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ESDN Quarterly Report October 2015

The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development

Governance for SD principles, approaches and examples in Europe

by Umberto Pisano, Lisa Lange and Gerald Berger

The adoption of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) by the United Nations General Assembly on 25-27 September 2015 in New York has given new impetus to the sustainable development (SD) agenda. In order to promote the transition towards a socio-economic system characterized by greater sustainability for all, a new governance architecture, based on the principles of the approach known as ‘Governance for SD’, is needed to guide this change. What constitutes this governance architecture, however, warrants further discussion.

The aim of this Quarterly Report is to put into context the current debate concerning what characteristics a governance architecture that promotes the SDGs should incorporate. Chapter 1 will put the SDGs into historical context by describing the road that has led up to the adoption of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. Chapter 2 will then describe the concept of ‘Governance for Sustainable Development’ with reference to the academic debates and policy practices that have shaped it over time. A taxonomy of ‘governance for SD’ principles will be provided as guideline for the reader to understand how governance structures and processes can support and facilitate this new impetus towards a more sustainable future. Chapter 3 will then investigate how the principles of ‘Governance for Sustainable Development’ are taken up in the new 2030 Agenda architecture at the international level with a closer look at the sustainable development goals (SDGs). It will also describe the current situation in Europe and EU Member States with the perspective of ‘governance for SD’. Chapter 4 summarises an analysis on drivers for change in National Sustainable Development Strategies and innovative approaches in Finland and France. The report finally concludes with thoughts on the main topics treated in the Quarterly Report.

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