Headline: Science-Society Platforms - News


Support for Climate Action Greater Than Often Assumed

Hot on the heels of the pandemic came the energy crisis – has this experience led to a shift in public opinion on climate action in Germany? Broadly speaking, support for ambitious climate policy remains strong, however many citizens are concerned that policymakers lack the political will and that the burdens of the transformation are not being shared equitably. But it seems that many people underestimate the willingness of their fellow citizens to embrace change. This is the conclusion of the 2023 Social Sustainability Barometer, an annual representative survey of over 6,500 people across Germany on the energy and transport transitions, conducted as part of the Ariadne project funded by the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF).

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Achieving Brandenburg’s Ambitious Climate Targets

Opened by Minister Axel Vogel, the fourth plenary session of Brandenburg's Sustainability Platform cast a spotlight on climate action in the state of Brandenburg. The platform, which was established five years ago, promotes sustainable development, supports efforts to achieve climate neutrality in Brandenburg, and fosters networking between diverse actors and initiatives. The platform is coordinated by the Research Institute for Sustainability (RIFS) and funded by the Ministry of Agriculture, Environment and Climate Protection (MLUK).

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Draft Strategy for Sustainable Development Is Well-intended, but Lacking in Detail

The draft proposal for Brandenburg’s future sustainable development strategy has met with a mixed response from Brandenburg's Sustainability Advisory Board and Sustainability Platform Brandenburg, two bodies coordinated by the Research Institute for Sustainability (RIFS). The strategy’s alignment with the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals and commitment to adopting a whole-of-government approach to sustainability challenges were noted positively by both organisations. However, the strategy lacks "an overarching vision of where Brandenburg wants to go" and a clear roadmap and timeline for efforts to achieve the state’s goals.

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UN Climate Change Conferences

A New Climate of Communication at the COP

The UN climate change conferences (COPs) are attended annually by tens of thousands of actors working on climate change topics. Outside of the formal negotiations, the communication culture is dominated by 'side events,' a format that relies on conventional presentations and panels. In a new commentary, RIFS scientist Kathleen Mar and co-authors make a case for reimagining these communication formats in order to strengthen the COP’s role as a platform for learning and community-building.

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RIFS Policy Brief

Making Lusatia a Model Region for Transformation

On 10 March 2023, a select committee will be convened at Brandenburg’s state assembly to examine sustainable development and structural change in the former mining region of Lusatia. In a policy brief by the Research Institute for Sustainability (RIFS), authors David Löw Beer and Konrad Gürtler set out three actionable and cost-effective recommendations to improve the sustainability of regional processes of structural transformation.

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Nachhaltigkeitsplattform BB

Water Poverty: Brandenburg Must Do More to Protect Water Resources

Brandenburg boasts more standing and running water resources than any other state – and yet it is running out of water. Securing access to ample water resources is crucial to fostering sustainable agricultural and industrial development and enhancing the quality of life in the region. The Sustainability Advisory Board to Brandenburg State has developed a set of recommendations for the state government on the protection of Brandenburg's water resources.

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Mark Lawrence Appointed to German Council for Sustainable Development

Chancellor Olaf Scholz has convened the new German Council for Sustainable Development (RNE). RIFS Scientific Director Mark Lawrence will serve a three-year term on the council. At the inaugural meeting held at the Federal Chancellery on 15 February 2023, the members unanimously elected Reiner Hoffmann, the former president of the German Trade Union Confederation (DGB), to chair the council.

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Platform for Sustainability in Brandenburg Mobilizes Society to Strengthen Resilience

Local and regional actors play a key role in sustainable development in Brandenburg. Bringing them together to support joint action is a core focus of the Platform for Sustainability in Brandenburg. Members gathered on 8 December for the platform’s annual conference drew a positive balance and acknowledged the platform’s role in developing potential solutions and mobilizing society. The platform called on government to step up the pace of change for sustainability.

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Study by the Franco-German Forum for the Future

How Local Food Can Help Save the World

Food is an important lever in the social-ecological transformation. It is also an everyday issue that is easy to communicate to the public. Municipalities in Germany and France have recognized the potential of innovative local policies and have introduced novel approaches to making local food systems more sustainable. In doing so, though, they are encountering structural barriers that cannot be overcome at the municipal level. The Franco-German Forum for the Future has researched the opportunities and obstacles of local nutritional change and brought engaged municipalities from both countries into exchange with each other.

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