From Sustainability Talk to Policy Walk Conference
Brief Report from EEB Board Meeting, Annual General Meeting and Annual Conference from 25 to 27 September 2016 in Bratislava, Vienna and Hainburg a.d. Donau
Anke Stock as board member of the EEB representing the network WECF since 2015 attended the various meetings organised by EEB and Umweltdachverband Österreich in the Slovak Republic and Austria.
The Annual Conference “From Sustainability Talk to Policy Walk” was attended by many environmental NGOs and networks from Austria and Europe (e.g. CAN Europe) as well as decision-makers (MEPs and MPs), government official, such as the Austrian Minister for Agriculture, Forestry, Environment and Water Management Andrä Rupprechter, think tanks and academia (e.g. the European Political Strategy Centre) and entrepreneurs (e.g. Fairphone).
Panels and discussion rounds were arranged around the issues climate and energy, biodiversity and the circular economy. Commonly an increasing trend of “felt insecurity” within the European society was recognised caused by, inter alia, the refugee crisis, terrorism, xenophobia and the high rates of youth unemployment in many EU countries. This was seen as the main impediment for pushing the environmental agenda in the EU, with its pressing themes, such as the ratification and implementation of the Paris Agreement and the work on the circular economy package to name only two.
The board meeting on Sunday mainly dealt with preparing the AGM on Tuesday. Most time of the AGM was spent with elections: board members from Germany, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Luxembourg, The Netherlands and Malta were confirmed, for Greece, Macedonia and Slovakia new members were elected. Two vice-presidents stepped down and were replaced by Ana Barreira from Spain and Attracta Ui Bhroin from Ireland (now a total of 5 vice-presidents (2 male/3 female) are in power); the current treasurer was also confirmed. Most challenging for members of the EEB was how to handle the spontaneous nomination of Jouni Nissinen from Finland as candidate for President at the board meeting. After lengthy discussions about the process, missing rules within the statues regarding the nomination and election process and the achievements as well as the disputed stance of the EEB president for 11 years Mikael Karlsson within the WG on bioenergy a compromise was found and both candidates were elected as co-chairs for the period of one year up until the next AGM (see here). This will be held in autumn 2017 in Scotland. Apart from the adoption of the WP 2017 and the related budget which is not fully balanced yet and some membership issues, the need to work on improving the statues relating to the nomination and election process of the President will require utmost administrative attention. Unfortunately, not much time was left to discuss political or strategic topics.