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Sustainable Development

Sustainable Development

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In September 2015, the United Nations adopted the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. It sets out 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), aimed at making global development socially, ecologically and economically sustainable. With the Agenda 2030, sustainability is increasingly becoming a key reference point for decision-makers in politics, economy and science. The Leopoldina uses different formats to address sustainable development in the context of the Agenda 2030.

Alongside all Member States of the United Nations, Germany has committed to implementing the Agenda 2030. According to the Brundtland Report, sustainable development is defined as “development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs”. In order to shape sustainable development, it is fundamental to understand the complex relationships and interdependencies between ecological, economic and social determinants.

Sustainable development in response to global challenges

Scientific expertise makes it possible to understand and address the causes and consequences of global challenges, such as climate change. The relevant research ranges from education, health and global food security to peace and justice, sustainable economic models, and environmentally friendly energy. Based on their findings, scientists provide policy-makers with recommendations for action, which are gaining importance in national and international sustainability policy.

As the German National Academy of Sciences, the Leopoldina promotes debate on key aspects of sustainability. New research findings and scientific concepts which are crucial for the success of the SDGs are being discussed in international workshops and symposia. This requires a comprehensive understanding of science, extending from basic to applied research and covering the entire spectrum of academic disciplines. It also requires an intensive dialogue between decision-makers in politics, science, and society.

Sustainability and the science-policy interface

Science is an important driver for the implementation of the Agenda 2030 in Germany and worldwide. From 2017 to 2021, former Leopoldina President Professor Dr Jörg Hacker was a member of the steering committee of the “Science Platform Sustainability 2030”.

From 2014 to 2016, Jörg Hacker was a member of the UN Secretary-General’s Scientific Advisory Board (UNSAB). The mandate of the Board, consisting of 26 scientists from all over the world, was to provide science-based advice to the UN Secretary-General on global sustainable development.


Mind Matters More Than Money, New York City, 11 July 2019

Brain power for Sustainable Development, Berlin, 13 June 2018

The Turn to Sustainability, Berlin, 18 October 2016

Sustainability in Science, Berlin, 12 November 2012



Dr. Ruth Narmann

Head of International Relations Department

Phone 030 - 241 8987 - 473
Fax 0345 - 47 239 - 838
E-Mail ruth.narmann (at)leopoldina.org



Christian Weidlich

Senior Officer, Department International Relations

Phone 0345 - 47 239 - 868
Fax 0345 - 47 239 - 838
E-Mail christian.weidlich (at)leopoldina.org