1. Germany’s global efforts for sustainable development

Trusted and admired, with a strong economy and stable leadership, Germany seeks to influence European and global processes affecting sustainable development. Germany is strongly invested in multilateralism and a fair and sustainable rules-based international order (BMZ, 2018[1]). It sees its own prosperity, and that of the world, as linked to a successful European Union (EU) that promotes peace and shared values and contributes positively to sustainable development globally.1

Greater use of soft power would increase Germany’s influence. Germany is recognised for its commitment to sustainable development, with economic, social and environmental dimensions present in its society and political systems (German Council for Sustainable Development, 2018[2]). While it wields considerable economic influence in Europe and beyond, Germany could do more to advance other aspects of sustainable development. Its actions in welcoming refugees in 2015-16 and the early and generous pandemic response (Box 3.1) are examples of Germany’s moral leadership. Germany’s soft power2 could be better leveraged, as it was during Germany’s recent EU Council presidency, to form and lead coalitions of like-minded states, including within the G7 and G20 outside of its years as president (McClory, 2019[3]; Hillebrand, 2019[4]).

Germany is strongly committed to the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and actively drives implementation. It places high importance on the role of the High-level Political Forum in overseeing implementation and led by example, submitting a voluntary national review report to the first forum in 2016 (Federal Government, 2016[5]). Germany recognises the universal applicability of the 2030 Agenda and takes a triple approach to implementation focusing on impacts in Germany; impacts in other countries and on global well-being; and support to other countries through international co-operation (Federal Government, 2016[5]).

Germany supports initiatives facilitating implementation of the Paris Agreement. Germany, with Morocco, initiated the Nationally Determined Contribution Partnership3 at the United Nations 2016 Climate Change Conference (COP22). It enabled Fiji to preside over COP23 — the first small island developing state to do so — which it hosted in Bonn in November 2017. As G20 president, Germany launched the InsuResilience Global Partnership for Climate and Disaster Risk Finance and Insurance Solutions4 together with Ethiopia, which served as president of the Vulnerable Twenty Group.5

German leadership of the G7 and the G20 generated support for the 2030 Agenda and the Paris Agreement among the world’s strongest economies. In 2015, the G7 Summit in Elmau committed to achieving “an ambitious, people-centred, planet-sensitive and universally applicable” agenda for sustainable development and an “ambitious, robust, inclusive” climate agreement reflecting evolving national circumstances (G7, 2015[6]). In 2017, G20 leaders resolved to build resilience, improve sustainability and assume responsibility, reflecting the priorities of the German presidency. Nineteen leaders made it clear that the Paris Agreement is irreversible.6 The Hamburg Update7 made more visible the collective and concrete actions included in the G20 Action Plan on the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development,8 agreed in 2016 under the Chinese presidency. G20 leaders called for “ambitious and integrated implementation and timely realisation” of the 2030 Agenda (G20, 2017[7]).

Germany’s sustainable development strategy has a strong vision but could be more ambitious. The German Sustainable Development Strategy was updated in 2016 to reflect the transformative 2030 Agenda (Federal Government, 2016[8]) and further updated in 2018 (Federal Government, 2018[9]). The latest version, approved in March 2021, emphasises the need to intensify implementation in six essential transformation areas – human well-being and skills, social justice; energy transition and climate protection; circular economy; sustainable building and transport transition; sustainable agricultural and food systems; pollution-free environment. While the strategy strives for a holistic approach across all policy areas (Bundesrechnungshof, 2019[10]), an independent review in 2018 noted that more could be done in areas such as biodiversity loss, phasing out of fossil fuels and moving to sustainable energy, and circular consumption and production (German Council for Sustainable Development, 2018[2]). The German Council for Sustainable Development, which advises government on the strategy, recommends integrating the global ecological footprint of consumption in Germany in order to actively address spillover effects for developing countries.9

While sound, the institutional architecture for sustainable development could be more effective. The Federal Chancellery leads on sustainability issues, and oversight, advisory, consultative and cross-government co-ordination mechanisms are in place.10 In December 2019, responding to the suggestion in the 2018 independent review, the State Secretaries’ Committee approved an “Off-Track Report”, which detailed indicators where progress was lacking and outlined ways to improve implementation.11 For 20 of the 65 indicators used to measure implementation of the 2018 version of the sustainable development strategy and that have an international dimension, progress towards targets is inadequate or the gap to targets is widening (Federal Statistical Office of Germany, 2019[11]).

Achieving sustainable development requires collaboration and consensus across all levels of government. Silos between federal ministries and the autonomy and agency of federal states and municipalities under Germany’s federal system create challenges (Chapter 4) (Scholz, Keijzer and Richerzhagen, 2016[12]). Actions need to be synchronised across ministries and sustainability embedded in line with policy goals set by the federal government. Germany’s holistic approach need not be undermined by the principle of ministerial autonomy (Bundesrechnungshof, 2019[10]) as shown in the approach to Africa, where strong political commitment encourages collaboration and reaching consensus across government. In addition, it is possible to reach agreement between the federal states and the federal government, as seen in June 2019 when the federal states committed themselves to the principles of the German Sustainable Development Strategy for their own policies.

A sustainable Germany impacts global well-being. Domestic actions — such as on energy transition and sustainable supply chains, the national programme for sustainable consumption (Federal Government, 2018[13]), and the German resource efficiency programme12 — contribute to global well-being (Federal Government, 2016[5]).

Achieving fair and sustainable globalisation is at the heart of Germany’s approach. In striving for sustainable and equitable world trade, Germany advocates for sustainable global value chains. Its actions include:

  • advocating for the World Trade Organization (WTO) to focus on trade and sustainability; Germany has undertaken research into how this might be achieved and inter alia contributes to the EU’s participation in the trade and environmental sustainability structured discussions, a follow-up forum to the Friends Advancing Sustainable Trade network in the WTO

  • advocating for implementation of human rights and labour, social and environmental standards in global supply chains and EU trade agreements

  • establishing the Partnership for Sustainable Textiles to promote sustainable supply chains in the textile sector (BMZ, 2014[14]; BMZ, 2014[15])

  • introducing the first voluntary government textile label, the Green Button (Grüner Knopf) in 2019. This successful initiative is raising awareness of the importance of sustainable production and changing consumer behaviour (Box 1.1).

In addition, Germany is the only EU member state not to apply voluntary coupled support13 to sectors undergoing difficulties, as is permitted under the EU Common Agricultural Policy.14

Germany strives for peace, freedom and security in the world. It served as a non-permanent member of the UN Security Council in 2019-20, prioritising the women, peace and security agenda, disarmament and non-proliferation, and climate and security (Federal Foreign Office, 2020[19]). Germany situates itself within a strong and united Europe (Konrad Adenauer Stiftung, 2018[20]). Recognising that Europe could do more, the themes of Germany’s presidency of the Council of the European Union in 2020 included advocating for a fair, sustainable, stronger and more innovative Europe and a strong Europe in the world (Federal Foreign Office, 2020[21]).15 Germany’s contribution to international peace and security is delivered within the framework of international institutions and structures, for example by engaging in peacebuilding efforts (Chapter 7).

Multilateral instruments and joint action support global health. Germany’s support for global health is premised on well-co-ordinated, joint global action to address health needs16 such as the Global Action Plan for Healthy Lives and Well-being for All, which it initiated in 2018 with Ghana and Norway.17 Germany focuses on system-oriented engagement where joint, cross-sectoral action can achieve the greatest possible success and aims to work with partners to strengthen alliances and forums at all levels — national, international and multilateral — ensuring coherent action (Federal Ministry of Health, 2020[22]). This approach is an important part of Germany’s COVID-19 response, which includes pandemic preparedness and access to vaccinations (Chapter 3, Box 3.1) (OECD, 2020[23]).

Germany’s response to the dramatic influx of refugees, asylum seekers and migrants into Europe contributed strongly to global responsibility sharing. In addition to providing international assistance (Chapter 7), it hosted a large number of refugees from 2015 and invested significantly in their integration. While many are now thriving, more could be done to achieve full labour market integration, including training and skills certification (Keita and Dempster, 2020[24]).

As part of its efforts to support safe, orderly and regular migration, Germany invests in sustainable reintegration (Chapter 5, Annex C). Recognising that forced displacement and irregular migration to Europe will continue, during its EU presidency Germany helped move EU member states closer to consensus on an improved European migration and asylum policy (BMI, 2020[25]). Germany’s voluntary reporting on the Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration would be strengthened by development of a national implementation plan, as suggested in the Global Compact (UN, 2018[26]).

Germany is committed to implementing coherent policies in order to achieve sustainable development and has mechanisms in place to support this in many policy areas. State Secretaries’ Committees have been established to co-ordinate on issues ranging from engagement with Africa to hydrogen and sustainable development, with the latter topic supported by a working group of directors. Sustainability impact assessments are required for all legislation.

In a decentralised system with autonomous federal ministries and responsibilities devolved to states, advancing issues that span different policy areas can be challenging. The autonomy given to ministers to manage their policy areas and the non-hierarchical relationship between them lead to a practice of non-interference. While the Federal Chancellery leads on sustainability issues, it has limited power to bring ministries together and ministries have limited incentive to identify and address conflicts with sustainable development objectives. Co-operation and co-ordination is required across federal ministries and agencies, and with the federal states (Scholz, Keijzer and Richerzhagen, 2016[12]) (Bundesrechnungshof, 2019[10]). Even where there is openness, arriving at consensus takes time (Chapter 4). For example, delays enacting the 2019 Climate Action Law resulted from energy, transport and building sector concerns18 (Wehrmann, 2019[27]).

There is no single, formal cross-government mechanism to identify, analyse and address potential incoherence in existing and proposed policies and regulations. Despite its 42 federal research and development institutes (Federal Ministry of Education and Research, 2021[28]), Germany is yet to undertake systematic analysis of areas of incoherence, as suggested in the 2015 peer review.19

Where interests coincide, federal ministries have worked together to advance a coherent approach. This may be undertaken jointly or on the initiative of a single ministry, as in these examples:

  • Following work by the Ministers for Economic Cooperation and Development, Labour and Social Affairs, and Economic Affairs and Energy, the German government has adopted a draft law on mandatory human rights due diligence for German companies. The supply chain law will require large companies based in Germany to take appropriate measures to prevent human rights violations in their business activities and supply chains20 (Schenk, Thorhauer and Hubert, 2020[29]). The resulting law could pave the way for a Europe-wide sustainable supply chain framework with positive impacts on labour conditions and human rights in developing countries (Lawton, 2020[30]).

  • The emphasis on green hydrogen in Germany’s National Hydrogen Strategy (Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy, 2020[31]) touches on the interests of the Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy (BMWi), which is responsible for the strategy, and those of the ministries for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ); Education and Research (BMBF); Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety (BMU); and Transport and Digital Infrastructure (BMVI) and a number of federal states. If produced without competing with renewable energy generation, green hydrogen could contribute to decarbonising energy supplies and could also offer sustainable production and trading opportunities in Germany and developing countries.

Commissions comprising experts and business and civil society stakeholders explore solutions to wicked problems.21 This approach builds consensus across divergent interest groups and is particularly helpful where the transboundary impacts may not be of concern to domestic stakeholders:

  • The Future Commission for Agriculture is a commission of the federal government tasked with developing recommendations and proposals to enable sustainable, i.e. ecologically and economically viable as well as socially acceptable, agriculture in Germany in the future.22 The Federal Chancellery, the Federal Ministry of Food and Agriculture, the Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety and other federal ministries have the right to attend Commission meetings as non-voting guests.

  • A 2019 report by the Commission on Growth, Structural Change and Employment, tasked with developing a broad social consensus around structural changes to energy and climate policy in Germany, (Commission on Growth, Structural Change and Employment, 2019[32]), facilitated a political decision on exiting coal.

Germany is doing better than many other countries in a number of areas, as evidenced by its fifth-place ranking on the Commitment to Development Index 2020 (CDI). While it ranks fourth out of 40 countries on trade and fifth on investment and migration, there are nevertheless issues to address in each area — for example, further reducing agricultural subsidies at the EU level, countering money laundering and banking secrecy, and improving international investment agreements (Center For Global Development, 2021[33]).

Joint action, greater coherence and research can help limit spillover effects.

  • Fully aligning the proposed supply chain law with the UN Guiding Principles and OECD Guidelines will require amendments in a number of areas. Specific obligations apply to companies and their direct suppliers rather than the full range of supply chain actors. Ongoing enforcement of due diligence will require contractual obligations on direct suppliers to cascade throughout supply chains. Achieving this will require greater supply chain transparency.23

  • Improving environmental performance (on which it ranks 14th on the 2020 CDI) and reducing Germany’s impact on the climate will require careful engagement with interest groups and greater effort across federal ministries to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and fossil fuel production as well as eliminating fossil fuel subsidies.24 Reducing agriculture emissions and action on fossil fuel subsidies and production involves a broad group of ministries.25

  • Germany has ratified all major conventions on security (on which it ranks 14th on the 2020 CDI) and has a restrictive and responsible arms export control policy. Nevertheless, Germany could do more to ensure safeguards are in place to eliminate any risks of incoherence with regard to its high volume of arms exports.

  • Undertaking more research with developing country researchers and, together with other EU member states, addressing the developmental content of intellectual property rights provisions in free trade agreements would improve its low technology ranking of 25th on the 2020 CDI.26

Germany’s overall investment in global awareness and development education continues to grow, almost doubling from EUR 25 million (USD 27.7 million) in 2015 to EUR 45 million (USD 51.4 million) in 2020 (Federal Government, 2020[34]), principally through financing of the Engagement Global organisation to support and strengthen civil society’s commitment to development.27 The Federal Agency for Civic Education aims to increase participation in society and the democratic process.28 State governments and municipalities use a variety of approaches to promote global awareness and engagement in the private sector and civil society, among them the partnership between Rheinland-Pfalz and Rwanda29 and the city of Bonn’s commitment to sustainability.30 A co-ordinated approach to cross-federal, state and local investments could better facilitate action across German society.

Development co-operation and helping people in poor countries are important for Germans. Domestic and European surveys of citizens’ attitudes to development co-operation show that some 90% of Germans consider that development co-operation and helping people in developing countries are important.31 Concern about pandemics has risen recently, with a January 2021 survey reporting this to be the issue of most concern to German respondents (Morini, Hudson and Hudson, 2021[35]).

Students in Germany are more aware of global issues than their peers across OECD countries, but less willing to take action.32 Students’ respect for people from other cultures and positive attitudes towards immigrants are higher than the OECD average. Students can confidently explain why people become refugees and why climate change impacts some countries more than others, but they are less confident than their OECD peers in explaining how emissions affect climate change and how countries’ economic crises impact the global economy. German students report taking fewer actions for sustainability and collective well-being than their peers (OECD, 2020[36]).

A more deliberate focus is needed to encourage behaviour change. In 2017 Germany adopted a National Action Plan to support the UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization Global Action Programme on Education for Sustainable Development. This support is through a national platform, which meets biannually,33 drawing on expert forums and partner networks and involves BMBF; the Federal Ministry for Family Affairs, Senior Citizens, Women and Youth; BMU; BMZ and representatives of the federal states. While implementation is co-ordinated by BMBF, indicators for monitoring progress are yet to be developed and Engagement Global could have more active involvement (VENRO, 2020[37]). Further research is needed on the effects to date of education for sustainable development on behaviour change in students, and approaches that achieve transformative action might usefully be included (Grund and Brock, 2020[38]).

Further work is needed to translate positive attitudes into higher levels of engagement. Attitude tracking by the Development Engagement Lab indicates that Germany has a more engaged public than France, Great Britain and the United States.34 However, the majority of the population is categorised as either totally disengaged or only marginally engaged. Increased behavioural engagement35 during November 2015 coincided with the German population’s generous response to the arrival of significant numbers of refugees (Hudson et al., 2020[39]).


[25] BMI (2020), Presidency progress report on key elements of a European Migration and Asylum policy and the way forward, Federal Ministry of the Interior, Building and Community (BMI), Berlin, http://www.bmi.bund.de/SharedDocs/downloads/EN/eu-presidency/progress-report-key-elements.pdf;jsessionid=129196F959A7E627001436FB996E1920.1_cid364?__blob=publicationFile&v=2 (accessed on 4 February 2021).

[18] BMZ (2020), The Green Button (website), Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ), Bonn, http://www.gruener-knopf.de/en (accessed on 10 February 2021).

[1] BMZ (2018), Development Policy 2030: New Challenges, New Solutions, Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ), Bonn, https://www.bmz.de/en/publications/type_of_publication/strategies/Strategiepapier452_10_2018.PDF (accessed on 3 February 2021).

[15] BMZ (2014), Sustainable Textiles: What German Development Policy is Doing, Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ), Bonn, http://www.bmz.de/en/publications/type_of_publication/information_flyer/information_brochures/Materialie240_textilbuendnis.pdf (accessed on 10 February 2021).

[14] BMZ (2014), The Partnership for Sustainable Textiles, Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ), Bonn, http://www.bmz.de/en/publications/type_of_publication/information_flyer/flyer/booklet_textiles.pdf (accessed on 10 February 2021).

[10] Bundesrechnungshof (2019), 2019 Final Management Letter: Domestic Progress Towards the Sustainability Goals of the United Nations 2030 Agenda, https://www.bundesrechnungshof.de/en/veroeffentlichungen/products/management-letters/sammlung/2019-final-management-letter-domestic-progress-towards-the-sustainability-goals-of-the-united-nations-2030-agenda (accessed on 2 February 2021).

[33] Center For Global Development (2021), Commitment to Development Index 2020, Center For Global Development, Washington, DC, http://www.cgdev.org/cdi#/ (accessed on 5 February 2021).

[32] Commission on Growth, Structural Change and Employment (2019), Commission on Growth, Structural Change and Employment: Final Report, Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy, Berlin, https://www.bmwi.de/Redaktion/EN/Publikationen/commission-on-growth-structural-change-and-employment.pdf?__blob=publicationFile&v=3 (accessed on 5 February 2021).

[42] deutschland.de (2018), “2018 coalition agreement (in What Germany’s new government stands for)”, http://www.deutschland.de/en/topic/politics/coalition-agreement-europe-foreign-policy-and-migration (accessed on 9 February 2021).

[19] Federal Foreign Office (2020), “Over 100 resolutions later: A look back over two years in the UN Security Council”, http://www.auswaertiges-amt.de/en/sr-mitgliedschaft/391348 (accessed on 4 February 2021).

[21] Federal Foreign Office (2020), Together for Europe’s Recovery: Programme for Germany’s Presidency of the Council of the European Union, 1 July to 31 December 2020, https://www.eu2020.de/blob/2360248/e0312c50f910931819ab67f630d15b2f/06-30-pdf-programm-en-data.pdf (accessed on 3 February 2021).

[34] Federal Government (2020), Memorandum for the DAC peer review of Germany 2020/2021 (unpublished).

[9] Federal Government (2018), German Sustainable Development Strategy: 2018 Update, https://www.bundesregierung.de/resource/blob/975274/1588964/1b24acbed2b731744c2ffa4ca9f3a6fc/2019-03-13-dns-aktualisierung-2018-englisch-data.pdf (accessed on 2 February 2021).

[13] Federal Government (2018), National Programme on Sustainable Consumption: From Sustainable Lifestyles towards Social Change, Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation, Building and Nuclear Safety, Berlin, https://www.bmu.de/fileadmin/Daten_BMU/Pools/Broschueren/nachhaltiger_konsum_broschuere_en_bf.pdf (accessed on 3 February 2021).

[8] Federal Government (2016), German Sustainable Development Strategy: New Version 2016, https://www.bundesregierung.de/resource/blob/997532/188836/7d1716e5d5576bec62c9d16ca908e80e/2017-06-20-nachhaltigkeit-neuauflage-engl-data.pdf?download=1 (accessed on 1 February 2021).

[5] Federal Government (2016), Report of the German Federal Government to the High-Level Political Forum on Sustainable Development 2016, https://sustainabledevelopment.un.org/content/documents/10686HLPF-Bericht_final_EN.pdf (accessed on 1 February 2021).

[31] Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy (2020), The National Hydrogen Strategy, http://www.bmbf.de/files/bmwi_Nationale%20Wasserstoffstrategie_Eng_s01.pdf (accessed on 5 February 2021).

[28] Federal Ministry of Education and Research (2021), Research landscape- Federal institutions (webpage), http://www.research-in-germany.org/en/research-landscape/research-organisations/federal-institutions.html (accessed on 4 February 2021).

[22] Federal Ministry of Health (2020), Global Health Strategy of the German Federal Government - Responsibility-Innovation-Partnership: Shaping Global Health Together, https://www.bundesgesundheitsministerium.de/fileadmin/Dateien/5_Publikationen/Gesundheit/Broschueren/Global_Health_Strategy.pdf (accessed on 3 February 2021).

[11] Federal Statistical Office of Germany (2019), Sustainable Development in Germany: Indicator Report 2018, https://www.destatis.de/EN/Themes/Society-Environment/Sustainable-Development-Indicators/Publications/Downloads/indicator-report-2018.pdf?__blob=publicationFile (accessed on 2 February 2021).

[7] G20 (2017), G20 Leaders’ Declaration: Shaping an Interconnected World, http://www.g20.utoronto.ca/2017/2017-G20-leaders-declaration.pdf (accessed on 3 February 2021).

[6] G7 (2015), G7 Leaders’ Declaration: Think Ahead, Act Together - An morgen denken, Gemeinsam handeln, https://www.bundesregierung.de/resource/blob/998440/436680/e077d51d67486b1df34e539f621aff8c/2015-06-08-g7-abschluss-eng-en-data.pdf?download=1 (accessed on 2 February 2021).

[2] German Council for Sustainable Development (2018), 2018 Peer Review on the German Sustainability Strategy - Change, Opportunity, Urgency: The Benefit of Acting Sustainably, http://www.nachhaltigkeitsrat.de/wp-content/uploads/2018/05/2018_Peer_Review_of_German_Sustainability_Strategy_BITV.pdf (accessed on 2 February 2021).

[40] German Environment Agency (2018), Environment and Agriculture 2018, http://www.umweltbundesamt.de/en/topics/environment-agriculture-overview-for-germany (accessed on 4 February 2021).

[38] Grund, J. and A. Brock (2020), “Education for sustainable development in Germany: Not just desired but also effective for transformative action”, Sustainability, Vol. 12/7, p. 2838, https://doi.org/10.3390/su12072838.

[4] Hillebrand, R. (2019), Germany and the New Global Order: The Country’s Power Resources Reassessed, E-International Relations, http://www.e-ir.info/2019/09/22/germany-and-the-new-global-order-the-countrys-power-resources-reassessed/ (accessed on 3 February 2021).

[39] Hudson, J. et al. (2020), “Not one, but many ’publics’: Public engagement with global development in France, Germany, Great Britain, and the United States”, Development in Practice, Vol. 30/6, pp. 795-808, https://doi.org/10.1080/09614524.2020.1801594.

[24] Keita, S. and H. Dempster (2020), “Five years later, one million refugees are thriving in Germany”, Center for Global Development Blog, https://www.cgdev.org/blog/five-years-later-one-million-refugees-are-thriving-germany (accessed on 4 February 2021).

[20] Konrad Adenauer Stiftung (2018), A New Awakening for Europe, New Dynamic for Germany, a New Solidarity for our Country: Coalition Agreement Between CDU, CSU and SPD 19th Parliamentary Term, European Office, Konrad-Adenauer-Stiftung e.V., Brussels, http://www.kas.de/c/document_library/get_file?uuid=bd41f012-1a71-9129-8170-8189a1d06757&groupId=284153 (accessed on 2 February 2021).

[30] Lawton, S. (2020), “German labour ministry ramps up pressure for supply chain law”, EURACTIV, https://www.euractiv.com/section/economy-jobs/news/german-labour-ministry-ramps-up-pressure-for-supply-chain-law/ (accessed on 4 February 2021).

[3] McClory, J. (2019), The Soft Power 30: A Global Ranking of Soft Power 2019, Portland Communications, Washington, DC, https://softpower30.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/10/The-Soft-Power-30-Report-2019-1.pdf (accessed on 4 February 2021).

[35] Morini, P., J. Hudson and D. Hudson (2021), DEL Dashboard – Germany January 2021, Development Engagement Lab, London, http://developmentcompass.org/storage/de-dashboard-20210126-1611925733.pdf (accessed on 6 February 2021).

[23] OECD (2020), Development Co-operation Report 2020: Learning from Crises, Building Resilience, OECD Publishing, Paris, https://dx.doi.org/10.1787/f6d42aa5-en.

[36] OECD (2020), PISA 2018 Results (Volume VI): Are Students Ready to Thrive in an Interconnected World?, PISA, OECD Publishing, Paris, https://dx.doi.org/10.1787/d5f68679-en.

[44] OECD (2018), Germany Mid-term Review, 7 November 2018, Berlin, OECD Publishing, Paris, https://www.oecd.org/dac/peer-reviews/Germany-2018-Mid-term-review.pdf.

[17] OECD (2018), OECD Due Diligence Guidance for Responsible Supply Chains in the Garment and Footwear Sector, OECD Publishing, Paris, https://dx.doi.org/10.1787/9789264290587-en.

[43] Pitchers, C. (2020), How did Merkel fair in Germany’s last EU presidency with her as chancellor?, https://www.euronews.com/2020/12/22/how-did-merkel-fair-in-german-s-last-eu-presidency-with-her-as-chancellor.

[41] Rittel, H. and M. Webber (1973), “Dilemmas in a general theory of planning”, Policy Sciences, Vol. 4, pp. 155-169, https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/BF01405730#citeas.

[29] Schenk, S., N. Thorhauer and Q. Hubert (2020), “Supply chain law in Germany: Current steps towards a mandatory human rights due diligence law”, Lexology, http://www.lexology.com/library/detail.aspx?g=f1bde270-239d-40cd-85ad-d805adba5790 (accessed on 4 February 2021).

[12] Scholz, I., N. Keijzer and C. Richerzhagen (2016), “Promoting the Sustainable Development Goals in Germany”, Discussion Paper, No. 13/2016, German Development Institute, http://www.die-gdi.de/uploads/media/DP_13.2016.pdf (accessed on 4 February 2021).

[26] UN (2018), Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration, United Nations General Assembly, New York, https://undocs.org/en/A/RES/73/195.

[16] UN (2011), Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights: Implementing the United Nations “Protect, Respect and Remedy” Framework, United Nations, New York, http://www.ohchr.org/documents/publications/guidingprinciplesbusinesshr_en.pdf (accessed on 11 February 2021).

[37] VENRO (2020), VENRO Report: OECD DAC Peer Review Germany 2021, Association of German Development and Humanitarian Aid Organisations (VENRO), Berlin.

[27] Wehrmann, B. (2019), “German climate law put off as disagreements weigh on governing coalition”, Clean Energy Wire, https://www.cleanenergywire.org/news/german-govt-puts-climate-law-conflict-within-coalition-deepens (accessed on 4 February 2021).


← 1. The grand coalition agreement sets out commitments and goals in foreign policy and migration, among other areas. The 2018 document (in German) is available at the deutschland.de (2018[42]) site at www.deutschland.de/en/topic/politics/coalition-agreement-europe-foreign-policy-and-migration.

← 2. Germany ranked third, behind France and the United Kingdom, in a 2019 global ranking of soft power. See https://softpower30.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/10/The-Soft-Power-30-Report-2019-1.pdf.

← 3. Countries and international institutions committed to implementing the Paris Agreement leverage resources and expertise to help countries implement their nationally determined contributions and combat climate change. For details, https://ndcpartnership.org/.

← 4. For details, see https://www.insuresilience.org/ and https://www.worldbank.org/en/programs/disaster-risk-financing-and-insurance-program.

← 5. For details, see https://www.v-20.org/.

← 6. The United States at that time had decided to withdraw from the Paris Agreement.

← 7. The Hamburg Update is available at https://www.consilium.europa.eu/media/23548/2017-g20-hamburg-upade-en.pdf.

← 8. For details, see http://www.g20.utoronto.ca/2016/g20-action-plan-on-2030-agenda.pdf.

← 9. For the full set of German Council for Sustainable Development proposals (in German), see www.nachhaltigkeitsrat.de/wp-content/uploads/2020/05/20200513_RNE-Stellungnahme_Nachhaltigkeitsstrategie.pdf. For the Council’s 29 October 2020 comments on the draft issued for consultation (also in German), see www.nachhaltigkeitsrat.de/wp-content/uploads/2020/10/20201029_RNE_Stellungnahme_zur_Weiterentwicklung_der_Deutschen_Nachhaltigkeitsstrategie_inkl_Anlage.pdf.

← 10. A Parliamentary Advisory Council in the German parliament (Bundestag) monitors German and EU strategies. The Council for Sustainable Development advises the federal government. The Science Platform Sustainability 2030 provides scientific expertise, and regular dialogue occurs with interested stakeholders including through an annual Sustainability Forum. All federal ministries have appointed a ministry co-ordinator for sustainable development, and a State Secretaries’ Committee chaired by the Head of the Federal Chancellery is responsible for co-ordinating the strategy and ensuring that it is applied to all policy areas at national level.

← 11. For a copy of the State Secretaries’ Committee decision (in German), see https://www.bundesregierung.de/resource/blob/998006/1707716/546f0f04769370386d4c603786826458/beschluss-sts-ausschuss-12-2019-trackoff-data.pdf?download=1.

← 12. For an overview of the German Resource Efficiency Programme, see www.bmu.de/en/topics/economy-products-resources-tourism/resource-efficiency/overview-of-german-resource-efficiency-programme-progress/.

← 13. In the Common Agricultural Policy 2014-20, voluntary coupled support offers EU member states the choice to allocate subsidies to sectors or regions under a set of specific conditions. Such support may be granted to create an incentive to maintain current levels of production in the sectors or regions concerned. For additional information, see www.oecd-ilibrary.org/agriculture-and-food/agricultural-policy-monitoring-and-evaluation-2020_928181a8-en.

← 14. Additional measures taken by Germany are included in the report of Germany’s 2018 mid-term review. See OECD (2018[44]) at www.oecd.org/dac/peer-reviews/Germany-2018-Mid-term-review.pdf.

← 15. During its EU Council presidency, Germany gained member states’ agreement to a new seven-year budget as well as to borrowing collectively for a pandemic recovery fund and cutting greenhouse gas emissions 55% by 2030. See (Pitchers, 2020[43]) at www.euronews.com/2020/12/22/how-did-merkel-fair-in-german-s-last-eu-presidency-with-her-as-chancellor.

← 16. Priorities include universal health coverage, global health security, universal access to sexual and reproductive health and rights, and responses to zoonotic diseases (such as COVID-19), Ebola and neglected tropical diseases. For additional detail, see the Federal Ministry of Health website at www.bundesgesundheitsministerium.de/en/international/global-health-policy.html.

← 17. The Global Action Plan for Healthy Lives and Well-being for All encourages 12 multilateral health, development and humanitarian agencies to improve co-ordination to better support countries in accelerating progress towards the health-related Sustainable Development Goals. For more information, see www.who.int/initiatives/sdg3-global-action-plan/about.

← 18. The draft law proposed giving the environment ministry power to amend laws which impact climate policy but which other ministries hold responsibility for.

← 19. While research is undertaken by institutes linked to specific federal ministries, this typically focuses on actions of the responsible ministry rather than possibilities for cross-ministerial action.

← 20. Starting in 2023, the law would apply to companies with more than 3 000 employees and from 2024 to companies with more than 1 000. Small and medium-sized companies are not directly affected by the law. Germany would therefore comply in part with the UN Guiding Principles for Business and Human Rights and the OECD Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises.

← 21. So-called “wicked problems” lack a clear problem definition and can be viewed differently by different stakeholders. Among their characteristics are that they are complex, difficult to solve, involve interdependencies, and their solution is not right or wrong but better or worse. See Rittel and Webber (1973[41]) at https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/BF01405730#citeas.

← 22. The Commission aims to integrate animal welfare, biodiversity, climate and environmental protection with food security and economic viability. For more information, see www.bmel.de/SharedDocs/Pressemitteilungen/DE/2020/120-einsetzung-zukunftskommission-landwirtschaft.html (in German).

← 23. The former UN Secretary-General’s Special Representative for Business and Human Rights and author of the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights has welcomed elements of the draft law and suggested a number of areas to address inorder to closely align the law with the guiding principles. For details, see https://shiftproject.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/03/Shift_John-Ruggie_Letter_German-DD.pdf.

← 24. Agriculture is the second largest emitter of greenhouse gases in Germany after the energy sector. In rural areas, biodiversity is endangered by intensive, industrial farming, according to the German Environment Agency (2018[40]). For details, see www.umweltbundesamt.de/en/topics/environment-agriculture-overview-for-germany.

← 25. The Federal Ministry of Food Security and Agriculture (BMEL), for Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety (BMU), for Economic Affairs and Energy (BMWi), of Transport and Digital Transformation (BMVI) and of the Interior, Building and Community (BMI) all have interests in these areas.

← 26. For further information, see the German country page. at www.cgdev.org/cdi#/country-report/germany.

← 27. For information about the range of programmes on offer, see www.engagement-global.de/overview-of-programmes.html.

← 28. The agency was established in 1952 to educate Germans about democratic principles and prevent any moves to re-establish a totalitarian regime. Its focus has broadened since including outreach to foreigners in Germany and a programme on integration of immigrants living in the country. For more information see www.bpb.de/die-bpb/138852/federal-agency-for-civic-education.

← 29. The relationship between Rheinland-Pfalz and Rwanda dates back to 1982 and involves partnerships between municipalities, schools and vocational training centres, and associations. For more information, see https://www.rlp-ruanda.de/en/home/.

← 30. Bonn, dubbed the German United Nations City, has a long-standing commitment to sustainability (see https://www.bonn.de/microsite/en/international-profile/sutainability-cluster/index.php), presenting its fifth sustainability report in February 2020. As part of North Rhine-Westphalia’s response to implementing the 2030 Agenda and its 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), in 2019 Bonn’s city council adopted a Sustainability Strategy. Bonn’s first SDG Report covers mobility, climate and energy, natural resources and environment, labour and business, social participation and gender, and global responsibility and One World. See www.bonn.de/microsite/en/Voluntary-Local-Review-Bericht-englisch.pdf.

← 31. The 2019 Eurobarometer report on citizens and development co-operation found that 92% of Germans surveyed say that helping people in developing countries is important, with 52% saying it is very important: https://ec.europa.eu/commfrontoffice/publicopinion/index.cfm/Survey/getSurveyDetail/instruments/SPECIAL/surveyKy/2252. Using data from the Development Engagement Lab, the German Institute for Development Evaluation found that some 90% of citizens surveyed classify development co-operation as important and about 70% are in favour of greater government engagement in combating global poverty. The Institute report is available at www.oecd.org/derec/germany/Monitor-development-policy.pdf. Information about the Development Engagement Lab can be found at https://developmentcompass.org/about/development-engagement-lab.

← 32. Results are drawn from the 2018 cycle of data collection among 15-year-olds for the Programme for International Student Assessment, which assessed the global competences needed to live in an interconnected and changing world.

← 33. For information about the platform and its implementation structures, see www.bne-portal.de/en/gap-implementation-structures-in-germany-1876.html.

← 34. The attitudes tracker segments the public into five groups: totally disengaged, marginally engaged, informationally engaged, behaviourally engaged and fully engaged.

← 35. Eighteen actions are tracked including reading, watching or listening to a news article; using social media to impact an issue; donating to and fundraising for an organisation focused on an issue; purchasing or boycotting products or services related to an issue; organising or helping to start a community or an organisation focused on an issue; and contacting a member of parliament or an elected official about an issue. The more costly the action, the greater the engagement. For more detail, see Hudson et al. (2020[39]) at https://doi.org/10.1080/09614524.2020.1801594.

Metadata, Legal and Rights

This document, as well as any data and map included herein, are without prejudice to the status of or sovereignty over any territory, to the delimitation of international frontiers and boundaries and to the name of any territory, city or area. Extracts from publications may be subject to additional disclaimers, which are set out in the complete version of the publication, available at the link provided.

© OECD 2021

The use of this work, whether digital or print, is governed by the Terms and Conditions to be found at http://www.oecd.org/termsandconditions.