An international study examined successful sustainability initiatives in 35 countries to show how economic, environmental and social considerations can be reconciled. A conference of international policymakers and experts, including former Finnish President Tarja Halonen, OECD Deputy Secretary-General Yves Leterme and North Rhine-Westphalia's Environment Minister Johannes Remmel, convened at the Bertelsmann Stiftung the day before the award ceremony to discuss findings from the study.
The study identifies a number of key success factors, including setting clear sustainable development goals at the national level, anchoring programs stemming from those goals in the relevant institutions, ensuring political leaders are willing and able to provide support for the goals, and carrying out innovative pilot projects. According to the study, not only would that give policymakers clear targets to aim for – targets that would endure from one legislative period to the next – it would also speed up decision-making processes and provide the public with better Information.
Prize Winner: Kofi Annan
The Bertelsmann Stiftung cites Mr. Annan's achievements as U.N. Secretary-General in securing the active involvement of global stakeholders from all sectors in the international policy process. By bringing together actors from public agencies, civil society and the business sector in formulating policy initiatives, he helped revitalize the United Nations while creating an environment in which all actors see themselves as part of a larger global effort to advance sustainable development and human progress. The political momentum generated by the Millennium Development Goals, a framework he initiated, continues as the global community prepares to advance sustainability worldwide in a post-2015 development framework.
The Bertelsmann Stiftung also pays tribute to the Global Compact initiative, introduced by Mr. Annan during his tenure as U.N. Secretary-General as a practical framework for businesses in partnering with the United Nations to work toward an inclusive and sustainable global economy. This framework has become the world's largest platform through which corporate social responsibility is promoted.