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Democracy

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Democratisation is a chief tenet of green politics and a central issue in political education. Still it is often far from clear how to translate the general notion of democratisation into concrete projects, campaigns, or educational programmes. "Civil society" is one such concept which, while widely embraced, is very contentious when it comes to questions of implementation. Other such issues are the crisis of party democracy, the media and democracy, as well as numerous fundamental questions surrounding the relationship between politics and science. All of these are part of the foundation's activities. A further focus of our work are programmes that tackle far-right extremism and racism.

The global urbanisation presents great challenges for sustainable development. In view of the UN summit Habitat III in Ecuador in this dossier we broach the issue of the cooperation between local governments and the civil society.

Bhanu Ben Jadav mixes cement in an apartment
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Why communities want to co-produce with the state? The experience of communities in the global south is that it is important not to pass over responsibility to the state, because if citizen’s involvement is reduced it is unlikely that the services will be maintained. Diana Mitlin explores a radical concept of participation.

Ecology

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Ecology and sustainable development are central areas for securing the future of humanity – areas which should by no means be treated as a political football. It is to the credit of the green movement within and outside parliaments that ecology has become one of the main arenas of politics. There is hardly another subject which, within the last 30 years, has been thus transformed from the concern of a few scientists, activists (often thought of as "nutters") into a topic of world conferences.

Wohnhaus in Barcelona
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In the city of Barcelona, one can observe the joint power of civil movements and a progressive, accountable government to implement the social right to decent housing.

In the summertime in India there are so called monsoon rains lasting over days.
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Amitav Ghosh’s new book “The Great Derangement” examines climate change and climate policy from unusual perspectives. It is bound to get much international attention because it asks some fundamental new questions concerning the handling of climate change in literature and activist politics, and because it represents a well-known voice from Asia.

Economy & Social Issues

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Contemporary social change is characterised by a change in the age structure of our society as well as by changes concerning life styles, relationships and gender relations. Sustained high unemployment rates have meant that the idea of full employment has become a remote possibility. At the same time this has refocused the debate on the crises of the wage economy and the adverse effects it has on systems of social security. Thus current problems do also give scope to the development of new concepts of work – of work beyond a salaried economy.

The Heinrich Böll Foundation looks at alternatives to the West-German model of a salaried, male, full-time job economy. At conferences and in publications we compare national models of employment and social policy, discuss life and work styles beyond the market or state, and discuss the potential of employment in the non-profit sector, the dynamics of shadow economies, moonlighting, job creation schemes, work migration and bogus self-employment. Presently we focus on the question, if – or how – new concepts of work can go together with global equality.

The princess garden in Berlin is more than an urban farming project, its pretty much a think tank for urban gardening
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Ralf Fuecks on Green Growth, Smart Growth – A New Approach to Economics, Environment & Innovation at the 37th Vikram Sarabhai Memorial Lecture in Ahmedabad, October 7th, 2015.

Protest against the 2016 Rio Olympics.
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Barbara Unmüßig correlates the Olympics with Brazil’s institutional, political and economic crisis. Did the organizers learn a lesson from the World Cup in 2014?

International Politics

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After the end of the cold war foreign and security policies have been subject to rapid change. This development has been further accelerated after September 11. Traditional security policies such as deterrence and containment have been replaced by risk prevention, crisis intervention, and preemptive policy measures. Increasingly questions of foreign, security, and developmental policy have become intertwined. The debates surrounding the war on Iraq have brought to the surface tensions between the USA and Europe – as well as within Europe itself. Against this background we would like to continue the debates on the future of transatlantic relations - and this against the background of new security policy risks, crisis prevention, and preemptive policies.

Ceremony of opening of gasoline Nord Stream
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The gas pipeline Nord Stream II should double the existing natural gas transport capacity from Russia to Germany via the Baltic Sea. Juraj Mesík explains why the Kremlin will be the biggest winner of this project.

YOLO written on an atomic bomb
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Negotiations on a treaty declaring nuclear weapons illegal are planned for 2017. So far, Germany and others have tried to block this process, even while officially supporting a nuclear-weapon-free world. These contradictions will soon end, however: states will have to pick sides.

Education & Culture

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In the fields of science and education, the activities of the Heinrich Böll Foundation reflect the change of modern societies towards what has been labelled "Knowledge Society." Knowledge – especially scientific knowledge – has increasingly become a crucial resource and education the precondition for participation in the public sphere. This participation in turn includes the ability to take part in social deliberations about the direction and the limits of scientific and technological progress.

TV
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How many supporters does Assad actually still have? Obviously not even enough to cast different extras for two short television clips.

Poems, short prose and essays on the fate of refugees and asylum-seekers - as published in our "Berlin Anthology - From where I shan't return".

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