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wpml_translations.language_code = 'en' OR ( wpml_translations.language_code = 'de' AND wp_posts.post_type IN ( 'event','team' ) AND ( ( ( SELECT COUNT(element_id) FROM wp_icl_translations WHERE trid = wpml_translations.trid AND language_code = 'en' ) = 0 ) OR ( ( SELECT COUNT(element_id) FROM wp_icl_translations t2 JOIN wp_posts p ON p.id = t2.element_id WHERE t2.trid = wpml_translations.trid AND t2.language_code = 'en' AND ( p.post_status = 'publish' OR p.post_type='attachment' AND p.post_status = 'inherit' ) ) = 0 ) ) ) ) AND wp_posts.post_type IN ('post','page','attachment','wp_block','wp_template','wp_template_part','wp_navigation','document','event','member','projects','team' ) ) OR wp_posts.post_type NOT IN ('post','page','attachment','wp_block','wp_template','wp_template_part','wp_navigation','document','event','member','projects','team' ) ) GROUP BY wp_posts.ID ORDER BY wp_posts.menu_order, wp_posts.post_date DESC LIMIT 0, 12 " ["posts"]=> &array(6) { [0]=> object(WP_Post)#6016 (24) { ["ID"]=> int(91781) ["post_author"]=> string(2) "17" ["post_date"]=> string(19) "2022-07-08 16:34:57" ["post_date_gmt"]=> string(19) "2022-07-08 14:34:57" ["post_content"]=> string(6722) "Few concerned with the global Agenda for Sustainable Development are still under any illusions: the United Nations’ 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) as formulated in the 2030 Agenda are an increasingly distant reality. “In the 75 years since the United Nations was founded, the human race has never had to face a set of challenges like we do right now”, says British actor and human rights activist Thandiwe Newton at the start of the official UN video for this year’s High-Level Political Forum, or HLPF for short. Once a year, heads of state and government join representatives from business and civil society at the UN building in New York to review progress on the 2030 Agenda adopted by the United Nations in 2015. This year’s meeting from 5–15 July will be special for several reasons: for the first time in two years, it will predominantly take place in person instead of via video link. The HLPF will focus on how the world can recover from the pandemic in a way that effects change to achieve the SDGs. But this is also a meeting in the midst of numerous crises, with the emotive scenes of the conference film illustrating precisely what this means: climate change, deforestation, biodiversity loss, war, pandemic. Similarly, the UN Secretary-General’s report on the HLPF makes for sober reading on the facts behind these images. As many as 95 million people have slipped into extreme poverty as a result of the pandemic, while 100 million children fall below the minimum reading proficiency level. In all the years since 1945, there have never been as many violent conflicts as there are today, while two billion people live in countries that feel the impact of this aggression. 2020 saw 161 million more people go hungry than in 2019, with Russia’s war of aggression only poised to exacerbate the situation. Indeed, Russia and Ukraine supply 30 percent of the world’s wheat and more than half of the world’s sunflower oil.

Not a summit for resignation

But the summit in New York is not one for resignation. Instead, it hopes for a fresh start. Echoing the sentiment so many are feeling, the opening video sees Newton declare that we can solve these problems together. “In light of the Russian war of aggression and its global impact, global sustainable development policy needs a total rethink”, adds Marc-Oliver Pahl, Secretary General of the German Council for Sustainable Development. For while current affairs leave the Sustainable Development Goals adopted in 2015 – including the eradication of poverty and hunger worldwide by 2030, gender equality, and the preservation of ecosystems, to name just a few – looking more than ever like wishful thinking, the SDGs can also serve as a compass to guide us out of the crisis. This was the subject of an RNE statement back in May which emphasised that, even as the war and its impact exacerbate structural poverty, it is more important than ever for all decision-makers across government and opposition, business and society, to focus on sustainability, resource conservation and climate neutrality. Equally, now more than ever the importance of securing a clean break from our reliance on fossil raw materials, and thus on Russian natural gas, is clear. As the RNE writes, “We now need even more courage to effect the necessary transformation at pace and honour a political spirit of resolve and pragmatism”. The HLPF is the perfect platform to summon that courage. Observers hope the meeting will get down once and for all to bridging the gaps and issues in the 2030 Agenda – certainly UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres approached the meeting unremittingly last year and seems unlikely to sugar-coat anything this time round. The HLPF is also an opportunity for states and civil society across the globe to learn from one another, which is why nation states use the stage to present their reports on the implementation of the Agenda in their respective countries. These reports are called voluntary national reviews, or VNRs. This year, a number of states have written VNRs for the first time – and behind each one is a national process for advancing sustainable development.

Events with RNE’s involvement

Last year, the meeting was held largely online and saw then-Chancellor Angela Merkel present the German VNR herself via video link. This year, Germany will be represented at state secretary level, while its official event will focus on feminist foreign policy. The RNE is also organising two events together with partners from the Global Forum for National SDG Advisory Bodies. The Forum is a global network of councils for sustainable development, or similar bodies, with a mandate to promote sustainable development in their respective countries. The event on 12 July will address the complex issue of how different countries can establish institutions to work on sustainability policy on a long-term basis, bringing together a range of actors spanning from civil society to business. The second event on 14 July will focus on local authorities, which have a central role to play in realising the 2030 Agenda. There are now also voluntary local reviews (VLRs) at local level to allow local governments to review their progress in achieving the Agenda. The event will see Pereira in Colombia and Bonn in Germany present their VLRs. As such, the RNE aims to prove that the 2030 Agenda is not a matter for nation states alone, but one between states and their civil societies at all levels. “We need new structures for inter-state cooperation for those states that want to advance sustainable development, climate protection and biodiversity, but we also need greater commitment from business, civil society and local government”, says Marc-Oliver Pahl in the hope that this year’s HLPF will generate fresh momentum  " ["post_title"]=> string(39) "A Sustainability Summit in Times of War" ["post_excerpt"]=> string(299) "After three years of COVID-19 and more recently the war in Ukraine, the 2030 Agenda has never before seemed quite so utopian. Now, the international community is meeting for its annual sustainability summit in New York to continue fighting for its roadmap to making the world a better place for all." ["post_status"]=> string(7) "publish" ["comment_status"]=> string(6) "closed" ["ping_status"]=> string(6) "closed" ["post_password"]=> string(0) "" ["post_name"]=> string(39) "a-sustainability-summit-in-times-of-war" ["to_ping"]=> string(0) "" ["pinged"]=> string(0) "" ["post_modified"]=> string(19) "2022-07-08 16:46:29" ["post_modified_gmt"]=> string(19) "2022-07-08 14:46:29" ["post_content_filtered"]=> string(0) "" ["post_parent"]=> int(0) ["guid"]=> string(42) "https://www.nachhaltigkeitsrat.de/?p=91781" ["menu_order"]=> int(0) ["post_type"]=> string(4) "post" ["post_mime_type"]=> string(0) "" ["comment_count"]=> string(1) "0" ["filter"]=> string(3) "raw" } [1]=> object(WP_Post)#6015 (24) { ["ID"]=> int(89113) ["post_author"]=> string(1) "5" ["post_date"]=> string(19) "2021-12-08 08:39:34" ["post_date_gmt"]=> string(19) "2021-12-08 07:39:34" ["post_content"]=> string(7486) "Every year, German sports grounds produce around 7.5 million metric tons of environmentally damaging CO2, or the equivalent of six major cities. This is according to the German Olympic Sports Confederation, the umbrella organization for German sport. Calculations from Environmental Action Germany suggest that in the 2018/19 season alone, more than nine million disposable cups were used in just the first and second German national football leagues. According to a study carried out by the IcoachKids+ project, across Europe, boys usually take on a much more active role in sport than girls. But there is another way, a better way. This is the core message of the “Goals Need Actions - Sport in the West” (“Ziele brauchen Taten – Sport im Westen”) campaign, which aims to promote the 17 Global Sustainable Development Goals set by the international community in 2015 as part of the 2030 Agenda. The campaign was launched by RENN.west, one of the four Regional Hubs for Sustainability Strategies (RENN) in Germany. These hubs support anyone who wants to advance solutions for the future. The starting point is information. RENN.west has enlisted the help of 17 well- and less well-known athletes who will all draw attention to one of the 17 goals in a series of short video messages. Among them, boxer Regina Halmich.

Fighting for women’s rights

The clip shows Halmich stepping into the ring and asking: “What’s the difference between a fight in the ring and a fight at home?”. Instantly, she answers: “In a fight at home, there are no rules”. She goes on to explain that around one in six women experience physical or sexual violence in a relationship, and concludes: “Together with you, I want to fight for women’s rights and to achieve greater gender equality”. This is in line with Goal 5 of the 17 Sustainable Development Goals. Additional clips show the other “faces of sustainability” playing their sport. All the videos, which anyone can share on social media, are structured in the same way: question, answer and explanation, all rounded off with an appeal. Swimmer Britta Steffen, for example, front crawls a length and asks: “What’s the difference between a seahorse in the sea and a child in the pool?” Representing Sustainable Development Goal 14 “Life Below Water”, Steffen is talking about the waste littering our oceans and referencing the seahorse swimming badges children in Germany earn for swimming progress. The celebrities didn’t hesitate to get involved, says Mona Rybicki, part of the team running the campaign at LAG 21 NRW. On the contrary, “most of them said they thought it was great to be able to actually do something as they’d already been thinking about how they could help shape the future for a long time”. Decathlete Frank Busemann calls for an end to hunger, while table tennis player and wheelchair user Holger Nikels motivates people to protect the climate.  And there are many more. Rybicki believes: “We’ve hit a nerve”. Indeed, athletes themselves are affected by climate change and other issues and have to consider how they can defend themselves against heat, for example. Is the answer, then, to plant more trees around sports grounds to give them more shade. Or do we need to reschedule training times and set up sunscreen dispensers? There is no shortage of recommendations, but that’s just one part of it. Clubs and sports fans have long been looking for ideas on how to become not just more climate-friendly, but also more ecological and inclusive – that is to say more sustainable overall. In Germany alone there are around 90,000 sports and athletics clubs with 27 million members and the power to make a huge difference. “There’s a lot already going on, but if you think of the challenges facing society, it’s just not enough”, adds Rybicki.

Common good clause in football

Football clubs like Werder Bremen, VfB Stuttgart or TSG Hoffenheim all purchase green energy, for example, and have solar power systems in place. However, the champion of sustainability among the German professional clubs is surely VfL Wolfsburg. As part of a whole range of measures, the club has banned disposable cups and switched to reusable ones instead. It has signed the “Sports for Climate Action” climate protection agreement and committed itself to the United Nations’ “Race to Zero” initiative. Examples like this show just what is possible. Now, the campaign aims to raise awareness by slowly introducing those breaking new ground and publishing background information. Equally, sports journalist and stadium commentator Arnd Zeigler will be regularly publishing interviews until the end of August 2021 under the motto: “Passion meets mindset”. These interviews will focus on the subjects’ impressions and ideas of how best to anchor sustainability in the world of sport. Jan Lehmann, 1. FSV Mainz 05 Board Member for Finance and Commerce, believes, for example, that the German Bundesliga can reach climate neutrality by 2030. Andreas Rettig, CEO of FC Viktoria Köln, explains the common good clause that contractually prescribes player social engagement in his club – be that donating blood, caring for the elderly or visiting children’s homes and nurseries. He is convinced that: “Sustainability is like nurturing young talent – you’re investing in the future!”. RENN.west warmly invites all interested parties to the Conference for the Future (“Zukunftskonferenz”) on 4 October 2021 to jointly develop further ideas on how to make sport sustainable. After all, the ultimate aim of the campaign is to face the future as a team by sharing ideas and networking. More information on the “Goals Need Actions” campaign can be found on the website or on FacebookTwitter and Instagram." ["post_title"]=> string(46) "Improving sustainability: On the home straight" ["post_excerpt"]=> string(303) "Green energy, reusable packaging and social engagement – clubs, athletes and their fans can all play a major role in sustainable development. A great example of this is RENN.west’s “Goals Need Actions – Sport in the West” campaign. Among those breaking new ground are prominent football clubs." ["post_status"]=> string(7) "publish" ["comment_status"]=> string(6) "closed" ["ping_status"]=> string(6) "closed" ["post_password"]=> string(0) "" ["post_name"]=> string(45) "improving-sustainability-on-the-home-straight" ["to_ping"]=> string(0) "" ["pinged"]=> string(0) "" ["post_modified"]=> string(19) "2021-12-08 08:39:34" ["post_modified_gmt"]=> string(19) "2021-12-08 07:39:34" ["post_content_filtered"]=> string(0) "" ["post_parent"]=> int(0) ["guid"]=> string(42) "https://www.nachhaltigkeitsrat.de/?p=89113" ["menu_order"]=> int(0) ["post_type"]=> string(4) "post" ["post_mime_type"]=> string(0) "" ["comment_count"]=> string(1) "0" ["filter"]=> string(3) "raw" } [2]=> object(WP_Post)#6011 (24) { ["ID"]=> int(53529) ["post_author"]=> string(2) "17" ["post_date"]=> string(19) "2021-09-24 12:27:51" ["post_date_gmt"]=> string(19) "2021-09-24 10:27:51" ["post_content"]=> string(4252) "

"We must safeguard the future of our planet and the future of younger generations," said Angela Merkel in her two-minute video message. „This task should be the highest priority for us all”, she said. The occasion for the Chancellor's appeal was the SDG Moment, an event launched by the United Nations in 2020, which took place this year on the 20th of September. The event is designed as a virtual meeting of heads of state and government.

The aim of the SDG Moment is to reinforce the continued relevance of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and build momentum in advance of major summits – currently also against the background of the pandemic and its consequences. In her welcome address, Angela Merkel emphasised: "We, the international community and the United Nations, must now do our utmost to work to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals.“ She called on the audience to continue to work together to accelerate the implementation of the 2030 Agenda.

Neither helpless nor hopeless

UN Secretary-General António Guterres had already stressed in his opening speech of the SDG Moment that the world had never faced such a challenge. It would be easy to lose hope. But people are neither hopeless nor helpless, he said, there is a path to recovery with the 2030 Agenda – "if we choose to take it".

In addition, Guterres had published the long-awaited report "Our Common Agenda" a few days before. The report emphasises the challenges of multiple crises and is a call for a new global solidarity and a strengthening of multilateralism. It provides concrete recommendations for action on how the global community should adapt its global governance to emerge from the crisis.

The SDG moment also marked the start of the 76th United Nations General Assembly. More than 30 participating heads of state and government shared their statements via pre-recorded video messages – with the exception of Swedish Prime Minister Stefan Löfven, who joined in live.

German Chancellor Merkel was joined by Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga, a second representative of a G20 nation and also an important climate financier. He emphasised that the Covid-19- pandemic has had a severe impact on various SDG areas. To achieve the SDGs by 2030, he said, all countries need to develop creative strategies and work together to accelerate their efforts. "As a country that attaches great importance to multilateralism, Japan is determined to lead the efforts of the international community to achieve the SDGs," Suga said.

A to-do list for the planet

Suga called for equitable access to vaccines and other tools in the fight against infectious disease – this was "essential". It is also crucial to build a more resilient global health system to prepare for future crises. Lastly, he emphasised gender equality, which promotes innovation and drives social transformation: "The SDGs are the compass to overcome the current crisis."

The SDG moment was also closely watched because it came just weeks before the COP26 international climate conference in Glasgow in late October/early November, for which Angela Merkel announced an "ambitious target" in her video message. "It is clearer than ever that we must implement the 2030 Agenda more swiftly," she said. "We will not be able to make up for our shortcomings now in a few years down the line."

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How is progress being made with the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) around the world – who monitors them in the individual countries, and who advises political leaders on their implementation? It is virtually impossible to give a universal answer to this question, says Dr Hannah Janetschek, Project Manager for International Partnerships at the office of the German Council for Sustainable Development (RNE). However, sustainable development advisory councils and similar organisations which are working to implement the 2030 Agenda at national level play an important role.

For this reason, from 17 to 20 February, the Global Forum for National SDG Advisory Bodies will meet in the Colombian capital of Bogotá for the first time. The network was established last September at the United Nations (UN) Sustainable Development Summit in New York. “The actors involved are incredibly diverse,” says Janetschek. There are approximately 70 participants in all. Only about a quarter come from Europe or North America, with the remainder hailing from Africa, Asia, the Middle East and Latin America.

The network is particularly important for developing and emerging countries. While Europe has had a network of sustainability bodies – the EEAC (European Environment and Sustainable Development Advisory Councils) – for quite some time, similar organisations have only been set up in many other countries since the United Nations adopted the 2030 Agenda in 2015. Implementation of the Agenda is currently proving difficult, as the UN pointed out last year. This is primarily due to the global crisis of multilateralism. The network sets out to counter this by advocating partnerships for progress. “We cannot overload advisory councils and other sustainability actors in autocratic countries with a democratisation mandate, but they can of course still make valuable contributions towards fostering sustainable development within these societies,” says Janetschek.

With this in mind, the aim is to take concrete steps to strengthen organisations and enable projects to be implemented. “As of result of the Voluntary National Reviews introduced by the United Nations, numerous ‘SDG Units’ have been created in recent years which are either very close to or part of their respective governments. This begs the question of how these can be incorporated into the institutional sustainability architecture of the respective countries as constructive advisory bodies to support implementation of the SDGs long-term,” Janetschek explains. In other countries, she adds, the opposite applies, with political leaders barely aware of the multi-stakeholder platforms for sustainable development which have emerged from civil society. There, the question is how to establish them permanently as sustainability advisory councils.

Diversity is fruitful

The Forum describes its members as generating a wide range of knowledge stemming from their extensive experience of promoting sustainable development, which is shared and built upon between the individual countries and institutions. The actors’ diversity is precisely what makes the dialogue so fruitful. For example, Vietnam’s business council has been holding a National Conference on Sustainable Development since 2018, which is also attended by high-ranking politicians such as the deputy prime minister. Meanwhile, in South Africa, an alliance has formed between civil society and trade unions which were involved in producing the country’s first Voluntary National Review (VNR) on implementation of the SDGs. The review was differentiated. Although it cited progress in gender equality, for instance, with 41 per cent of members of parliament being female in 2016, the country remains blighted by substantial social inequality and violence against women.

One of the objectives of the inauguration meeting in Bogotá is to now reinforce a multi-stakeholder approach in other countries of the kind which is currently being established in South Africa. This means that sustainability advisory councils should comprise as many actors as possible as this is the only way to promote dialogue within the societies. The advisory councils or similar bodies should neither nod through the government’s agenda nor limit themselves to strong criticism from civil society. Instead, the objective is to foster constructive participation and measures to bring about sustainable development.

In concrete terms, the meeting in Bogotá could give rise to the first partnerships between countries, for example on projects to establish renewable energies or to examine how cities and local governments can produce sustainability plans. Another point is set to address the question of how individual countries can have their sustainability policy scrutinised independently, for instance via peer review processes. By the end of the meeting, a work programme covering the period to the end of 2021 should have been agreed.

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The United Nations (UN) are warning increasingly urgently that the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and in particular the climate goals of the Paris Agreement are in danger of not being achieved if more is not undertaken soon. “We are losing the race,” commented UN Secretary-General António Guterres in mid-September in an interview with the media association Covering Climate Now. And that is just one component of the 2030 Agenda. With respect to hunger and malnutrition, biodiversity, protecting the oceans and expanding renewable energy generation things hardly look better. In the recently published Global Sustainable Development Report, a group of scientists commissioned by the UN write that the lack of progress made is cause for great concern: “Much more needs to happen – and quickly,” the report says.

It is because of this that Guterres wants to use the annual General Assembly of the UN in the last week of September to broadcast a wake-up call. The one-day Climate Action Summit will be followed by the first global health summit and the two-day meeting of heads of state and government on the 2030 Agenda for the first time since it was agreed in 2015. On top of this, there will also be summits on the topics of development finance and the Samoa Pathway, a process which aims to help small island states adjust to climate change. The UN’s summit will be accompanied by climate strikes and protests all over the world.

In parallel, institutions advising national governments in many countries will be taking the initiative to help promote implementation of the 2030 Agenda and its 17 Sustainable Development Goals. Worldwide there are as yet but a few sustainability councils or similar bodies that are tasked with advising governments from a stakeholder perspective. Now these are coming together in a network to be able to learn more quickly and in a more targeted manner from each other - and thus be able to see their instruments deployed in other countries as well. The store of practical knowledge on effective policy approaches for adjusting sustainability strategies to local needs and reaching key societal actors has become quite large over the years and provides a key resource for many who wish to make progress in their countries.

The Global Forum for National SDG Advisory Bodies

Exchange of information is envisioned on, for instance, the issue of how sustainable development can be embedded in state institutions such that continuity in sustainability policy is maintained throughout the national political cycle even if the government changes. In addition, this new body – entitled the Global Forum for National SDG Advisory Bodies – will aim to improve the dovetailing of policies between countries: what effects does a measure to achieve a goal have on other countries and their own sustainable development goals? To provide an example, rising consumption of renewable raw materials for sustainable products requires the use of land areas in other regions that are needed for the preservation of biodiversity or food production.

Though each country faces its own very specific tasks, through making these interrelations clear the forum hopes to enhance the efficacy of every individual action. “When we understand in what areas we are pulling together and where we differ from one another, that helps to formulate the right policy for each country – and it increases motivation to advocate the SDGs,” explains Günther Bachmann, Secretary-General of the German Council for Sustainable Development (RNE), which is a co-founder of the Forum.

The potential offered by such exchange of information is illustrated by the British Columbia Council for International Cooperation (BCCIC) in Canada on its website. This organisation evaluated the Voluntary National Reviews, i.e. the voluntary status reports submitted by countries around the world to the United Nations to document their progress in implementing the 2030 Agenda. Though criticism has been voiced regarding the informative value of these reports, the BCCIC has gleaned from them positive examples from all over the world. One key component in implementing the SDGs is, for instance, that the whole of society has to be involved: policymakers, civil society, industry, the scientific community, educational institutions. And this requires a lot of dialogue: from the BCCIC it can be read that Jamaica, for example, has developed a vision for 2030 through public dialogue forums with its citizens. In Greece, a similar initiative with over 10,000 participants was undertaken.

Imme Scholz: “Keep the pressure on”

What good are such successes in view of the fact that more and more CO2 is being emitted, biodiversity is declining and both the inequalities between people and the mountains of rubbish are growing and growing? In its Global Sustainable Development Report, the United Nations pinpoints these four issues as being decisive. “In this crisis of multilateralism, we must now defend and uphold the 2030 Agenda. We need it to be a positive goal we strive to attain,” says Imme Scholz, Acting Director of the German Development Institute (DIE) and member of the German Council for Sustainable Development. In view of current developments, she finds it difficult to stay optimistic, and adds: “We are on a collision course. The United Nations have made a clear statement to national governments that merely continuing to pay lip service simply isn’t enough.”

In the closing statement of the SDG summit from the heads of state and government, which has already been prepared and made available online, countries at least admit that they have made very little progress and that achievement of the goals of eliminating hunger and poverty is endangered. However, they did not see themselves in a position to agree any concrete measures, in part because the UN High-Level Political Forum (HLPF), which has been convening annually since 2015, has not been granted any resolution-making authority. According to Bachmann, this is further evidence of the lack of commitment and “governance”, and Imme Scholz adds critically: “I am not confident that actions will truly follow from this insight. There hasn’t even been a timeline agreed for the interim goals on the way to 2030.” It is thus even more crucial, she continues, for sustainability councils and similar bodies the world over to come together in a forum. “Particularly in light of the ongoing climate crisis we need to keep the pressure on and work even more decisively towards achieving the 2030 Agenda,” demands Scholz.

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Chinese and German sustainability stakeholders came together this summer to engage in dialogue – the Sino-German Sustainability Summit, which was held in Beijing at the end of June and was organised by TÜV Rheinland, and a business round table on the following day served as a forum for discussing urgent sustainability issues and possible joint contributions to the 2030 Agenda. The German corporate network Econsense and the German Council for Sustainable Development (RNE) were event partners.

For some years now, TÜV Rheinland has been organising regular summits in China on a variety of topics such as standardisation and quality management. This year’s focus was sustainability. TÜV Rheinland therefore brought the corporate network Econsense, the Sino-German Center for Sustainable Development (organised within the GIZ office in Beijing) and the agency Schlange & Co. on board as supporting organisers, alongside the RNE.

The meeting of approximately 260 Chinese and German sustainability stakeholders was also attended by two members of the RNE Office, namely Yvonne Zwick, RNE’s Deputy Secretary-General and Head of the Sustainability Code Office, and Project Manager Florian Harrlandt.

Fruitful dialogue

On the first day of the summit, Yvonne Zwick moderated a panel discussion on the topic of sustainable finance and, in the afternoon, a workshop on transparency and sustainable development. Florian Harrlandt gave a speech introducing the Sustainability Code. “The personal discussions we had were also interesting as they gave us insight into the challenges faced locally in China,” said Harrlandt. For example, there was very little recognition of the correlation between individual, healthy lifestyles and sustainability at the corporate level.

On the second day, a smaller circle of attendees convened for a round-table discussion, including representatives of businesses and civil society such as TÜV Rheinland, EY Germany, the Global Compact Network China, the Emerging Market Multinationals Network for Sustainability and Econsense.

Proportion of SMEs high in both countries

A surprising lesson learned over the two days was the fact that Germany and China face very similar challenges: “We were surprised by how many parallels could be drawn between the German and Chinese economic structures,” noted Harrlandt. Yvonne Zwick thus firmly believes these talks will serve to trigger ongoing dialogue.

In both countries, most of the major enterprises have already developed approaches with which to contribute to sustainable change. Equally, however, both countries have a high proportion of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) within their economies and these still often see the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) as an abstract political concept with which they have few touchpoints. In the course of the Sino-German dialogue, both Ya Yuan, who works as a consultant to the China Business Council for Sustainable Development (CBCSD), and David Wang, General Manager of RKS Ratings, stated that a sound basis for sustainable development achievements by companies in China was still lacking.

Possible follow-up event in Germany

“It was a similar problem which prompted the RNE to facilitate a structured approach to sustainability reporting years ago in the form of the Sustainability Code,” explained Florian Harrlandt, who went on to say that it was therefore hardly surprising that the Chinese dialogue partners were interested in this instrument.

An array of other services and instruments which the RNE has already put to the test, such as the Sustainable Shopping Basket, the dialogue of mayors and the Regional Hubs for Sustainability Strategies (RENN), likewise caught the Chinese dialogue partners’ interest; they believe these could be applied in a modified form in China, too. There is also interest on both sides in consolidating this Sino-German dialogue and in holding a follow-up Sino-German Sustainability Summit in Germany.

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Not a summit for resignation

But the summit in New York is not one for resignation. Instead, it hopes for a fresh start. Echoing the sentiment so many are feeling, the opening video sees Newton declare that we can solve these problems together. “In light of the Russian war of aggression and its global impact, global sustainable development policy needs a total rethink”, adds Marc-Oliver Pahl, Secretary General of the German Council for Sustainable Development. For while current affairs leave the Sustainable Development Goals adopted in 2015 – including the eradication of poverty and hunger worldwide by 2030, gender equality, and the preservation of ecosystems, to name just a few – looking more than ever like wishful thinking, the SDGs can also serve as a compass to guide us out of the crisis. This was the subject of an RNE statement back in May which emphasised that, even as the war and its impact exacerbate structural poverty, it is more important than ever for all decision-makers across government and opposition, business and society, to focus on sustainability, resource conservation and climate neutrality. Equally, now more than ever the importance of securing a clean break from our reliance on fossil raw materials, and thus on Russian natural gas, is clear. As the RNE writes, “We now need even more courage to effect the necessary transformation at pace and honour a political spirit of resolve and pragmatism”. The HLPF is the perfect platform to summon that courage. Observers hope the meeting will get down once and for all to bridging the gaps and issues in the 2030 Agenda – certainly UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres approached the meeting unremittingly last year and seems unlikely to sugar-coat anything this time round. The HLPF is also an opportunity for states and civil society across the globe to learn from one another, which is why nation states use the stage to present their reports on the implementation of the Agenda in their respective countries. These reports are called voluntary national reviews, or VNRs. This year, a number of states have written VNRs for the first time – and behind each one is a national process for advancing sustainable development.

Events with RNE’s involvement

Last year, the meeting was held largely online and saw then-Chancellor Angela Merkel present the German VNR herself via video link. This year, Germany will be represented at state secretary level, while its official event will focus on feminist foreign policy. The RNE is also organising two events together with partners from the Global Forum for National SDG Advisory Bodies. The Forum is a global network of councils for sustainable development, or similar bodies, with a mandate to promote sustainable development in their respective countries. The event on 12 July will address the complex issue of how different countries can establish institutions to work on sustainability policy on a long-term basis, bringing together a range of actors spanning from civil society to business. The second event on 14 July will focus on local authorities, which have a central role to play in realising the 2030 Agenda. There are now also voluntary local reviews (VLRs) at local level to allow local governments to review their progress in achieving the Agenda. The event will see Pereira in Colombia and Bonn in Germany present their VLRs. As such, the RNE aims to prove that the 2030 Agenda is not a matter for nation states alone, but one between states and their civil societies at all levels. “We need new structures for inter-state cooperation for those states that want to advance sustainable development, climate protection and biodiversity, but we also need greater commitment from business, civil society and local government”, says Marc-Oliver Pahl in the hope that this year’s HLPF will generate fresh momentum  " ["post_title"]=> string(39) "A Sustainability Summit in Times of War" ["post_excerpt"]=> string(299) "After three years of COVID-19 and more recently the war in Ukraine, the 2030 Agenda has never before seemed quite so utopian. Now, the international community is meeting for its annual sustainability summit in New York to continue fighting for its roadmap to making the world a better place for all." ["post_status"]=> string(7) "publish" ["comment_status"]=> string(6) "closed" ["ping_status"]=> string(6) "closed" ["post_password"]=> string(0) "" ["post_name"]=> string(39) "a-sustainability-summit-in-times-of-war" ["to_ping"]=> string(0) "" ["pinged"]=> string(0) "" ["post_modified"]=> string(19) "2022-07-08 16:46:29" ["post_modified_gmt"]=> string(19) "2022-07-08 14:46:29" ["post_content_filtered"]=> string(0) "" ["post_parent"]=> int(0) ["guid"]=> string(42) "https://www.nachhaltigkeitsrat.de/?p=91781" ["menu_order"]=> int(0) ["post_type"]=> string(4) "post" ["post_mime_type"]=> string(0) "" ["comment_count"]=> string(1) "0" ["filter"]=> string(3) "raw" } ["comment_count"]=> int(0) ["current_comment"]=> int(-1) ["found_posts"]=> int(6) ["max_num_pages"]=> float(1) ["max_num_comment_pages"]=> int(0) ["is_single"]=> bool(false) ["is_preview"]=> bool(false) ["is_page"]=> bool(false) ["is_archive"]=> bool(true) ["is_date"]=> bool(false) ["is_year"]=> bool(false) ["is_month"]=> bool(false) ["is_day"]=> bool(false) ["is_time"]=> bool(false) ["is_author"]=> bool(false) ["is_category"]=> bool(false) ["is_tag"]=> bool(true) ["is_tax"]=> bool(false) ["is_search"]=> bool(false) ["is_feed"]=> bool(false) ["is_comment_feed"]=> bool(false) ["is_trackback"]=> bool(false) ["is_home"]=> bool(false) ["is_privacy_policy"]=> bool(false) ["is_404"]=> bool(false) ["is_embed"]=> bool(false) ["is_paged"]=> bool(false) ["is_admin"]=> bool(false) ["is_attachment"]=> bool(false) ["is_singular"]=> bool(false) ["is_robots"]=> bool(false) ["is_favicon"]=> bool(false) ["is_posts_page"]=> bool(false) ["is_post_type_archive"]=> bool(false) ["query_vars_hash":"WP_Query":private]=> string(32) "9b694d71c13e653b7af016468cd58b03" ["query_vars_changed":"WP_Query":private]=> bool(true) ["thumbnails_cached"]=> bool(false) ["allow_query_attachment_by_filename":protected]=> bool(false) ["stopwords":"WP_Query":private]=> NULL ["compat_fields":"WP_Query":private]=> array(2) { [0]=> string(15) "query_vars_hash" [1]=> string(18) "query_vars_changed" } ["compat_methods":"WP_Query":private]=> array(2) { [0]=> string(16) "init_query_flags" [1]=> string(15) "parse_tax_query" } }