document provides an overview of 14 economic sectors in Romania in terms of their circularity potential, setting a clear general direction to accelerate the transition from a linear to a circular economic model. The indicator of this transition's success is the decoupling of economic development from the use of natural resources and environmental degradation.
The development of the strategy was supported by the European Commission’s Directorate-General for Structural Reform Support (DG REFORM) via the EU Technical Support Instrument (TSI). DG REFORM provided technical support to Romania throughout all the stages of the elaboration of the document. The adoption of the strategy by the Romanian Government represents a milestone in Romania’s National Recovery and Resilience Plan.
The overarching objective of this strategy is closely tied to the global SDGs and climate targets as well as new EU CEAP targets, in line with the principles and actions promoted within the EU Green Deal. At the national level, elements of the transition to the circular economy in Romania are also foreseen by Romania’s Sustainable Development Strategy 2030 and Romania’s National Recovery and Resilience Plan.
According to the statistics issued by the Circular Economy Monitoring Framework, Romania is among the European Union (EU) countries with low performance in terms of resource productivity, waste generation as a share of Gross Domestic Product (GDP), waste treatment, and the use of recycled materials in economics. On the other hand, Romania has one of the lowest waste generations per domestic consumption of materials among EU countries, which offers favorable prospects for improving performance in for adopting circular economy practices. The document states that Romania has a significant potential for improvement in all stages assumed by the circular economy, from greater resource efficiency and the use of secondary materials in production, to waste prevention and better management.
The next step is the development of the Action Plan which will contain concrete measures to maximize the circularity potential in seven economic sectors: agriculture and forestry, the automotive industry, construction, consumer goods such as food and beverages, packaging, textiles, and electrical equipment and electronics, as well as in two horizontal sectors water and waste.
Switzerland has made progress since the last VNR in 2018
Switzerland presented its Voluntary National Review at the High-Level Political Forum on Sustainable Development in July 2022. Switzerland has made progress since the last report in 2018, but it will have to pick up the pace in order to achieve the SDGs by 2030. The new online tool www.sdgital2030.ch was developed and has been successfully used for the participatory stocktaking exercise and the writing of the report. For more information, consult the following links:
- Voluntary National Review of Switzerland 2022
- Statistical Annex
- Press Release Presentation of Switzerland: 2030 Agenda: President Cassis calls for innovation, diversity and determination to implement the Sustainable Development Goals
- Press Release Adoption of the VNR by the Federal Council: Federal Council adopts second country report on implementation of 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development
- Online Tool SDGital2030
Many EU Member States, as well as the European Commission, have begun to mainstream the SDGs in their regulatory impact assessment (RIA) procedures. Having an SDG lens in an early stage of the preparation of laws and strategic policies should result in better long-term sustainability and can prevent unsustainable legislation and policies. National experts on SDGs and on RIA gathered this year in three peer learning workshops, conducted by Public Strategy for Sustainable Development in Brussels and financed by the German Federal Ministry for the Environment and Consumer Protection. The report of this first phase is available online. Almost 20 countries participated so far, and two more online workshops are now foreseen on 8 November and early December 2022. An in-person closing event will take place in February 2023.
The project is an excellent opportunity to exchange experiences and learn from each other and from experts from, among others, OECD and European Commission. The workshops simulate working together across the ministerial ‘silos’ in which SDG experts and RIA experts normally work. Topics include methodologies, improving cooperation and communication, and how this contributes to policy coherence for sustainable development (PCSD). National experts who are interested to join are welcome to find more information on the ps4sd website, and by sending an email to the project team (Louis Meuleman, Andreas Versmann, Ingeborg Niestroy and Francesca Valentini) at info[at]ps4sd.eu.
Final Event of the Project 4Regions4Future - Exploring of Future Cooperation Opportunities
The Regierungspräsidium Karlsruhe is lead partner of a two year European project on the topic of sustainability in public administrations. The virtual closing event will take place on 25 October 2022. Those interested are encouraged to register by 20 October using the following link: europa[at]rpk.bwl.de