BMEL Conference on the Implementation of the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in Germany

With the adoption of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development in 2015, the United Nations agreed on global sustainability goals (SDGs). How can these goals be implemented at national and international level? This was the focus of an expert conference held in Berlin from 2 to 4 May 2016.

The Federal Ministry of Agriculture and the Institute for Advanced Sustainability Studies (IASS) invited over 300 representatives of governments, industry, civil society and science to contribute ideas with regard to the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals. It was the first international event focusing on the implementation of the SDGs in Germany. The conference entitled "Jump-Starting the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in Germany: Natural Resources and Sustainable Consumption and Production" focused on the protection and sustainable management of natural resources.

No one must be left behind. We cannot resign ourselves to poverty and hunger; we must ensure sustainable global food security. With this key message the conference was opened. Food security remaines the core task of the agricultural sector. Agriculture and forestry can play a pivotal role in implementing many other ambitious goals of the 2030 Agenda. Securing food supplies, mitigating against climate change, conserving resources – these enormous challenges of the 2030 Agenda sould be meet and show the need for cooperation across borders, as no country can achieve the SDGs by itself. They can only be attained if we act together! - htereofore the partnerships initiated during the conference in Berlin are the main instrument for truly implementing the 2030 Agenda.

Background

The conference "Jump-Starting the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in Germany: Natural Resources and Sustainable Consumption and Production" concluded the BMEL-funded "Sustainable Development Goals and Renewable Resources Forum" project. In various discussion forums during the conference, the IASS therefore examined the question of how natural resources and renewable resources can contribute to meeting the SDGs.

The subject of sustainability remains high on Berlin's agenda: Germany will further develop its National Sustainability Strategy in line with the 2030 Agenda. In this context, the BMEL is coordinating the second of the 17 sustainability goals which is entitled "End hunger, achieve food security and improved nutrition and promote sustainable agriculture." On the occasion of the annual meeting of the Council for Sustainable Development on 31 May 2016, Federal Chancellor Angela Merkel presented some key features of the progress report.

With its agenda for the future, the global community set itself 17 ambitious sustainability goals and primarily has one thing in mind: to protect the earth for future generations and improve the lives of those still living in hunger and poverty. The global consensus on the sustainable development of this planet also sets out a clear mandate for highly-developed countries such as Germany: We must all consider our course of development from the perspective of the 2030 Agenda and adjust this course accordingly.

According to the Federal Ministry of Food and Agriculture, Germany accepts its responsibility both at national and international level. It wants to take a leading role and has therefore become part of a nine-member, high-level support group for the implementation of the 2030 Agenda initiated by Sweden.

In the opening a number of challenges posed by the 2030 Agenda were outlined – from combating the causes of migration, through the sustainable use of resources such as soil, water and agricultural commodities to the question of how each individual consumer can contribute to the implementation of the sustainability goals.

According to the BMEL there is a need to focus on sustainability across all sectors and along the entire production chain - both to look after our climate and for humanitarian reasons. The work in the sustainability forums – the Sustainable Cocoa Forum and the Forum on Sustainable Palm Oil – could be an inspiration for this. At the same time, the responsibility of consumers was called on: "With their purchasing decisions, consumers have an impact on what food is sold and where and how it is produced. This is a powerful lever for changing production conditions all over the world."

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