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Refinement of the Sustainable Development Strategy and Stakeholder Dialogue


Refinement of the Sustainable Development Strategy and Stakeholder Dialogue

On 27 November 2007 Chancellor Angela Merkel opened the consultation process for the progress report 2008 for the German sustainable development strategy. It was approved by the Federal Cabinet for submission to the Bundestag on 29 October 2008. Sustainable development is a concept which can only be successful if it is deep-seated in the middle of society. Public participation in refining the sustainable development strategy is therefore explicitly sought by the Federal Government. Ecologic was therefore commissioned to analyse consultation and participation processes in Germany and Europe in order to develop proposals for the refinement of the German consultation process within the German sustainable development strategy.

The relevance of participation in sustainable development was first emphasised when the development of national sustainable development strategies was decided with the “Agenda 21” at the “United Nations Conference on Environment and Development” (UNCED) in Rio de Janeiro. The Agenda 21 is a leading paper for sustainable development and schedules among others the approval of national sustainable development strategies. Accordingly, almost all European countries have developed a national sustainable development strategy.

The German Federal Government approved its sustainable development strategy right in time for the World Summit on Sustainable Development (WSSD) in Johannesburg in 2002. The strategy and its implementation are regularly evaluated and reviewed. Within the framework of this evaluation and monitoring process, the Federal Government regularly reports on the progress of the strategy.

Besides the progress report 2008, one progress report 2004 and a landmark sustainability 2005 have been approved so far. In this context the development of the sustainable development strategy itself as well as the progress report and the landmark sustainability have been accompanied by a broad dialogue and consultation process with the relevant stakeholders.

The project is divided into four phases of analysis:

  • Ecologic and RIMAS analyse the consultation processes which took place in the context of national sustainable development strategies in the 27 European countries.
  • Best practice-cases will be identified from the 27 country analyses.
  • The best practice-cases will be analysed in in-depth case studies.
  • Ecologic and RIMAS will verify the transferability of the results to the German context and formulate policy recommendations for the refinement of the German sustainable development strategy.

Furthermore, Ecologic and RIMAS hosted a workshop with national policy implementers. This workshop was organised in cooperation with the "European Sustainable Development Network" (ESDN). A second workshop called ”Public participation in national sustainable development strategies – Impulses for German consultation processes” took place on 21 November 2008 in the Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety.

The goal of the workshop was the presentation of selected project results through Ecologic. Doris Knoblauch presented "Participative processes and political strategies – reflections from a theoretical point of view" [pdf, 308 KB, German], as an introduction to the workshop. Anneke von Raggamby then presented "Consultation processes of selected EU states – Practical examples" [pdf, 404 KB, German]. Afterwards, stakeholders and persons in charge for the German strategy processes discussed the design of participation processes and the involvement of stakeholders in future activities in Germany. The core of the discussion was the assessment of participation elements’ adoption from other countries. The invited participants were stakeholders, who took part in the public participation process for the progress report 2008, and both policy implementers and organisers of consultation processes.

Vienna University for Economics and Business, Research Institute for Managing Sustainability (RIMAS), Austria
December 2007 to February 2009
Project ID
sustainable development strategy, sustainability, consultation processes, participation, governance, SWOT-Analysis, Germany