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2.2 The national sustainability strategy

In contrast, the national sustainability strategy of the German Federal Republic looks very positive (officially). It will be shown below here, because it not only valuable facts with regard to the now state of sustainability in Germany are represented, but also the perspectives become clear. The subsequent comparison of statistical figures on EU-level perspective, however, is thinking this partly in relative terms.

The German sustainability strategy was adopted in 2002. Since it determines the course for sustainable development in Germany. It bears the title "Perspectives for Germany" and includes specific tasks and objectives.

Guidelines of the national sustainability strategy are intergenerational equity, quality of life, social cohesion and international responsibility. These guidelines indicators were determined with medium-term and long-term targets in the strategy. Examples: reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 2020 to fall by 40 percent, the share of renewables in energy consumption to 60 percent by 2050 and by 2015 a quarter of the carriage of goods take place on the rail.

Germany wins now a quarter of electricity consumption from renewable energy sources. This reduces greenhouse gas emissions dramatically. Compared with 1990, they are already in 2012 decreased by 25.5 percent.

 2.2.1 The perspective

 In 1992, the United Nations stood up for the model of sustainable development. In Rio de Janeiro, they adopted a global action program. With the "Agenda 21", each of the 170 signatory countries agreed to implement the model nationally in all policy areas with the participation of society and economy. Also Germany has signed.

Therefore, in 2002 the Federal Government introduced the strategy "Perspectives for Germany". A 2010 decreed measure program of the Federal Government designates the measures that will help the sustainability goals to be achieved. The strategy and the individual measures are continuously improved. To this end, the Federal Government publishes regularly (every four years) progress reports. Every two years, inform indicators report in detail about how the core areas of sustainable policies have evolved.

The strategy is applied in content comprehensively and not exhaustive. It is the basis for political reforms as well as changes in behavior of businesses and consumers. Far beyond the environmental challenge the concept is also used as a guide to action for a comprehensive sustainable policy. It involves overall responsibility for an economically, environmentally and socially sustainable development for all generations.

 2.2.2 Principles of sustainable development strategy

 The guidelines direct the way, the direction in which Germany must move in order to become more sustainable. They cover the spectrum of "intergenerational justice - Quality of life - social cohesion and international responsibility".

1. Generation Justice

According to the guidelines a new generation contract will be required, which focuses on the balance of interests between the generations. This involves the reduction of public debt, the reform of social security systems, health care costs as well as the preservation of the natural foundations of life.

The ethical principle of sustainability is: Every generation must solve its own problems and should not burden the next generations. Contravenes who makes an economic and social policy on credit and leaves future generations rising government debts. The same applies if investment for the economic future are neglected and instead quicker and easier consumption moves in the foreground.

2. Quality of life

The concept of sustainability has a vital and simple core: Good quality of life for everyone, now and in the future. All are to take their lives into their own hands, learn, work, take responsibility for oneself and others. And this is embedded in a network of social relations in a healthy and safe environment.

For the quality of life a healthy environment is essential. But quality of life comprises more. It includes health, personal development opportunities, satisfying work, decent housing, adequate income, social recognition. It also includes good schools, a livable and safe city with many cultural offers.

3.  Social Cohesion

The following elements characterize the social dimension of sustainable development:

• prevention of poverty and social exclusion,

• the division of society into winners and losers prevent,

• involve all sections of the population in the economic and social development.

The challenge for the government is to provide sufficient training opportunities for new or modified activities. It must also provide efficient social security systems.

4.  International Responsibility

Combining environment and development, was the promise of the 1992 Rio Conference on the developing countries. The combination of the two targets is internationally used as the basis for a worldwide strategy for sustainable development. For example, clean water and fertile soil are the base for many developing countries for their economic development. On the other hand, result in these countries is that poverty and lack of economic alternatives lead to overexploitation of soil.

Principle: Each generation must solve its own problems and should not burden the next generations. You must also make provision for foreseeable future problems. This applies to the conservation of natural resources, economic development, social cohesion and demographic change.

Sustainability management means better use of the institutions for control within the meaning of sustainable development. To have goals, is not enough. Sustainability must primarily be anchored organizationally so that it will prevail in politics and society.

Central resource for the path from theory to practice are the management rules of sustainability. In addition to the above principle, there are rules for individual areas of action. For the environment, the rule is that their resources may be used only to the extent as they grow or regenerate itself. Public budgets are committed to intergenerational justice. Poverty and social exclusion is to prevent.

 2.2.3 Management rules:

 • citizens, producers and consumers, business and trade unions, academia, churches and associations are key actors with the state in the sustainable development. They are expected to participate in the public dialogue about the model of sustainable development. They should be autonomously guided in their decisions and actions towards these goals.

• The companies are responsible for their production and their products. This includes providing information to consumers about health and environmental properties of the products as well as sustainable production methods. The consumer is responsible for the selection of the product and its socially and environmentally friendly use.

• Renewable natural resources (such as wood or fish stocks) may be used only in the context of their ability to regenerate over time. Non-renewable natural resources (such as minerals and fossil fuels) may be used in the long term only to the extent that their functions can be replaced by other materials or by other energy sources. The release of substances or energy can not be greater than the adaptability of ecosystems in the long term: for example, the climate, forests and oceans.

Dangers and unacceptable risks to human health should be avoided.

• structural change triggered by technical developments and the international competition is to be made economically successful and built environmentally and socially in a responsible manner. To this end, the policy fields should be integrated so that economic growth, high employment, social cohesion and environmental protection go hand in hand.

• energy and resource consumption and transport services must be decoupled from economic growth. At the same time it is desirable that the growth-related increase in the demand for energy resources and transport serviceswill be more than compensated through efficiency gains.

• The public budgets have to take care of intergenerational equity. Federal, state and local governments should establish balanced budgets as soon as possible and continuously reduce the debt in a further step.

• A sustainable agriculture must be natural and environmentally friendly. It must comply with the requirements of an animal-friendly husbandry and preventative, particularly concerning health protection.

• To strengthen social cohesion, poverty and social exclusion have to be avoided as far as possible. All social classes opportunities are opened to participate in the economic development. All should participate in social and political life.

• The international framework must be designed so that people can lead a decent life on their own terms in all countries. They should share in the economic developments. Environment and development form a unit. In an integrated approach the combat against poverty is to be linked with respect for human rights, including economic development, environmental protection and good governance.

Indicators show where we are on the path to sustainable development. Goals make the need for action clear and are important for a successful control.

Monitoring: Every four years, a progress report provides the status of sustainable development. It is to be supplemented by a two-yearly indicators report of the Federal Statistical Office, which sets out the development of sustainability indicators.

Regulatory Impact Assessment Sustainability: The - since the beginning of the 17th electoral term - compulsory sustainability examination is important for all legislative and regulatory proposals of the Federal Government. Because it contributes to extract political decisions in Germany from the structural terms of present time. It should be a path to greater intergenerational justice and a sustainable policy. With the monitoring of sustainability, the Federal Government make laws and draft regulations more transparent. Eventually it allows a priority consideration. The monitoring of sustainability is to provide a holistic political discourse in public.

2.2.5 Priority areas for action

Sustainable development can not be imposed from above. But probably the state can support the reversal. For this, the Federal Government set in 2002 fields of action. These were reviewed with each progress report and supplemented. Last in the progress report from 2012.

2012 Progress Report

The 2012 Progress Report gave in the year of the sustainability conference of the United Nations in Rio its topics with a global reference: sustainable business practices, climate and energy, water policy.

• Climate and energy are key issues for sustainable development. Climate protection and adaptation to climate change is one of the greatest challenges facing humanity in the 21st century. A warming of more than 2 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial times would have serious consequences in its effects on human health and the environment. Therefore, the global greenhouse gas emissions must be reduced to 2050 from 1990 by at least 50 percent.

• In the context of decisions on energy policy of the future, the German Federal Government has reiterated its goal, to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in Germany in 2020 to 40 percent compared to 1990. By 2050, the energy concept aims to decrease it by 80 to 95 percent.

• Internationally, the federal government continues to argue for a worldwide applicable, binding climate agreement. This provides, based on a fair burden-sharing, verifiable commitments for all major emitters. In addition, this agreement shall prevent the relocation of production to countries without climate change. The Federal Government has thereby also the economic, security and development implications of climate change in mind.

• Sustainable water policy is of particular importance for clean water as an essential basis of life and one of our most important resources. In Germany the water has reached a high to very high standard. The high investments including in the waste water infrastructure and water restoration projects have brought significant improvements in water quality in Germany. However, the water pollution control remains an ongoing task.

• An aligned use at the idea of sustainability management of water shall secure water resources for future generations and preserve the ecological balance of the waters or restore it. Sustainable water policy is a cross-cutting issue; water political aspects must therefore be strengthened thought along in other policy areas.

2.2.6 Learning Control: The indicators

A successful management includes in particular the review of any development based on defined criteria and metrics. Therefore, the sustainability strategy contains 21 topics total of 38 indicators. The number of key indicators was deliberately kept small: rapidly with a few figures to give an overview of important developments. For a complete picture, it is important to look at the indicators not in isolation but in the entire system.

The indicators are linked with concrete and - where appropriate and possible - quantified targets. So that they are relevant for political action. An understanding of state and social actors about the path as well as the necessary measures is possible. The sustainability strategy involves balancing conflicting goals and to bring them as much as possible consistent with each other. For example, economic growth is compatible with climate protection goals if it is accompanied by efficiency improvements or structural changes.

In 2012 some indicators and associated targets were revised in the federal government. Decisive criteria were continuity and transparency. In this framework, individual some new objectives were included, for example long-term objectives with the perspective of 2050 in the energy / climate sector. Some indicators have been revised to increase inter alia their significance or to bring them in consistency with agreed objectives at EU level. To map the area of fiscal sustainability more intensively, two new sub-indicators were introduced.

The professionally independent analysis of the indicator development by the Federal Statistical Office in April 2013 shows a different picture. In the current indicators report "Sustainable Development in Germany" (edition 2014) 38 indicators show the current status of sustainable development in the areas of environment, economy and society. The indicators report identifies the extent to which policy objectives are met. More than half of the indicators have performed well in recent years.

The employment rate has risen in the group of the most successful indicators. In continuation of the current development the target set for 2020 can be achieved. In the same group we now find two indicators for public debt (government deficit and a structural deficit), where the set limits are met. In the second best group, the indicator of all-day care of the 0 to 2-year-olds has been added among others because of its improved development.

But the indicator for resource productivity has been relegated to the third group, while for example the indicator of freight transport intensity rose in this group. In the worst group the indicator for the economic future provision - based on gross fixed capital formation to GDP ratio - and the indicator the share of rail in freight transport performance are slipped. Unchanged among the worstare the indicators for debt, biodiversity and landscape quality as well as the share of inland waterway transport in goods transport performance.

With the key indicators for sustainable development, the German Federal Government wants to show every two years: Where do we stand on the way to sustainable development? What progress has been achieved? Where there is need for further action?

2.2.7 Dialogue on sustainability

Sustainability is a guiding principle for the policy of the Federal Government. But not only the state and politics, each and every individual is required to work for this goal. Sustainable development can not be imposed by the state. Only when all players in the economy and society and citizens make theme to their cause, sustainable development will succeed.

When companies invest, consumers consume, they help shape the future development as well as the state with its laws and programs. Therefore, the public discussion, cooperation with and between social actors is an essential element of the sustainability strategy of the federal government.

Sustainability lives of the public debate and the participation of all citizens - whether private, in the family or at work and in daily living together. This responsible behavior of those involved in everyday life is closely tied to the condition to be included and involved in the development of society. Participation is just very important also in view of the complexity and speed of social processes.

An essential component of continuing the strategy is therefore the discussion with experts and with the public. Accordingly, both vertices and the first drafts of the strategy were published, or the progress reports on the Internet. The dialogue supplemented rounds of consultation with communities, business and trade unions, environmental and development organizations, agricultural and consumer associations, and science and churches.

When developing the strategy, the views and ideas of different social groups flow in the contents of the progress reports. Suggestions and proposals of citizens have to be taken into account. With this, the strategy is the first political program of a Federal Government, in which citizens have been actively contributed and continue to participate. In the Progress Report 2012 citizens have their say with their opinions of the dialogue on sustainability directly (reports to the citizen dialogues).

2.2.8 The Civil dialogue on the progress report 2012

The Comprehensive Dialogue on Sustainability was launched in autumn 2010. In the first phase, from September to November 2010, the federal government presented its proposals for the thematic focus of the new progress report for discussion: "sustainable management" and "water". The government also invited people to express their views on other issues of sustainability policy.

In a second phase of dialogue from June to September 2011, the draft of the federal government could be discussed for the 2012 Progress Report. Many citizens have participated in the dialogue. Since August 2010, the site was visited by over 72,000 users. About 386,000 individual page views were recorded (page impressions). The participants gave a total of over 1,600 submissions and comments in both phases. In addition, there were a total of 2,100 positive or negative reviews.

About 95 percent of the contributions were received online. Above all institutions chose the path of postal mailings of their comments. In a dialogue session at the Federal Chancellery in September 2011, associations and organizations were also able to express on the progress report. In October 2011, they took position on the draft of the new center of gravity chapter "Climate and Energy". In all partly also clearly expressedcriticism in detail, many comments were nevertheless supportive or called for a further strengthening of the idea of sustainability in and through the strategy.

2.2.9 Progress in sustainability

On 15 February 2012, the Federal Government adopted the latest progress report on the National Sustainability Strategy. Sustainability has become a guiding principle of human action in all sectors of society in importance. This is reflected in the indicators as in the political structures.

In order to objectively check where Germany is, when it comes to sustainability, the German Federal Government goes back to a set of indicators. For each of these 38 indicators from the guide sectors "quality of life", "intergenerational justice", "social cohesion" and "international responsibility", the government has formulated a specific goal to be achieved. The calculation of values where Germany is, does the Federal Statistical Office.

For 2012, we can confirm success for Germany in 19 of 38 sustainability indicators; for example in the reduction of greenhouse gases or the expansion of renewable energies. There were positive developments about in climate protection, renewable energy, economic performance, the entry rate of students as well as the employment rate of older workers. Success in the other indicators are not yet satisfactory or have yet to come.

The Federal Government promotes sustainable business. Sustainable management is increasingly becoming a trademark. Because for the economy a higher energy and resource efficiency is both economically and ecologically profitable. This includes supporting and promoting the concept of "Corporate Social Responsibility" (CSR). It connects intrinsically responsible corporate behavior with the voluntary and additional perception of social responsibility. The federal government supports, among other

• small and medium-sized companies in CSR activities,

• brings together information on CSR,

• raise public awareness of the issue,

• developed a concept of "CSR - Made in Germany",

• integrated CSR into education, training, science and research and

• strengthens CSR internationally and in developmental contexts.

2.2.10 Sustainability for the financial sector

The financial and economic crisis has resulted in mind how important it is in financial policies that decisions take especially in the long term. A business as usual can not exist so far. Therefore, the federal government wanted to mark milestones with their consolidation and growth: A structurally balanced federal budget in 2014, the black 2015 and surpluses from the 2016th.

2.2.11 An energy concept of sustainability

With the new energy concept, the government tried to describe as early as 2010 the way into the age of renewable energy. 2011 Federal Government, the Parliament and the Upper House decided another comprehensive package of measures. Because the experience of the nuclear accident at Fukushima has taught that an even faster conversion is better.

2011 the federal government confirmed the reduction targets for greenhouse gas: they should be decreased in 2020 to 40 percent, by 2030 to 55 percent, till 2040 by 70 percent, and till 2050 by 80 to 95 percent - compared to 1990. The government wants to expand its renewable energy into a pillar of energy supply. Parallel, the primary energy consumption shall go back till 2050 by 50 percent compared to 2008. The power consumption is expected to decline by 25 percent; 2020 already 10 percent. At the same time the renovation rate for buildings is currently being approximately doubled annually to two percent of the total building stock. And in transport the energy consumption – but compared to 2005 – shall decrease by approximately 40 percent.

The expansion of facilities for wind, solar or biomass energy Germany has taken a big step in the federal government's view. More than 20 percent of current production comes from systems of renewable energies. Decisive this success is due to the Renewable Energy Sources Act (EEG), which provides fixed rates for the producers of green electricity. The security of investment achieved in this way sparked a dynamic growth in many areas of renewable energy.

Energy efficiency is another key to economic rationality to achieve a high proportion of renewable energy and objectives as defined in the energy concept. Again, there is ample potential of saving energy and electricity. The federal government relies on the responsibility of businesses and consumers.

In Germany the electricity is still relatively close to the centers of consumption. In future, it will be more decentralized - where as the wind blows or an previously untapped conversion area is used for solar power generation. In order to feed this electricity to the grid, a modern and efficient electricity grid is required. Mainly because of the significant investment in infrastructure, the conversion of energy supply businesses and consumers is confronted with great challenges. Goal of the Federal Government it is that Germany, while maintaining competitive energy prices, reliable energy supply and a high level of prosperity remains one of the most sustainable and energy-efficient economies in the world.