Press release: “Make sustainability a top priority to bolster resilience!”


(Potsdam, 13 August 2020) “We must prioritize sustainable development more consistently than has previously been the case if we wish to improve our capacity to weather crises,” says Professor Patrizia Nanz, co-chair of the German Science Platform Sustainability 2030 (wpn2030): “With a new update of the German Sustainability Strategy looming, existing political structures for sustainable development must be strengthened if we are to achieve this goal.” A new impulse paper (“Nachhaltig aus der Corona-Krise!”) prepared by the Science Platform makes several recommendations to the German Government with this aim. The paper draws on the findings of an online consultation conducted by the Science Platform, which gathered insights from scientists on the coronavirus crisis.

The coronavirus crisis has highlighted the need for our society to become more crisis resilient. “While social and economic life in Germany is getting on track again and the challenges presented by this crisis become clearer by the day, we should continue to bear in mind how closely interwoven our societal and ecological systems are and just how fragile they can become as a result of unsustainable lifestyles and economic activities,” says Professor Christa Liedtke, co-chair of the Science Platform Sustainability 2030.

“Sustainability – understood as the systemic integration of social, ecological and economic developments – can make a significant contribution towards making our society more resilient,” says Professor Daniela Jacob. This is crucial when it comes to climate change, for example: “Climate change increases the risk of both pandemics and concurrent crises, which can be caused by extreme events occurring in parallel.” It is also important that we understand the coronavirus crisis as a warning signal and lesson for the future. In terms of its systemic interactions, this crisis foreshadows the scope of the crises that could be triggered by climate change, for example.

“We should seize on the coronavirus crisis as an opportunity to make a fresh start towards sustainability and, in doing so, improve our crisis resilience,” emphasize the co-chairs of the Science Platform Sustainability 2030. “The political structures needed to achieve this are already in place, but they still lack traction – there is an urgent need to strengthen these structures, particularly now in the context of the update of the German Sustainable Development Strategy.”

The impulse paper “Nachhaltig aus der Corona-Krise!” provides the German Government with recommendations to strengthen German sustainability policy in response to the coronavirus crisis. The recommendations aim especially at strengthening systemic thinking and action in the political sphere with the aid of science, with a particular focus on the future development of the German Sustainable Development Strategy. Among other things, the Science Platform recommends a strengthening of the government’s organisational capacities for the implementation of the strategy, the adoption of comprehensive foresight measures – a “360° crisis scan” – to inform policymaking for sustainable development, and that the concepts of resilience and sustainability be more closely interlinked.

download paper (Currently available in German only)

view online consultation



Bastian Strauch, Press officer wpn2030
0331 28822 319

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