On 25 September 2015, the United Nations adopted the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. This has formed the basis for updates to the German Sustainable Development Strategy (GSDS) since 2016. Today, 10 March 2021, the German Cabinet approved the third update of the GSDS as a basis for sustainable policy-making – including foreign policy. The GSDS aims to bolster national and international efforts to improve sustainability. The COVID-19 pandemic has added to the pressure to take action worldwide; this crisis is not only a threat to our health, but also makes it more difficult to ensure global sustainable development.
Sustainability as a guiding principle of German foreign policy
The goals of the GSDS and the 2030 Agenda cannot be achieved by Germany on its own. International cooperation is essential. With its approach of “diplomacy for sustainability”, the German Foreign Office strives to ensure that the Sustainable Development Goals are achieved internationally and multilaterally. For example, the link between climate and security was one of the focal points of Germany’s Presidency of the UN Security Council in July 2020.
The German Foreign Office has taken on lead responsibility within the German Government for the sixteenth Sustainable Development Goal of “peace, justice and strong institutions”, which will be one of the priorities of the High Level Political Forum (HLPF) taking place this July to review progress on the 2030 Agenda. Germany will use the HLPF to present its second voluntary national review based on the latest update to the German Sustainable Development Strategy. The German Foreign Office also contributes to other aspects of sustainable development, such as global pandemic prevention, stabilisation and crisis prevention, global education, climate and security, and business and human rights, in a variety of ways. It works with partners in industry, research and civil society to drive global efforts in these areas. Its guiding principle is that peace, security and development are interdependent, while human rights must always be at the forefront of efforts to achieve the SDGs. Safeguarding human rights is a crucial element of sustainable development around the world.