The EESC issues between 160 and 190 opinions and information reports a year.
It also organises several annual initiatives and events with a focus on civil society and citizens’ participation such as the Civil Society Prize, the Civil Society Days, the Your Europe, Your Say youth plenary and the ECI Day.
The EESC brings together representatives from all areas of organised civil society, who give their independent advice on EU policies and legislation. The EESC's326 Members are organised into three groups: Employers, Workers and Various Interests.
The EESC has six sections, specialising in concrete topics of relevance to the citizens of the European Union, ranging from social to economic affairs, energy, environment, external relations or the internal market.
COP22 (Conference of the Parties) is taking place in Marrakech, Morocco, from 7-18 November 2016. The Paris Agreement adopted at COP21 December 2015 set out the long-term goal of limiting global warming “well below 2°C above pre-industrial levels and pursuing efforts to limit the temperature increase to 1.5°C”. With its recent ratification by several countries and the EU, it officially entered into force on 4 November 2016. The EESC welcomes this historical event and calls on both the Parties to the Paris Agreement as well as the non-state actors to make every effort to turn the Marrakesh session into a true COP of Action.
"The adoption was just the first step… now it has to be urgently implemented. Failure is not an option, for the sake of future generations", said Isabel Caño Aguilar, member of the European Economic and Social Committee (EESC) delegation to COP22.
Implementing the Paris Agreement will have a positive impact on every European citizen's life. The road from Paris to a carbon-neutral economy is extremely challenging, no doubt, but the EESC sees climate action above all as an opportunity to create new business and jobs and enhancing the well-being of EU citizens. Many bottom-up climate actions such as growing food in community land or sharing goods and services often involve a high degree of social interaction and solidarity, two key ingredients to help boost quality of life.
The EESC is participating in the COP22 as an observer in the official EU delegation in order to promote the concept of a new climate governance model with a crucial role played by non-state actors.
The EESC is taking part in many discussions on this topic and organising side events with civil society organisations such as the Climate Chance Association, the Economic, Social and Environmental Council of Morocco and Galvanising the Groundswell of Climate Actions. The delegation is also focusing its efforts on inter-institutional dialogue with the European Commission, the European Parliament and the European Committee of the Regions in order to highlight the importance of adopting a new governance framework, enabling civil society organisations and local communities to engage in climate action, and thus tap into the enormous potential of citizen involvement.
To accomplish the goals of the agreement, Michel Dubromel, member of the EESC delegation, emphasised the need to explore the huge potential of organised civil society by minimising the obstacles standing in the way of concrete local climate action. "We must identify the mechanisms and measures for organised civil society to be truly involved and for climate action to deliver massively, while proposing elements of a new climate governance infrastructure."
That is why the EESC and its partners – the European Committee of the Regions (CoR), the French Committee for Sustainable Development (Committee 21 France - C21F) and the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) decided to work together to create a new international coalition on climate for multi-level and multi-stakeholder governance. The coalition is looking into the conditions for success of climate actions by non-state actors, possibilities for replicating valuable initiatives as well as the potential hurdles to be overcome.
Stefan Back, member of the EESC delegation at COP22, said: "The EESC is fighting for a framework - based on the principles of "bottom-up climate action" and "think global, act local" - that acknowledges the variety of roles played by civil society stakeholders, recognises their different levels of resources, takes factors of success into account and creates positive and real conditions for climate action".