The EEB conference will be one of the first opportunities since the Brexit for those concerned about the environment across Europe to come together and take stock of recent EU developments and their implications for the environment and sustainability.
After the adoption in 2015 of the global 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the historic Paris climate deal, 2016 and the coming years must be years of delivery – delivery of more ambitious EU climate and energy policies, and, more generally, of policies that mainstream sustainability and reduce Europe’s environmental footprint. This requires the systematic and comprehensive implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals – both at EU and Member State level – as well as concrete progress in developing and implementing specific policies aimed at protecting biodiversity, greening agriculture, promoting a genuine circular economy and eliminating environmentally harmful subsidies to mention a few. In short, the EU needs to undergo fundamental reform.
Reform has been high on the EU agenda, in particular since the start of 2016 triggered by the UK’s demands linked to its referendum on EU membership. However, sustainability was notably absent from that debate and the result of the referendum shows clearly that the UK’s renegotiation package, and its focus on improving competitiveness through deregulation, failed to convince a majority of the UK public to vote to remain in the EU.
The EEB conference will be one of the first opportunities for those concerned about the environment across Europe to come together and take stock of this development and its implications for the environment and sustainability. The conference will dig deeper into three issues that are high on the agenda this autumn:
- Climate and Energy: the conference will assess the EU’s response to the Paris outcome and seek to inject more ambition into that response, with particular regard to the targets for GHG reduction, energy efficiency and renewables, ETS reform and carbon pricing.
- Biodiversity: the European Commission is expected to conclude its evaluation of the Birds and Habitats Directive through a Fitness Check by December. This is later than expected, but given the continuing loss of biodiversity in the EU, there is no time to waste and experts at the conference will discuss the best ways of reaching Europe’s existing biodiversity goals and safeguarding Europe’s ecosystems.
- Circular Economy: the conference will provide an opportunity to send targeted messages into the political debate on new waste laws and the re-issued circular economy package which now needs further implementation.
Including high-level speakers from the European institutions, academia and civil society, the EEB conference will unleash new ideas, inspire and inform.