The update of the 2006 Soil Thematic Strategy was announced in the EU Biodiversity Strategy for 2030. The aim of the new EU Soil Strategy will be to address soil- and land-related issues in a comprehensive way and to help achieve land degradation neutrality by 2030, one of the key targets of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
Revision of the EU Emissions Trading System (ETS), including maritime transport and Market Stability Reserve
The EU ETS was launched in 2005 and covers about 45 % of EU greenhouse gas emissions. The latest revision of the EU ETS Directive, adopted in 2018, sets the total quantity of emission allowances for phase 4 (2021-2030), in line with what was the current EU emission reduction target at the time (40 % reduction below 1990 levels by 2030).
Environmental protection as a prerequisite for respect for fundamental rights (information report – SDO)
In the face of unprecedented global changes (biodiversity collapse, widespread pollution, climate change, etc.), most notably causing extreme weather events, the effects of climate change are having a direct and indirect impact on a range of human rights that are guaranteed at international and European level, such as the right to life and health, the right of access to food and drinking water, the right to property and housing, and the right to religion and culture.
On 9 September 2020, the European Commission adopted its first annual Strategic Foresight Report, presenting Commission’s strategy to integrate strategic foresight into EU policy-making. Strategic foresight aims to identify emerging challenges and opportunities to better steer the European Union's strategic choices and to inform major policy initiatives. It will support the Commission in designing future-proof policies and legislation that serves both the current needs and longer-term aspirations of European citizens.
Towards structured youth engagement on climate and sustainability in the EU decision-making process (own-initiative opinion)
This opinion will look into the possibilities to engage with young people in a formal way at institutional level and provide the building blocks for a new structured approach to youth engagement at EU level.
Digitalisation and Sustainability – status quo and need for action in civil society perspective (Exploratory opinion at the request of the German presidency)
While the recovery after COVID-19 crisis is a top priority, the EESC stresses that this should not steer the EU away from its medium and long-term objectives, as outlined in the European Green Deal, 2020 Sustainable Growth Strategy, and the European Pillar for Social Rights. There is a need for a resilient, technology-driven European economy that is defined by the protection of the environment. The EESC underlines that strategies aimed at enhanced economic sustainability need to be developed around productivity, but they cannot be allowed to happen at the expense of workers' rights and social development. The EESC advocates for re-thinking supply chains, underlines that social aspects should be emphasised, start-ups should be encouraged and that the cornerstone of sustainable economic growth in the EU should be the creation and development of a truly circular economy. Open dialogue with social partners and civil society remains key to setting the economic direction.
The EESC is currently drafting an opinion that aims to define what "the sustainable economy we need" should look like by exploring new economic models, investment decisions vis-à-vis technological advances as well as novel indicators for growth and competitiveness.