Acting with global responsibility and securing peace

Acting with global responsibility and securing peace

Maintaining peace at home and Germany's involvement in securing peace around the world – these are some of the most important issues that were addressed in the national dialogue. Participants felt that global responsibility also included international climate protection, development cooperation and corporate social responsibility.

Maintaining peace at home and Germany's involvement in securing peace around the world – these are some of the most important issues that were addressed in the national dialogue. Participants felt that global responsibility also included international climate protection, development cooperation and corporate social responsibility.

If we want good lives and jobs, we need peace. Peace forms the basis for everything else.
from the national dialogue event of AWO Berlin on 17 June 2015

Maintaining people’s livelihoods through climate protection

Scientific studies show that climate change is already having a negative impact on people's lives in Germany and around the globe. If the Earth's atmosphere warms up by more than 2°C (compared to the global average temperature before industrialisation), then the consequences could be catastrophic and irreversible.

[Climate protection] goes beyond just Germany. It’s a worldwide problem.
from the national dialogue event of Caritas in Frankfurt on 3 June 2015

Climate change is driven by greenhouse gas emissions, which are produced by burning oil, coal and gas and also by agriculture and deforestation. These gases include carbon dioxide (CO2), methane and nitrous oxide.

The indicator global and national greenhouse gas emissions measures emissions of greenhouse gases in Germany and worldwide, and records changes in the area of climate protection.

Since the start of industrialisation humankind has used up more than two thirds of its "carbon budget" for keeping global warming below the upper limit of 2°C – the additional amount of CO2 equivalents (CO2eq) and greenhouse gases that the atmosphere can absorb before climate change leads to abrupt and potentially catastrophic consequences.

So far this budget has been used up increasingly quickly, with annual global greenhouse gas emissions rising by one third between 1990 and 2012.

Annual global greenhouse gas emissions in billions of tonnes of CO2eq

Participants in the national dialogue were very conscious of the importance of Germany's contribution to global climate protection. They supported the federal government's ambitious climate policy. Based on the recommendations of scientists and the targets agreed at the 21st UN Climate Change Conference in Paris, global warming must be limited to less than 2°C and if possible to 1.5°C.

New data on (CO2) emissions suggest that for the first time annual global emissions in 2014 did not increase despite a growing global economy.

However, the goal of climate neutrality agreed at the Paris climate conference for the second half of the 21st century requires this curve to flatten out, turn downwards and head towards zero as quickly as possible, particularly because (CO2) emissions stay in the atmosphere for a long time.

Annual global CO2 emissions in billions of tonnes

In Germany annual greenhouse gas emissions have fallen by 28 per cent since 1990. Projections show that the efforts made to date will not be enough to reduce emissions by at least 40 per cent in 2020 compared to 1990 levels. This is why the federal government decided to take additional action in 2015, including closing down and transferring coal-fired power plants to a reserve and providing more incentives to promote energy efficiency.

Annual greenhouse gas emissions in Germany in millions of tonnes of CO2eq

What Does the Government Do?

Germany is the world leader in renewable energy. The federal government has set ambitious targets in its action plan on Climate Protection 2020. Its National Climate Protection Initiative provides more than 663 million euros of funding for 21,000 projects. The government is also currently preparing its Climate Protection Plan 2050.

Securing peace through sustainable development worldwide

The movement of refugees towards Europe has highlighted how geographically remote conflicts can have a direct impact on the everyday lives of people in Germany. Participants in the national dialogue were concerned about how such crises should be dealt with or, better still, avoided altogether.

I feel less uncertainty about pensions than I do about environmental changes, the threat of war, crises and threats from abroad.
from the national dialogue event of Slubfurt e.V. in Frankfurt/Oder on 3 July 2015

It is difficult to measure maintaining the peace and crisis prevention directly. The federal government is making great diplomatic efforts to resolve conflicts and restore peace to war-torn regions. However, an "input indicator" is used in order to place some kind of measure on the extreme importance of peace for wellbeing and Germany's global responsibility to fight the causes of war. This means that the expenditures are measured rather than its effect for maintaining peace itself.

Public expenditure on development cooperation as a percentage of gross national income (ODA rate) is an indicator established by the OECD to measure expenditure on development cooperation. It includes expenditure on financial, technical and humanitarian cooperation with developing countries and participation in multilateral development institutions and funds, and is measured in accordance with international accepted standards (at the OECD level). This makes it possible to measure and compare government expenditure on development around the world.

As part of the EU, Germany has committed to increasing public expenditure on development cooperation to 0.7 per cent of economic output.

This 0.7 per cent target has been achieved for the first time in 2016. Public expenditure on development cooperation increased significantly compared to the previous year. This is partly due to the fact that resources were spent on hosting and providing for refugees are now taken into account to a greater extent than in the past – as has been the case for some time in other donor nations such as Sweden, Finland and Norway.

In 2016, the federal government, the federal states and municipalities have invested more than 22 million euros in development cooperation. An increase of 36 per cent compared to the previous year. In 2016 Germany was the world's second-largest donor after the USA.

Public expenditure for development cooperation as a percentage of gross national income (ODA ratio)

What Does the Government Do?

Germany works to prevent conflicts and supports the creation of effective, responsible and transparent institutions at all levels. German development cooperation helps its partner countries to create a political framework for social, environmental and market-based development.

Growing the economy for sustainable development

Alongside governmental and non-governmental organisations, businesses and consumers also bear an increasing responsibility. This was the view of many people who took part in the national dialogue. International trade with global supply chains create opportunities to improve working and living conditions in all the countries involved. However, this requires global trade to be set up in a fair way with respect for human rights, environmental and social concerns.

[...] I think that, as citizens of the world and thanks to the effects of globalisation in the long term [for example], we in Germany have an impact on Chinese wellbeing and vice versa.
from an online response submitted on 11 July 2015

Some participants in the dialogue called on politicians to ensure industry commits to acting more responsibly. German companies can do more to help uphold and raise social and environmental standards around the globe in their supply chains. The reporting of non-financial information by companies involved in international business promotes transparency and supports sustainable development.

In the final declaration of the G7 in Elmau the federal government specifically recognised the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights and welcomed the creation of substantial national action plans. Therefore, they are currently working on a national action plan that clearly sets out what government expects from companies in terms of respect for human rights, providing both support and a clear direction.

Germany is also currently implementing the EU's Corporate Social Responsibility Directive on reporting non-financial information. The Directive sets out new statutory reporting obligations, particularly for publicly listed companies with more than 500 employees, relating to labour, social and environment issues, respect for human rights and anti-corruption measures.

As part of the National Action Plan for Business and Human Rights (Nationaler Aktionsplan für Wirtschaft und Menschenrechte), in future businesses will be required to make a regular survey of the status of implementation of the elements contained in the action plan.

What Does the Government Do?

The federal government is keen to ensure that businesses meet their CSR obligations, both at home and abroad.

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