Decision concerning the German Sustainability Strategy
The Federal Cabinet made a decision in principle concerning the German Sustainability Strategy. “The best reaction to the global climate, energy and raw material crises” is to turn Germany into a sustainable and thus more resilient society, writes Federal Chancellor Scholz in the introduction.
In a decision paper, the Federal Government explains the importance of sustainable development as a response to the various present-day crises: climate change, species extinction, increasing food insecurity, the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic and the Russian war of aggression against Ukraine. The urgent need for action is stressed in the Federal Cabinet’s decision in principle concerning the German Sustainability Strategy. After all, there are less than eight years left until the goals for sustainable global development of the 2030 Agenda are supposed to be met.
Transformation towards sustainable development must be successful
In the introduction, Federal Chancellor Olaf Scholz stresses the importance of transformation towards greater sustainability, saying that it had to be understood as an opportunity and driver for innovation. “The Federal Government tackles this organisational task with its policies that are focused strictly on sustainability – both for the present day and for future generations,” the Federal Chancellor continues.
Minister of State Sarah Ryglewski adds: “For the transformation to be successful, we must act in concert across all government levels. This applies to the Federal, Länder and local governments, as well as on the European and international level.” The Federal Cabinet decided to put the Minister of State in charge of the issue of sustainable development on 24 August 2022.
You can download the decision in principle concerning the German sustainability strategy here PDF, 1 MB, barrier-free .
Interministerial teams for transformation
The decision in principle also provides for seven transformation teams to be formed. The job of these cross-departmental project teams is to prepare the decisions of the State Secretaries' Committee for Sustainable Development and to supervise the implementation of the determined measures. The State Secretaries' Committee for Sustainable Development is the central control organ for the German Sustainability Strategy and has been chaired by Minister of State Ryglewski since September 2022. All departments are represented on the committee.
The transformation teams are responsible for the six areas of transformation outlined in the German Sustainability Strategy: human well-being and skills, social justice, energy revolution and climate protection, the circular economy, sustainable construction and the transport revolution, sustainable agriculture and food systems, a pollutant-free environment. In addition, a seventh transformation team has been set up for the topic “international responsibility and cooperation as a lever for transformation”.
Decisions concerning all of these topics are going to be made by spring 2024 in a series of meetings of the State Secretaries' Committee.
High level of commitment to sustainability in civil society
The role of the entire society for reaching the global sustainability goals is also highlighted in the decision in principle. An online platform for Joint Action for Sustainable Development was set up for this purpose in September.
In her introduction to the decision in principle Ryglewski writes: “More and more people are getting involved to promote sustainability in a private capacity, through organisations, associations and businesses. The Network for Joint Action for Sustainable Development that was launched in September 2022 and is coordinated by the Council for Sustainable Development offers great potential for involvement of social actors. It enables committed individuals with new ideas to network and to prepare specific campaigns.”
The Network for Joint Action for Sustainable Development is an initiative of the Federal and Länder Governments. Its goal is for all societal groups and all governmental levels to get involved in implementing the 17 goals, to network and to initiate new campaigns.
Greater accountability and improved control of sustainability policy
The Federal Government has committed itself to the 2030 Agenda of the United Nations that was adopted in 2015. The coalition agreement sets out that the 17 goals of the 2030 Agenda must remain the guiding principles of the Federal Government’s policies. In addition, the coalition agreement also calls for greater accountability concerning the Sustainability Strategy and the determined measures. The foundations of political control and coordination of the strategy are to be solidified further. A first response to this is the formation of the transformation teams.
By signing the 2030 Agenda, all states accepted joint responsibility for ensuring good life prospects for present and future generations.