The EU, and indeed the world, is at a crossroads – it is critical for leaders to decide whether to continue on the current path of degradation and pollution or to opt for a more sustainable future. Last year, heads of state and government from around the world signed up to follow the latter course, adopting the global 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the historic Paris climate deal, but how committed is Europe to an ambitious delivery on these commitments? And will the soul-searching among European leaders on the future of the EU following the Brexit vote help or hinder?
The EEB’s Annual Conference taking place in Vienna today (26 September), in collaboration with the Austrian NGO Umweltdachverband, will lead discussions on how these commitments can and must be delivered.
With a focus on climate change, biodiversity and the circular economy, leading experts from the EU institutions, business, civil society, member state authorities and academia will focus on how the ambitious vision set out in last year’s international agreements can be turned into reality.
Jeremy Wates, EEB Secretary General, commented:
“The EU has worked over the last 40 years to limit the impact of environmental pollution. While in many cases this legislation has not, in our view, gone far enough, it can nevertheless be seen as one of the EU’s success stories. The worry is that at a time when we should be increasing our protection of nature and human health, the fallout from the UK vote to leave the EU could have the opposite effect. Our conference is aimed at finding practical, concrete ways to help the EU embark on an agenda of transformational change that puts the interests of people and planet first in everything that it does.”
Michael Proschek-Hauptmann, Umweltdachverband, Managing Director, said:
“We are very proud that the Umweltdachverband, together with the Austrian Federal Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry, Environment and Water Management, successfully managed to stage today’s civil society event. For the first time in history the annual EEB international conference is taking place in Vienna, Austria. The idea behind hosting this event on behalf of the Umweltdachverband is to show a clear sign against Euro-scepticism and a distinct affirmation for a strong EU. At the same time, we want to raise awareness not only for the social challenges, but also for those of environmental character that can only be successfully taken up by the EU through transparency, closeness to citizens and a genuine acknowledgement of sustainability as a core value of the EU. We don’t need more national statehoodor an exclusive focus on the European single market. They no longer represent correct paths for European decision makers. Instead, issues like European integration and guidance alongside the Sustainable Development Goals are adequate tools for the successful progression and development of the European Union.”