Working groups

Thematic working groups will discuss and develop recommendations for the EU to advance the use of measures of wellbeing and sustainability as guides for policy-making.

1. Inequality of Income, Wealth and Opportunities

Discussion paper

While income and wealth inequality have increased, inequality levels vary even among countries at the similar level of development. This highlights the role policies can play in shaping and responding to inequality. We invite experts and discussants to this group to share best practices in reducing inequality at the national and EU level, and thoughts on the role core indicators play in setting the policy agenda and in fulfilling the principle of leaving no one behind.

This thematic group discusses the comprehensive understanding of inequality as a factor of wellbeing. The impacts of inequality on different groups in society will be emphasised, while the main focus will be on the European Pillar of Social Rights as a framework for reducing inequality in the EU.

Working group “Equality of Income, Wealth and Opportunities” is organised in partnership with SOSTE Finnish Federation for Social Affairs and HealthandThe International Council on Social Welfare (ICSW).

Chair: Ronald Wiman (ICSW-Europe)

Speakers: Richard Layard (London School of Economics); Carlos Gradin (UNU-WIDER); Terhi Ravaska (The Labour Institute for Economic Research); Ismo Grönroos-Saikkala (European Commission Representation in Finland)

2. Resilience and Respecting the Ecosystem Boundaries

Discussion paper

The global trends of climate change and the depletion of natural resources and biodiversity pose a threat to the very existence and wellbeing of current and future generations. The Rome Declaration from 2017 outlines the EU’s future ambitions and declares a commitment to creating a ”stronger and more resilient” EU. The EU has embedded resilience in a range of policy areas. The connection to ecosystem boundaries is outlined mainly through the analysis of climate resilience. The biodiversity strategy of the EU is expiring in 2020, and based on its mid-term review 2015 urgent actions and policy guidance is required to stop the deterioration of ecosystems and biodiversity.

We invite experts and discussants in this group to share on the latest development on monitoring and measuring ecological resilience and to identify ways to improve the use of data in decision-making at the EU and member state level.

This group will discuss management options for maintaining ecological resilience and best ways to inform policy through selected indicators and processes of analysis. Priority should be given to the risks that are most relevant for environmental sustainability that is those that are pushing ecosystems close to their boundaries.

Working group “Resilience and Respecting the Ecosystem Boundaries” is organised in partnership withEuropean Environmental Bureau (EEB).

Chair: Patrick ten Brink (EEB)

Speakers: Jan-Erik Petersen (EEA), Helmut Scholz (MEP GUE/NGL)

3. Fair Transition to Carbon Neutral Circular Economy

While the concept of circular economy has opportunity to change the culture of production and consumption in favour of processes that build on long-lasting and modifiable products, it still has the risk of staying an inspiring but vague idea, if not backed up a by clear policy goals and specific indicators. We invite experts and discussants in this group to share on best practices regarding circular economy in the EU and policy support given to advance the fair transition to circular economy with increasing scale and depth of cultural transformation.

This thematic group will discuss the recommendations for the agenda-setting and monitoring of policy-making to best advance a transition to a carbon neutral circular economy that is fair and just for all.

Since the transition from linear economy to circular economy is drawing closer, it is crucial to ensure that the transition is socially as fair and inclusive as possible. In the context of fairness, it is important to analyze the ways in which the benefits and burdens of the transition can be distributed fairly – geographically, demographically and sectorally. How can we keep everyone on board?

Working group “Transition to Carbon Neutral Circular Economy” is organised in partnership withThe Finnish Innovation Fund Sitra.

Chair: Riikka Leppänen (Sitra)

Speakers: Kari Herlevi (Sitra); Anthony Nyong (AfDB)

4. Policy Coherence for Sustainable Development – How European Policies Affect the Global South

Discussion paper

Through the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, EU member states have committed themselves to pursuing Policy Coherence for Sustainable Development (PCSD). The concept of PCSD urges policy and decision-makers to look beyond sectorally defined short-termism. The aim is to balance the four dimensions of sustainable development and to take transboundary and intergenerational impacts into account. Due to the Lisbon Treaty (TFEU art. 208), the EU has an additional obligation to scrutinize the transboundary impacts of its policies in developing countries.

The EU toolbox includes some mechanisms for the policy coherence regarding data creation and analysis on which to build, for example the ex-ante impact assessments of development cooperation of the EC and the SDGs report of Eurostat. However, specific indicators for measuring the impact of domestic EU policies on the Global South, i.e. the transboundary impacts of PCSD, are still missing. We invite experts and discussants in this group to share ideas and experiences on measuring the transboundary impacts of EU policies.

This group will focus on indicators of policy coherence and transboundary impacts of the EU policies on the Global South. Moreover, the group will critically reflect on how the development of policy coherence could strengthen justice, equality and sustainability in the relations between the EU and the Global South.

Working group “Policy Coherence for Sustainable Development – How European Policies Affect the Global South” is organised in partnership withthe European confederation of Relief and Development NGOs CONCORD.

Chairs: Lonne Poissonnier (CONCORD) and Leida Rijnhout

Speakers: Guillaume Lafortune (UNSDSN); Christine Mayer (Eurostat)

5. Respecting Human Rights in Business

Discussion paper

Businesses and investors make a huge impact on the realization of human rights in the world – for the good and the worse. They are also an integral part in making a transition into a beyond-growth economy. Still, there are no binding regulations directing businesses to respect human rights in international supply chains, even though many countries are too weak or unwilling to oversee the rights of their citizens. We invite experts and discussants in this group to share ideas and experiences on the use of indicators in informing corporate due diligence and supporting the capacity of governments to guide actors of the private sector to responsible business conduct.

This thematic working group will discuss on the importance of measuring corporate responsibility in creating wellbeing and sustainability and the role of governments and the EU in strengthening corporate responsibility. What metrics should be created – and what measures should be taken – in the EU to ensure that businesses are striving towards protecting human rights, generating wellbeing and developing sustainability for all?

Working group “Respecting Human Rights in Business ” is organised in partnership with Fairtrade Finland and FELM.

Chairs: Niko Humalisti (Felm) and Tytti Nahi (Fairtrade Finland)

Speakers: Daniel Neale (CHRB); Heidi Hautala (MEP Greens/EFA); Matt Mayer (ECG UK)