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.
The implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) is a joint responsibility of civil society, EU and Member States' authorities as well as the private sector: that is why coordinated, multi-stakeholder approaches to achieving these goals are of the essence. The main goal of the conference, SDGs and Initiatives for Sustainable Global Value Chains, is to raise awareness, across the EU, on how varying types of initiatives, actions, policies, and laws can encourage and ensure responsible business conduct and boost the achievement of the SDGs, to identify success factors, and to develop follow-up actions for upscaling these to EU-level.
The specific conference objectives are:
Firstly, to identify and share experiences in relation to national instruments and initiatives designed to foster responsible business conduct in international value chains, and to explore which initiatives could possibly be scaled up to EU-level.
Secondly, to higlight the importance of improved and sustained coherence between relevant internal and external EU policies - which is paramount to the effective implementation of initiatives on responsible business conduct, as the replication of a variety of initiatives might impact both the EU internal market (e.g. calling for guidance how tension with competition law can be avoided) and the EU’s external policies, including trade, development, and environmental policies.
Thirdly, to explore how these existing approaches can feed into and complement the work of the European Commission's Multistakeholder Platform on SDG implementation efforts across sectors, as announced in Next steps for a sustainable European future, November 2016.
Finally yet importantly, the concept of the conference dovetails with the idea to highlight the role of civil society and industry organisations in contributing to the achievement of the SDGs.
The conference is co-organised with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Netherlands and the Social and Economic Council of the Netherlands (SER).