25th July 2012
From the 28-29th June, the European Green Capital for 2014 – Denmark, hosted the ESDN Conference 2012. The conference reflected on the UN Conference on Sustainable Development Rio+20, discussing the results of the conference and their implications for sustainable development policy and governance.
The European Sustainable Development Network (ESDN) is a community of coordinators of national SD strategies, national coordinators of EU environmental integration and SD policies, experts from the European Commission, representatives from various National Councils for Sustainable Development, and national members of the SD Working Group of the European Environment and Sustainable Development Advisory Councils (EEAC) from the EU member states. The annual conferences are designed to facilitate an exchange of experience and knowledge within this network.
This year, 63 representatives from 21 countries participated in the ESDN Conference. During the conference speakers presented on success and best practice for sustainability. The key note speakers included Ida Auken, Danish Minister of the Environment; Chris Vanden Bilcke, UNEP; Inge Paulini, German Advisory Council on Global Change; Richard Adams, EESC; Alan AtKission, AtKisson Group; William M. Lafferty, ProSus Perspectives; and Stephan Schulmeister, Austrian Institute of Economic Research. Participants worked collectively to develop a Communique from the ESDN Conference 2012.
The Communique acknowledges that sustainable development is the best solution to the crises faced by modern Europe and that it is crucial for the future. It states that it is essential to develop strong mechanisms and frameworks to ensure the efficient implementation of the outcomes of Rio+. The Communique isolates three levels of government and their role in sustainable development. At a UN level the ESDN believes that it is imperative that the actors follow up on the Rio+20 outcomes. The EU need to “walk the (sustainable development/Rio+20) talk” and review/renew all policy strategies with a sustainable development perspective. At national level, the ESDN identifies the need for concrete actions involving the national, sub-national level and other stakeholders in a “multi-actor” approach.
Sustainability is the concept from which the European Green Capital Award was conceived at a meeting in Tallin, Estonia. The meeting was held in May 2006 on the initiative of the former City Mayor, Jüri Ratas who said,
“It is my belief that a green and sustainable Europe is essential for improving public health and the quality of life of our citizens”.
From these meetings In Tallinn, 15 European cities and the Association of Estonian cities signed a joint memorandum proposing the establishment of the European Green Capital award scheme. Currently, more than 40 major European cities, including 21 EU capitals support the initiative. And major cities from all over the EU are getting ready to take part in this race for environmental recognition.
For more information on the ESDN Conference 2012 and to watch videos of the conference click here
For more information about the European Green Capital Award click here