Global pandemic, war, inflation and other shocks and crises have tested the European Green Deal and its ambition of building a climate-neutral and sustainable economy. Published today, two new European Environment Agency (EEA) reports discuss how Europe can respond to the pressing and complex societal challenges while moving towards long-term sustainability goals.

The EEA reportTransformative resilience: the key to governing Europe's sustainability transitions in the polycrisis’ explores the emerging concept of transformative resilience and how it can be useful for anticipating and responding to shocks while speeding up positive change in key areas of energy, circular economy and just transition.  

Sudden and complex interconnected crises may lead to policy responses that focus solely on solving the short-term problem. The EEA report points to an approach that aligns the long-term goals with the short-term needs by taking shocks as an opportunity for systemic change that is both resilient and sustainable. Developing and scaling up such transformative resilience should be central to the EU's sustainability policies, the EEA report states. 

Governance in complexity
Sustainability governance under highly uncertain and complex conditions

The EEA report ‘Governance in complexity Sustainability governance under highly uncertain and complex conditions’ discusses how many interconnected crises challenge traditional models of problem-solving and decision-making. 

The report points out that progress towards sustainability goals is still mixed, and even understanding the full nature of these challenges is complicated by uncertainties and competing solutions. Governing the sustainability transition will then require a mindset that takes into account these complexities by using experimentation, systems thinking, participation, precaution, anticipation of new developments, and ‘caring’ about the issues in a continuous effort. 

The findings of the EEA report ‘Governance in complexity: sustainability governance under highly uncertain and complex conditions’ were presented and discussed at a webinar co-hosted by the EEA and the European Centre for Governance in Complexity (ECGC) on 24 June 2024.

In case you missed the webinar, you can watch the recording on our YouTube channel.

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