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Winning Strategies for a Sustainable Future

Reinhard Mohn Prize 2013.
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Titel: Winning Strategies for a Sustainable Future

EAN: 9783867935555
Format:  EPUB ohne DRM
Reinhard Mohn Prize 2013.
Sprache: Englisch.
Bertelsmann Stiftung

1. November 2013 - epub eBook - 200 Seiten

Since the first Earth Summit held in Rio de Janeiro in 1992, many states have been looking for a new concept of economic and social progress. The environmental crises of the last years, as well as the global economic and financial crisis, require an even more profound shift in thinking - toward a policy committed to sustainability and intergenerational equity. But how can this goal be achieved?
The publication for the Reinhard Mohn Prize 2013, "Winning Strategies for a Sustainable Future," presents pioneering approaches from different continents. Bhutan, Costa Rica, Finland, Ghana and Tasmania are examples that show sustainability is feasible. These principles also open up new perspectives for Germany.
Today, we know that sustainability is the great challenge of the 21st century. The guiding principle of sustainable development implies taking economic, social and environmental concerns into account in a balanced manner. Our focus in this regard must be improving the quality of life for all people.

Strategy and Action for Sustainable Development – A Global Search for Best Practices

Andreas Esche, Armando García Schmidt, Céline Diebold, Henrik Riedel

The Reinhard Mohn Prize for 2013 has as its focus “Winning Strategies for a Sustainable Future.” This year’s prize aims to help make sustainability a top priority in politics while contributing to debates in Germany and internationally over how best to design policies driven by principles of sustainability and intergenerational justice.

The Reinhard Mohn Prize will be awarded to Kofi Annan on November 7, 2013. In awarding the former U.N. Secretary-General this year’s Reinhard Mohn Prize, the Bertelsmann Stiftung recognizes Mr. Annan as a tireless champion of sustainable development and international justice whose advocacy in these areas has made him one of the most respected voices on sustainability worldwide. Many of the global, national and local sustainability policy initiatives underway today derive in some way from the programs and institutions initiated and developed by Kofi Annan while serving as U.N. Secretary-General. During his tenure in this position, Kofi Annan succeeded in bringing together stakeholders from various sectors to act with unanimity of purpose in targeting actionable development goals.


“Three hundred years ago, the man who first formulated the concept of sustainability, the Saxon mines inspector Hans Carl von Carlowitz, wrote up a set of directions for sustainable forestry practices. Warning of the need to cut only as much timber as could be regrown in a year, von Carlowitz introduced the dimension of time into forestry management. In so doing, he questioned the prevailing mentality of short-term thinking by pointing to the medium- and long-term consequences of current behavior. Ensuring future l
ivelihoods will happen only if policymakers, society and business decide to act in concert and stop postponing into the future the costs and problems associated with our current use of natural and other resources. Given that our planet will soon have a population of nine billion, the search for solutions and alternatives must begin today.”

Klaus Töpfer

Executive Director, Institute for Advanced Sustainability Studies, IASS

The Millennium Development Goals and the U.N. Global Compact are two such institutions initiated by Kofi Annan. Thanks to his influence and political acumen as U.N. Secretary-General, both initiatives have come to underpin sustainable and corporate social responsibility efforts worldwide. Many of the Millennium Development Goals will be achieved by their target date of 2015. Discussions are currently underway about how to extend these goals into a post-2015 agenda. This global discussion, or process, aims to generate a universal framework of targets in human and sustainable development that governments, communities and people around the world can subscribe to.

Kofi Annan continues to demonstrate that sustainability is an achievable goal through his current activities with the Kofi Annan Foundation, the Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA) and the Africa Progress Panel.

In addition to global initiatives, it will be of core importance how individual states manage and foster change on the domestic level. Indeed, political systems, the character of social life and economic models are still to a large extent established and negotiated within the context of nation-states. And this is where change must take place. Change can be inspired and strengthened by global goals, but it is concrete societies and economic systems that must direct change toward greater sustainability in the context of their speci
fic environmental, geopolitical, demographic and cultural conditions.


“Sustainable development is a terribly complex topic to deal with because it’s constantly in motion. Governments need to change the way they design their policies, the way they think and act and organize themselves. In the past, governments have always had one objective with a single argument, which was economic growth. Now they need to bring multidimensional objectives into the picture, considering not only growth, but also well-being, quality of life, the environment and so on. They also need to bring in a serious long-term analysis because sustainability inevitably requires dealing with complexity over the long term.”

Martine Durand

Chief Statistician, OECD

There is thus no single path. However, states can learn from one another. Since the first United Nations Conference on Environment and Development in Rio, many countries have adopted sustainability strategies for policymaking at the national and subnational levels. The objective of these strategies is to embed environmental, economic and social sustainability as an overarching, top-priority goal within policymaking and society. In Germany, too, there has been a national sustainability strategy since 2002, with its last update in 2012.

Looking at the sheer number of so-called sustainability strategies that have emerged in recent years, the post-Rio process appears to be a success. In 2009, the United Nations identified 106 national sustainability strategies. However, the character and quality of these strategies vary considerably. Thus, many fail to do full justice to the call for a comprehensive engagement with future-oriented economic, social and environmental questions, focusing rather on just one of the individual areas.

Moreover, too much is too ofte
n too narrowly conceived. In many cases, the so-called sustainability strategies leave open issues such as how much influence formulated mission statements or guiding principles are to have in the context of concrete political decisions, or how stated objectives are to be implemented. In many cases, participation by socially relevant actors or by citizens in general plays no significant role in either the creation or implementation of the strategies. The desired paradigm shift thus remains out of reach.

The effective translation of sustainability strategies into practice thus continues to prove difficult. How can the twin goals of sustainable and intergenerationally just development be made a guiding principle for political activity? How can political activity be rendered sustainable overall, not simply in individual policy areas? How, with the help of political strategies, can a full-society process be initiated that ultimately leads to a paradigm shift based on more sustainability and intergenerational justice? The Reinhard Mohn Prize 2013’s global analysis, “Winning Strategies for a Sustainable Future,” searched for exemplary approaches to this set of problems. The aim of the research was to show that sustainability strategies can be successfully developed and implemented.

Phase I: Establish criteria, conduct global search

In a first step, a set of criteria were established in summer 2012 to be used in identifying countries featuring sustainability policies that stand out for their strategic quality and effectiveness, and which can shape German and international debates alike. The criteria targeted the innovative potential of strategies and formulated policies (i.e., strategy quality, implementation potential, forms of participation) as well as the impact of actual sustainability measures taken, that is, the gains made in each sustainability area (i.e., environmen
t, economic and social) and in cross-cutting efforts. A total of 20 criteria were established (see Figure 1). Targets and quality benchmarks were defined for each criterion in the set.

Ideas for the RMP criteria drew upon existing catalogues of criteria, such as the OECD’s “DAC Guidelines – Strategies for Sustainable Development” (2001), the United Nations’ “Guidance in Preparing a National Sustainable Development Strategy” (2002), the “Bellagio Sustainability in Preparing a National Sustainable Development Strategy” (2009), and the “Indicators of Sustainable Development and Well-being” (2009) in the report issued by the Commission on the Measurement of Economic Performance and Social Progress chaired by Joseph Stiglitz, Amartya Sen and Jean-Paul Fitoussi. Once the set of criteria for the RMP were established, the International Institute for Sustainable Development (IISD) in Winnepeg, Canada, was commissioned by the Bertelsmann Stiftung to carry out a global search from July 2012 through September of the same year. The IISD research team was headed by Darren Swanson. Christopher Beaton, Livia Bizikova, Daniella Echeverría, Marius Keller, Leslie Paas, Dimple Roy, Christa Rust, Charles Thrift, Stephen Tyler, Vivek Voora and Karla Zubrycki conducted research on each individual case examined. The findings of this global study, an analysis and evaluation of 35 sustainability strategies (24 national, 8 subnational and 3 supranational strategies) around the world were discussed with a panel of experts in Berlin in October 2012. Drawing on these findings, the experts were able to identify trends currently underway across the globe in the development of sustainability policies. These trends are discussed in the “Global Trends in Sustainable Development – A View from the RMP 2013 Global Search...

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