German Council for Sustainable Development

A example to follow regarding sustainability

Sustainability has established itself in the political arena, the private sector and society as a whole, said Chancellor Angela Merkel at the annual conference of the German Council for Sustainable Development.

Helen Clark, Marlehn Thieme and Angela Merkel (left to right)

Helen Clark (at left) presents the Chancellor with the peer review. Germany needs to be "more ambitious still".

Photo: Bundesregierung/Denzel

She called for international partnerships, for steps to shape globalisation, and for the EU to take on a pioneering role in realising the global sustainable development goals.

The German government will align its actions to the imperatives of achieving the sustainable development goals, which it also sees as the answer to the challenges of globalisation. Chancellor Angela Merkel made this clear to an audience of 1,800 invited guests from inside and outside Germany.

Working together to resolve global issues

Angela Merkel declared that global issues can only be resolved by working together. She pointed to the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. There has been progress on international cooperation in this context, but with the withdrawal of the USA from the Paris Agreement on climate change, there have also been setbacks.

It is important to provide developing countries with the latest technologies, she continued. Germany must further increase its spending on research and development, and set itself ambitious objectives in order to achieve the sustainable development goals.

The EU too must address global challenges. It could stand as an example of successful multilateral cooperation for the world.

With the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, the international community has set itself 17 global sustainable development goals (SDGs). They were adopted by the United Nations in 2015. The Agenda aims to achieve a life in dignity, justice and freedom for all people, along with good education, training and working conditions and the protection of natural resources and the global climate.

Counting on forward-looking technologies

Angela Merkel sees digitalisation and artificial intelligence as ways of achieving the SDGs, but always with the proviso that action must be ethically responsible.

Technological progress, well trained individuals, sustainable financial policy and social cohesion are preconditions for shaping the future. In Germany, the potential offered by women must also be better harnessed. The number of women in the workforce is still too low. Improvements are needed to make it easier to reconcile family and professional commitments.

International study handed over

A group of international experts headed by Helen Clark has analysed the implementation of the German national sustainable development strategy. The former Prime Minister of New Zealand and former head of the UNDP presented the peer review to the Chancellor. It calls on Germany to make its sustainable development strategy "more ambitious still". It is well positioned at international level, but further improvements are still needed.

The Chancellor announced that Germany will revise its national sustainable development strategy. Biodiversity protection, for instance, needs to be discussed.

The German Council for Sustainable Development advises the German government. It identifies specific fields of action and projects for realising the sustainable development strategy and ensures that sustainability is an important public concern. The Council is free to select its own topics and forms of action. Headed by Marlehn Thieme, the Council of 15 comprises seven women and eight men, all public figures.