German Federal Minister for Foreign Affairs Heiko Maas

Source: Auswärtiges Amt

Message from Federal Minister for Foreign Affairs Heiko Maas for Sustainable Development in Action 2018 in Heidelberg

How fitting it is that this conference is being held in Heidelberg! After all, this city is known as a pioneer of sustainability. Heidelberg has twice been named European Sustainable City, and it has also received the Global Green City Award.


The example of Heidelberg shows that living sustainably begins on a personal level, with each and every one of us. All of us must get involved if the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals are to be reached. One thing is clear – there must be a change! We are ecologically overspending. Earth Overshoot Day – the date when we, all of humanity, have used more from nature than our planet can renew in the entire year – was earlier in 2018 than ever before. It fell on 1 August.

It is also through forward-looking foreign policy that we must try to move this date back.Our UN Security Council membership in 2019 and 2020 gives us an opportunity to work towards this goal. For example, we want to put the link between climate and security on the Council’s agenda. We also want to help the United Nations and its member states detect conflicts at an earlier stage and make targeted investments in stabilisation and prevention – because peace is the fundamental prerequisite for development.


At the Federal Foreign Office, Diplomacy for Sustainability is also about finding new partners as we pursue both the 2030 Agenda and global sustainable development. Particularly at a time when more and more people are again calling for national solutions, and when protectionism is the order of the day, we must work to strengthen multilateral institutions. The only way for us to solve global problems is by working together.


I hope that Sustainable Development in Action 2018 inspires you to do just that. I encourage you to jointly develop new ideas for a more sustainable world. Look for like-minded partners, and share your experiences with others. Also, join forces to turn your ideas into action. But, above all, be persistent. Small steps, too, move us forward – and standing still is not an option!

Invitation by Dr. Eckart von Hirschhausen

About the SDiA

At Sustainable Development in Action (SDiA) 2018, you will learn about different aspects of sustainable development and have the chance to start concrete actions towards a more sustainable world. The city of Heidelberg, Germany, which has won both the European Sustainable City Award and the Global Green City Award, is the perfect location for our interdisciplinary conference on sustainable development.

SDiA 2018 will consist of keynote speeches by national and international sustainability experts and influencers; thematic workshops on current global sustainability issues and their connections to the Sustainable Development Goals; and concrete action labs, including a startup workshop, a simulation, a scenario workshop, and a design thinking workshop, in which you will receive training and support for developing your own sustainability projects. All action labs focus on specific topics in the field of sustainable development and empower you to take action immediately and in the future.