SDSN European Green Deal Senior Working Group

The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and the Paris Agreement call for deep transformations in every region and actions by all parts of governments. With the European Green Deal (EGD), the EU has designed a comprehensive framework for decarbonizing the European economy, reducing pollution and wastes, and placing sustainable development at the center of the European policy agenda.

SDSN Europe has gathered a Senior Working Group, consisting of top-level academics and stakeholders, to mobilize expertise for the successful implementation of this transformative regulatory framework. SDSN Europe is ideally placed to provide evidence-based advice to European policy-makers, through the expertise and scientific knowledge of ten networks and over 360 member organisations across the continent.

SDSN’s European Green Deal Senior Working Group is led by Prof. Jeffrey Sachs and Prof. Phoebe Koundouri, both world-renowned economists and global leaders in sustainable development. To support the transformations in Europe towards the future we want, they have gathered a group of leading experts in the fields of sustainable development, environmental economics, green finance, corporate social responsibility and transformative policies. Together they contribute to the following objectives:

  1. Identify and promote technological and policy pathways for decarbonization by 2050 within and across EU Member States.
  2. Identify and promote adaptation pathways within and across EU Member States.
  3. Identify socially inclusive pathways that “leave no one behind”.
  4. Provide strategic recommendations and mobilize experts for the ongoing implementation of the European Green Deal through SDSN networks.
  5. Mobilize experts to rethink policies for clean energy supply and climate adaptation projects, across the economy, industry, production and consumption, large-scale infrastructure, transport, food and agriculture, construction, taxation and social benefits.
  6. Mobilize stakeholders in partnership with the SDSN European networks to guarantee local engagement and support for these policies.
If you would like to know more about the EGD Senior Working Group, please contact us at

Reports of the Senior Working Group

The European Green Deal includes wide-ranging goals for a climate-neutral, resource-efficient, technologically advanced, and socially equitable continent. EU leaders have also decided to integrate the SDGs in the European Semester, the major process for the coordination of national economic and employment policies in the EU, putting ‘people and the planet at the center of EU economic policy’. Additionally, the EU has responded to the immense challenges posed by the pandemic with a strong ‘Next Generation EU’ package to boost economic recovery while pursuing Europe’s green transition.

In an attempt to connect the dots between these four major policy initiatives – the SDGs, the European Green Deal, the European Semester, and the EU recovery plan – the EGD Senior Working Group published its first report, entitled ‘Transformations for the Joint Implementation of Agenda 2030 for Sustainable Development and the European Green Deal: A Green and Digital, Job-Based and Inclusive Recovery from COVID-19 Pandemic’. The report, published in February 2021, supports policymakers with actionable strategies that can guide EU-wide and national economic recovery in line with the continent’s overarching sustainability agenda.

On May 3rd 2022, the group launch the second annual report, entitled ‘Financing the Transformations for the Joint Implementation of Agenda 2030 for Sustainable Development and the European Green Deal’ which: provides an overview of the EU policies published since 2020 in support of the implementation of the European Green Deal, explores the financial implications of the Joint Implementation of Agenda 2030 for Sustainable Development and the European Green Deal, and stresses the need for private financial flows to be directed towards sustainable projects and activities. Europe has a once-in-a-generation opportunity to accelerate the transformation to sustainable societies, whereby governments intervene proactively and co-design a systemic green transition with broad participation of societal stakeholders. With the EGD Senior Working Group, SDSN aims to support this transformation and mobilize expertise from high-level stakeholders from a broad range of sectors.


Prof. Phoebe Koundouri, University Professor at Athens University of Economics and Business (co-chair)

Prof. Phoebe Koundouri  is a world-renowned environmental economics professor and global leader in sustainable development. She is a Professor  (the university’s highest academic rank) at the School of Economics at the  Athens University of Economics and Business Professor at the Department of Technology, Management and Economics, Technical University of Denmark (DTU). Before her election at the Athens University of Economics and Business, she held academic positions at the University of Cambridge, University College London, University of Reading, London School of Economics. Prof. Koundouri holds MPhil and a PhD in Economics and Econometrics from the University of Cambridge. For her studies she received a full scholarship from the University of Cambridge and the Cambridge Commonwealth Trust.

She is widely recognized as a pioneer in innovative, human-centric, interdisciplinary systems for the sustainable interaction between nature, society, and the economy. She is included within the official Stanford University list of the Top 2 % of world scientists and she is listed in the 1% of  most-cited women economists in the world, with 15 published books  and more than 600 published peer reviewed scientific articles, more than 100 interdisciplinary research projects (with competitive international funding – a number of which also concern Cyprus) and head/member of the editorial board in more than 30 scientific journals of international prestige.

Prof. Koundouri is an elected member of Academia Europae, elected Member of Board of the Trustees of the World Academy of Art and Science (WAAS) ,  member of the InterAcademy Partnership (IAP) Board and member of the Nominating Committee for the Prize in Economics Sciences in Memory of Alfred Nobel, The Royal Swedish Academy of Science. In 2019, she was elected President of the European Association of Environmental and Resource Economists (EAERE), the biggest scientific association in the field, with more than 1500 member institutions, from more than 75 countries. In 2020 she received the prestigious European Research Council ERC Synergy Grant , entitled: “Smart Water Futures: Designing the Next Generation of Urban Drinking Water Systems”. Currently, this is the largest research project in the world on urban water systems.

In 2023,  Prof. Phoebe Koundouri has been awarded the Academy of Athens Excellence in Science Award 2023 for her contribution to the advancement of the Science of the Marine Environment by the President of the Academy of Athens, Michael-Konstantinos Stathopoulos, and the Secretary General, Christos Zerefos . This Award, given every four years, constitutes the epitome of academic recognition in Greece.

Over the past three decades, she has given speeches and lectures at high-level international forums around the world and received academic excellence awards including the EAERE European Research Project Award, best paper awards, paper with the greatest impact on policy making, etc.

Prof. Koundouri is chair of the SDSN Global Climate Hub, co-chair of SDSN Europe and SDSN Greece, while she is founder of the Alliance of Excellence for Research and Innovation on Aeiphoria (AE4RIA), an initiative for collaboration between research institutions which she co-leads (ReSEES Laboratory and Stochastic Modeling and Applications Laboratory at Athens University of Economics and Business, the Sustainable Development Unit (SD.U) at ATHENA Research Center) , Innovation Acceleration Hubs  (SDSN Global Climate Hub, EIT Climate KIC Hub Greece , MENA Maritime ClimAccelerator and BRIGAID Connect Association) and associations and science-policy networks: UN SDSNSDSN EuropeSDSN GreeceEAERE, NEXUS Cluster and Water Europe.

AE4RIA involves more than 200 researchers (economists, mathematicians, statisticians, engineers, natural scientists, as well as experts from the social and human sciences) with the mission of shaping the necessary human-centered techno-economic transformation towards the joint implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals UN 2030 Agenda, the Paris Agreement on Climate Change and the European Green Deal. AE4RIA’s work has influenced the formulation of European and Global policies related to the management of natural resources, and the crises of climate change and ecosystem collapse.

Prof. Koundouri is one of the Commissioners of the prestigious Lancet Commission on COVID-19  for which she co-chairs the “Green Recovery” Task Force. She co-leads with Prof. Jeff Sachs (president of SDSN) the UN SDSN Senior Working Group on “Transformation Pathways for the implementation of EGD and the SDGs”. She is also member of the National Climate Change Committee of Greece, of the Ministry of Energy and the Environment, was member of the 2021 Pissarides Committee (10 year Greek Development Plan) chaired by Nobelist Prof. C. Pissarides,  and IPCC (Intergovernmental Panel for Climate Change) delegate and European Climate Pact Ambassador for the European Commission.

Prof. Koundouri acts as a scientific advisor to the European Commission, World Bank, European Bank of Reconstruction and Development, OECD, UN, NATO, WHO, World Water Council and various other Multilateral Institutions, as well as numerous national and international foundations and organizations. She also advises national governments across the world.

Prof. Koundouri lives in Greece (Athens) with her husband, Prof. Nikitas Pittis, and their three daughters: Chrysilia, Billie and Athena.


Prof. Jeffrey Sachs, President UN Sustainable Development Solutions Network (co-chair)

Prof. Jeffrey Sachs is a world-renowned professor of economics, leader in sustainable development, and bestselling author. He is the President of the UN Sustainable Development Solutions Network and University Professor at Columbia University, where he serves as the Director of the Center for Sustainable Development. Prof. Sachs has been appointed as Special Advisor to United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres on the Sustainable Development Goals.

Prof. Leonardo Becchetti, Full Professor at University of Rome Tor Vergata

Prof. Leonardo Becchetti is Full Professor of Economics at the Faculty of Economics of the University of Rome Tor Vergata, where he also serves as Director of the Master in Development Economics and International Cooperation (MESCI). He is a member of the Board of the Italian Economist Society, president of the Ethical Committee of Banca Etica, and member of the Executive Committee of Econometica, an inter-university center for economic ethics and corporate social responsibility.

Prof. Stefan Brunnhuber, member of the Club of Rome

Prof. Stefan Brunnhuber is an economist, psychiatrist, and member of the Club of Rome. He is the medical director of the Diakonie-Klinik of Intergrative Psychatry in Dresden and Professor for Psychology and Sustainability at the University of Mittweida in Germany. Prof. Brunnhuber is Senator at the European Academy of Science and Arts (EASA) and member of the Board of Trustees at the World Academy of Arts and Science (WAAS).

Ms. Laura Cozzi, Chief Energy Modeler at International Energy Agency

Laura Cozzi is Chief Energy Modeler at the International Energy Agency (IEA). She oversees the Agency’s work on outlooks and forecasts and is in charge of overall consistency of modelling work and resulting messages. Ms. Cozzi is also Head of the Demand Outlook Division with responsibility of producing the annual World Energy Outlook, the IEA flagship publication. Prior to joining the IEA, Ms. Cozzi worked for the Italian energy company ENI S.p.A.

Prof. Marzio Galeotti, Director of Scientific Research at Fondazione Eni Enrico Mattei

Prof. Marzio Galeotti is the Director of Scientific Research at Fondazione Eni Enrico Mattei. He also serves as Full Professor of Economics at the University of Milan, having previously taught at the University of Bergamo and the University of Udine. He holds a PhD in Economics from the New York University.

Prof. Mariana Mazzucato, Professor at University College London

Prof. Mariana Mazzucato is Professor in the Economics of Innovation and Public Value at University College London (UCL), where she is Founding Director of the UCL Institute for Innovation & Public Purpose (IIPP). Her previous posts include the RM Phillips Professorial Chair at the Science Policy Research Unit (SPRU) at Sussex University. She is a selected fellow of the UK’s Academy of Social Sciences (FAcSS) and of the Italian National Science Academy (Lincei).

Mr. Carlo Papa, Managing Director Enel Foundation

Carlo Papa is Managing Director of Enel Foundation and previously served as Chief Innovation Officer of Enel Green Power. He is actively involved in think-tank activities with the Aspen Institute and the German Marshall Fund of the United States. Since 2015, he also serves on the board of ARISE, the UNISDR Private Sector Alliance for Disaster Resilient Societies.

Mr. Ketan Patel, CEO Greater Pacific Capital

Ketan Patel is co-founder and CEO of Greater Pacific Capital, where he is responsible for overall firm strategy, leads the firm’s research and ideas team and heads the firm’s Investment Committee. Prior to founding Greater Pacific Capital in 2005, Ketan was a Managing Director in the Investment Banking Division at Goldman Sachs. He was also a Partner at KPMG, where he served as a member of the Board of Directors and member of the firm’s European Strategy Team.

Prof. Simone Borghesi, Director FSR Climate - European University Institute, and Full Professor University of Siena.

Simone Borghesi is Director of the Florence School of Regulation – Climate at the European University Institute (EUI), President Elect of the European Association of Environmental and Resource Economists and Secretary General of its Policy Outreach Committee, and Full Professor of Economics and Deputy Rector for International Relations at the University of Siena. He has been President of the Italian Association of Environmental and Resource Economists (2018-19). He received a M.Sc. at University College London (1996) and a Ph.D. at the European University Institute (2001). He worked at the International Monetary Fund (1998) and FEEM Milan (1999). He was visiting scholar at INRA (2013), University of Cambridge (2015), ETH Zurich (2016). He has directed several LIFE projects on Emissions Trading (SIDE, DICET, COASE) and the EUI unit in past and forthcoming Horizon projects (e.g. Innopath, Capable, Spes). He is member of the WCEREA – World Council of Environmental and Resource Economists Associations, CRM Academic Advisory Council, Brookings Institution (Washington D.C.) and of CEPR – Research and Policy Network on Climate Change.

Theodoros Zachariadis, The Cyprus Institute, SDSN Europe Manager

Theodoros Zachariadis is a tenured Associate Professor at the Energy, Environment and Water Research Centre of the Cyprus Institute. In 2009-2020 he served as an Assistant and then Associate Professor of environmental policy and energy resource management at the Cyprus University of Technology. In 2015-2020 he was the Dean of the University’s Faculty of Geotechnical Sciences and Environmental Management. He holds a Diploma and a Doctorate in Mechanical Engineering from the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, Greece. His postdoctoral work focused on the economic analysis of energy and environmental issues. He has worked as a researcher at the National Technical University of Athens and as a European Marie Curie Fellow at the Economics Research Centre of the University of Cyprus. He is a member of the Scientific Committee of the European Environment Agency, a Visiting Professor at Aarhus University, Denmark, a Manager at SDSN Europe, and an associate editor of the international Journal “Energy Economics”. He is also a member of the Leadership Council of SDSN Cyprus and served as a Board member of Green Budget Europe, a Brussels-based expert platform promoting environmental fiscal reforms. He is the recipient of the 2009 Research Prize of the Republic of Cyprus and the 2019 Environmental Prize awarded by the President of the Republic of Cyprus. His research interests are on the techno-economic analysis of energy, environmental and transport policies, with a special interest in environmental taxation.