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Diplomacy for Sustainability

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Diplomacy for Sustainability, © Vereinte Nationen / Auswärtiges Amt

12.09.2022 - Article

2022 will see the 5th edition of the programme of events entitled Diplomacy for Sustainability. As part of European Sustainable Development Week, the Federal Foreign Office is joining up with 12 Berlin-based Embassies to give the general public the opportunity to experience sustainable development.

European Sustainable Development Week (ESDW) revolves around the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, which was adopted by the United Nations in 2015. It seeks to set the world on the path to an economically, socially and ecologically sustainable future. At the heart of the 2030 Agenda are the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), through which the international community is assuming responsibility for protecting the planet and aims to ensure that all people can live their lives in peace and prosperity. 

The Federal Foreign Office is working together with our international partners to promote a sustainable foreign policy. The SDGs serve as a key framework and guide our engagement around the world. That is why the Federal Foreign Office is once again this year participating in the Diplomacy for Sustainability programme of events, as part of European Sustainable Development Week, so as to send a strong signal of support for sustainability and multilateralism. 

Minister of State Tobias Lindner:

Sustainable development is not just nice to have – it’s an absolute must! This has become overwhelmingly clear in an age of multiple crises: the climate crisis, the COVID pandemic, Russia’s war of aggression against Ukraine, the energy crisis, and the global food crisis. We therefore must redouble our efforts to make progress towards a sustainable world. For us to emerge stronger from these crises and tackle future challenges with greater resilience and confidence, we must refashion our lives in every way, making them more sustainable – socially, economically and ecologically. So it pleases me all the more that, this year once again, many Berlin-based embassies are joining up under the motto of Diplomacy for Sustainability with their contribution to European Sustainable Development Week. Together, we are putting on a wide range of events, addressing topics such as biodiversity, gender equality and sustainable nutrition, in order to show how Europe and its global partners are pulling out all the stops for sustainable development and the 2030 Agenda.

An overview of the programme:

1. The climate crisis as a cross-cutting task for journalists – roundtable discussion with Sara Schurmann

Austrian Embassy in Berlin & the Austrian Cultural Forum in Berlin: 20–26 September (in German only)

2. Building with traditional techniques: the Azalea project

Embassy of the Kingdom of Spain: 20 September, 11.30 (in German only)

3. Planting and tending to wildflower meadows in an urban environment

Embassy of the Republic of Poland in Berlin: 21 September, all day (in German only)

4. BioBlitz – discover the biodiversity of Tiergarten park 

Swedish Embassy in Germany: 22 September, as of 10.00 (in German only)

5. Breaking Boundaries. The Science of our Planet

Swedish Embassy in Germany: 22 September, 18.00 (in German only)

6. Women mediators — integral to peaceful and inclusive societies

Embassy of Switzerland: 22 September, 18.00–21.00

white dove in front of a building
Women mediators — integral to peaceful and inclusive societies© Schweizerische Botschaft

Inequality between men and women exists to this day, in both a national and international context, and this plays a role in how we deal with conflict and peacekeeping. Gender-specific inequalities, militarised masculinity and marginalising power structures hamper efforts to prevent violent conflict in the long term, as well as to promote integrative participation in post-conflict peacebuilding, protect the civilian population and advance gender-specific aid and reconstruction efforts. Against this background, it is particularly important to promote women in foreign policy positions – especially in the context of peace processes – and to create inclusive structures. Switzerland’s leading mediator and current State Secretary for Migration, Christine Schraner Burgener, will report on her experiences as Special Envoy of the Secretary-General on Myanmar and her work as a conflict mediator in Thailand during violent street protests and the coup. This will be followed by a panel discussion that will include representatives from the spheres of politics, society and academia, and later by additional discussions and an aperitif.

7. Business and human rights – the cocoa sector

Belgian Embassy: 26 September, 16.00–19.00

Hands holding cocoa beans
Business and human rights – the cocoa sector© Neuhaus / Beyond Chocolate

The Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights that were adopted by the United Nations in 2011 are intended to help countries and companies prevent, address and resolve business-related human rights violations. Prompted by their adoption, Belgium and Germany and other European countries drafted National Action Plans to implement the UN Guiding Principles.

The cocoa sector touches on key aspects of the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights. How are sustainability, decent work and development interrelated in the sphere of cocoa production? What are the roles and responsibilities of countries and corporations with respect to the cocoa industry? How can countries such as Belgium and Germany best promote, defend and implement sustainable policies towards cocoa producers? How can we prevent child labour and guarantee sustainable and decent living conditions for cocoa farmers?

These are only some of the questions we will discuss. The documentary film Chocolate’s Heart of Darkness (2019) will highlight some of the challenges that need to be addressed in connection with human rights in the cocoa sector. The screening will be followed by a panel discussion. The panel will include experts from Belgium and Germany who represent the various stakeholders (government, companies, civil society).

8. Living with wild animals: Estonian bears and German wolves

Embassy of Estonia 22 September, 18.00 (in German only)

9. Mud Power: next-generation bioenergy technology

Embassy of Latvia, event held in the FUTURIUM: 23 September, expected to begin at 17.00 (in German only)

10. The Pacific Alliance: a Latin American regional integration mechanism for sustainable and integrated development – a gender perspective

Seminar of the Pacific Alliance (Chile, Colombia, Mexico and Peru) at the Embassy of Chile: 26 September, 15.00–16.00 (mostly in English)

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