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National councils for sustainable development - an appropriate tool of common use?

: Kohlmann, Romy; Preissler, Steffen; Stengel, Malgorzata

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Economic and environmental studies 9 (2009), No.1, pp.59-73
ISSN: 1642-2597
Journal Article, Electronic Publication
Fraunhofer MOEZ ( IMW) ()
sustainable development; national councils for sustainable development; Central and Eastern Europe; stakeholder involvement

In terms of current issues of sustainable development, the European Union (EU) recently promoted the importance of National Councils for Sustainable Development (NCSD) as an operative and effective tool for the implementation of sustainable development (SD). Since they can provide independent advice and foster dialogue with civil society and stakeholders on SD, NCSD seem to be an appropriate tool at the governmental level. However, an overview of NCSD throughout Central and Eastern Europe (CEE) gives a very diverse picture. The NCSD differ considerably in their definition, composition, independence and resources, as well as in the impact of their work. Taking into consideration positive experiences with effective NCSD in some Member States, the following questions can be raised: What characteristics should NCSD have? Also, is there a common use of NCSD in CEE? For this purpose, this paper analyses the NCSD in several CEE countries and subsequently aims at outlining the similarities and differences between particular NCSD, including their extent and approach, in order to explain variation in their national performance. The EU recommends a set of features that NCSD should possess in order to operate as an effective tool for governments to implement SD.