Guideline for common good oriented stocktaking

Climate change, energy crisis, mobility transition, housing shortage, … – In view of the multitude of current challenges, more and more cities, districts and municipalities in Germany, but also worldwide, are dealing with the topic of “sustainability”. The first step is usually to take stock: What do we actually mean by “sustainability” and where are we on the path to sustainable development? Dr Anke Butscher and Ulrike Amann, working for the International Federation for the Economy for the Common Good and in cooperation with the Bertelsmann Foundation and the international network of sustainable municipalities  ICLEI – Local Governments for Sustainability –  have published a guide and corresponding background information for common good-oriented stocktaking of sustainable development on the ground.

The guide is based on the premise that sustainable development should be guided primarily by the common good. In order to facilitate a common good-oriented sustainable development stocktaking, general values have been defined as a first step, which correspond to the core messages of the United Nations Agenda 2030 for ecologically, economically and socially sustainable development as well as to the values of the common good economy (human dignity, solidarity, ecological sustainability, social justice as well as transparency and democratic co-determination).

The task of the stocktaking is to assess the extent to which the general values are already fulfilled from the point of view of the different target groups on the ground (political representatives, administration, municipal economy, civil society organisations and business), where there are strengths and weaknesses, but also opportunities and risks, and which fields of action result from the analysis. A matrix has been developed for this purpose, which contains concrete questions on the individual values for all target groups.

For the stocktaking process, it is advisable to first form a focus group with representatives from local government, politics and business. For further work, a steering group could be considered in which, in addition to the focus group members, representatives from civil society, citizenship and the business community are also involved. The last step is to reach all citizens and the municipality as a whole through various participation formats.

The stocktaking lays the foundation for an integrated sustainability management in which jointly shared values provide the orientation framework or a “values compass” for the sustainable development of the municipality from the very beginning.

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