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Further Information: Bonn, Sustainability and the 2030 Agenda

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The topic of sustainability is of fundamental importance for the future viability of mankind and the environment. The central question is how humanity can handle the resources provided by the earth system, both locally and globally, in such a way that future generations not only do not suffer any disadvantages, but so that new development opportunities are opened up to them, even in ways in which the entire world population can participate.

Climate change, refugee crises, increasing inequalities within and between societies and authoritarian-nationalist movements in the West and other parts of the world indicate that such a transformation towards sustainability entails enormous challenges.

The 2030 Agenda, adopted in 2015 by the United Nations and its member states, represents a development narrative consisting of 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) with the overriding motto “Leaving no one behind”. However, the achievement of each of these goals faces many challenges.

On the one hand, as a result of global negotiations, the SDGs are fragmentary and with their comprehensive claim not only represent many synergies but also numerous conflicts of objectives that must be considered in research on future development options – but a research agenda is not included in the SDGs. On the other hand every development agenda is set in the context of massive global (but regionally very different) drivers of change. The most important include radical technical transformations, changing orders, but also changing social models, all of which are not independent of each other. At the heart of our research agenda is therefore the question of the tension, opportunities and risks between these global drivers and the goal of sustainable development, i.e. development that is globally inclusive and respects planetary boundaries. The SDGs with the 2030 Agenda provide an important framework. However, sustainability research must go far beyond 2030 and must not understand the Agenda as a dogma.

In the future, a sustainable and inclusive future of the globally networked world society is to be scientifically pioneered in Bonn, whilst local organizational and technological sustainability solutions that are also relevant for Germany and Europe must be developed at the same time.

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