Environmental Governance

Among different methods and relevant policy fields, the FFU is also doing research on the different approaches of environmental governance. Especially the Multi-level Governance bears a growing importance. Education for sustainability is another essential and special field of FFU's activities as it is resesarched as well as offered (for example in the SchülerUni). Other governance-related topics include ecological modernisation, participation and diffusion.

Please click on the governance approaches in the left menu to see the projects pertaining to each category. For a list of all projects, go to "All Projects".

Diffusion

The core concern of the GIZ program RE-ACTIVATE for the MENA region is to create favourableconditions to combine the goals of transforming the energy systems with a sustainable economic development that creates domestic employment effects. The research is intended to contribute to the creation of functioning renewable energy and energy efficiency markets and support employment in the region. (more)

The Indo-German Expert Group is an interdisciplinary working group of renowned experts from leading research institutions / political think tanks in India and Germany. It was set up in 2013 to enhance collaborative learning, contribute to informed decision-making in both countries and feed into the international debate on a green and inclusive economy. 

since November 2013

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In the context of the sustainable development concept and its emphasis on the balanced integration of economic, social, and environmental objectives, it is the aim of the project to investigate to what extent and how conflicts and trade-offs between economic, social, and environmental policies are solved by policy dismantling.

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The project aims to analyse how stakeholders deal with the problem, and which kinds of barriers and channels do exist when behavior modification is suggested.

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The project examined cases of pioneering policies of nation states in the field of climate protection.

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English version coming soon!

Das Projekt hatte sich zum Ziel gesetzt herauszufinden, ob und, wenn ja, auf welchem Regulierungsniveau umweltpolitische Maßnahmen in Industrieländern konvergieren und welche Auswirkungen insbesondere internationale Institutionen und internationaler Handel auf eine mögliche Konvergenz in der Umweltpolitik haben.

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The proposed research project aimed at developing a contribution for an implementable consideration of the requirements of sustainable development in new policy initiatives of the different branches of administration.

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English version coming soon!

Die Untersuchung zeigte, dass sich seit der Etablierung von Umweltpolitik als nationalstaatlichem Handlungsfeld bestimmte institutionelle oder instrumentelle Neuerungen einzelner Länder systematisch ausbreiten, d.h. von anderen Ländern übernommen werden.

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Ecological modernisation

[...]

The core concern of the GIZ program RE-ACTIVATE for the MENA region is to create favourableconditions to combine the goals of transforming the energy systems with a sustainable economic development that creates domestic employment effects. The research is intended to contribute to the creation of functioning renewable energy and energy efficiency markets and support employment in the region. (more)

The way public finances are raised and spent can be used as an important lever to affect various environmental problems and challenges – ranging from the Energiewende, climate protection, the management of increasingly scarce resources to the balancing of public budgets and the question how to build a form of sustainable growth. A greening of public finances can make a contribution to these challenges. 
Project timeframe: 02/2014 - 10/2015 

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The Indo-German Expert Group is an interdisciplinary working group of renowned experts from leading research institutions / political think tanks in India and Germany. It was set up in 2013 to enhance collaborative learning, contribute to informed decision-making in both countries and feed into the international debate on a green and inclusive economy. 

since November 2013

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The study provides an overview of the international debate on Green Jobs, and evaluates the existing empirical evidence on quantitative and qualitative employment effects of the transition to a Green Economy, particularly in developing and emerging countries.

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The research project aims at developing specific suggestions for the use of economic instruments or combinations of economic instruments for the improvement of resource efficiency in Germany and the EU.

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The project aims at supporting and stimulating the emerging political and social debate on resource policies from a political science, legal and economic perspective. For this purpose the discussion on targets and indicators will be analyzed and options identified for selecting, operationalizing and prioritizing targets on resource policy.

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The Environmental Policy Research Centre (FFU) supports the project with its expertise in the field of “Green Economy”. Specifically, it supports the preparation of the country studies, summarizes and compares their main results so as to develop policy recommendations for the region as a whole, and prepares a comparable case study on “The German energy transition and its implications for green jobs”.

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In the light of the upcoming Rio 2012 UN Conference on Sustainable Development (Rio+20), the study explores the stances of European civil society actors on issues related to the Green Economy as part of Sustainable Development.

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The study gives an overview on environmentally harmful subsidies and, by comparing costs and benefits of these, outlines the need to act and options to guide the process of reducing subsidies.

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This research project compares lead markets in the EU with cases in China, India and Brazil.

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The aim of the project is to review, within the operational scope of the Environmental Ministry, how the agreement is implemented and to identify chances and obstacles of the implementation in cooperation with the responsible procurement agencies.

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Experiences with existing (more classical) instruments of industrial policies were assessed, and possible strategies of applying these to environmental policies were analysed.

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One important analytical tool among different Life-Cycle Approaches is Life Cycle Assessment as described and standardised by ISO.

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The effects of environmental tax reforms on economic growth, economic competitiveness, employment, environmental quality and quality of life are at the heart of this programme.

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Education for Sustainability

Education for sustainable development = Education for transformation

Education and lifelong learning is the key to sustainable development.

The necessary changes towards sustainable development require a societal shift in consciousness which can be reached only by a reorientation of education and the participation of the whole society. The United Nations has therefore declared the UN Decade "Education for Sustainable Development" (ESD) for the years 2005 to 2014, with the aim of anchoring the concept of sustainable development in all sectors of education.

BNE's target is to enable children, young people, students and adults to be active in the development of an environmentally acceptable, socially equitable, economically efficient environment. Also, there will be a global perspective of the issue.

Make education shape new methods and formats

Since 2005, the FFU engages in the implementation of these cross-cutting issues and the development of education and teaching formats which meet the educational theoretical premises of openness, reflexivity and future ability to allow participation (including in the form of future workshops, plan and role play) and to support the acquisition of management skills.

The Environmental Policy Research is actively involved as a member of the Roundtable on the implementation of the UN Decade "Education for Sustainable Development".

The FFU is voluntarily working on the following working groups of the UN DESD since 2011:

AG Hochschule

AG Kulturelle Bildung und Kulturpolitik

AG Außerschulische Bildung 

Schools@University is an innovative inter- and transdisciplinary educational format at the Freie Universität of Berlin that builds bridges between academia and civil society. Fifth and sixth graders and their teachers are invited to the FUB twice a year to gain in-depth knowledge on sustainability issues and critical thinking skills empowering them to effect changes within their everyday world and in society at large. The format is based on two pillars:

  • A one-week program for 10 -13 years-olds featuring 75 interactive and participatory workshops.

  • A half-day practical teacher training to encourage application of lessons learnt in their respective schools.

We develop the workshop designs together with 100 partners from academia (students, scientists and administration staff), the state of Berlin, local businesses/companies, art and culture institutions, as well as NGOs.

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The initative SUSTAIN IT! has the comprehensive goal of discussing local and global questions  of sustainability in the fields of politics, science, economics, adminstration, technology, society and education.

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The European project “Schools at university for Climate & Energy (SAUCE)” offered a series of one-week on-campus education programmes for pupils ages 10-13 on the core topics of energy and climate change. The project has continued with the current School University.

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Celebrating the 20th anniversary of the Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety gave reason to renew the answers to questions of German environmental politics on federal level.

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In time for the twentieth anniversary of the Chernobyl disaster and for the first time at the Free University of Berlin and in Germany, a thematically focused school university on climate and energy took place from 20th March to 24th March 2006. This project has continued with the current School University.

Term: 01.05.2005 - 30.09.2006

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Environmental and Sustainability Strategies

In our research we focus on environmental policy processes. Here, we not only analyze the effects of existing policies, but also develop principles and guidelines for the improvement of strategy processes in the field of environmental policy. One particular challenge of environmental policy strategies refers to the integration of environmental concerns into non-environment-related sectors such as the power supply or resource use.

The Indo-German Expert Group is an interdisciplinary working group of renowned experts from leading research institutions / political think tanks in India and Germany. It was set up in 2013 to enhance collaborative learning, contribute to informed decision-making in both countries and feed into the international debate on a green and inclusive economy. 

since November 2013

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Sustainability strategies are control instruments used in the political process of integrating the economic, ecological and social dimensions of sustainability. Since the beginning of the Agenda 21 process in 1992, such strategies have been designed and implemented on local, regional, national and supranational political levels. However, the global strategy landscape is characterized by great heterogeneity regarding the content dimension (e.g. problem understanding and goal formulation), the governance dimension (e.g. mechanisms for horizontal and vertical integration of sustainability), and in terms of success and effectiveness.

Term: 01.07.2013 - 31.12.2013

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English version coming soon!

Die zentrale Begründung für den Aufbau eines Horizon Scanning Systems liegt in der erkennbaren Beschleunigung ökologischer Prozesse einerseits und sozioökonomischer Veränderungen andererseits. Für die Politik stellt sich damit die Frage, ob reaktiven Kurzatmigkeiten durch frühzeitigere Problembewältigung begegnet werden. Denn speziell die Umweltpolitik in Deutschland ist dem Vorsorgeprinzip und dem Gedanken der generationenübergreifenden Nachhaltigkeit verpflichtet.

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The project aims at supporting and stimulating the emerging political and social debate on resource policies from a political science, legal and economic perspective. For this purpose the discussion on targets and indicators will be analyzed and options identified for selecting, operationalizing and prioritizing targets on resource policy.

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The project aims at expanding the period of time covered by Germany’s Sustainability Strategy to the year 2030 and at sketching out the development until 2050. To do this, major issue areas and challenges need to be identified, and strategies and sub-targets for their implementation have to be developed.

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The research project investigates how governments in these countries integrate existing climate policies both horizontally and vertically.

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Currently, an environmentally recyclable concept of a socio-ecological, sustainable growth and social model is missing, which would be a reference point for future economic and social prosperity and corresponding transformation processes. With this background, the main point of this study is the technical analysis and discussion of the following aspects:
1) theoretical and practical approaches of ecological and sustainable-oriented social and economic models – based on a national or macro-economic view.
2) conceptual and empirical reform efforts for the measurement of social welfare and economic prosperity.

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In the domain of the BMU, the FFU and IFOK supports in two exemplary environmental policy areas relevant for the Sustainable Development Strategy (SDS) the development or refinement of strategies by giving professional expertise and the moderation of the process.

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The aim of the Peer Challenger Report is to review the actual implementation of Germany’s sustainability goals and to improve the governance approaches of public and private actors regarding sustainable development.

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Celebrating the 20th anniversary of the Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety gave reason to renew the answers to questions of German environmental politics on federal level.

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The Austrian Federal Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry, Environment and Water Management ("Life Ministry") appointed an interdisciplinary group of independent experts to evaluate implementation activities under the Austrian Sustainability Strategy.

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This project aimed to report and revise the existing sustainability indicator for bio diversity, considering the next report of progress by the federal government on the occasion of the National Strategy of Sustainability 2006.

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The conference brought about a stocktaking of both the institutional basis of policy integration on the different levels of policy making as well as an improvement of the knowledge basis for a furthering of integration.

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The GTZ-pilot project "Environmental Policy and the Promotion of Strategy Processes for Sustainable Development" (Rioplus) aimed at delivering policy advice regarding the development and implementation of sustainable development strategies.

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The 2004 symposium was intended to foster the mutual exchange of information on European and Japanese efforts in recording significant environmental pollution sectors as well as the state of the environment.

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The proposed research project aimed at developing a contribution for an implementable consideration of the requirements of sustainable development in new policy initiatives of the different branches of administration.

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The aim of this research and development project has been the development of a species-specific indicator for the Federal Government sustainability strategy.

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English version coming soon!

Zentrales Ziel des Vorhabens war die Identifizierung von Ansätzen zur Verbesserung des Transfers der Ergebnisse sozialwissenschaftlicher Umweltforschung und die Ableitung entsprechender Empfehlungen.

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English version coming soon!

In dem Forschungsvorhaben wurden beispielhaft für Deutschland anhand des Umweltausschnittes "Agrarlandschaft und Agrarökosysteme" Indikatoren des Umweltzustands entwickelt.

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Indicators

Reliable, relevant and targeted information is essential for the implementation of environmental policies. Indicators provide a tool for collecting, structuring and communicating this information. In the policy process, indicators play an important role as they provide selected, aggregated and interpreted information at various stages of the policy process. They show trends and states and thus produce knowledge, supporting policy decisions as well as informing the public. In addition to this information and communication function, indicators are used for evaluating and monitoring of policies.
The rational-positivist function of indicators as being a tool for imparting knowledge in the policy process is only one of the various possible analytical approaches. Indicators can also be understood as a tool for describing a problem and to achieve a shared definition of the problem. From another perspective, indicators can also be understood as being political instruments for the implementation of problem definitions and interests. From this perspective, the selection of a particular indicator is a means to emphasize or minimize certain aspects of a problem.
Respectively, the selection of an indicator is not a decision which is solely based on scientific criteria. It is also based on values and interests of the actors involved. The decision to use an indicator is therefore also normative. At the FFU, we deal with the multiple roles of indicators and the process of the development of indicators.

The project aims at supporting and stimulating the emerging political and social debate on resource policies from a political science, legal and economic perspective. For this purpose the discussion on targets and indicators will be analyzed and options identified for selecting, operationalizing and prioritizing targets on resource policy.

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This project contributes to measurement of progress towards Green Economy and its understanding for political decision making process in Germany. Based on a synopsis of rele-vant measurement concepts it identifies deficits of available concepts and develops suggestions for an adequate indicator system.

December 15, 2011 - September 30, 2014

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In the framework of the Integrated Energy and Climate Programme (IEKP) adopted in August 2007 the Federal Government decided upon several novel measures to reach its goal to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 40 percent by 2020 compared with 1990. The Climate Initiative is part of this programme and is supported through additional funding from the auction of emission allowances. The International Climate Initiative (IKI) of the Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety has been promoting climate protection projects in developing and emerging countries as well as in transition countries in Central and Eastern Europe since 2008.

Term: 01.05.2011 - 30.04.2013

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In the framework of the Integrated Energy and Climate Programme (IEKP) adopted in August 2007 the Federal Government decided upon several new measures, in order to reach its goal to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 40 percent by 2020 compared with 1990. Part of this programme is the Climate Initiative which is financed by the revenues from emissions trading and which supports national as well as international projects.

Term: 01.09.2009 - 31.08.2012

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The study recapitulates the most important shortfalls and vacancies of the GDP figures. Founded on this analysis, the question of possible complementary indicators has been discussed.

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REALISE FORUM (Renewable Energy and Liberalisation in Selected Electricity markets–Forum) attempted to establish a basis for coherence for national renewables policies in the view of a possible harmonisation or coordination of financing mechanisms and support scheme for RES-E.

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This project aimed to report and revise the existing sustainability indicator for bio diversity, considering the next report of progress by the federal government on the occasion of the National Strategy of Sustainability 2006.

Related Links

The 2004 symposium was intended to foster the mutual exchange of information on European and Japanese efforts in recording significant environmental pollution sectors as well as the state of the environment.

Related Links

The proposed research project aimed at developing a contribution for an implementable consideration of the requirements of sustainable development in new policy initiatives of the different branches of administration.

Related Links

The aim of this research and development project has been the development of a species-specific indicator for the Federal Government sustainability strategy.

Related Links

English version coming soon!

In dem Forschungsvorhaben wurden beispielhaft für Deutschland anhand des Umweltausschnittes "Agrarlandschaft und Agrarökosysteme" Indikatoren des Umweltzustands entwickelt.

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Knowledge-based Environmental Policy

Knowledge of ecological and social interdependencies is a key prerequisite for effective environmental politics and the integration of environmental demands in different policy fields. In recent decades, knowledge-based institutions and procedures for environmental and other policies have been established in all countries of the OECD and beyond.
This includes in particular the (ex ante) regulatory impact assessment. Before the enacting of new policies, they are examined in terms of their consequences – in relation to the target of regulations as well as the possible side-effects. Undesired effects on the environment can be identified early, and the integration of environmental and sustainability goals can be put into practice, as well as the coherence between different policies be made possible.
The FFU engages itself with institutions and the processes of knowledge-based politics in various jurisdictions and in a comparative perspective. Furthermore, we develop tools and processes which can be used for knowledge-based politics. In this way, we connect basic research to knowledge-based politics by transferring it into policy-relevant knowledge.

The Indo-German Expert Group is an interdisciplinary working group of renowned experts from leading research institutions / political think tanks in India and Germany. It was set up in 2013 to enhance collaborative learning, contribute to informed decision-making in both countries and feed into the international debate on a green and inclusive economy. 

since November 2013

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The project will develop methodological approaches towards analyzing distributional effects of environmental policies that considers qualitative as well as quantitative income and employment effects.

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It is the aim of the study to analyze actions as well as quality goals of national and European sustainability policies with regard to their compatibility with the overarching guiding principles of European environmental programs. In this way the project aims at improving governance and steering among them.

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English version coming soon!

Die zentrale Begründung für den Aufbau eines Horizon Scanning Systems liegt in der erkennbaren Beschleunigung ökologischer Prozesse einerseits und sozioökonomischer Veränderungen andererseits. Für die Politik stellt sich damit die Frage, ob reaktiven Kurzatmigkeiten durch frühzeitigere Problembewältigung begegnet werden. Denn speziell die Umweltpolitik in Deutschland ist dem Vorsorgeprinzip und dem Gedanken der generationenübergreifenden Nachhaltigkeit verpflichtet.

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This study provides an overview of available frameworks and methods for environmental impact assessment and analyzes their usability in the context of trade-related development cooperation. With the proposed stocktaking and assessment of existing frameworks and methods the study aims to contribute towards improving the practice and application of environmental impact assessments of trade-related policies and programs.

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The DFG Research Unit address the complex scientific questions related to heat stress in mid-latitude cities by a multi- and interdisciplinary approach involving climatologists, urban geographers and hydrologists, physicians, architects, physicists and engineers, urban planners and social scientists.

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This project analyses how the policy impact of sustainability science can be raised in Germany. It aims at developing quality criteria for policy relevant research.

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The study will review the following countries regarding the consideration of aspects of sustainable development within their requirements for Impact Assessment: Austria, Australia, Korea, the Netherlands, Poland, Switzerland, UK and US. In addition, the approach of the European Union will be analyzed.

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The Luxembourg Sustainability Plan foresees the conduction of a sustainability check for national policy initiatives.

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Currently, an environmentally recyclable concept of a socio-ecological, sustainable growth and social model is missing, which would be a reference point for future economic and social prosperity and corresponding transformation processes. With this background, the main point of this study is the technical analysis and discussion of the following aspects:
1) theoretical and practical approaches of ecological and sustainable-oriented social and economic models – based on a national or macro-economic view.
2) conceptual and empirical reform efforts for the measurement of social welfare and economic prosperity.

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The aim of this project is to identify means for improving the effectiveness of RIA in enhancing policy coherence in the design and implementation of regulatory and environmental policy.

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This study analyses options for the design of a Sustainability Impact Assessment for the OECD.

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The aim of the project is to improve the operational relevance and use of IA tools by uniting the multi-disciplinary competences of large European institutes in the field of IA tools.

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On behalf of the Bertelsmann Foundation the Environmental Policy Research Centre examined options for the implementation of a sustainability impact assessment within the German legislative process.

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One important analytical tool among different Life-Cycle Approaches is Life Cycle Assessment as described and standardised by ISO.

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The effects of environmental tax reforms on economic growth, economic competitiveness, employment, environmental quality and quality of life are at the heart of this programme.

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The project aims to analyse how stakeholders deal with the problem, and which kinds of barriers and channels do exist when behavior modification is suggested.

Related Links

English version coming soon!

Zentrales Ziel des Vorhabens war die Identifizierung von Ansätzen zur Verbesserung des Transfers der Ergebnisse sozialwissenschaftlicher Umweltforschung und die Ableitung entsprechender Empfehlungen.

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Multi-Level Governance

After two decades of international climate negotiations, it has become obvious that the international level may not be the major driver of change propelling processes downstream towards low carbon economies. Considerable innovative approaches to a climate friendly transition emerged in various countries worldwide from the bottom-up. Subnational states, cities and municipalities have taken up the issue of climate protection. Innovative governance approaches also emerged in multi-level governance structures, such as the European Union, often based on leadership of certain member states and cities. Wherever new forms of climate and environmental governance originate - bottom-up or top-down - they are likely to affect policy frameworks developed upstream or downstream. Moreover, new forms of climate governance may involve interaction among governments as well as nongovernmental actors and thus need to be researched through the multi-level governance lens.

The project explores how and to what extent international public administrations (IPAs) interact with political and non-political actors of various levels during and in-between major international conferences.

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The Indo-German Expert Group is an interdisciplinary working group of renowned experts from leading research institutions / political think tanks in India and Germany. It was set up in 2013 to enhance collaborative learning, contribute to informed decision-making in both countries and feed into the international debate on a green and inclusive economy. 

since November 2013

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The Environmental Policy Research Centre participates in a large joint project with major German institutes ”Establishment of a research platform for nuclear waste material: Interdisciplinary analysis and development of criteria for assessment”.

Aim of the sub-project is primarily the policy and social analysis of the development of a strategy for a nuclear waste storage solution in Germany under participation of relevant stakeholders.

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The research network aims at improved understanding of multi-level climate governance in India and the European Union. It will analyze the interplay between the innovation capacity of local levels through to (supra)national levels of climate change and variability governance.

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During international research workshops, we address the question whether and how federal states serve as experimental laboratories to climate governance in the areas of promotion of renewable energies, energy conservation and climate action planning.

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The Environmental Policy Research Centre is involved in the Alliance with a comprehensive project from the political science perspective. The project will investigate new governance requirements for the electricity system restructuring.

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The research project investigates how governments in these countries integrate existing climate policies both horizontally and vertically.

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By appointment of the German Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety, the consortium Adelphi Consult – FFU Berlin supports the intentions of the German Federal Government to found an International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA).

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The project starts from the observation that in the European Union, a harmonized approach to environmental standards is still missing in a number of policy areas.

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The GTZ-pilot project "Environmental Policy and the Promotion of Strategy Processes for Sustainable Development" (Rioplus) aimed at delivering policy advice regarding the development and implementation of sustainable development strategies.

Related Links

The project examined cases of pioneering policies of nation states in the field of climate protection.

Related Links

English version coming soon!

Die Untersuchung zeigte, dass sich seit der Etablierung von Umweltpolitik als nationalstaatlichem Handlungsfeld bestimmte institutionelle oder instrumentelle Neuerungen einzelner Länder systematisch ausbreiten, d.h. von anderen Ländern übernommen werden.

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Participation and Knowledge Communication

In the area of environmental and sustainability policy, decisions are often very complex. An assessment of the effects, consequences and risks is often not possible. In addition, the ideas of how environmental policies can be arranged in practice and what measures are effective are highly controversial among the various actors.

In the formulation of guidelines, objectives and concrete measures in the field of environmental policy, the integration of different interests is therefore the main criterion for success.

The FFU is working on different projects with participatory processes in which roadmaps are developed for environmental sub-areas together with stakeholders.

It also allows the FFU direct participation in numerous projects and initiatives with innovative education and learning formats in in the environmental and sustainability policy.

Schools@University is an innovative inter- and transdisciplinary educational format at the Freie Universität of Berlin that builds bridges between academia and civil society. Fifth and sixth graders and their teachers are invited to the FUB twice a year to gain in-depth knowledge on sustainability issues and critical thinking skills empowering them to effect changes within their everyday world and in society at large. The format is based on two pillars:

  • A one-week program for 10 -13 years-olds featuring 75 interactive and participatory workshops.

  • A half-day practical teacher training to encourage application of lessons learnt in their respective schools.

We develop the workshop designs together with 100 partners from academia (students, scientists and administration staff), the state of Berlin, local businesses/companies, art and culture institutions, as well as NGOs.

Related Links

The initative SUSTAIN IT! has the comprehensive goal of discussing local and global questions  of sustainability in the fields of politics, science, economics, adminstration, technology, society and education.

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The European project “Schools at university for Climate & Energy (SAUCE)” will offer a series of one-week on-campus education programmes for pupils ages 10-13 on the core topics of energy and climate change.

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In time for the twentieth anniversary of the Chernobyl disaster and for the first time at the Free University of Berlin and in Germany, a thematically focused school university on climate and energy took place from 20th March to 24th March 2006. This project has continued with the current School University.

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Societal Transformation

In Germany, numerous players in political discourse emphasize the importance of an extensive transformation of politics, economy and society, in order to do justice to the challenges of a sustainable development. But what is exactly societal transformation? At the FFU, we understand societal transformation to be a long process that comprises of extensive changes in different areas of the society (subsystems) – ranging from production and consumption patterns to legal concepts, from types of organisations to cultural practices and beliefs. These changes in individual subsystems are interdependent; this means that the changes in one subsystem will influence changes in another. Societal transformation is then the result when different changes in subsystems reinforce each other and give overall development of society a direction (e.g. sustainability). During the transformation processes, the ‘old’ and ‘new’ still coexist (e.g. in the form of technologies, social norms, economic and political systems). Only in the course of a transformation –by overcoming path dependencies and barriers – a direction will emerge in which transformative processes will change a society.
The FFU is engaged in different projects with the preconditions for and approaches to governing the transformation towards a sustainable society.

The conventional food production is associated with negative impacts on the environment, such as biodiversity loss, water pollution and the emission of climate-damaging greenhouse gases. In addition, the consumption patterns of Western societies have far-reaching health implications; among them the increase in coronary heart disease, obesity, and colorectal cancer.

A growing world population, changing dietary habits of the emerging middle class in emerging economies and global and national environmental and climate goals require the food system to become more sustainable . In addition to technical solutions, social and institutional innovations are essential to achieve this goal.

As part of the project "Social-ecological transformation of the food system - exploring environmental policy intervention possibilities on the basis of current findings of transformation research" the Federal Environment Agency (UBA) aims at gaining knowledge about novel political intervention options in the food system and broadening the debate in transformation science by examining the example of the transformation of the food system.

The consortium of NAHhaft e.V., the Environmental Policy Research Centre of the FU-Berlin, and the Chair of Sustainability Governance of the Albert-Ludwigs-Universität (ALU), Freiburg, will

  1. Use the insights from transformation research to analyze the transformation field of the food system and thus identify policy intervention options
  2.  Use findings from the analysis of the transformation field of food systems to advance the general scientific debate on sustainability transformation and research in further transformation fields.

Partner: NAHhaft e.V., Albert-Ludwig-Universität Freiburg

Employees in ministries and public authorities have a special responsibility in shaping a sustainable future. Major societal transformation processes, such as digitization and the achievement of the Paris climate goals, require specific capacities and competencies in these organizations.How are social innovations promoted? How are powerful narratives formulated? Are transformation actors strengthened?

Many employees in political-administrative organizations already have expertise on these issues. The effectiveness can be increased if the knowledge is sharedwithin? departments, across? departments or organizations. What is needed is a space for reflection and learning that helps organizations to discover and promote these competences.

In the UFOPLAN project "Dare to Transform", the FFU works together with Politics for Tomorrow and other partners to develop an education program as a learning and transformation laboratory for strengthening competences needed to shape a sustainable future.

Across disciplines, transformation of societies towards sustainability is seen as necessary in order to live within the planetary boundaries and to prevent unforeseeable negative consequences (like e.g. uncontrolled climate change) for our well-being. But there are sharp divisions over the question how such a ‚transformed society’ should look like. Also, it is still debated how such change processes can be brought about and if they can be governed at al. At the same time there are continuously change processes taking place, be it the rise of sharing economy or technological innovations.

How can public policy, and specifically environmental policy, govern or support transformation towards sustainability? The project aims at developing central elements of a concept for transformative environmental policy.

The project builds on previous work, were we developed a rudimentary concept of transformative environmental policy (see ffu-report). The concept of transformative environmental policy is based on the assumption of limited government’s capacities to plan and steer societal transformations. It is also based on the notion of transformation as a co-evolution of different societal systems, and in particular technological systems, culture and institutions. There is no single determinant that is causal for transformation, and certainly not a single governmental intervention. Instead, transformations are the result of a dynamic interplay between different systems and innovation.

In order to further develop the concept, scientific contributions will be analysed regarding the potential of governing transformations, stakeholder workshops will be held to discuss the design of the central elements with practitioners and last, a practical guideline will be formulated with examples of working fields, instruments, institutions and good practice for transformative environmental policies.

Partners: Öko-Institut e.V., IFOK

This project contributes to measurement of progress towards Green Economy and its understanding for political decision making process in Germany. Based on a synopsis of rele-vant measurement concepts it identifies deficits of available concepts and develops suggestions for an adequate indicator system.

December 15, 2011 - September 30, 2014

Related Links

The project aims at expanding the period of time covered by Germany’s Sustainability Strategy to the year 2030 and at sketching out the development until 2050. To do this, major issue areas and challenges need to be identified, and strategies and sub-targets for their implementation have to be developed.

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Schools@University is an innovative inter- and transdisciplinary educational format at the Freie Universität of Berlin that builds bridges between academia and civil society. Fifth and sixth graders and their teachers are invited to the FUB twice a year to gain in-depth knowledge on sustainability issues and critical thinking skills empowering them to effect changes within their everyday world and in society at large. The format is based on two pillars:

  • A one-week program for 10 -13 years-olds featuring 75 interactive and participatory workshops.

  • A half-day practical teacher training to encourage application of lessons learnt in their respective schools.

We develop the workshop designs together with 100 partners from academia (students, scientists and administration staff), the state of Berlin, local businesses/companies, art and culture institutions, as well as NGOs.

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The Environmental Policy Research Centre is involved in the Alliance with a comprehensive project from the political science perspective. The project will investigate new governance requirements for the electricity system restructuring.

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The initative SUSTAIN IT! has the comprehensive goal of discussing local and global questions  of sustainability in the fields of politics, science, economics, adminstration, technology, society and education.

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Currently, an environmentally recyclable concept of a socio-ecological, sustainable growth and social model is missing, which would be a reference point for future economic and social prosperity and corresponding transformation processes. With this background, the main point of this study is the technical analysis and discussion of the following aspects:
1) theoretical and practical approaches of ecological and sustainable-oriented social and economic models – based on a national or macro-economic view.
2) conceptual and empirical reform efforts for the measurement of social welfare and economic prosperity.

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The European project “Schools at university for Climate & Energy (SAUCE)” offered a series of one-week on-campus education programmes for pupils ages 10-13 on the core topics of energy and climate change. The project has continued with the current School University.

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The study recapitulates the most important shortfalls and vacancies of the GDP figures. Founded on this analysis, the question of possible complementary indicators has been discussed.

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In time for the twentieth anniversary of the Chernobyl disaster and for the first time at the Free University of Berlin and in Germany, a thematically focused school university on climate and energy took place from 20th March to 24th March 2006. The project has continued with the current School University.

Term: 01.05.2005 - 30.09.2006

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