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wp_posts.post_type) WHERE 1=1 AND ( wp_term_relationships.term_taxonomy_id IN (566) ) AND ((wp_posts.post_type = 'post' AND (wp_posts.post_status = 'publish' OR wp_posts.post_status = 'acf-disabled'))) AND ( ( ( 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_status = 'private' 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(4) { [0]=> object(WP_Post)#6137 (24) { ["ID"]=> int(95781) ["post_author"]=> string(1) "5" ["post_date"]=> string(19) "2023-02-23 09:09:58" ["post_date_gmt"]=> string(19) "2023-02-23 08:09:58" ["post_content"]=> string(7100) "The Joint Action for Sustainable Development is all about bringing together people working on achieving the goals of the 2030 Agenda and a sustainable future for Germany. After all, even the best initiatives, organisations or start-ups can benefit from the chance to network, swap ideas or learn from one another along the way. But, networking can be time-consuming, so what is the most efficient way to connect? The Joint Action for Sustainable Development, a joint federal and Länder initiative coordinated by the German Council for Sustainable Development (RNE), has found one answer to the problem. Since going live in September 2022, its platform of the same name has listed and brought together associations, civil society, companies, trade unions and more. But until recently, each actor had to be manually researched and invited by a member of the team or had to express an interest in taking part themselves. In future, artificial intelligence (AI) will help speed up this process: from spring this year, a web crawler will trawl the internet for sustainable organisations in Germany. A practical next step, and one underscored by Finn Wölm, data scientist and co-founder of the Global Goals Directory, who worked on creating the software for the Joint Action: “We have found that many cities have a solid sustainable development strategy in place, but that these rarely make a point of including civil society, business, organisations, initiatives or associations as a matter of course.” Yet it is precisely these actors, according to Wölm, who act as a point of contact between sustainability and the population. A great deal of the potential to include actors more systematically is certainly going untapped at local government level – a fact Sophia von Petersdorff-Campen, who coordinates the Joint Action for the RNE’s office, is happy to confirm: “A preliminary study highlighted the number of organisations and initiatives playing an active role in achieving the 2030 Agenda that are yet to join the wider conversation to discuss their sustainable solutions.” With the 2030 Agenda, the international community has set itself the goal of achieving global sustainability by 2030. The Agenda details 17 global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), which are the blueprint to achieve a sustainable future. The goals include affordable and clean energy for all, eradicating poverty and hunger, and gender equality. The search function on the Joint Action platform allows users to filter organisations according to the individual SDGs the institutions hope to achieve. Moving forward, the preliminary work for this, too, will be automated: “The AI finds out which SDGs each organisation actually contributes to. In future, this will allow us to target how we address individuals in a much more efficient way and invite them to join the Joint Action”, explains Petersdorff-Campen.

Data in almost real time

Founded in 2019, Global Goals Directory is a team of SDG experts and developers who have set themselves the goal of supporting local governments, districts and cities in Germany on their journey to sustainable development. Among other skills, the team specialises in big data, AI and machine learning in the context of the SDGs. “We show local governments their SDG ecosystem. But we don’t just look for stakeholders, we also analyse their contribution to sustainable development, the role they play in society. As such, we can also show where strengths and weaknesses lie”, says Wölm. For example, the team could find a local government has plenty of partners working on SDG 7, renewable energy, but scarcely any on SDG 5, gender equality. The AI generates this data in almost real time, which can then be used to target gaps effectively. Unlike AI-driven mapping, manual options are time-consuming and costly. “Many local governments just don’t have the resources to map these issues manually”, says Finn Wölm. But it is vital to keep track of the field if we are to achieve sustainable development, something which simply cannot be done by people alone. A project with a similar aim to the Joint Action has already taken place in Canada: the Movement Map. Ten thousand or so organisations were mapped manually over a period of two years to ascertain their contribution to sustainable development. “Except once you’re done, you may as well start all over again”, explains Wölm. The field is just too dynamic for the speed at which humans work. The AI has an easier time of it: it scans websites for content to classify organisations according to the SDGs, a skill it has been taught over countless examples, having been fed pre-classified texts categorised by SDG. “The AI is able to recognise a pattern from this – where certain words appear together, it acknowledges this as relevant and can apply the pattern to new texts”, says Finn Wölm. Of course the Joint Action does not go by the information set out on an organisation’s website alone, explains Sophia von Petersdorff-Campen. “We quality-check anyone who registers with the Joint Action and have set criteria in place to make sure an actor upholds basic democratic values, for example, and that they play a recognisable role in improving sustainable development.” In future, the AI should be able to filter this independently too, and the future looks bright for this partnership. Petersdorff-Campen also wants the Joint Action to further promote the conversation on its work, with registered organisations able to actively shape and update their content on the platform.

Artificial intelligence and its potential for sustainable development

Finn Wölm believes AI could also help achieve sustainable development in other areas in the future: “Making political decisions on the basis of data that is three, four or even sometimes as much as ten years old limits you – everything is shown through the lens of the rear-view mirror. AI opens up interesting options for measuring data in real time, for example using satellite imagery.” If you know where lights are on at night, it is easy to measure population size, for example. Or you can collect data on de- and reforestation, biodiversity and even how much CO2 forests store. “Aerial photography makes identifying tree species and their size easy, and you can calculate on the basis of that”, says Wölm. AI has proven itself even more useful in achieving the SDGs, for example in research, where it can classify research articles and papers to analyse which topics are already being researched and where there are potential gaps in the literature. Another application is legislation, where AI can scan which laws are drafted and passed and how these laws could potentially play a role in achieving the SDGs. After all, a comprehensive overview is a must to hit your goals." ["post_title"]=> string(50) "Reaching goals faster with artificial intelligence" ["post_excerpt"]=> string(255) "This spring, the Joint Action for Sustainable Development will welcome a new member to the team: a web crawler. The crawler is currently being fed information in the hope that it will soon be able to recognise key actors for the 2030 Agenda independently." ["post_status"]=> string(7) "publish" ["comment_status"]=> string(6) "closed" ["ping_status"]=> string(6) "closed" ["post_password"]=> string(0) "" ["post_name"]=> string(50) "reaching-goals-faster-with-artificial-intelligence" ["to_ping"]=> string(0) "" ["pinged"]=> string(0) "" ["post_modified"]=> string(19) "2023-02-23 09:09:58" ["post_modified_gmt"]=> string(19) "2023-02-23 08:09:58" ["post_content_filtered"]=> string(0) "" ["post_parent"]=> int(0) ["guid"]=> string(42) "https://www.nachhaltigkeitsrat.de/?p=95781" ["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)#6140 (24) { ["ID"]=> int(95445) ["post_author"]=> string(2) "17" ["post_date"]=> string(19) "2023-01-20 10:52:46" ["post_date_gmt"]=> string(19) "2023-01-20 09:52:46" ["post_content"]=> string(3308) "Scholz declared: “The Council for Sustainable Development advises the federal government on all matters of sustainable development. With their individual professional backgrounds, the 15 members represent the economic, ecological and social aspects of sustainable development.” “Alongside its advisory role, the Council also promotes the subject of sustainability in society and among the general public – most recently through the Joint Action for Sustainable Development, an initiative it coordinates on behalf of the government and Länder. In so doing, it makes a vital contribution to our country’s future. With the German Sustainable Development Strategy, the federal government is committed to achieving the goals of the United Nations’ 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development; the strategy serves as a guide for the policies of the federal government”, the Chancellor continued. Moving forward, the 15-strong Council will consist of 9 women and 6 men. New to the Council are: The following members are reappointed: Members are appointed by the Federal Chancellor for a three-year term. They elect their chairperson from among their number." ["post_title"]=> string(66) "German Chancellor appoints new Council for Sustainable Development" ["post_excerpt"]=> string(170) "Berlin, 18 January 2023 – Federal Chancellor Olaf Scholz today duly announced in the federal cabinet the new line-up of the German Council for Sustainable Development. " ["post_status"]=> string(7) "publish" ["comment_status"]=> string(6) "closed" ["ping_status"]=> string(6) "closed" ["post_password"]=> string(0) "" ["post_name"]=> string(66) "german-chancellor-appoints-new-council-for-sustainable-development" ["to_ping"]=> string(0) "" ["pinged"]=> string(0) "" ["post_modified"]=> string(19) "2023-02-09 15:25:19" ["post_modified_gmt"]=> string(19) "2023-02-09 14:25:19" ["post_content_filtered"]=> string(0) "" ["post_parent"]=> int(0) ["guid"]=> string(42) "https://www.nachhaltigkeitsrat.de/?p=95445" ["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)#6151 (24) { ["ID"]=> int(94411) ["post_author"]=> string(2) "17" ["post_date"]=> string(19) "2022-11-04 11:46:03" ["post_date_gmt"]=> string(19) "2022-11-04 10:46:03" ["post_content"]=> string(8139) "A true transition needs “a good story”, said Hans Joachim Schellnhuber at the 21st Annual Conference of the German Council for Sustainable Development (RNE) in Berlin. One of the most internationally renowned climate scientists, Schellnhuber founded the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK), where he has been Director Emeritus since 2018. “The biggest elephant in the climate room is building”, he explained, having joined forces with other experts to set up Bauhaus Earth to change this. Some 40 percent of greenhouse gases emitted globally originate from the construction and operation of buildings and infrastructure. And not only that: half of all waste produced in western industrialised countries comes from building and demolition. In Germany alone, some 45 hectares a day of near-natural landscape is lost to housing developments and transport infrastructure. And yet this giant among climate sins went for a long time unrecognised. “We should have changed direction long ago”, said Schellnhuber. In 2019 the Greenland ice sheet lost a record amount of mass, with one million tonnes of ice melting every minute. Humanity rushed towards the planks laid down by the Paris Agreement in 2015. But the average temperature of the Earth’s surface is already 1.25 degrees above its pre-industrial level. “We are heading towards 3, 4, 5 degrees”, warned the climate scientist. “That would be a different world, one in which civilisation could not survive.” Global warming, he continued, “must be halted not much above two degrees – and then we have to work backwards”.

Now more than ever

But aren’t there other priorities for now? The climate crisis is not the only crisis to contend with. 2019 introduced us to coronavirus and on 24 February this year came Russia’s war of aggression in Ukraine on top. People are worried about heating their homes, putting food on the table and how they will get to work. Germany is facing existential problems – as is the rest of the world. But that’s no reason to put the socioecological restructuring on hold. Quite the contrary. The participants, including many members of the government, were agreed. It’s worth following the debate. It reveals a lot about how seriously sustainability should be taken in the crisis and which partners can help drive it at home and abroad. “Now more than ever”, explained Sarah Ryglewski, who as Minister of State in the Federal Chancellery is responsible for Federal-State relations and sustainability policy. She had stepped in at short notice to replace Federal Chancellor Olaf Scholz, who was due to attend the conference as keynote speaker but had come down with Covid. “We all realise how dependent we are on fossil fuels”, said Ryglewski. At the same time the ecological crises are escalating: devastating floods in Pakistan, drought in the Horn of Africa, not to mention the many forest fires in Europe. Germany, she continued, wants to be the first major industrialised nation to reach climate neutrality by 2045. The target share of renewable energies making up gross electricity consumption is at least 80 percent by 2030, which is why infrastructure planning and approvals are now also being fast-tracked. And the federal administration itself plans to be climate-neutral by 2030. Far from being an obstacle, the transition to sustainability is an economic opportunity. “If we miss it, we’ll be left behind”, insisted the Minister of State. And Germany won’t swerve its international obligations either.

Bonfire of enthusiasm for sustainability

Rebuilding Germany and the world sustainably – that’s what many people want. Of course there are also voices that say “Crisis management first – transition, change, climate neutrality later”. We need to “meet them head-on”, said RNE Chairman Werner Schnappauf, and instead ignite “a bonfire of enthusiasm throughout the country”. Schnappauf called on people to start “sustainability projects everywhere: we now need the innovative capacity of business and a new cooperation between society, politics and the economy”. This is the duty of each and every one of us. For this very reason, Minister of State Sarah Ryglewski and Minister-President of North Rhine-Westphalia and current Chair of the Conference of Minister-Presidents Hendrik Wüst launched the Joint Action for Sustainable Development at the annual conference. With the motto “All together now”, the joint federal and Länder initiative is coordinated by the RNE. Organisations can sign up on an online platform and register their sustainability activities and points of contact. The aim, explained Lisi Maier, RNE member and Director of the Federal Foundation for Gender Equality, is to bring together actors who have not worked together before and gather ideas.

Wood instead of concrete

This is where, for example, the idea of climate scientist Schellnhuber comes in, which gives us a perspective to focus on in uncertain times. Like the Bauhaus movement of the 20th century, he wants to transform our built-up environment sustainably. So far, it’s “dysfunctionally ugly”, he says: “We are building in the wrong way, where the human spirit cannot feel at ease”. His alternative model is to “Reforest the planet, retimber the city”. Woodland around the world is being reforested to suit the climate; likewise, architecture is changing over from reinforced concrete and brick to organic materials. Schellnhuber refers to the system of a “forest-building pump”, which can even lower the CO2 content of the atmosphere, because trees absorb large amounts of carbon dioxide as they grow. Politics is starting to get to grips with this. In 2020, Ursula von der Leyen, President of the European Commission, launched the New European Bauhaus initiative, an idea being further developed by Ruth Reichstein in the Commission’s internal think tank I.D.E.A. Many voices are calling for “technological neutrality, treating everything as of equal value”, but that hasn’t been applied to wood and clay for a long time, she pointed out at the annual conference. Concrete has been the material of choice up to now. According to Cansel Kiziltepe, Parliamentary State Secretary in the Federal Ministry for Housing, Urban Development and Building, her department is currently working on a timber construction strategy together with the Ministry of Agriculture. The building transition will not be a walk in the park. There is “enormous demand for affordable housing”, said Martin Horn, mayor of the city of Freiburg im Breisgau. And local governments with ambitious plans for socioecological building need support in the form of federal and state funding. Theresa Keilhacker, president of the Chamber of Architects Berlin, sees great potential in maintaining existing buildings. This had “been lost sight of in recent years”. Only recently, the Association of German Architects wrote an open letter (in German) to federal building minister Klara Geywitz demanding a moratorium on demolition. In the Global North the ecological renovation of old buildings should take centre stage, along with the addition of storeys, urged Schellnhuber. In the Global South, however, with its fast-growing population, new housing needs to be built. How to build more sustainably – this question needs to be given priority in the coming months, not least through the Joint Action for Sustainable Development. Schellnhuber promised: “We are on the threshold of a new architectural era, where we will build sustainably, for all – and we will do it in style.”" ["post_title"]=> string(53) "Building a sustainable Germany – now more than ever" ["post_excerpt"]=> string(284) "In times of war, pandemic, inflation and energy shortages, humanity needs sustainability more than ever. This was the key takeaway from the 21st Annual Conference of the German Council for Sustainable Development, where one of the topics in focus was sustainable building and housing." ["post_status"]=> string(7) "publish" ["comment_status"]=> string(6) "closed" ["ping_status"]=> string(6) "closed" ["post_password"]=> string(0) "" ["post_name"]=> string(49) "building-a-sustainable-germany-now-more-than-ever" ["to_ping"]=> string(0) "" ["pinged"]=> string(0) "" ["post_modified"]=> string(19) "2022-11-04 11:46:43" ["post_modified_gmt"]=> string(19) "2022-11-04 10:46:43" ["post_content_filtered"]=> string(0) "" ["post_parent"]=> int(0) ["guid"]=> string(42) "https://www.nachhaltigkeitsrat.de/?p=94411" ["menu_order"]=> int(0) ["post_type"]=> string(4) "post" ["post_mime_type"]=> string(0) "" ["comment_count"]=> string(1) "0" ["filter"]=> string(3) "raw" } [3]=> object(WP_Post)#6153 (24) { ["ID"]=> int(94414) ["post_author"]=> string(2) "17" ["post_date"]=> string(19) "2022-10-27 11:54:39" ["post_date_gmt"]=> string(19) "2022-10-27 09:54:39" ["post_content"]=> string(8233) "“Who has good ideas and solutions and what can everyone else learn and take away from them?” This question, posed by Sarah Ryglewski at the 21st Annual Conference of the German Council for Sustainable Development (RNE), perfectly encapsulated the motivation behind the Joint Action for Sustainable Development. The Minister of State for Federal-State Relations had stepped in at short notice for Federal Chancellor Olaf Scholz, who had come down with Covid, to officially launch this joint federal and Länder initiative. Set up by the RNE, the new platform project aims to “bring together all sustainability activities nationwide, from local initiatives to business and science all the way through to local authorities”, announced Ryglewski. Together with Hendrik Wüst, Minister-President of the state of North Rhine-Westphalia and current Chair of the Conference of Minister-Presidents, Ryglewski symbolically plugged in the web platform that underpins the Joint Action for Sustainable Development. The platform is intended to showcase existing sustainability activities, link up organisations and spark new activities, ultimately helping to achieve the UN’s 17 global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Action weeks, community targets, awards, open social innovation processes and networking events are just some of the tools that will be used to get things moving. Hendrik Wüst offered to organise a networking event for the Joint Action in his state in 2023.

A central role for local governments

Sustainability is the right principle to guide us into a sound future, said RNE Chairman Werner Schnappauf at the annual conference. There is currently more momentum than ever before, in society but also in business. Government policy is setting the course and opening the doors for sustainable development: “But we all need to make our own way through these doors: citizens, local governments, businesses.” Because the success of the transition will be determined locally on the ground, where the citizens actually live; and this is precisely where the Joint Action for Sustainable Development comes into play. Sarah Ryglewski, too, highlighted the important role of local governments for a sustainable transition as “sustainability experts all over the country”. Shortly before, Markus Lewe, mayor of the city of Münster and President of the Association of German Cities, had said on the same stage: “The city of the future will be a sustainable one – or it will no longer exist.” That makes it right and proper, continued Ryglewski, that the Joint Action’s first main focus areas will be one that is so important to local governments, namely building and housing: “Many local governments are already thinking broadly on this topic and we must ensure that these ideas filter through to the legislation”, she emphasised. With this in mind, an open social innovation process on the area of transformation ‘Sustainable building and housing’ is planned for the coming year in conjunction with the Federal Ministry for Building and under the umbrella of the Joint Action for Sustainable Development. The concept centres around a 48-hour hackathon to develop new ideas, the most promising of which will then be turned into projects.

A learning platform

“This platform won’t stay like this”, predicted Lisi Maier, Director of the Federal Foundation for Gender Equality and RNE member. Rather, it is a learning platform which relies on everyone getting involved. In the subsequent panel discussion, representatives of major associations and foundations spoke about how these bodies can and must contribute to the Joint Action for Sustainable Development. Thomas Weikert, President of the German Olympic Sports Federation (DOSB), for instance, sees it as a great opportunity to put concrete proposals where possible to the 9,000 sports clubs with 25 million members under the DOSB’s umbrella. For example, turning down floodlights and adjusting training times to save energy. This would see these things actually done. Often it just takes a nudge – there’s no shortage of will. Managing Director of Stiftung KlimaWirtschaft Sabine Nallinger stressed that time is running out for a sustainable transition: “It’s time to turbocharge sociopolitical processes, but also the economy.” The economy is on the brink of a revolution. To reduce emissions by 80 percent by 2030 we need new processes and new partnerships: “And because we need to think so big, we’re definitely going to need networks.” Constantin Terton, head of business, energy and environment at the German Confederation of Skilled Crafts (ZDH), spoke on behalf of trade and craft enterprises. These are currently at a point where we need to make sure they don’t sustain lasting damage from the present crises. It is a matter of stabilising the small businesses in particular and at the same time making sure they can operate as implementers of sustainability and the energy transition. One of Terton’s great hopes for the web platform, he said, was that it would inspire young people, but also career changers, to take up a trade. “Ultimately, it’s about making something with your hands”, said the ZDH representative. “How do we manage to assemble the photovoltaics, install the heat pumps, co-generate heat and power? You can only do that with people.” The Council of the Evangelical Church in Germany recently determined its own climate protection guidelines: “We want to become 90 percent climate-neutral by 2035 and 100 percent by 2045”, said Presiding Bishop of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Northern Germany Kristina Kühnbaum-Schmidt. “We don’t tend to have such a problem recognising what we could and should do”, she explained, “but we have a problem putting it into practice”. In the afternoon, the topic forums of the annual conference then focussed on how, specifically, the Joint Action for Sustainable Development can be implemented.

Young perspectives and expertise

One of the forums was organised by the representatives of the Youth Conference on Sustainability Policy, which had been held in the run-up, around the topics of creating climate- and eco-friendly structures, ensuring mobility and coming together, making sustainability fair, and education for sustainable development. “Young people are affected by the climate crisis like no generation ever before”, explained the President of the German Federal Youth Council Wendelin Haag. Furthermore, how much knowledge young people can bring to the table has so far been underestimated, pointed out Gülistan Bayan of the Federation of Alevi Youth in Germany (BDAJ). According to Fabian Abel of the German Catholic Youth Federation, sustainability is a major topic across all youth organisations, but it’s the “how” that divides opinion. Young people are way more multifaceted than they are portrayed in the media; that was plain to see at the Youth Conference on Sustainability Policy. What unites them is their collective call to governments to step up the sustainable transition as a matter of urgency. In this spirit, the representatives of the Federal Youth Council took the opportunity to hand over the results of the Youth Conference to the Minister of State. In her speech, Minister of State Sarah Ryglewski had recalled a statement from the Brundtland Commission that shapes the concept of sustainability to this day: “Humanity has the ability to make development sustainable to ensure that it meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.” There’s no time left to lose on this, she warned: “As we know, the best time to tackle a problem was yesterday.” But the good thing is: “The next best is today, and that’s now.”   [document id="91880"]" ["post_title"]=> string(50) "Joint Action for Sustainable Development goes live" ["post_excerpt"]=> string(186) "The 21st Annual Conference of the German Council for Sustainable Development marked the official launch of a new platform project designed to accelerate the transition to sustainability." ["post_status"]=> string(7) "publish" ["comment_status"]=> string(6) "closed" ["ping_status"]=> string(6) "closed" ["post_password"]=> string(0) "" ["post_name"]=> string(50) "joint-action-for-sustainable-development-goes-live" ["to_ping"]=> string(0) "" ["pinged"]=> string(0) "" ["post_modified"]=> string(19) "2022-11-04 12:01:41" ["post_modified_gmt"]=> string(19) "2022-11-04 11:01:41" ["post_content_filtered"]=> string(0) "" ["post_parent"]=> int(0) ["guid"]=> string(42) "https://www.nachhaltigkeitsrat.de/?p=94414" ["menu_order"]=> int(0) ["post_type"]=> string(4) "post" ["post_mime_type"]=> string(0) "" ["comment_count"]=> string(1) "0" ["filter"]=> string(3) "raw" } } ["post_count"]=> int(4) ["current_post"]=> int(-1) ["before_loop"]=> bool(true) ["in_the_loop"]=> bool(false) ["post"]=> object(WP_Post)#6137 (24) { ["ID"]=> int(95781) ["post_author"]=> string(1) "5" ["post_date"]=> string(19) "2023-02-23 09:09:58" ["post_date_gmt"]=> string(19) "2023-02-23 08:09:58" ["post_content"]=> string(7100) "The Joint Action for Sustainable Development is all about bringing together people working on achieving the goals of the 2030 Agenda and a sustainable future for Germany. After all, even the best initiatives, organisations or start-ups can benefit from the chance to network, swap ideas or learn from one another along the way. But, networking can be time-consuming, so what is the most efficient way to connect? The Joint Action for Sustainable Development, a joint federal and Länder initiative coordinated by the German Council for Sustainable Development (RNE), has found one answer to the problem. Since going live in September 2022, its platform of the same name has listed and brought together associations, civil society, companies, trade unions and more. But until recently, each actor had to be manually researched and invited by a member of the team or had to express an interest in taking part themselves. In future, artificial intelligence (AI) will help speed up this process: from spring this year, a web crawler will trawl the internet for sustainable organisations in Germany. A practical next step, and one underscored by Finn Wölm, data scientist and co-founder of the Global Goals Directory, who worked on creating the software for the Joint Action: “We have found that many cities have a solid sustainable development strategy in place, but that these rarely make a point of including civil society, business, organisations, initiatives or associations as a matter of course.” Yet it is precisely these actors, according to Wölm, who act as a point of contact between sustainability and the population. A great deal of the potential to include actors more systematically is certainly going untapped at local government level – a fact Sophia von Petersdorff-Campen, who coordinates the Joint Action for the RNE’s office, is happy to confirm: “A preliminary study highlighted the number of organisations and initiatives playing an active role in achieving the 2030 Agenda that are yet to join the wider conversation to discuss their sustainable solutions.” With the 2030 Agenda, the international community has set itself the goal of achieving global sustainability by 2030. The Agenda details 17 global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), which are the blueprint to achieve a sustainable future. The goals include affordable and clean energy for all, eradicating poverty and hunger, and gender equality. The search function on the Joint Action platform allows users to filter organisations according to the individual SDGs the institutions hope to achieve. Moving forward, the preliminary work for this, too, will be automated: “The AI finds out which SDGs each organisation actually contributes to. In future, this will allow us to target how we address individuals in a much more efficient way and invite them to join the Joint Action”, explains Petersdorff-Campen.

Data in almost real time

Founded in 2019, Global Goals Directory is a team of SDG experts and developers who have set themselves the goal of supporting local governments, districts and cities in Germany on their journey to sustainable development. Among other skills, the team specialises in big data, AI and machine learning in the context of the SDGs. “We show local governments their SDG ecosystem. But we don’t just look for stakeholders, we also analyse their contribution to sustainable development, the role they play in society. As such, we can also show where strengths and weaknesses lie”, says Wölm. For example, the team could find a local government has plenty of partners working on SDG 7, renewable energy, but scarcely any on SDG 5, gender equality. The AI generates this data in almost real time, which can then be used to target gaps effectively. Unlike AI-driven mapping, manual options are time-consuming and costly. “Many local governments just don’t have the resources to map these issues manually”, says Finn Wölm. But it is vital to keep track of the field if we are to achieve sustainable development, something which simply cannot be done by people alone. A project with a similar aim to the Joint Action has already taken place in Canada: the Movement Map. Ten thousand or so organisations were mapped manually over a period of two years to ascertain their contribution to sustainable development. “Except once you’re done, you may as well start all over again”, explains Wölm. The field is just too dynamic for the speed at which humans work. The AI has an easier time of it: it scans websites for content to classify organisations according to the SDGs, a skill it has been taught over countless examples, having been fed pre-classified texts categorised by SDG. “The AI is able to recognise a pattern from this – where certain words appear together, it acknowledges this as relevant and can apply the pattern to new texts”, says Finn Wölm. Of course the Joint Action does not go by the information set out on an organisation’s website alone, explains Sophia von Petersdorff-Campen. “We quality-check anyone who registers with the Joint Action and have set criteria in place to make sure an actor upholds basic democratic values, for example, and that they play a recognisable role in improving sustainable development.” In future, the AI should be able to filter this independently too, and the future looks bright for this partnership. Petersdorff-Campen also wants the Joint Action to further promote the conversation on its work, with registered organisations able to actively shape and update their content on the platform.

Artificial intelligence and its potential for sustainable development

Finn Wölm believes AI could also help achieve sustainable development in other areas in the future: “Making political decisions on the basis of data that is three, four or even sometimes as much as ten years old limits you – everything is shown through the lens of the rear-view mirror. AI opens up interesting options for measuring data in real time, for example using satellite imagery.” If you know where lights are on at night, it is easy to measure population size, for example. Or you can collect data on de- and reforestation, biodiversity and even how much CO2 forests store. “Aerial photography makes identifying tree species and their size easy, and you can calculate on the basis of that”, says Wölm. AI has proven itself even more useful in achieving the SDGs, for example in research, where it can classify research articles and papers to analyse which topics are already being researched and where there are potential gaps in the literature. Another application is legislation, where AI can scan which laws are drafted and passed and how these laws could potentially play a role in achieving the SDGs. After all, a comprehensive overview is a must to hit your goals." ["post_title"]=> string(50) "Reaching goals faster with artificial intelligence" ["post_excerpt"]=> string(255) "This spring, the Joint Action for Sustainable Development will welcome a new member to the team: a web crawler. The crawler is currently being fed information in the hope that it will soon be able to recognise key actors for the 2030 Agenda independently." ["post_status"]=> string(7) "publish" ["comment_status"]=> string(6) "closed" ["ping_status"]=> string(6) "closed" ["post_password"]=> string(0) "" ["post_name"]=> string(50) "reaching-goals-faster-with-artificial-intelligence" ["to_ping"]=> string(0) "" ["pinged"]=> string(0) "" ["post_modified"]=> string(19) "2023-02-23 09:09:58" ["post_modified_gmt"]=> string(19) "2023-02-23 08:09:58" ["post_content_filtered"]=> string(0) "" ["post_parent"]=> int(0) ["guid"]=> string(42) "https://www.nachhaltigkeitsrat.de/?p=95781" ["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(4) ["max_num_pages"]=> int(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) "97eafd234982e76a767c0d32335f7406" ["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" } }