Press Release: “Scientists and policymakers must blaze new trails to advance sustainable development”


  • Scientific advisory boards to the federal government open dialogue on sustainable development
  • Greater cooperation needed within science and with political institutions
  • Policymakers must take more decisive action, science must create more incentives for participation

Potsdam, 29 May 2019. “More cooperation across borders will be decisive for achieving the goals of the German Sustainable Development Strategy”, says Patrizia Nanz, co-chair of the Science Platform Sustainability 2030 (SPS2030) in the wake of the 2019 Advisory Board Dialogue, “This applies to political decision-makers and implementing ministries as well as to research institutions providing policy advice.” Representatives of 15 central scientific advisory boards to the federal government met in Berlin on 23 May 2019 to exchange their views on the challenges of scientific policy advice and sustainable development, for example: How can the German Sustainable Development Strategy be best implemented so as to support the implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development? What special responsibilities and opportunities does this present for science? The Advisory Board Dialoguee was launched in 2018 by the Science Platform Sustainability 2030 and SDSN Germany, and this was the second event of this kind.

This latest event underscored the advisory boards’ dedication to their mission and desire for closer cooperation. Boards frequently cooperate in the preparation of expert opinions and statements on issues relating to sustainable development, and in future advisory boards will continue to work on such issues across disciplines and policy fields. The deliberations of the 2019 Advisory Board Dialogue highlighted the urgent need for action in areas such as climate protection, biodiversity and agriculture and on issues relating to social cohesion and the digital transition. Political institutions are often slow to respond to many of these challenges and lack ambition. “In view of the goals set out in the German Sustainable Development Strategy, the challenges and the pressure to act are enormous. So far, efforts to implement the strategy have failed to achieve many of these targets”, stressed Ina Schieferdecker, a member of the steering committee of the Science Platform Sustainability 2030, who moderated the dialogue together with Patrizia Nanz.

There are no simple solutions to the complex challenges of sustainable development, as the dialogue has once again shown. “This makes effective cooperation between politics, society, and science all the more important,” emphasised Patrizia Nanz. Representatives of the federal government attending the dialogue noted the important role played by science in these processes. However, the Advisory Board Dialogue also revealed that the federal government could be rigorous in its efforts to implement the recommendations of science pertaining to sustainable development. “The Advisory Board Dialogue is an important forum for exchange and cooperation with the aim of strengthening efforts to implement transformations towards sustainability,” clarifies Martin Visbeck, co-chair of the Science Platform Sustainability 2030.

  • It also became clear that science itself still has important tasks ahead: For example, despite some progress, there are still too few incentives for researchers to live up to their social responsibility by working in the area of scientific policy advice. The science system must do more to promote this field and develop quality criteria and new mechanisms to acknowledge the importance of this work. Scientific policy advice must also become more responsive to structural changes in the public sphere and continue to develop new ways of communicating with political institutions and society.
  • The Science Platform Sustainability 2030 provides a forum for German researchers to discuss pressing sustainability policy issues with partners from politics, the private sector, and civil society. The platform gathers, communicates and mobilises knowledge for sustainability, in particular with a view to implementing Germany’s Sustainable Development Strategy. Fore more information, please visit: wpn2030.de
  • SDSN Germany is part of the global Sustainable Development Solutions Network. The network pools knowledge, experience and capacities of over 30 German academic, corporate and civil society organisations in order to contribute to the sustainable development of Germany as well as to German efforts for sustainable development across the globe. For more information, please visit: die-gdi.de/sdsngermany

Press Contact: Bastian Strauch, Press & Communications Officer wpn2030, bastian.strauch@iass-potsdam.de, 0331 28822 319

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