Everyone can be a green superhero!

Today the spotlight was on the civil society. In Brussels, several sessions looked at the role it can play in facilitating uniform implementation of environmental laws around Europe, how citizens can stand up for green rights, as well as what role the new European Parliament could play in closing implementation gaps and enforcing environmental acquis.

Today the spotlight was on the civil society. In Brussels, several sessions looked at the role it can play in facilitating uniform implementation of environmental laws around Europe, how citizens can stand up for green rights, as well as what role the new European Parliament could play in closing implementation gaps and enforcing environmental acquis.

Today the spotlight was on the civil society. In Brussels, several sessions looked at the role it can play in facilitating uniform implementation of environmental laws around Europe, how citizens can stand up for green rights, as well as what role the new European Parliament could play in closing implementation gaps and enforcing environmental acquis.

Quote of the day

Quote of the day

Law is one of the most important tools to protect the environment. Citizens and civil society should feel empowered to use it to hold governments and businesses to account, in order to fight for their health and to safeguard the places where they live.

Anna Heslop, lawyer, ClientEarth

Impressions from Brussels conference

09.00-13.00 – Making REACH work: recommendations for the next Commission

REACH (Registration, Evaluation, Authorisation and Restriction of Chemicals) aims to be the most ambitious chemical regulation in the world in terms of protecting people from exposure to harmful chemicals. However, with only 1 out of 191 uses of substances identified under REACH as being of very high concern (SVHCs) having been denied authorisation, there are question marks over how it is currently being implemented.

An event organised today in Brussels by the Permanent Representation of the Netherlands to the EU, the European Environmental Bureau and public affairs consultancy, Fipra reviewed the authorisation and substitution of SVHCs under the outgoing Commission. It examined the numbers, recent case studies and policy initiatives including moves to develop a European strategy for creating a non-toxic environment. The discussions led to the drawing up of a set of REACH implementation recommendations for the incoming Commission.

09.00-13.00 – Coherent environmental policy in all sectors

Water, land, food, energy and climate are all interconnected within a single system – referred to under the SIM4NEXUS project as ‘the Nexus’. Putting pressure on or solving problems in one part of the Nexus can create pressures in other parts. Policy coherence in all areas of this Nexus, and at all levels, is thus critical to ensuring sustainable resource use.

Funded under Horizon 2020, SIM4NEXUS models interactions within the Nexus for 12 case studies at global, European, national, regional and trans-boundary levels in order to assess the long-term impacts of resource use and policies. It also gathers information on success factors for and barriers to policy coherence during planning and implementation.

For each case, a serious game is developed to highlight synergies and conflicts between policies in the different sectors. These games provide a tool for coherent policy formulation and fostering of understanding and cooperation between partners in the various fields.

The results from cases covered by SIM4NEXUS at global and European levels – namely the challenge of achieving UN Sustainable Development Goals for water, land, energy, food and climate, and the impact on energy, water, land, agriculture and food of reaching the EU's 2050 climate goals – were presented and discussed at a workshop for policymakers and stakeholders today in Brussels. Participants gave feedback on the policy scenarios and interventions chosen for the modelling and serious games and discussed the conclusions and recommendations for successful policy development arising from the analyses of all 12 cases.

It’s time for practice! We have much regulation, which we don’t implement to its best. There is a big challenge to see the common interests and break the silos.” Trond Selnes, PBL Netherlands Environmental Agency

10.00-12.00 – Highlighting good waste prevention practices

The parliament of the Spanish autonomous community of Navarre adopted a law on waste and its taxation in June 2018 with the aim of developing measures to reduce waste, ensuring efficient waste sorting, particularly with regard to organic matter, and establishing a new taxation system to penalise landfill use. The new taxation system includes a fund to support circular economy projects.

A workshop held today at the delegation of the government of Navarre in Brussels presented the new law and its initial results, along with good waste prevention practices from Belgium, Germany and Portugal. The event concluded with a summary of practices that could be replicated in other regions and discussion among the participants.

Waste prevention will need indicators and targets and should be more linked to health and well-being.” Dr Henning Wilts, Wuppertal Institute in Germany

16-18 May – Hackathon to generate environmental impact

The second edition of the Impact Trophy hackathon began today in Brussels. Run by innovation agency Impact Valley together with Hu-Bu and Be Planet, it focuses on the UN Sustainable Development Goals, with this year’s edition specifically targeting sustainable ways of tackling climate change.

The event has brought together eight companies that have expressed a willingness to improve their environmental performance and matched each of them with a different environmental organisation. Mixed working teams have been formed and are now competing over 3 days to design and develop innovative solutions for addressing issues such as energy saving, waste management, sustainable mobility, recycling and conservation.

The winning project will be the one judged able to generate the biggest environmental impact and the winning team will receive support in putting it into practice.

The day is not finished yet for the participants of the Brussels conference: the evening programme includes a mock trial organised by the French Order of the Brussels Bar Association. Young lawyers will play judges, attorneys and prosecutors to argue the environmental impacts of a wind power project in a nature protected area.

Check out tomorrow’s update to find out who won the LIFE awards that will be awarded today.

Coming up tomorrow

Coming up tomorrow

Tomorrow sees the final day of EU Green Week 2019, with the conference looking at subjects including electrical and electronic waste and industrial emissions during the morning, prior to the closing session.