Post-2015 Development Agenda

Sustainable de­vel­op­ment re­quires eco­lo­gi­cal guard­rails: WBGU Policy Paper on global Sus­tain­able De­vel­op­ment Goals

Joint press release by the BMZ, the Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation, Building and Nuclear Safety and the Federal Ministry of Education and Research

Handover of a Policy Paper by the German Advisory Council on Global Change (WBGU) on global Sustainable Development Goals

04.06.2014 |

In the current UN negotiations on global sustainability goals, the German government has been calling for giving more attention to ecological "guardrails". This position is now being supported by a new Policy Paper of the government's Advisory Council on Global Change (WBGU), which was handed over to German Environment Minister Barbara Hendricks and German Development Minister Gerd Müller today. WBGU recommends that the sustainability goals be aligned with the central message of the 1992 Earth Summit, namely, that economic development and environmental protection must be viewed as a single whole and do not contradict each other.

Hendricks and Müller welcomed the Council's Policy Paper, calling it an im­por­tant con­tri­bu­tion to the national and international debate on sustainable development. "Global goals for sustainability need to respect our planet's boundaries. If we fail to respect them, we will destroy future ge­ne­ra­tions' op­por­tu­nities for development. We need to seize the op­por­tu­ni­ty to combine poverty reduction with a green economy world­wide," said German Environment Minister Barbara Hendricks.

Development Minister Gerd Müller drew attention to the inter­na­tion­al com­mu­ni­ty's responsibility for climate issues: "We have one world, and we all have responsibility for our world. What we do about the global climate and about our environment is a crucial question, a question of survival, for all people on our planet in this century. So the international community needs to find common answers to these central questions. From energy partner­ships to the transfer of knowledge on en­vi­ron­ment­al tech­no­logy all the way to resource-conserving farming methods – we have countless options to build networks, and we need to use them."

In September 2015, the post-2015 sustainable development agenda is to be adopted at a United Nations summit. The agenda is to apply to all countries – emerging economies, developing countries and industrialised countries alike. Based on the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) and the outcomes of the UN Conference on Sustainable De­vel­op­ment (Rio+20), an inter­na­tion­al working group at the United Nations in New York is currently drawing up Sus­tain­able De­vel­op­ment Goals (SDGs), with active contributions from Germany.

WBGU has voiced the re­com­men­da­tion that the SDGs should address all dimensions of sustainable development and respect planetary boundaries, because otherwise poverty reduction will no longer be possible.·​WBGU is presenting ideas on how to establish guardrails against global environmental change in the set of goals, and how to make them operational through corresponding targets for action.

The German Advisory Council on Global Change (WBGU) was set up by the German government in 1992 in the run-up to the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development (Rio Earth Summit). It is an independent scientific advisory body. The ministries responsible for the Council and its funding are the Federal Ministry of Education and Research and the Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation, Building and Nuclear Safety.

The WBGU Policy Paper is entitled Human progress within planetary guardrails. A contribution to the SDG debate and can be downloaded on the internet at

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