BCSSS Managing Director Stefan Blachfellner attended the event “Expert Workshops – Shaping the Future of EU Environmental Policy: From the 7th to the 8th Environment Action Programme”, hosted by the Austrian Umweltdachverband (UWD, Environmental Umbrella Organisation) and the Europen Environment Bureau (EEB) on October 23rd, 2018 in Hainburg, Austria.

Systemic Change through future EU and national environmental policies.

Stefan attended a workshop dealing with the question how a future EU Environment Action Programme could be utilized to drive systemic change. Together with other experts Stefan developed practical ideas for both content and structure of an Environment Action Programme that helps advance policy solutions from a systemic perspective. With the growing international dimension of environmental problems – such as climate change or loss of biodiversity – the explorations also included aspects of international environmental policy. The SDGs particularly served as an important guiding framework as they are equally calling for a more holistic and systemic approach to policy making. The organizers noted further that “systems thinking may represent the next phase in the evolution of sustainability.”

Strengthening accountability and sharing responsibilities – Improving the implementation of future EU and national environmental policies.

In a second workshop Stefan identified, with a group of fellow stakeholders, new ways of how policy makers and different stakeholder groups could successfully collaborate in the implementation of a future Environment Action Programme. Upstream actions (e.g. infringements) and downstream examples (e.g. grassroots and bottom-up initiatives), as well as ways to create ownership in clearly defined stakeholder groups, were main activities at this workshop. In this workshop Stefan also met for the first time with Niko Korpar, a representative of the BCSSS Circular Economy Systems Research Group, who presented Circular Change at this occasion.