Agora News and Public Space Reorientation of UN sustainability policy

October 24, 2023

Reorientation of UN sustainability policy

Prof. Dr. Ben­no Werlen appoint­ed to Euro­pean expert group

Due to the fal­ter­ing imple­men­ta­tion of the UN Sus­tain­able Devel­op­ment Goals (SDGs), the UN Envi­ron­ment Pro­gramme (UNEP) and the Inter­na­tion­al Sci­ence Coun­cil (ISC) con­sid­er a reori­en­ta­tion of UN sus­tain­abil­i­ty pol­i­cy to be imper­a­tive. To this end, a sci­ence-based fore­sight effort is now being fund­ed to inform deci­­sion-mak­ing and devel­op a for­ward-look­ing approach to address­ing unprece­dent­ed soci­etal and envi­ron­men­tal change. As part of the project, the ini­tia­tive to devel­op a sci­en­tif­i­cal­ly, social­ly and cul­tur­al­ly broad-based fore­sight was launched ear­li­er this year. The aim is to estab­lish a future-ori­en­t­ed cul­ture and pro­gram of sus­tain­abil­i­ty pol­i­cy and to present it at the​“UN Sum­mit of the Future” in 2024.

Prof. Dr. Ben­no Werlen from Friedrich Schiller Uni­ver­si­ty Jena was recent­ly appoint­ed to the Euro­pean expert group due to his many years of expe­ri­ence with glob­al projects on the reori­en­ta­tion of sus­tain­abil­i­ty pol­i­cy. Among oth­er things, he is the ini­tia­tor and coor­di­na­tor of the ​“Inter­na­tion­al Year of Glob­al Under­stand­ing”, which was con­ceived and orga­nized from Jena and orga­nized by the world umbrel­la orga­ni­za­tions of the nat­ur­al sci­ences, social sci­ences and human­i­ties in 2016, as well as the recent­ly ini­ti­at­ed Jena Dec­la­ra­tion on Sus­tain­abil­i­ty (The Jena Dec­la­ra­tion). Werlen, who holds the UNESCO Chair on Glob­al Under­stand­ing for Sus­tain­abil­i­ty in Jena, has now been invit­ed to par­tic­i­pate in the Con­ti­nen­tal Fore­sight Work­shop for Europe, to be held in War­saw on Octo­ber 24 – 25.

Includ­ing every­day life of cit­i­zens in sus­tain­abil­i­ty policy

Prof. Werlen sees this invi­ta­tion on the one hand as an impor­tant recog­ni­tion and appre­ci­a­tion of the demands asso­ci­at­ed with the Jena Dec­la­ra­tion. Above all, for greater involve­ment of cit­i­zens with their every­day prac­tices, which are the key to the trans­for­ma­tion to glob­al sus­tain­abil­i­ty. How­ev­er, he also empha­sizes​“the excel­lent oppor­tu­ni­ty to be able to incor­po­rate the expe­ri­ence of the Jena Dec­la­ra­tion into such a large and so deci­sive project for future pol­i­tics, and at the same time to be able to con­tribute to its suc­cess — albeit only on a mod­est scale. With around 1,000 sig­na­tures and 200 insti­tu­tion­al sup­port­ers and project part­ners from sci­ence, the arts and civ­il soci­ety from all cor­ners of the globe, an impor­tant start has been made to this end and a way has been shown of bring­ing togeth­er the most diverse part­ners for a com­mon goal.”

Pact for the future” is the goal

Dur­ing the War­saw meet­ing, the expert pan­el is look­ing at pro­pos­als drawn up by the​“UN Fore­sight Expert Pan­el” on the basis of a sur­vey of experts. These pro­pos­als are now to be ana­lyzed and eval­u­at­ed in rela­tion to spe­cif­ic Euro­pean con­di­tions. The pan­el is try­ing to derive infor­ma­tion about and sce­nar­ios for Euro­pean prob­lems, risks and oppor­tu­ni­ties. Fol­low­ing the pre­sen­ta­tion of the results of all con­ti­nen­tal work­shops at the UN Future Sum­mit in Sep­tem­ber 2024, an action-ori­en­t­ed glob­al UN​“Pact for the Future” is to be adopt­ed on this basis in 2025 to pro­mote glob­al sol­i­dar­i­ty for present and future generations.