International Academy Transformation for Environment and Sustainability (TES Academy)

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Achieving the goals of sustainable development requires profound transformations at the personal, interpersonal, institutional and societal levels. The TES Academy is a new self-financed project at UBA (pilot phase 2022 to 2024) to promote and conduct mutual learning activities on practical transformation challenges. The Academy will develop different formats for joint activities with partners.


In order to shape a sustainable future, we need people on all levels from local to global who are capable of implementing transformation processes for the environment and sustainability. Also, developing structures and networks of such people that deal with sustainability challenges in different contexts and with different knowledge are essential.

The TES Academy addresses these actors and accompanies them to jointly identify and address topics of transformations that have a high potential to increase their implementation by international knowledge exchange and joint learning activities across countries.

Scientific knowledge from transformation and environmental science will be brought together with practical knowledge. The topics we address ideally link a focus on implementation with international environmental and sustainability policy agendas.

Therefore, we aim at bringing together experts for all relevant fields from UBA, with external partners from science, administration, industry and civil society, aiming to address institutions and individuals with the potential to implement lessons learned in their institutions and via new collaborations. The focus will be on G20 countries and the European Union.

Concept for transformation process starting with analyzing the challenge, collaboration, Joint activities, building networks to intitiating the transformation process
Source: German Environment Agency

TES Academy Mission

Our work at the TES Academy is based on the following mission:

1 Why?

Achieving the goals of sustainable development requires profound transformations at the personal, interpersonal, institutional and societal levels.

At the same time, the challenges of sustainable development are global, highly complex and cannot be met by individual actors alone. Rather, we need communication and collaboration structures that transcend national, professional and institutional boundaries.

To shape a sustainable future, we need people across national and disciplinary boundaries who are capable of implementing transformation processes for the environment and sustainability at all levels and thus developing structures with which sustainability problems can be solved.

2 How?

The TES Academy empowers people through joint learning processes to initiate and implement transformation processes for the environment and sustainability as part of their professional activities. We understand 'empowerment' as an interplay of

  • awareness of the need for transformation, its obstacles and possible solutions, and related power and justice issues;
  • the willingness to take responsibility for transformation processes oneself and to take the necessary steps to realize them;
  • the ability to act, to initiate concrete measures to advance transformation processes in institutions and society.

The work of the TES Academy is based on the assumption that sustainable transformations always involve developments at the personal, interpersonal, institutional and systemic levels. Empowering transformation' therefore means implementing change processes at all these levels.

Our target groups are people in positions of responsibility in institutions relevant to the transformations, for example in politics and administration, civil society organizations, business and academia. The TES Academy is primarily aimed at actors from the EU and the G20. Depending on the topic, however, this group of addressees may be broader.

3 What?

The TES Academy offers inter- and transdisciplinary learning and cooperation spaces for professional actors, in which they can experience and (co-)shape concrete change processes along current challenges of sustainable development. Within the framework of scientifically based and practically tested, virtual as well as physical formats, the TES Academy facilitates joint learning and long-term cooperation, forms collaborative networks and partnerships, and further develops personal and institutional potentials in order to advance the social transformation for a sustainable future.

Guiding principles of the TES Academy: Multiple perspectives on the environment and sustainability,From personal to systemic, Holistic learning, From local to global and Mutual learning
Source: German Environment Agency

The relevance of the War in Ukraine for transformation

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... read more

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The Umweltbundesamt

For our environment