The European Environment Agency's 2015 State of the Environment Report[[http://www.eea.europa.eu/soer#tab-synthesis-report]] finds that Europe is making progress in reducing environmental pressures, but that current environmental policies and technology efficiency gains are not likely to be sufficient to address the substantial challenges it faces in protecting its natural capital, stimulating resource-efficient, low-carbon economic and social development and safeguarding its population from environmental health risks. It recommends fundamental, systemic transitions in the systems of production and consumption and profound changes in dominant institutions, lifestyles, practices, policies and technological solutions.
The challenge of underpinning and accelerating the transformation of our economy and society to more sustainable development paths has a planetary scale. The post 2015 sustainable development agenda, with a number of sustainable development goals, is likely to give new impetus to address this challenge at global level and will provide a global framework for cooperation to that end.
Operating a systemic transformation for sustainable development requires the mobilisation of all relevant actors: public authorities at various levels, manufacturing industry and business at large, academia, research institutes, finance and insurance, non-governmental organisations and civil society.
It will not happen without a consistent and aligned effort to be planned over many years in research, technological development and innovation, in order to provide a solid knowledge and evidence base for new transformative solutions and co-investment between public and private sectors. An enabling policy framework should help to develop, test and deploy such solutions.
Substantial volumes of investment are required. They cannot be allocated by individual Member States or by European institutions alone. The European Union funding is only a limited part of the total amounts available across Europe. The scale and scope of required effort can be achieved by pooling together research, innovation and financial resources from multiple sources at European and national levels. A properly aligned European Research Area open to the world can make an essential difference in enabling a transformative sustainability agenda to take shape. The alignment of research and innovation agendas across the world will be crucial in bringing about the necessary transformations to which the European Union aspires at a global level. Hence, cooperation with international programmes, including through established channels such as the Belmont Forum, are an important element.
The research and funding landscape in Europe is complex, but there is already a basis of coordinated efforts, notably through a number of joint programming initiatives (JPIs) and ERA-NETs that address various aspects of environmental sustainability, in Europe and globally.
In the area covered by Societal Challenge 5, a Framework Partnership Agreement is foreseen with a view to create research and innovation synergies on a large scale, by organising joint programming actions between the entities responsible for public funding programmes at national, regional and European levels, as well as from international partner countries. This addresses JPIs and ERA-NETs that have a strong bearing on environmental sustainability.Scope:
The purpose of this topic is to create a single[[This is in line with the objective of transnational coordination of national/regional programmes, with a maximum number of countries participating in the resulting joint actions.]] Framework Partnership Agreement to strengthen and simplify cooperation between the European Commission, Member States' and other national/regional programme managers and owners in the fields of relevance of the Societal Challenge 5. This will enable these actors to develop and implement a long-term action plan addressing the specific challenge with a set of ERA-NET Cofund actions. It is expected that the proposal submitted to this call will provide a broad coverage of countries and their different programme managers and owners. Up to one proposal shall be selected under this topic.
The Commission will subsequently invite submission of proposals[[The resulting ERA-NET Cofund actions are actions with specific characteristics that require a particular type of body (programme managers and programme owners).]] for Specific Grant Agreements under this Framework Partnership Agreement.
The Framework Partnership Agreement will exceptionally last for 5 years in order to cover the remaining duration of Horizon 2020. This is justified by the fact that the Joint actions are planned to be continued until the end of Horizon 2020. Proposals submitted under this topic should include all organisations that intend to participate in future ERA-NET Cofund actions, both in-kind and cash-based.Expected Impact:
In areas of common interest within the scope of Societal Challenge 5, the Framework Partnership Agreement is expected to: