The majority of FAW/n’s current activities have sustainable development on the one hand, and the global energy and climate issue as the dominant focus on the other. Added to this are the topic of the “Marshall Plan with Africa” and current European policy.
Since fall 2018, FAW/n has been supporting the Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) under Minister Dr. Gerd Müller in establishing the Development and Climate Alliance. The alliance pursues the goal of linking development cooperation and climate protection via the instrument of voluntary offsetting of greenhouse gases and mobilizing funding for high-quality, certified development and climate protection projects in developing and emerging countries. More than 600 partners from business, government and civil society now support this goal – partners who strive for climate neutrality and, to achieve this, avoid, reduce and offset their greenhouse gas emissions in their own individual ways. In doing so, they are also making an important contribution to the implementation of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and the Paris Climate Agreement.
As early as 2009, Hesse was the first German state to set itself the goal of a climate-neutral state administration. In doing so, it is being accompanied by FAW/n in strategic terms. Within this framework, the publications “Climate Neutrality – Hessen Moves Forward” (2011) and “Climate Neutrality – Hessen 5 Years on” (2016) were published. The state administration is a supporter of the BMZ’s Development and Climate Alliance and will offset about 60,000 tons of CO2 in 2020 by financing high-quality, certified projects in non-industrialized countries that simultaneously promote sustainable development and international climate protection.
In the midterm, the world must switch to an energy system based on renewable energy sources. Electrification is only one part of the solution. Synthetic climate-neutral fuels are needed for transporting energy over long distances, for many industrial applications, for transporting goods over long distances, for mobility in general. FAW/n is working at the interface of business, politics and science on strategies to produce green hydrogen from the earth’s solar deserts. This can be combined with CO2 captured from industrial plants to produce green methanol. Methanol is easy to transport with existing infrastructure, can replace gasoline, diesel, marine diesel, and kerosene, and can be used in a variety of ways in chemistry and heavy industry, such as steel production. It is thus the starting material for an energy system of the future.
How high may and should inequality (balance) be in a society so that it remains agreeable to all parts of the population and so that the social and ecological potentials of society can be maintained at a high level? Long-term mathematical studies by FAW/n on income distribution have recently been extended to include the aspect of the climate problem. The richest parts of the world’s population (so-called top emitters) cause a very high share of greenhouse gas emissions in relation to the rest of the population and are thus decisive actors in the issue of climate change. FAW/n is investigating whether and how the top emitters can be mobilized for effective climate protection and sustainability commitment and how their financial resources can be used most effectively.
Based on an analysis by the Club of Rome and the Senate of Economy with the participation of FAW/n, the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) launched the Marshall Plan with Africa in 2017. This is because many of the global challenges, especially in climate protection, can only be overcome through the equal cooperation of industrialized countries with strong African partners. The Marshall Plan with Africa provides a strategic and substantial framework and supports the countries of Africa in the implementation of Agenda 2063 of the African Union. It relies, for instance, on fair trade, economic development from below, African solutions and a strengthening of the partner countries’ self-responsibility. Cooperation with Europe in the areas of green hydrogen, synthetic fuels and nature-based solutions also opens up a wide range of new opportunities.
The ongoing crises in various multilateral structures require cooperation with emerging powers in Asia, Africa and Latin America and with new partners from various sectors of society in order to implement a sustainable development policy and secure global common goods. In this context, German development policy wants to position itself in a strategically foresighted way and act accordingly. In this regard, FAW/n has advised the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) on six important issues: Role of emerging economies in development policy, status quo of the implementation of the 2030 Agenda, German EU Presidency Jul – Dec 2020, WTO in the context of current U.S. policy, ecological and social standards in global supply chains, and introduction of a governmental “Green Button” seal in the textile industry.
Given its close linkage with upstream and downstream value-adding steps, agriculture is an important economic sector for many African countries and a driver of economic and social development. At the same time, however, there is little trade between African countries, partly because agricultural and trade policies are not coordinated, which means they miss out on valuable income and employment potential. There is also enormous dependence on the world market. The fair design of Germany’s agricultural trade policy is therefore of particular importance in the context of a forward-looking partnership with Africa. For the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ), FAW/n has therefore investigated three key issues: the status quo of the implementation of the African Union’s Agenda 2063 with a special focus on agricultural trade; European and German trade policy with Africa; and the promotion of value creation and jobs in Africa.
As the basis of our civilization, agriculture is a key sector for solving the climate crisis as well as for development cooperation, on which a large part of the population in countries of the Global South depends. Many of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) can be positively promoted if smart action is taken. The European Union is also addressing the issue in its current plans for the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) 2021-2027 and aims to transform EU agriculture from a CO2 source to a CO2 sink. In this respect, FAW/n is involved in national and international consultations aimed at identifying the application possibilities for humus build-up and the use of plant charcoal in terms of climate-positive, development-promoting agriculture, identifying and reducing any obstacles, and clarifying research issues.
The “Fridays for Future” movement revealed the enormous willingness among young people to commit to a sustainable future. This is where the Ambassador Academy comes in, which was organized for the first time in December 2018 in Ulm by FAW/n: Young committed people learn about the interrelationships, interactions, conflicts and contradictions of the specific factors of global sustainable development and the international climate problem, develop, evaluate and discuss approaches to solutions and acquire skills in the field of sustainability and climate communication. At the end of the Ambassador Academy, they will be able to act as multipliers for networked and synergetic thinking, globally conceived solution approaches and active engagement of individuals as well as groups.
Together with the German Association Club of Rome, the Global Marshall Plan Initiative, the Forum Ecosocial Market Economy and the Doctoral Network Sustainable Economy, FAW/n has been organizing and supporting events at universities, organizations and companies dedicated to eco-social market economy and sustainability since 2010. In total, students primarily in Germany, Austria, Switzerland, Great Britain and Greece have organized and conducted over 160 events. The University Days have received several awards from the German UNESCO Commission for their outstanding commitment to education for sustainable development, most recently in Berlin in 2019/2020.
In light of the Paris Climate Agreement, the adoption of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and ever-growing, international challenges, the DBU has drawn up a future program for itself that takes greater account of these new challenges. This is particularly the case since project funding in the areas of environment and environmental technologies is, according to the statutes, strongly focused on Germany, with special attention to medium-sized businesses, while internationally oriented projects only make up a small part of the activities. FAW/n has accompanied the DBU in this strategy process. As a partner of FAW/n, Prof. Ernst Ulrich von Weizsäcker, long-time president of the Club of Rome, supported this work.
If European nations want to help shape the future in the wake of global power shifts, the European Union is an indispensable institution. Brexit, the Corona crisis, and pressure from both the U.S. and China on the European Union and its member states currently pose significant challenges for European politics. Together with other actors from business, politics and science, FAW/n is committed to working with the Senate of the Economy for a Europe that can successfully address these and other current challenges. In this context, a book was published for the 2019 European elections, including contributions by Sigmar Gabriel, Jürgen Rüttgers, Benita Ferrero-Waldner, Günter Verheugen and the institute’s director Prof. Franz Josef Radermacher.
High-quality translations are becoming increasingly important in times of global networking, because the precision with which one’s native language is used is essential in legal, economic and political contexts. This is where machine translation has failed so far, as it cannot capture the meaning of a statement because it is based on statistical methods such as neural networks. As an alternative to these data-driven approaches, FAW/n supports research in the field of semantic, symbolic artificial intelligence thanks to a grant from the Vector Foundation. With the Society for Mathematical Intelligence (GMI) in Radebeul, interesting steps are being taken towards a semantic, confidential, AI-supported interpreter system between German, English and Chinese, into which other languages can be integrated by expert computer linguists in the future.
In recent years, FAW/n has cooperated or continues to cooperate among others with the following institutions and organizations in the above-mentioned and other projects:
In addition, FAW/n is in close exchange with the following institutions and organizations: