The United Nation's Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and the urgently needed sustainability transformation face new challenges due to the Russia’s war against Ukraine. Especially in European societies, many initiated changes are currently re-evaluated under the unprecedented geopolitical situation ("Zeitenwende"), such as energy supply, mobility, and agriculture. The German Environment Agency (UBA) considers the new global situation both a threat and an opportunity for the goal of a sustainability transformation (e.g., transition to renewable energy). Therefore, UBA launches an online discussion series to reflect on the implications of the current crisis with international experts and elaborate on ideas on how constructively address this crisis.
The series is organized by the newly established International Academy Transformation for Environment and Sustainability (TES Academy) at UBA. The TES Academy aims to bring together international experts and practitioners on sustainability issues to advance transformation activities. It is supported by the UBA Ukraine Task Force, which analyzes the implications of the war in Ukraine and developing recommendations for environmental and sustainability policy.
30th May 2022
“A disruption of the sustainability transformation? Sustainability policy perspectives on the war in Ukraine”
Keynote: Imme Scholz (Executive Board of the Heinrich Böll Foundation e.V.), Panellists: Harald Ginzky (UBA II 2.1 General Water and Soil Aspects), Dirk Messner (president of the German Environment Agency), Andriy Andrusevych (NGO Resource & Analysis Center “Society and Environment“, Ukraine), R. Andreas Kraemer (Founder and Director Emeritus, Ecologic Institute)
In our first event, we explored the following questions: Which additional challenges does the war in Ukraine pose for achieving the SDGs and international climate goals? What are the implications for international sustainability policy? What contribution can public and research institutions make to meet the new challenges and support international sustainability policy?
Review of this event
Video of the event on WebEx (Password: Transformation22)
15th July 2022
Do industrialized nations neglect their responsibility for promoting the sustainability transformation (in times of multiple crises)?
Keynote: Jorge Heine (Boston University), Panelists: Fatima Denton (UNU Accra)
The consensus of 2015 to launch the SDGs has been a remarkable success for the United Nations. Although strong efforts can be seen to reach these goals, the will for global cooperation has been dwindling due to shifts back to nationalistic policies as well as due to the covid-19 pandemic. Countries of the global South have become more critical on the will of countries from the Western world in fulfilling their share of the SDGs – at home in their countries, as well as supporters of implementation in Sothern countries. The missing resources in the context of the UNFCCC related funds of the financial support for the future global biodiversity framework are just two examples. Furthermore, the still often problematic trade and investment relationships between industry states and states in the Global South weakens the trust in a mutually fruitful cooperation. With Russia’s war in Ukraine, this challenge becomes even more prominent with budget priorities of Western countries shifting even more to security issues und the support (once again) of national economies.
The workshop aims at bringing such perspectives from the global South to the front and raise awareness to potential needs that go beyond financial issues.
Review of this event
26th August 2022
The war in Ukraine as magnifying glass of current unsustainability? Perspectives from sustainable production and consumption
Speakers: Prof. Dr. William Rees, Dr. Sylvia Lorek, Prof. Dr. Tobias Brosch
In our third event, we inquire into the root causes of the seemingly new problems resulting from the war in Ukraine: Has the war created new problems to achieving a sustainability transformation? Or does it merely make visible the fragility and general unsustainability of current (especially Western) lifestyles? Do affluent lifestyles depend on the use of fossil fuels? And can these lifestyles be reconciled with a sustainability transformation that discards the use of fossil fuels? Based on these questions, we explore the psychological barriers that often keep us from facing the uncomfortable realities surrounding our lifestyles and engaging in activities that can support a sustainability transformation despite – or even because of – the multiple crises we are currently experiencing. We then bring the discussion back to the professional contexts of the audience and ask how public institutions and policymakers can act in light of these barriers.
Video of the event on WebEx (Password: Magnifying22)
21st September 2022
Current developments in the Russian environmental and climate policy and adaptation options to keep a ‘green agenda’
Speakers: Angelina Davydova, Yana Zabanova, Tatiana Lanshina, Oldag Caspar
In our fourth event we will have a look on the current developments in the Russian environmental and climate policy. Before the war, state, business, science and civil society actors in Russia and Western countries had increasingly established exchange and cooperation formats in order to accelerate the green transition inter alia in Russia. Russia began to strengthen parts of its environmental standards, including on greenhouse gas emissions. As one outcome, Russia announced a net-zero emissions target by 2060 at the COP26 summit. Due to the sanctions, previous ways of cooperation in the environmental and energy sector have largely ceased. Russia doesn’t benefit anymore from technology transfer, it loses traditional customers for its energy and raw material resources, etc. Do outdated technologies, reduced emission restrictions and a threatened civil society, etc. lead to a substantial decrease in environmental and decarbonization ambitions with consequences on regional and global level? Our panelists will present and discuss their views on:
- the main achievements in the environmental and climate policy in Russia in the recent years;
- the current developments triggered by the Western sanction regime after the beginning of the war in the Ukraine;
- options and efforts of companies and the civil society to adapt to the situation and to keep the „green agenda“ in Russia
17th October 2022
Inner worlds in times of multiple crises: Alternative forms of dialogue and reflection on the implication of Russia’s war in Ukraine
Speakers: Dr. Thomas Bruhn, Carolin Fraude, Andreas Huber & Prof. Dr. Heike Schröder
Humanity is facing a period of multiple crises: The COVID pandemic had created significant restrictions on people’s lives. Amid some normalization, Russia’s war in Ukraine undermined the feeling of safety characterizing the lives of recent generations and put severe pressure on people’s economic situation. Underlying all these problems hovers the existential threat of the climate and sustainability crisis that ever more requires rapid global responses. These multiple crises pose emotional burdens for individuals which, however, often remain neglected in public discourse revolving around these crises. Multiple crises are also inner crises, and a sustainability transformation requires dealing with these inner crises in the same way as it requires finding solutions to the outer situation.
In this interactive event, we explore forms of dialogue and reflection that allow us to become aware, express, and deal with the often-neglected inner side of the multiple crises we experience. Carolin Fraude and Thomas Bruhn will share insights from their research on mindsets for the Anthropocene. Together with other panelists, they will demonstrate alternative forms of dialogue and reflection that bring our inner worlds to the fore of the conversation. They have successfully worked with these communicative approaches at several UN climate change conferences. Participants of the event will also have the opportunity to experiment with these approaches themselves.
Additional events might be added to the virtual series. If you want to receive regular updates, please sign in on our webform "Updates on TES Academy activities"