Oral History: The Beginning of Environmental Policy Consultancy in Germany
Prof. Dr. Martin Jänicke was one of Willy Brandt’s helpers in his 1969 election campaign, was co-founder of the German Green Party, has founded—together the with Lutz Mez—the Environmental Policy Research Centre (FFU) at the Free University of Berlin, and has thus taken part in creating the scientific infrastructure of environmental policy consultancy. Moreover, Prof. Dr. Martin Jänicke is co-founder of the "Berlin School on Environmental Policy Sciences," which gained worldwide recognition and whose approach is also followed by Ecologic Institute. As a policy consultant, Prof. Dr. Martin Jänicke is a key figure in Germany, where he was part of the German Advisory Council on the Environment (SRU). Seventy-five years old, he is now travelling more than ever and is one of the most important consultants for the Chinese government. On 18 October 2012 Prof. Dr. Martin Jänicke was interviewed by R. Andreas Kraemer about the beginning of environmental policy consultancy in Germany. Portions of the conversation (in German) can be watched online.
The conversation with Prof. Dr. Martin Jänicke took the attendees on an exciting trip through time, 50 years into the past to the beginning of environmental policy consultancy in Germany. It soon became quite clear that it is not so easy to define this beginning since, as Prof. Dr. Martin Jänicke highlighted, environmental policy was not introduced bottom-up through civil society or the sciences but rather top-down by the Bundeskanzler Willy Brandt, who, in his tenure from 1969 to 1974, introduced modern environmental protection in Germany.
Nevertheless, the foundation of the German Advisory Council on the Environment (SRU) could be interpreted as the beginning of environmental policy consultancy in Germany. It was introduced in 1971 by the government at that time, was founded in 1972, and has been involved in policy consultancy ever since. Still, in the 1970ies further institutes were created, among them the International Institute for Environment and Society (IIES), which was founded as part of the Science Center Berlin (WZB) in 1972; the Oeko-Institut, which was founded 1977 in Freiburg; and the Institute for Energy and Environmental Research (ifeu), which was founded 1978 in Heidelberg.
Finally, Prof. Dr. Jänicke provided advice to the current policy consultancies: important for the effectiveness of policy consultancy is not only the production of knowledge itself, but also its communication through the right channels to the right addressees.
Portions of the conversation (in German) can be watched here: