11.02.2014 | U.N. Special Rapporteur

Conference on the transition to sustainable societies

The EU's Fifth Project

The event will bring together leading thinkers, policy-makers, and civil society representatives, on the eve of the European elections. Olivier De Schutter, UN Special Rapporteur on the right to food on convening the conference, said : “A genuine transition in the way we produce and consume is the only true path to sustainability. But it must be accompanied by a transition in the way we govern.”

The transition towards sustainable societies goes beyond the ecological transition alone. Though it does include an environmental dimension and the shift towards improved resource efficiency, sustainability also requires a fundamental revision of the current trajectory of the EU and the model of growth upon which it is based. The project of European integration has much to gain from such a redefinition. Though they have delivered important benefits to EU citizens, none of the main projects through which integration has proceeded hitherto - whether the internal market, the EMU or the area of freedom, security and justice - has succeeded in creating a genuine sense of attachment to Europe within public opinion. Europe is in need of a new, mobilizing project that can give renewed meaning to the process of integration.

The conference will lead to the preparation of an outcome document that will summarize the key arguments expressed, including potential divergences, in order to set the terms of debate for advancing the transition to sustainable societies as Europe's Fifth Project (EU5P).