Last updated on:
Tuesday, 18 August 2020

In the reviews and updates of the Strategy , the German Government reported progress and remaining challenges.

In 2004, 2008,  2012,  2017 and 2018  Progress Reports and Updates were adopted by the Cabinet. All of them confirmed that SD remains a guiding principle for the concrete political activities of the federal government. The reports explain the governmental organisation in SD politics in detail and strengthen the management of SD in German policy making.

The sustainability management concept of the strategy comprises the following elements:

·      principles for sustainable development. The principles for sustainable development summarise the guiding principles of SD.

·      There are 66 indicators (formerly 38) with associated targets which allow for an objective check of the status of development

·      Monitoring. Every four years a Progress Report presents in detail the status of SD in Germany. The Progress Reports are complemented by an indicator report, independently prepared by the Federal Statistical Office every two years.

To improve SD management, the State Secretaries’ Committee has gradually been strengthened over the past years.

In further developing the GSDS, the 2008 report covered four key-topics (climate/energy, resources, demographic change/social opportunities, international food-crises) whereas the 2012 report focused on sustainable economic activity, climate and energy and sustainable water policy. In addition to the key-topics, the reports assessed the progress of the GSDS in a broad range of subjects. The 2012 Progress Report was drafted in view of the UN-Conference on Sustainable Development in Rio de Janeiro and aimed presenting the status quo of SD in Germany. First milestones for the Progress Report 2012 as well as a first draft report were published in September 2010 respectively June 2011 and discussed in a broad, internet-based public consultation: The range of topics of the new GSDS is broader than before – as it is structured along the 17 SDGs. For each SDGs, particular challenges for Germany are highlighted.

In 2009, 2013 and 2018 international experts  brought their experiences to bear on the opportunities and challenges for Germany's SD policies in an international context. In 2009 and again in 2013, the German Federal Government mandated Björn Stigson, the (former) President of the World Business Council for SD, and a group of peers to conduct a Peer Review of Germany's SD policies. The first Peer Review Report, organised by the Council for Sustainable Development on behalf of the government, was handed over to Chancellor Angela Merkel on November 23, 2009, the second Peer Review Report on September 25, 2013. A third Peer review has been published and handed over to the Chancellor in June 2018. The group of experts was this time chaired by Helen Clark, former Administrator of UNDP.

All three reports acknowledged Germany´s potential key position to spearhead the transition to a more sustainable development and came up with a set of clear recommendations addressing politics, the parliament, the business community and civil society. The German Council for Sustainable Development facilitated all three reviewing processes.

In 2010, the State Secretary Committee for Sustainable Development (political body) adopted an action program for a sustainable federal government which was reviewed and further developed in March 2015. The action program must be implemented by every federal ministry and their related offices and administration. The program e.g. addresses sustainable buildings, reinforces sustainable public procurement, sustainable mobility as well as sustainable conferences, and aims at improving the possibilities to combine work and family life. Yearly monitoring reports will be published as of 2016.