News from SDSN Germany

What must the next German government achieve for sustainability policy? This was the guiding question of the 8th German SDSN Assembly. Besides, SDSN Germany published a position paper about the levers of sustainability policy.

8th German SDSN Assembly

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©SDSN Germany

On 28 October 2021, around 70 representatives of member and partner organisations of SDSN Germany as well as other stakeholder groups participated in the virtual 8th SDSN Germany Assembly, titled “Policies for Progress and Sustainability? What the new German government must achieve for sustainability policy”. The meeting was kicked off by a farewell ceremony for the long-serving Executive Director of SDSN Germany, Adolf Kloke-Lesch (Co-Chair, SDSN Europe).

The thematic focus of the event was the prospects for sustainability policy in the new legislative period. Prof. Dr. Kai Niebert (President, Deutscher Naturschutzring) and Marie-Luise Abshagen (Sustainable Development Officer, Forum Umwelt und Entwicklung) shared their expectations for the climate, environmental and sustainability policies of the new German government, the “traffic light coalition”. The panelists agreed that the relevance of the SDGs must not be reduced to the international context or, in fact, to development policy; rather, they have to become national commitments with domestic relevance. Ideally, the SDGs should become an overarching narrative and guiding framework for the government. Integrating the SDGs in the legislative process could potentially help overcome their non-binding nature. Applying the rules and culture of collective bargaining to coalition negotiations, however, would not lead to the desired outcomes on sustainability. Instead of pursuing a zero sum game, negotiators should collectively define baselines and necessary outcome on issues such as digitalisation, climate policy and social justice.


Click here for the full report on the event (only available German).


Statement: Aligning the levers of sustainability policy

The position paper “Aligning the levers of sustainability policy for implementation” (only available in German: “Die Hebel der Nachhaltigkeitspolitik auf Umsetzung ausrichten”) focuses on the overarching levers for the key transformations mentioned in the German Sustainable Development Strategy:


  1. Governance
  2. Social Mobilisation and Participation
  3. Finance
  4. Science, Research and Digitalisation
  5. International Responsibility and Cooperation


The 20th legislative period will be decisive for the successful implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the German Sustainability Strategy. Yet, so far, it is not clear at all whether the coalition treaty of the incoming government will include a commitment to the German Sustainable Development Strategy and the implementation of the global Sustainable Development Goals of the United Nations. The paper aims at raising awareness among policy-makers for the significance of the 2030 Agenda and proposes concrete policy recommendations on how to make the 2030 Agenda the guideline for government action.

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