"We must mainstream sustainability in all policy fields"

Federal Development Ministry campaign "One World - Our Responsibility" "We must mainstream sustainability in all policy fields"

Germany has a special responsibility when it comes to realising the sustainable development goals (SDGs). It is one of the industrialised states that have done much to cause climate change, explained Chancellor Angela Merkel at the launch of the sustainability campaign "One World – Our Responsibility" in Berlin.

Chancellor Angela Merkel speaks at the launch of the Federal Development Ministry's SDG campaign.

Chancellor Angela Merkel at the campaign launch - the 2030 Agenda is a charter for the future of the world

Photo: Bundesregierung/Bergmann

Climate action and species conservation can go hand in hand with economic growth. We have "the means and we have the opportunities" to demonstrate this, said Chancellor Angela Merkel at the launch of the "One World – Our Responsibility" campaign, devised by the Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ).

In many areas resource consumption is already decoupled from economic growth in Germany. One example is energy consumption. "We, the German government, must mainstream sustainability across all policy fields," declared the Chancellor.

2030 Agenda – a charter for the future of the world

Angela Merkel again underlined the importance of the 17 sustainable development goals (SDGs) and the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development as a charter for the future of the world. All countries in the world, industrialised countries, developing nations and emerging economies together accept responsibility for our planet under the provisions of the 2030 Agenda and the SDGs. The 17 SDGs can only be attained in stages, explained Angela Merkel. "We need to check how far we have come and whether we need to correct our course or our speed."

Sustainability concerns us all

Federal Development Minister Gerd Müller stressed that responsibility for our planet begins with each of us. Every single one of us needs to move from words to action. That is the only way to achieve a paradigm shift that will bring greater sustainability.

"More and more people and considering how they can shop, live, build or travel in a more sustainable way. And they are not just thinking about these things, but are taking creative steps to put their thoughts into practice," said Chancellor Angela Merkel.

More efforts for the climate

The Chancellor also called for greater global efforts in terms of climate change mitigation. "Even if we achieve the existing climate targets around the world, we will see an average temperature rise of three degrees Celsius," she warned. "That means that our goals are far from sufficient." The obligations laid out in the Paris Agreement on climate change include keeping global warming down to a maximum of 1.5° Celsius. Experts fear that any greater temperature rise would have devastating consequences for life on Earth.

"Enormous steps" needed

Angela Merkel pointed to the responsibility of the industrialised states. Although they are home to only 20 per cent of the world’s population, they consume 80 per cent of global resources. The international community agrees on the goals to be achieved and has made major progress towards these goals, but "enormous steps" are still needed, she underscored. The next decade must be a "decade of action".

The Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) launched the "One World – Our Responsibility" campaign along with NABU, the German Nature and Biodiversity Conservation Union, in order to bring the sustainable development goals to the heart of German society. The ministry will be using a variety of different events and existing town twinning arrangements as well as working with civil society partners to explain the SDGs using very specific examples. The campaign is to supplement the Federal Government Press and Information Office’s more digital information campaign with the motto "The Magnificent 17".