We are living in extraordinary times! Human-induced climate change is taking place at an unprecedented scale, and the world is caught up in a financial and economic crisis of historic proportions. We can overcome these crises only by undertaking major, joint international efforts.
The debt-propelled overheating of capital markets was centered in the United States. As a result, the United States also bears major responsibility for overcoming the financial and economic crisis. Through a large number of projects, the Heinrich Böll Foundation remains committed to strengthening common understanding and action between the U.S. and Europe. One key example is the implementation of a “ Green New Deal.” This idea is based on the conviction that the two-fold global crises of the economy and the environment can be mastered only through common efforts to (a) place the world economy onto an environmentally sustainable track, (b) make great advances in energy and resource efficiency, and (c) invest in education, innovation and measures to promote global justice.
This transformation will require determined policies that impose environmental and social standards on markets. Europe needs to take the lead in this regard. For instance, a study commissioned by the Heinrich Böll Foundation proposes the establishment of a European Community for Renewable Energy (ERENE).
Climate protection continues to top our agenda. Our political motto is “ Climate of Justice”. In cooperation with NGOs and climate experts, we have unveiled a concept for “Greenhouse Development Rights” (GDR). This concept is based upon the principles of (a) ensuring that countries assume their proper level of responsibility for climate change and (b) taking into account countries’ divergent capacities for implementing climate protection measures. To this end, GDRs seek to achieve a fair balance between countries and population groups.
Around the world, we are actively involved in efforts to phase out the consumption of fossil fuels, to end the use of nuclear power, and to achieve an approach to climate protection that incorporates both gender justice and the elimination of poverty. We provide support to individuals and projects that promote forward-looking energy, agriculture and forest policies. We help our partners make political interventions – both in their own countries and at the level of international climate negotiations.
2009 will be a very significant year for the issue of global climate protection: a new climate change agreement is to be signed in Copenhagen. Will the new agreement achieve a real breakthrough to combat climate change? Political campaigns and social outreach are necessary to ensure that this is the case. Our global climate network will be certain to contribute to these activities.
Today we are witnessing geopolitical shifts that will have a fundamental impact on international relations. Major emerging powers such as China and India are coming faceto-face with a weakened United States and demanding that their voices be heard in global policy debates. At least, by electing Barack Obama, the United States has chosen as President a beacon of hope who is openly addressing these problems. He is faced with Herculean tasks. His administration must re-start the engine of economic growth and outfit it with a sustainable operating system. President Obama also has to strengthen multilateral cooperation in international politics, improve relations between the U.S. and the Islamic world, and provide leadership in confronting numerous conflicts that threaten to boil over. The United States cannot impose its will on the rest of the world; at the same time, however, no viable solutions to global problems will be possible without U.S. involvement.
The same is true for China: certainly it will be possible to solve global challenges such as climate change and the economic and financial crisis only if China is on board. The Olympic Games in 2008 provided the occasion for a series of Foundation events which examined social trends and reform processes in this key emerging power. The main priority of our work on China is to participate in discourses taking place within China on issues of environmental, social and political reform. We strive to promote dialogue between scholars, policymakers and civil society representatives.
This Annual Report highlights the central priorities and activities that characterized our work in the past year. Of course, current information is always available on our website www.boell.de.
Berlin, April 2009
Ralf Fücks Barbara Unmüßig
Presidents, Heinrich Böll Foundation
- Globalization and Sustainability
- Foreign and Security Policy
- Global Gender Policy
- European Policy
- Promoting Young Talent – Scholarship Program
- Heinrich Böll House in Langenbroich
- Art and Culture
- News from the Foundation