Green Technology – Drivers in the Political Sphere


Various catalysts and drivers for GreenTech can be found in the political arena, highlighted here in the following short articles.


Embedding Sustainability in Governance and Politics


UN Conference in Rio de Janeiro 1992 – a Concept for Sustainable Development

It has only been 30 years since the issue of sustainability was first defined as an overarching political goal at the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development in Rio de Janeiro. This agreement adopted concrete recommendations for action for the 21st century, calling for a new partnership between wealthy industrialized nations and poorer developing countries in addressing the issues of socio-economic development and the environment. Sustainable development was recognized as an international guiding principle, and important guidelines for environmental protection and resource conservation were adopted.

A precursor to the 1992 UN Conference in Rio de Janeiro was the so-called Brundtland Report, published in 1987 by the World Commission on Environment and Development (WCED) – a commission founded by the United Nations in 1983. This report, titled Our Common Future, greatly influenced the worldwide debate on the issues of development and environmental policy. The Brundtland Report is considered to have been the catalyst for the 1992 UN Conference in Rio de Janeiro.

A third follow-up conference took place twenty years later. The UN Conference on Sustainable Development, also known as Rio 2012, sought to develop the foundations for an ecological economy (Green Economy) and create the necessary institutional framework conditions for sustainable development.


United Nations (UN) Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)

In September 2015, the 193 member states of the UN adopted the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, a plan for the future that addresses global environmental, social, and economic sustainability goals to radically transform our world and provides the global framework for an economic, social, and environmental policy agenda until 2030.

The 17 defined Sustainable Development Goals are to be achieved by 2030 by all industrialized and developing countries. Five core messages precede the goals to explain their interrelationships:

People, Planet, Prosperity, Peace, Partnership.

These five messages highlight the importance of a world free from hunger and poverty that provides prosperity for all and respects planetary boundaries. We also need to work towards a world where peace and human rights are secured, and all members take responsibility for sustainable development in global partnership.

The member states have all agreed that much more needs to be done – significantly beyond what has been accomplished to date. Unfortunately, the Russian war of aggression in Ukraine and the Coronavirus pandemic have shattered some of the global community’s progress, and we have experienced severe setbacks.


The Global Sustainable Development Goals of the 2030 Agenda:

  1. No Poverty
  2. Zero Hunger
  3. Good Health and Well-Being
  4. Quality Education
  5. Gender Equality
  6. Clean Water and Sanitation
  7. Affordable and Clean Energy
  8. Decent Work and Economic Growth
  9. Industry, Innovation and Infrastructure
  10. Reduced Inequalitiy
  11. Sustainable Cities and Communities
  12. Responsible Consumption and Production
  13. Climate Action
  14. Life Below Water
  15. Life on Land
  16. Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions
  17. Partnerships for the Goals

The Paris Agreement – (Paris Climate Accords)

In December 2015, the UN Climate Change Conference was held in Paris. The agreement reached there was the first global accord that contained policy obligations for all member states in the global fight against climate change. All the countries were required by international law to develop national climate change action and adopt appropriate measures to implement it. The states were also obligated to regularly report on any climate action measures and progress towards their commitments.

The conference members agreed to limit global warming to well below two degrees Celsius – ideally limiting it to 1.5 degrees – compared to pre-industrial levels. This agreement is thus binding under international law. It also stipulates that industrialized countries must assist developing countries in their climate change mitigation efforts and measures, both financially and through knowledge and technology transfer.
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The European Green Deal

The European Green Deal aims to succeed in transforming the EU economy for a sustainable future, initiates a new growth strategy, and “supports the EU's transition to a fair and prosperous society that responds to the challenges posed by climate change and environmental degradation, improving the quality of life of current and future generations.” Climate change and environmental challenges as an opportunity for transformation. Europe as a model for the rest of the world.

Presented by the EU Commission in late 2019 and endorsed by the European Council and the European Parliament, the European Green Deal envisions a transition to a modern, resource-efficient, and competitive economy. It presents a roadmap, a package of measures, and investments for ecological modernization, which should help Europe become the first climate-neutral continent by 2050. It also aims to decouple economic growth from resource use and leave no one (regions or people) behind so that the transition is equitable and inclusive.
The European Green Deal is considered the strongest driver for GreenTech and its future development.

You can read the European Green Deal in its entirety here:

Communication from the Commission to the European Parliament, the European Council, the Council, the European Economic and Social Committee and the Committee of the Regions: The European Green Deal