Towards a Sustainable Europe by 2030: Key leverages for transformation

EEAC Annual Conference 11 to 12 October 2018, Berlin


General Introduction

Incentivised by the urge to act and the need to transform politics, society and the economy, the world signed up to the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the Paris Agreement. In 2018, the world in general and Europe in particular will need to progress to implement and mainstream these agreements into concrete policies.

However, this fundamental change remains too often an abstract ambition rather than an inclusive practice. The sustainability transformation in the European Union as well as in many of its member countries still faces too many lock-ins. To advance on our journey on achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) within and beyond Europe we have to push key leverages for transformation.

The 26th EEAC Annual Conference is dedicated to identifying some of these key leverages and to foster our common European debate on the implementation of the SDGs in Europe. The rich diversity of EEAC’s scientific and stakeholder councils will meet in Berlin and deliberate with high-level experts from academia, society and politics. In inclusive and participatory conference formats, a rich network will further strengthen its bonds across national boundaries as well as academic and policy silos.

The EEAC Network will organize this 26th EEAC Annual conference in cooperation with The German Council for Sustainable Development, The German Advisory Council on the Environment and the German Advisory Council on Global Change. The conference will take place in Berlin on 11 to 12 October 2018.

Breakout Groups

  • “Environmental Governance: reshaping institutions and policy for transformative changes”
    European environmental policy is facing a veritable crisis. Economic crises in the aftermath of the breakdown of the financial markets, the pressure of globalization, the rise in populist sentiments, accompanied by a fall of trust in key societal institutions like media, science and government do challenge a transformative sustainability agenda. Some would even argue that there is little legitimacy for ambitious and progressive political action for sustainable development. Environmental governance is thus in need of a bold self-affirmation: Europe’s future and prosperity is dependent on the successful implementation of a transformative sustainability agenda across key policy fields and sectors until 2030.The conference session will address the need for changes in political institutions as well as in the organization of the decision-making process to overcome incrementalism to eventually foster future-oriented decision-making. Moreover, conference participants will be invited to discuss options to mobilize and integrate existing scientific knowledge as well as civic engagement into policy-making to achieve a sustainable Europe while also restoring trust into democratic institutions. These challenges will be faced at the interface between European and national perspectives.
  • “Sustainable Finance: Reshaping the finance sector as transformative lever”
    The financial sector plays a crucial role in sustainably transforming economies and societies and in preserving the global commons. Capital flows impact the environmental and social consequences of the real economy, while at the same time the finance sector is learning about environmental, political, economic and societal risks affecting investments. It is high time for strong and robust structures that enhance and ensure sustainable development.The conference session will invite participants to exchange knowledge, practices and viewpoints with regard to sustainable finance. The main question will be whether and how advisory councils on the environment and sustainable development and other relevant partners are willing to challenge sustainable finance and whether there is common ground for joint initiatives at the European level?
  • “Digitalization: Leverage or Threat for the Global Sustainability Transformation”
    Digitalization is changing the world. The interaction of data collection, interlinked networks, artificial intelligence and robotics are expected to lead to radical changes in personal, social and economic life worldwide. Often, digitalization is experienced and presented as an unstoppable, accelerating process. However, it is not a force of nature, but a development driven by human beings. Anticipating its far-reaching and global impact, digitalization must be understood as a strong matter of sustainability. It must be guided by overarching objectives – in the light of, but also beyond the 2030 Agenda.The conference session will provide space for the discussion on how digitalization can be explicitly linked to societal goals, especially as a means for a global transformation towards sustainability. How will digitalization change our life on this planet? What goals will it serve? What opportunities and risks does it entail? Who will gain or lose power? How can digitalization be used to solve the great human challenges?

Addressees of the Conference


The conference addresses experts from policy, society, science and the private sector working in the sustainability context in Europe. As hosts, EEAC’s national and sub-national advisory councils on environment and sustainable development will enable a cooperative atmosphere which enhances further networking and exchange opportunities.

The 26th EEAC Annual Conference is jointly organised by:

The European Environment and Sustainable Development Advisory Councils (EEAC)

is a network of advisory bodies established by national or regional governments. EEAC members offer independent advice to their respective national or regional governments and parliaments related to the environment and sustainable development.