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Future peace and prosperity will no longer be within our reach, if we in Germany do not commit more resolutely to greater sustainability and channel all our energy into making it happen – be it in politics, business, science or civil society.

Marlehn Thieme, Chairwoman of the Council

Marlehn Thieme

The principle of sustainability is the only option for responsible global action; it protects our eco-systems and thus ensures the survival of generations to come.

Olaf Tschimpke, Deputy Chairman of the Council

Olaf Tschimpke

Measuring sustainability and identifying interrelationships are major success factors for anchoring this topic in companies and on capital markets.

Prof. Dr. Alexander Bassen, Member of the Council

Prof. Dr. Alexander Bassen

Avoiding past mistakes means pointing progress in the right direction: the principle of sustainable development is a good compass for technical and social innovations at local, national and global level.

Ulla Burchardt, Member of the Council

Ulla Burchardt

The global sustainability and climate protection goals are the long-term milestones. Now we have to engage in an honest discussion about what the state, private sector and citizens can and must do to achieve them.

Kathrin Menges, Member of the Council

Kathrin Menges

The energy revolution has greatly reduced the costs of green electricity, so it is competitive at international level and helps to achieve the global sustainability goals without additional CO2 emissions.

Alexander Müller, Member of the Council

Alexander Müller

The idea of sustainability is at the core of a viable, innovative economy and is vital for a society that aims to safeguard quality of life in the long term. That is why the three pillars of sustainability – economic, environmental and social – must be considered together.

Katherina Reiche, Member of the Council

Katherina Reiche

Make the sustainable choice the easy choice.

Prof. Dr. Lucia A. Reisch, Member of the Council

Prof. Dr. Lucia A. Reisch

Sustainable development requires to find as much common ground as possible but also to accept differences.

Dr. Werner Schnappauf, Member of the Council

Dr. Werner Schnappauf

Today, sustainable development requires an agenda which explicitly links global and national goals and policies and thus gives global cooperation a strong push forward.

Dr. Imme Scholz, Member of the Council

Dr. Imme Scholz

In forest science, we learned how important the sustainable management of natural resources is centuries ago. Empirical knowledge, openness to new things and humility in the face of nature can help other sectors, too.

Prof. Dr. Ulrich Schraml, Member of the Council

Prof. Dr. Ulrich Schraml

Cities, even more so than today, will become hubs of technological and social development in the future. All the more important are efforts to encourage the sustainable development of our cities.

Prof. Dr. Wolfgang Schuster, Member of the Council

Prof. Dr. Wolfgang Schuster

The UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) oblige all countries to adopt new ways of thinking and acting. They are the yardstick for the limitations and opportunities of globalization.

Achim Steiner, Member of the Council

Achim Steiner

We need to make bold political decisions that reward growth less and sustainability more and that encourage the common good instead of profit-seeking.

Prof. Dr. Hubert Weiger, Member of the Council

Prof. Dr. Hubert Weiger

The UN Sustainable Development Goals present the vision of a fundamental socio-ecological transformation. They are not a specialist task for development or environmental policy, but are binding for all cabinet members.

Heidemarie Wieczorek-Zeul, Member of the Council

Heidemarie Wieczorek-Zeul
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Content

National Sustainability Strategy

The first national Sustainable Development Strategy was adopted by the German Government in 2002, with regular updates in 2004, 2008 and 2012. In view of the UN 2030 Agenda on Sustainable Development the German government had decided to make its National Sustainable Development Strategy a key framework for achieving the SDGs in Germany.

After a dialogue process with non-state and subnational actors the Federal Government adopted on 11 January 2017 the new version of the national Sustainable Development Strategy which represents the most extensive enhancement of the Strategy since its first adoption in 2002. The Strategy adopts the holistic and interdependent approach of the 2030 Agenda. Moreover, it details how Germany wants to contribute to reaching the SDGs through measures with effects in Germany, measures by Germany with a global impact through measures in cooperation with others.
Read here an executive summary of the new German Sustainable Development Strategy in English.

Germany presented the state of sustainable development in Germany, the process leading to the new Sustainable Development Strategy and the approach chosen in its national voluntary review at the meeting of the High Level Political Forum in July 2016. Please find the report here:
Report of the German Government to the High-Level Political Forum in July 2016

History

In April 2002, the German Government adopted the national Sustainability Strategy. The results of consultations with social groups and the proposals of the Council for Sustainable Development were incorporated into this document. For more detailed information, see section Strategy 2002.

In the following years, the German Sustainability Strategy was repeatedly refined with the input of so-called Progress Reports. In November 2004, the Federal Government presented the first revision of its Sustainability Strategy with the 2004 Progress Report. Aside from the results of a public consultation process, the report included the Council’s verdicts on sustainable development, which had previously been published under the title of “Nachhaltigkeit im Visier” (Targeting Sustainability). Additionally, the results of a dialogue project organised by the Council on minimising land consumption were included in the report. For more information, see Strategy 2004.

In its "Wegweiser Nachhaltigkeit 2005", the Federal Government described its current sustainability policy at the national and international level. The German Council for Sustainable Development contributed two independent chapters to the document. Read more about it in Landmark Sustainability 2005.

In 2008, the Federal Cabinet presented the next Progress Report. Prior to this, engaged citizens, associations and institutions were able to participate in a consultation process and assist in appraising the current state of affairs and in further developing the Sustainability Strategy. For more detailed information, see Strategy 2008.

In the Progress Report 2012 the Federal Government placed emphasis on sustainable economy, climate and energy as well as sustainable water policy. More information can be found under Strategy 2012 (in German).

Since 2006, by order of the Federal Government, the Federal Statistical Office tracks the course of sustainable development in Germany. The agency presented its first so-called Indicator Report in 2006, followed by further reports in 2008, 2010, 2012, 2014 and 2016.

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