Since 2000, the State
Secretaries' Committee on Sustainable Development exists as a high-ranking
steering, coordinating and monitoring body for sustainable development. It
decides about the strategy and its further development (subject to later formal
approval of the cabinet), and keeps a close eye on its implementation. The
Committee is composed of state secretaries (representatives of the minister,
top level of civil servants) from all ministries. It is chaired by the Head of
the Federal Chancellery, who is the main leader in the national SD process.
In Germany, the
responsibility for national SD policies does not lie with one of the ministries
but with the Chancellery itself. This is considered a key success factor for SD
in Germany. The Chancellery does not only have a coordination role, but is also
steering the process and providing important inputs to the relevant ministries.
It shows the special importance that the federal government attaches to SD
policies and is based on the fact that sustainable development is a
cross-cutting subject. Political leadership for the GSDS falls under the
”guidance competence” of the Chancellery, and its administrative implementation
takes place through a link between the Chancellery and the respective
ministries responsible for the specific issue at hand. A permanent
inter-ministerial working-group for sustainable development (chaired also by
the Chancellery) prepares for the meetings of the State Secretaries´ Committee.
The Committee meets
about four times a year. Beginning in December 2008, the State Secretaries'
Committee on Sustainable Development worked on the basis of a working program
comprising important topics for sustainable development. Subjects of the
meetings since spring 2012 included i.a. education for SD, CSR, the 2013 Peer
Review on the national SDS, the Post-2015 Agenda, sustainable urban
development, sustainable consumption and sustainable finance policy. To the
Committees’ meetings, the Chair regularly invites respective experts, e.g. from
science, NGOs and/or businesses.
Advisory Council on Sustainable Development of the German Parliament regularly
provides the State Secretaries´ Committee with its opinions and recommendations
on the selected topic.
Since January 2009,
departmental reports on the implementation of sustainable development are being
presented to the States Secretaries´ Committee and published in the internet
(available only in German).
A major reform in order
to strengthen the implementation of the strategy in daily policy was the
introduction of SD as a criterion for the impact assessment for new laws or
regulations. In May 2009, SD was included permanently in the standing orders of
the federal government (”Gemeinsame Geschäftsordnung der Bundesministerien”,
GGO). A guideline published by the Department for Internal Affairs in June 2009
advises to use the indicators and management rules of the strategy for this SD
impact assessment. In March 2018, an online tool was introduced to support a
more systematic assessment of possible effects on sustainable development. The
Parliamentary Advisory Council on SD of the German Parliament evaluates and
comments the procedural quality of the impact assessment as it is documented in
the drafts of new laws or regulations delivered to the German Parliament.
As part of the new
GSDS, it was decided to further strengthen policy coherence: Coordinators for
Sustainable Development have been appointed in each ministry, in most cases at Director-General
level. They are central contact persons for all issues relating to Sustainable
Development and will be involved in the preparation of the Sustainable
Development Impact assessments.
This Country Profile has been last updated on: Monday, 08 April 2019
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