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Doris Knoblauch


Doris Knoblauch

Political Scientist (Diplom-Politologin)

Co-Coordinator Plastics
Coordinator Urban & Spatial Governance
Senior Fellow


Doris Knoblauch joined Ecologic Institute in January 2006 and works as a Senior Fellow and Coordinator for Urban & Spatial Governance, as well as Co-Coordinator for the topic "Plastics". Thematically, she focuses on plastics in the environment, green urban environments, local climate protection as well as evaluations and assessments, sustainability, sustainable development strategies in Germany and Europe, public participation and the analysis of networks and network processes. Her other interests include environmental policy in so-called developing countries, as well as environmental policy within development cooperation. Doris Knoblauch works in German and English and has good knowledge of Spanish and French.

Doris Knoblauch focuses on the following research questions: (1) what role does plastic play in the environment, (2) which sources contribute to plastic in the environment, (3) which sinks have an impact on plastic in the environment and how and (4) which solutions could help to reduce plastic in the environment. Furthermore, since 2008 Doris Knoblauch has contributed to Eurostat Monitoring – first for the European Sustainable Development Strategy and now for the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

She is part of the following projects:

Plastic Pirates – German coast: In this project, school classes and youth groups search for plastic waste on the coasts and the river system of the Elbe – including its tributaries such as the Havel, Mulde or Saale. In doing so, they are making an important contribution to research. The collected research data is uploaded to a central web platform and then analyzed by scientists from the Kiel Science Factory and Ecologic Institute.

International Cooperation to Restore and Connect Urban Environments in Latin America and Europe (INTERLACE): As part of the 4-year EU project, Doris Knoblauch accompanies the city of Chemnitz in the development and implementation of policies to promote nature-based solutions in the city. She is also working on other projects focusing on nature-based solutions, such as CLEVER Cities.

Capacity Development for Long-term Climate Neutrality Strategies in Towns and Cities (Ready4NetZero): Ready4NetZero aims to support small- and medium-sized cities in Poland, Romania, Hungary and Croatia in the development and implementation of local strategies to reach climate neutrality. To do so, the project creates knowledge resources (written guidance) and provides training and capacity building activities (webinars, workshops, a study visit, an international conference) to equip municipal staff with capacities, knowledge, and networks to develop and implement local long-term climate strategies.

Monitoring of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and the Europe 2020 Strategy: Doris Knoblauch is part of the team at Ecologic Institute monitoring the SDGs under the coordination of the Institute for Managing Sustainability. Thematically, she is responsible for SDG 17, "Partnerships for the goals".

Evaluation, Monitoring and Adaptation of Existing Funding Programmes and Further Development of the National Climate Initiative (NKI) 2019-2023: Doris Knoblauch is part of the team that evaluates the NKI and supports the ministry in developing it further.

Doris Knoblauch is an active member of the Scientists' Coalition for an Effective Plastics Treaty, an international network of diverse, independent scientific and technical experts seeking to contribute with summaries and interpretations of scientific knowledge to decision makers and the public involved in the negotiations towards a global agreement to end plastic pollution.

Since 2012, Doris Knoblauch has also worked intensively with cities and municipalities. Thereby, she has not only built up a network of different cities and municipalities as well as relevant actors, but also gathered a deep understanding of the functioning and needs of communities. In her work, she appreciates when science can be of practical use for communities and results are directly implemented to solving on-the-ground problems.

Furthermore, Doris Knoblauch is an experienced and passionate moderator. Within the last twelve years she has facilitated a variety of different events, including small working groups via larger international project meetings as well as stakeholder events to conferences.

Between 2000 and 2005, Doris Knoblauch studied political science at the Freie Universität Berlin (Germany) and Heidelberg University (Germany), focusing on comparative policy analysis, regional policy analysis and political theory.

In 2009, Doris Knoblauch supported the International Institute for Sustainable Development (IISD) in Winnipeg (Canada). Furthermore, during the 2010 and 2011 summer terms, Doris Knoblauch taught a course entitled Policy consultancy in intermediate organizations at the Hochschule Bremen together with Christiane Gerstetter. During the summer of 2012, she taught this course together with Gesa Homann, during the winter term 2015/16 together with Evelyn Lukat, during the winter term 2017/18 together with Dr. Ulf Stein and during the winter term 2020/21 together with Linda Mederake. Doris Knoblauch is member of the INKOTA network e.V..

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Selected projects by Doris Knoblauch

Recent projects in the field of "plastics"


© BMBF/Gesine Born

Since 2016, young people have been successfully researching and mapping plastic pollution in and around rivers in Germany. As part of the citizen research project Plastic Pirates, they take on the role of scientists and investigate the state of our rivers. More than 1... Read more
| Fotolia © Christian Schulz
In the framework of the scientific accompanying research (PlastikNet) of the research focus "Plastics in the Environment – Sources • Sinks • Solutions" (Plastik in der Umwelt – Quellen • Senken • Lösungsansätze) Ecologic Institute coordinated 20 joint research projects,... Read more

Recent projects related to cities


Photo: Ewa Iwaszuk

Cities and their peripheries are constantly confronted with challenges such as urban sprawl, climate change and pollution. These processes can exacerbate the degradation of natural ecosystems, and jeopardize ecosystem service provisioning with negative consequences for... Read more

International Cooperation to Restore and Connect Urban Environments in Latin America and Europe (INTERLACE)


© Sandra Naumann

Ready4NetZero aims to support small- and medium-sized cities in Poland, Romania, Hungary and Croatia in the development and implementation of local strategies to reach climate neutrality. To do so, the project creates knowledge resources (written guidance) and provides... Read more
Selected publications by Doris Knoblauch

Selected publications in the field of plastics regulation

Plastiktütenpolitiken im Globalen Norden und Globalen Süden
While diffusion patterns are quite well understood in the context of the Global North, diffusion research has only been applied to a limited extent to investigate how policies spread across developing countries. In this article, Ecologic Institute's Doris Knoblauch,... Read more

Knoblauch, D.; Mederake, L.; Stein, U. Developing Countries in the Lead—What Drives the Diffusion of Plastic Bag Policies? Sustainability 2018, 10, 1994.

graphic government policies combatting plastic pollution

© Ecologic Institute

In this review, Ecologic Institute's Doris Knoblauch and Linda Mederake analyse the subject focus of 45 articles (published 2019–2021), dealing with government action to regulate plastic pollution. Policies described in the articles and introduced between 2016 and 2021... Read more

Knoblauch, D.; Mederake, L. (2021): Government policies combatting plastic pollution, Current Opinion in Toxicology,

Publiction's cover "Einfach weglassen"

oekom Verlag

Numerous one- to two-person households, an increase in mail-order business as well as the popular "to-go" culture are causing a steady rise in the consumption of plastic packaging in Germany. While approximately 1.8 million tons of plastic were produced per year in 2000... Read more

Knoblauch, Doris; Schritt, Hannes (2020): Umweltproblem Plastikverpackung. Aufkommen in Deutschland und Auswirkungen auf die Umwelt. In: Kröger, Melanie; Pape, Jens; Wittwer, Alexandra (Hrsg.) (2020): Einfach weglassen? Ein wissenschaftliches Lesebuch zur Reduktion von Plastikverpackungen im Lebensmittelhandel. ISBN: 978-3-96238-243-8. Oekom Verlag, München.

Report Cover "Global Rules in a New Global Treaty"

© WWF Philippines

In March 2022, at the resumed fifth meeting of the United Nations Environment Assembly, UN Member States adopted the historic decision to start negotiating a global treaty to combat plastic pollution. As national delegations and relevant stakeholders in Asia start... Read more

Mederake, Linda; Knoblauch, Doris (2022): Global rules in a new global treaty: Asia's opportunity to end single-use plastic pollution. Published in July 2022 by WWF Philippines.

Marine plastic pollution is a fast growing problem and it is not yet possible to estimate how severe the impacts currently are. Between 4.8 and 12.7 Mt of plastics ends up in the ocean each year, adding to the uncontrolled plastic waste already floating around the world... Read more

Simon, Nils et al. (2018): No More Plastics in the Ocean. Gaps in Global Plastic Governance and Options for a Legally Binding Agreement to Eliminate Marine Plastic Pollution. Draft report for WWF to support discussions at the Ad Hoc Open-ended Expert Group on Marine Litter and Microplastics. Berlin: adelphi.

Cover Key Messages

© Ecologic Institute

The publication summarizes the key messages from all 20 joint research projects and the seven cross-cutting topics of the research focus. Structured along the following ten main topics, the central results are presented in order to derive recommendations for various... Read more

Hinzmann, Mandy; Knoblauch, Doris; Mederake, Linda; Schritt, Hannes; Stein, Ulf (eds.) (2022): Key messages of the research focus "Plastics in the Environment".

Local climate policies

The multifunctional character of nature-based solutions (NBS) enables them to provide responses to both social and environmental challenges. Analysis has shown that there is significant potential for NBS to help achieve sustainable urban development objectives.... Read more

Knoblauch, D., Naumann, S., Mederake, L., Araujo Sosa, A. C. 2020: CLEVER Cities Policy Brief. Ecologic Institute, Berlin.

"While nations talk, cities act." This quote from Mike Bloomberg, the former New York mayor, reflects the frequent portrayal of the role of cities and local governments in global climate governance: in light of concerns about the inability of national governments to... Read more

Mederake, Linda; Iwaszuk, Ewa; Knoblauch, Doris (2019): The evolving role of cities as non-state actors in the international climate regime. In: Abdullah, Hannah (Ed.) Cities in World Politics. Local responses to global challenges. Monografías CIDOB 75. Barcelona: CIDOB.

With both the impact of climate change on cities and the role cities play in reducing global greenhouse gas emissions becoming increasingly apparent, many cities around the world are adopting long-term climate policy strategies or vision documents outlining how they... Read more

Iwaszuk, Ewa; Mederake, Linda; Knoblauch, Doris (2019): The Transformative Potential of Local Climate Change Strategies. In: Zevi, Tobia (Ed.) The Century of Global Cities. How Urbanisation is Changing the World and Shaping our Future. Milan: Italian Institute for International Political Studies.

In this report, Doris Knoblauch, Sandra Naumann, Linda Mederake and Ariel Carlos Araujo Sosa (all Ecologic Institute) explore the extent to which current policy frameworks support sustainable urban development and nature-based solutions (NBS). To this end, policies... Read more

Knoblauch et al. (2019). Multi-level policy framework for sustainable urban development and nature-based solutions -- Status quo, gaps and oppor-tunities. Deliverable 1.2, CLEVER Cities, H2020 grant no. 776604.

Nature-based solutions (NBS) are increasingly being adopted as an effective tool to address urban challenges, as they provide a range of ecological, social and economic benefits. But, to what extent do current policy frameworks support or hinder their implementation?... Read more

Davis, M.; Abhold, K.; Mederake, L.; Knoblauch, D. (2018): Nature-based solutions in European and national policy frameworks. Deliverable 1.5, NATURVATION. Horizon 2020 Grant Agreement No 730243, European Commission, 50 pp.

Governments around the world have already adopted long-term climate frameworks, many in legal form. Many others are in the process of developing similar laws or strategies. These overarching long-term frameworks are critical to effectively implementing the Paris... Read more

Duwe et al. (2017) "Paris compatible" governance: long-term policy frameworks to drive transformational change. Ecologic Institute. Berlin.

Selected events by Doris Knoblauch
Theme day: Plastics in the environment

Ecologic Institute

Can microplastics get into the water, when I wash a fleece jacket made of polyester? How many climate-damaging greenhouse gases are emitted by the production of plastic? What is chemical recycling? Together with numerous researchers from all over Germany, we got to the... Read more

Conference:Theme Day: Plastic in the Environment

Berlin, Germany
Selected presentations by Doris Knoblauch
Title Slide Presentation

Ecologic Institute

On 29 March 2023, Doris Knoblauch and Mandy Hinzmann, both from Ecologic Institute, gave a lecture on "Plastics and the Environment" at a postgraduate course, where 19 experts from ministries, authorities, municipalities, non-governmental organizations and industry from... Read more
On 2 December 2019, Doris Knoblauch and Dr. Stephan Sina, Senior Fellows at Ecologic Institute, held a presentation on "Tackling Plastic Pollution – Introduction to Global Plastic Pollution and the Discussions at the International Level" for 21 experts... Read more
Präsentation "Plastik-Governance"
On 30 November 2018, Linda Mederake, Junior Researcher at Ecologic Institute, presented the Institute's activities in the field of plastics governance to a group of students from the International Degree Program Political Management (B.A.) at Hochschule Bremen, City... Read more

Lecture:The Governance of Plastics

Ecologic Institute, Berlin, Germany