Civil Society Forum for Sustainability Shaping the European Green Deal: Brussels, 26 & 27 June 2023

On the 26th and 27th of June 2023 the The Civil Society Forum for Sustainability – Shaping the European Green Deal took place. The event was co-hosted by SOLIDAR, the European Environmental Bureau (EEB) and SDG Watch Europe within the framework of the REAL DEAL project, a Horizon 2020 research project focused on reshaping citizens and stakeholders’ participation and deliberative democracy in the framework of the European Green Deal (EGD) and a just transition and with the participation of the SOLIDAR Just Transition for the Global South partners. The event gathered around 50 participants from civil society organizations, citizens, experts and policymakers.

You can find the full agenda and the list of speakers here.

Dialogue with policy makers.


The focus was placed on the future of the European Green Deal and its transformative potential, aiming to tackle the following questions: How can the next environmental and social strategy of the European Union lead to achieving the Agenda 2030 and its Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) by and within the EU? How can it ensure we meet the climate targets set by the Paris Agreement? How can it better integrate the social dimension? What incentives can foster a Just Transition for the Global South? How can spillovers be tackled and policy coherence for sustainable development ensured?

Key takeaways

Here are some of the main key takeaways:

  • The Europe-wide Voluntary National Review is an opportunity for the EU to assess its progress on the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and produce a detailed review report.
  • There is a need for societal support in achieving the SDGs and identified areas of backward movement, such as reducing greenhouse gas emissions, protecting species and fisheries and the removal of fossil fuel subsidies.
  • System substitution, rather than maintaining parallel unsustainable systems, is crucial for achieving transformation towards sustainability.
  • The GSDR 2019 report emphasized systemic change, with levers such as governance, economy, and strategic thinking, capacity building. Strengthening institutions and networks, increasing decentralization and diversity and redundancies in monitoring and learning. The draft of the 2023 GSDR report can be found here.
  • The SDG Transformation Framework for Accelerated Action includes national action plans, debt relief initiatives, and support for local-level sustainability transformations.
  • The Real Deal EGD Gap analysis report can be found here. Concerns were raised about the fairness and negative spillover effects associated with the European Green Deal (EGD). 
  • Integration of EU values and sustainability into the trade agenda and a socio-ecological contract were proposed.
  • The EGD should undergo social impact analysis and include targeted policies that address both nature and people. Reforms in economic governance, redistributive taxation, and protection from climate change were recommended.
  • Public participation, shorter policy cycles, and milestones for climate action were discussed. Strengthening the Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS) and integrating consumption into climate policies were highlighted.
  • The need to address growing poverty in the EU while tackling overconsumption was emphasized.
  • The integration of the EGD and the Pillar of Social Rights, concrete measures such as Social Climate Funds, and criteria to avoid bonds based on fossil fuels were seen as essential to reach climate targets.
  • The European Scientific Advisory Board on Climate Change’s call for the EU’s climate neutrality goal (90-95% emissions reductions) by 2040 was emphasized.
  • The European Commission proposed revising economic governance beyond the previous focus on meeting fiscal targets (debts and deficits), and instead, allow for more flexibility in developing Member State’s national plans based on the European Pillar of Social Rights and climate targets.


Call to Action: Join the Deepening Phase and Strengthen Deliberative Democracy

Join the Deepening Phase and seize the opportunity to contribute your ideas and insights in shaping ECOLISE’s key political demands and messages. In October 2023 until 2024, ECOLISE will launch a co-created advocacy campaign on the 10 theses for Transformative Community-Led Local Development Policies. 

Participatory processes and deliberative democracy are crucial to enable the necessary transformations in our socio-economic systems. For instance, Thesis 9 calls for CLIs to engage with EU politics and policies, such as the European Green Deal and Thesis 10 expresses the need for CLIS to be strengthened by increased public support networks. 

We value diverse perspectives and aim to create an inclusive space where everyone’s input is heard and valued. Join the deepening phase and be part of this transformational journey. You can indicate your availability by following this link.

Together, we can build a more sustainable and democratic future for all.

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