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Sustainability strategy

German politics attaches particular importance to sustainable development, but remains open for critical opinions and international exchange.

Johannes Göbel, 13.11.2020
Sustainable energy: wind turbine on sheep pastures in Germany
Sustainable energy: wind turbine on sheep pastures in Germany © picture alliance / blickwinkel/H. Blossey

What is Germany doing to increase sustainability?

Germany agreed a National Sustainable Development Strategy for the first time in 2002. It has been revised several times since then. Currently it focuses on a wide variety of issues: ranging from the National Hydrogen Strategy or the general promotion of research and development through the strengthening of ecological farming to the global effort for adequate nutrition. The Federal Government plans to publish a new strategy in 2021 and has also appealed for suggestions for it from citizens, for example, on online forums. The statements collected on the Federal Government website range from the fundamental demand for more public education on sustainable development to advice about specialist literature on climate neutrality.

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What needs to done better?

The Federal Government set up the German Council for Sustainable Development in 2001. Its experts support policy-makers with recommendations and criticism. Among other things, the council is calling for sustainable development to be made a national objective in the Basic Law to give the subject greater weight in legal consultations. With regard to climate policy the recommendations of the council state: “Initial impetus has been provided with the revised German climate package in 2019 and the European Green Deal. However, additional systematic changes and incentives are needed – especially in the fields of mobility, buildings and nutrition – so that Germany and Europe can make their contribution to achieving the Paris climate targets.”

What does Germany consider especially important in international cooperation?

German sustainability policy is significantly shaped by the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) of the United Nations, which calls for “partnerships to achieve the goals” in SDG number 17. The draft of the 2021 German Sustainable Development Strategy emphasises that reaching the poorest and the most disadvantaged people first “is a central duty of governments and international cooperation”. The draft also underlines Germany’s aim of continuing to support the development of productive capacities in the world’s least developed countries “above all, with regard to processed products manufactured in compliance with social, employment and environmental standards”.


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