Sustainable development efforts in
Germany are coordinated by several agencies. They include the German Council
for Sustainable Development (RNE, appointed by the federal government in 2001),
the Committee for Sustainable Development (under the Federal State
Secretaries), the Federal Statistical Office (which publishes a biannual
Indicator Report that informs the government’s progress reports), the German
Bundestag (Parliament, in particular the Parliamentary Advisory Council on
Sustainable Development), and the German Federal Press Office (which hosts
online dialogues on SD).
The RNE is comprised of 15 experts
representing multiple stakeholders (from academia, think tanks, NGOs, trade
unions, business, local government) and its primary role is to provide advice
to the government on sustainable development policy, proposing targets and
indicators and facilitating the implementation of the Sustainability Strategy.
Furthermore, the council’s mandate is to mobilize stakeholders to contribute to
sustainable development. In this regard, the council engages with the general
public and representatives of major groups to raise awareness of sustainable
development, drive engagement and communicate governmental policies to the public.
The development of the National Sustainability Strategy (since 2002) is the
mandate of the Committee for Sustainable Development.
The sustainable development efforts
in Germany are commissioned by the Federal Chancellery and facilitated by RNE, while
the German sustainability policy is subject to an international peer review
process by an eight-member group of international experts. This review process
takes place every four years, and to date, two rounds of review have been
conducted, in 2009 and 2013.
Currently, recommendations from the
review are presented to the Committee for Sustainable Development. Outcome
reports comment on the progress in implementation of the Peer Group
recommendations from the previous round of review. The peer review outcomes are
also discussed by the Parliamentary Advisory Council on Sustainable
From the case study of Germany, we
can see that the important advisory role of the German Council for Sustainable
Development, and the fact that it is comprised of a broad representative
membership, drives national ownership of the sustainability agenda. The
independent nature of the Committee for Sustainable Development allows for more
flexibility to offer a critical overview of the implementation of government
strategies, which increases its legitimacy among the sectors and the general
public. Hence, the independent peer review process, conducted at the national
level, helps to inform progress and drive improvements of national strategies.
Other countries with National Sustainable
Development Goals include Colombia, the Philippines, Czech Republic and the