Tasks of the Council
The FRDO-CFDD main activity, policy advice, emanates from its legally assigned advisory duty. The Council prepares its opinion - at the federal government's and parliament's request, as well as on its own initiative - for the Belgian federal authorities about the federal policy on sustainable development.
The Council’s policy impact is strengthened by contacts with cabinets, presidents of the Belgian Chamber and Senate and by participating in the parliamentary debate on the consultation on the progress of the government policy on SD and the monthly coordination platform for SD of the Foreign Affairs department. The government has to state its reasons for any deviation from the Council’s opinions. Each year, the first General Assembly also gives an opportunity to discuss with the representatives of the federal government the implementation of the Council’s opinions.
The Council also plays an complementary role in the public debate on SD. The FRDO-CFDD acts as a forum to encourage the sustainable development debate, for instance by means of organizing symposia. Main target groups are the members of the stakeholder organizations represented in the Council. Experts in the area, representatives of government and civil society, and a wider public have the opportunity to explain their point of view and to dialogue. The Council makes use of the results when formulating an opinion.
Also, for several years now, the Council is asked by members of the government to organize round tables with its members. The goal of those round tables is to offer to the Council’s members the opportunity to communicate their positions about several issues (e.g. WTO issues, Spring Council EU,…) to the government to give information about those issues.
The Council also has an awareness raising function and maintains contacts with other councils (networking function). Further, to enhance quality and efficiency of its activity, members of the Council and its staff monitor progress related to international obligations and agreements, participate on positions for meetings of the UN Commission on Sustainable Development (CSD) and other international meetings, participate at international events and gather, disseminate and exchange information.
Substructure and Working Groups
The work of the FRDO-CFDD is prepared within working groups. Six permanent working groups are operative, one working group gathers on an ad hoc base:
- Strategies on sustainable development;
- Energy and climate;
- International relations;
- Scientific research and sustainable development;
- Awareness and communication;
- Product standards;
- Biological diversity and forests (ad hoc);
- Sustainable Food (ad hoc);
- Yearly Forum (ad hoc).
The FRDO-CFDD organizes five General Assemblies annually. The Working Groups meet regularly but they have different schedules. For a complete information on this year’s calendar click here. Top Type of opinion The FRDO-CFDD develops its sustainable development approach, in giving attention to the three pillars. It advices the Government and the Parliament at the request of these two bodies or at own initiative. The Council formulates consensual opinion (70%) as well as non-consensual opinion. Some opinions are about cross-cutting issues (e.g. opinion on World Summit SD Johannesburg), others concern very specific issues (e.g. products standards).
Activities in the EEAC Network
The FRDO-CFDD joined EEAC in 2004. It is an active member of the Working Groups Sustainable Development/Governance, Energy. Jan De Smedt, Director, is co-chair. Coordinating the Working Group SD, the FRDO-CFDD is preparing the topic for the 2011 EEAC Annual Conference in Wroclaw, PL.Last Update: 07 September 2011