Last updated on:
Tuesday, 18 August 2020
Year of approval of the SD strategy and updates

The German Sustainable Development Strategy (GSDS) was adopted by the German Government in 2002. Since 2004 the Strategy has been updated every four years, with progress reports from the German Government published in 2004, 2008 and 2012. Since 2015, the German Government’s sustainability policy has been based onthe 2030 Agendawith its 17 SDGs. The German Government overhauled the GSDS in the light of the 2030 Agenda, adopting a new edition on 11 January 2017. This was itself updated on 7 November 2018.The latest update began in October 2019 and was approved by cabinet on 11 March 2021.

The GSDS has been maintained over five changes of government, documenting the broad, constant political consensus in Germany regarding the importance of sustainable development.

Through the “Grundsatzbeschluss“ the Federal Government reaffirms the importance of sustainable development and updates the German Sustainability Strategy (DNS) adopted by the Federal Cabinet on March 10, 2021. It acknowledges changes in objectives and key indicators based on the coalition agreement and new legislation.

Moreover, the “Grundsatzbeschluss” is providing an updated outlook on activities to implement the strategy in the current legislative period. The “Grundsatzbeschluss” especially underlines the urgency of action and emphasises the importance of sustainable development as a response to the multiple crises we currently face - climate change, species extinction and the destruction of natural ecosystems, resource consumption, increasing food insecurity, the consequences of the Corona pandemic, and the Russian war of aggression against Ukraine.

All ministries contributed to the “Grundsatzbeschluss” within the framework of the State Secretaries' Committee for Sustainable Development, chaired by Sarah Ryglewski, Minister of State to the Chancellor.

The “Grundsatzbeschluss“ will be the basis for the biannually published independent evaluation report by the Federal Statistical Office on the status and trends of the key indicators of the DNS in 39 areas. The report will be issued December 2022.

The next comprehensive further development of the DNS will then take place by the end of 2024. Based on this, in 2025, the German government will submit a voluntary national report on the implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development to the High-Level Political Form (HLPF) of the United Nations in New York.

Type of SD strategy

The GSDS is the essential framework for the national implementation of the UN 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. Accompanied by a very broad participatory consultation process, the GSDS has been carefully reviewed in 2015/2016 in all its essential elements. It has been structured along the 17 SDG- including the targets and indicators. The 2021 update provides the basis for the reinforced sustainability policy that is required for the Decade of Action (2020–30) called for by the UN Secretary-General. The updated Strategy emphasizes the need to set high ambitions when Sustainable Development is the guiding principle behind the policies of the German Government. As a goal and yardstick of governmental action at nation, European and international levels, it has to be observed when enacting measures in all policy fields. The planetary boundaries of our Earth together with the objective of a dignified life for all form the ultimate constraints of political decisions.

The ambitious update of the GSDS in 2021 adopted by the Federal Government is an important step for German sustainable development policy, in particularly as it clearly defines priority spheres of action in six areas of transformation. These areas are linked to a number of the 2030 Agenda goals, and emphasise how change in one affects the others:

(1) The human well-being and capabilities; social justice transformation area links SDGs 1, 3, 4, 5, 8, 9 and 10.

(2) The energy transition and climate action transformation area (SDGs 7 and 13) demands an integrated approach based on protecting the climate.

3) A further area of transformation, the circular economy (SDGs 8, 9 and 12), responds to the need to decouplegrowth from resource consumption. Consumption and production must remain within the boundaries of our planet.

(4) Construction and buildings, as well as the transport sector,are addressed as part of the sustainable building and mobility transition transformation area. It links with SDGs 7, 8, 9, 11, 12 and 13.

(5) An holistic perspective is required to achieve progress in the sustainable agricultural and food systems transformation area, which ties into SDGs 2, 3, 12 and 15.

6) A pollutant-free environment provides the basis for health and well-being, including both physical and mental health. In addition to all of the environment-related SDGs (6, 13, 14 and 15), this area also affects some of the social goals (SDGs 3 and 11), and impacts directly on the economic ones, especially SDG 8.

In order to describe further steps necessary for sustainable development, the federal government has published a perspective paper entitled “Achieving Transformation - Perspectives for German Sustainability Policy”. It looks in particular at the challenges for sustainability policy in the coming legislative period. Federal elections were held on September 26, 2021.

Lead ministry/institution in the SD strategy process
Link to the SD strategy document

The updated GSDS has been adopted by the Cabinet in March 2021 Summary in six UN Languages

Peer Reviews 2018, 2013 and 2009 (documents in German and English)

Indicator Reports by the German National Institute for Statistics

Further information about the SD strategy process

No information available.